A good checking account is the lifeblood of a personal finance system. It’s where paychecks get deposited and serves as our spending account. In this article we’ll look at some of the best checking accounts available today.
To find the best checking account for your specific needs, consider the following factors:
- Mobile check deposit
- Mobile app and website that are easy to use
- Overdraft protection
- Free ATMs
Based on these and other factors, here are my top picks for the best checking accounts.
Online Checking Accounts
I prefer traditional banking for my checking account. But there are several online only options that offer excellent checking accounts. These accounts usually charge no fees, many offer excellent interest rates, and they offer useful mobile apps and tools.
Chime is one of several Fintech companies that offers an excellent mobile app, Visa debit card, and FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts. It also pays an excellent APY on savings.
- Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit
- Track your account balances and daily transactions with the Chime mobile app
- Get daily balance notifications and instant transaction alerts
- Send money instantly to friends
- Chime Visa® Debit Card
- 1.00% APY
- No monthly fees.
- No minimum balance requirements.
- 38,000+ fee-free MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs.
Aspiration offers two levels of accounts, one free and one for a small monthly fee. It also pays one of the highest rates on savings and supports our planet with various green initiatives.
- Unlimited fee-free ATM withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs
- Up to 10% cash back on debit card purchases
- Deposits are fossil fuel-free
- Plant a tree with every roundup
- Up to 1.00% APY
Another Fintech banking app, Simple recently increased its interest rate on its savings account. Its checking account is free and comes with a rich set of features.
- Online checking account with Visa debit card
- Mobile check deposit
- Budgeting app
- Transfer money with friends
- Send paper checks
- High-yield savings account
Capital One is a hybrid. It’s a traditional brink- and mortar bank that purchased an online bank (ING Direct) many years ago. It rebranded ING Direct to Capital One360. Today, the bank operates as a single entity, so you get the benefits of physical branches and the features of an online bank.
Here are the details of Capital One 360 Checking:
- No monthly fee
- Mobile app
- 40,000 fee-free ATMs
- No minimums
- Online bill pay
- Mobile check deposit
Axos is an online bank with a wide range of products and features. It offers both personal and business accounts. Here are the details on its personal checking account:
- 4 types of checking accounts:
- Essential Checking: Basic checking with unlimited ATM fee reimbursements.
- Rewards Checking: 1.25% APY and no maintenance fees.
- CashBack Checking: 1.00% cash back on all signature transactions
- Golden Checking (Age 55+): 0.20% APY on all balances, free personal checks, mo maintenances fees.
- Refer-a-friend bonus
Our final Fintech option, Varo offers checking and savings accounts with no fees and excellent features. Here are the details:
- Free Visa debit card
- No monthly fees
- Open account online
- Manage money on your smartphone
- Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit
- Lock your card with the mobile app
Traditional Checking Accounts
I prefer to have my checking account at a bank with branches near my home or work (preferably both). They won’t pay much in interest, but you can find checking accounts with minimal fees. And some pay out a nice bonus to new customers.
Here are my top picks:
I’ve banked at Citi for three decades. They have branches everywhere, and free ATMs in every 7-Eleven. I’m also a big fan of the Citi Double Cash card.
In terms of checking accounts, here are details:
- Up to $700 signup bonus. Details can be found here.
- No fees for using Citi ATMs and no Citi fees for using non-Citi ATMs
- Earn Citi ThankYou Points
- There is a monthly service fee, but it can be waived with certain banking activity or minimum balances.
- Earn cash by referring friends
While Chase doesn’t have as many locations as Citi, it’s a great option if branches are available where you live. And its credit cards are some of the best.
- Earn hundreds of dollars in signup bonuses. Get details here.
- Free ATMs at Chase branches.
- A monthly service fee can we waived fairly easily.
- Use the Chase Mobile app to manage accounts, deposit checks and transfer money.
PNC offers excellent digital tools with its Virtual Wallet. The app brings together accounts for spending, savings and growth.
- Signup bonuses for new customers. Get details here.
- Excellent app–Virtual Wallet
- Track and pay your bills
- Create a budget
- Automate your savings
- Create savings goal
U.S. Bank offers several checking packages with signup bonuses.
- Easy Checking account costs just $6.95 a month, and the fee can be waived easily
- U.S. Bank Visa debit card
- Student checking available
- Branches in more than 25 states