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.
Here we track important updates to the top checking accounts that we've tracked over the past 30 days.
Featured Checking Account from Our Sponsors
APY: Up to 3.30% Rewards Checking and up to 0.61% High-Yield Savings
Account Types: Checking, savings, CDs, money market, personal, business
Fees: No monthly maintenance fees
ATMs: 91,000 free ATM locations & unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements
List of Checking Accounts
Citi Priority Account
A monthly service fee of $30 applies to the Citi Priority Account Package if a combined average monthly balance of $50,000 or more is not maintained.
Requirements: Open a Citi Priority Checking Account from 1/10/23 through 4/4/23 and earn a cash bonus of $200, $500, $1000, $1500 or $2000 after completing required activities. Simply deposit qualifying funds within 20 days of account opening and maintain your balance for an additional 60 days from the 21st day to unlock your bonus.
Only New-to-Citibank checking customers can take advantage of this offer.
- $200: Minimum Deposit of $10,000
- $500: Minimum Deposit of $30,000
- $1,000: Minimum Deposit of $75,000
- $1,500: Minimum Deposit of $200,000
- $2,000: Minimum Deposit of $300,000
How to Waive Monthly Fee: $30 or $0 when you maintain a combined average monthly balance of $30,000+ in eligible linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts.
Platinum Perks Checking
Earn a $600 bonus when you open a new Platinum Perks Checking account, fund the account with at least $25,000 and keep the account open for at least 90 days
- Open a new Wells Fargo consumer checking account with a minimum opening deposit of $25 by March 28, 2023. All account applications are subject to approval.
- Within 90 calendar days of account opening (the “qualification period”), receive a total of $1,000 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your new checking account.
- A qualifying direct deposit is an ACH (Automated Clearing House) automatic electronic deposit of your salary, pension, Social Security, or other regular income into your bank account. Confirm with your employer or the agency or company making these payments that they use the ACH network.
- Transfers from one account to another, mobile deposits, or deposits made at a branch, or ATM don't qualify as a direct deposit.
- A direct deposit made available early with Early Pay Day does not count toward the bonus requirements until it posts to your account and is no longer pending (e.g. the pay date scheduled by your payor).
How to Waive Monthly Fee:
- $500 minimum daily balance
- $500 or more in total qualifying direct deposits
- A linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card
- Primary account owner is 17 – 24 years old
For Perks Checking, receive a qualifying direct deposit within 90 days of account opening, or for Platinum Perks Checking, make cumulative new money deposits of $25,000 within 90 days of account opening; and keep your account open for 90 days.
Business Interest Checking
on balance up to $49,999.99
If you filed after June 1, 2020, we´ll add $200 to your new business bank account. Just use promo code NEWBIZ200 on your application.** Not a new business? Use promo code NEWAXOSBIZ for a $100 bonus.***
High Interest Checking
Earn 1.10% APY on the portion of the daily balances up to $150,000 when you make at least 10 qualifying debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle.
Checking and Savings
Requires direct deposit, otherwise the APY is 0.70%.
Requirements: In order to qualify for eligibility for a bonus, SoFi must receive at least one Qualifying Direct Deposit from an Eligible Participant during the Promotion Period. Qualifying Direct Deposits are defined as deposits from an enrolled member’s employer, payroll, or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer (such as check deposits; P2P transfers such as from PayPal or Venmo, etc.; merchant transactions such as from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.; and bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify for this promotion. The amount of the bonus, if any, is described below. No bonuses shall be paid for Qualifying Direct Deposits of less than $1,000 during the Evaluation Period.
|Total Qualifying Direct Deposit amount in 25-day Evaluation Period||Cash Bonus|
|$1,000 – $4,999||$50|
|$5,000 or more||$250|
Rewards® checkin' account.
Requires qualifying banking activities. See Axos website for details.
Requirements: Use the promo code RC100 when you apply for a Rewards Checking account by 03/31/2023. Then have qualifying direct deposit(s) to earn a $100 welcome bonus!
To receive a $100 Bonus: An Axos Bank Rewards Checking application that includes the promotional code “RC100″ must be submitted between 12/31/2022 at 12:00am PST and 11:59pm PST on 03/31/2023 to qualify. You must open your new Rewards Checking account and have qualifying direct deposit(s) that total at least $1,500.00 within a single calendar month during the first three (3) calendar months your account is open, including the month in which your account was opened. Qualifying Direct Deposits are defined as deposits from an enrolled customer’s employer, payroll, or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer (such as check deposits; Peer to Peer (P2P) transfers; merchant transactions; and bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify. All eligible awards will be delivered to your Rewards Checking account within 30 days following the 90-day waiting period. Account must remain open for at least 180 days or an early closure fee of $100 may apply. Please note that this offer can be changed or revoked at any time with or without disclosure.
Advantage SafeBalance Banking
Requirements: To enroll in this offer, open a new Bank of America personal checking account through this offer page by 06/30/2023. Set up and receive Qualifying Direct Deposits of $1,000 or more into that account within 90 days of account opening. This offer is limited to new Bank of America personal checking account customers only. Use offer code DMF100CIS when opening your new account to enroll in this offer.
TD Convenience Checking
Requirements: To receive the $200 Checking bonus, you must: 1) Open a new TD Convenience Checking account; AND 2) Have your direct deposits totaling $500 or more made into this account within 60 calendar days of the account opening date.
Monthly Fees: $15 or $0 when you:
- Maintain a $100 minimum daily balance
- Students and young adults ages 17 through 23 have no minimum balance requirement and no monthly maintenance fee.
TD Beyond Checking
Requirements: To receive the $300 Checking bonus, you must: 1) Open a new TD Beyond Checking account; AND 2) Have your direct deposits totaling $2,500 or more made into this account within 60 calendar days of the account opening date.
Monthly Fees: $25 or $0 when you:
- Set up direct deposits of $5,000 or more within a statement cycle, or
- Maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance, or
- Have a $25,000 combined balance across eligible TD accounts.
Requirements: Get a $350 cash bonus when you have a total of at least $7,500 in qualifying direct deposits within the first 90 days.
Monthly Fee: $25, or $0 if you meet any of the following requirements:
- The minimum daily Ledger Balance in your account is $10,000 or more for the previous calendar month.
- You have a Monthly Combined Balance of $25,000 for the previous calendar month.
- You’re a client of our employee benefits program, Best of BMO U.S., and have requested the waiver from your BMO Harris Banker.
How to Find the Best Checking Account
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 Account
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 3.00% APY
- Earn a $100 bonus when you spend $1,000 (see details here).
Chime is one of several Fintech companies that offers an excellent mobile app, Visa® debit card, and FDIC-insured checking and optional savings accounts through its banking partners. A Chime Checking account is required to be eligible for a savings account. 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 instantly1 to friends
- Chime Visa® Debit Card
- 2.00%+ APY
- No monthly fees
- No minimum balance requirements
- 60,000+ fee-free~ MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs
Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.
+TThe Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
~Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
1Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed. The recipient must use a valid debit card to claim funds. Once you are approved for a Chime Checking Account, see your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Pay Anyone Transfers details. Please see the back of your Chime debit card for your issuing bank. See Terms and Conditions
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: Up to 3.30% APY and no maintenance fees. Direct deposit and 15 debit card transactions a month required to earn this rate.
- CashBack Checking: Up to 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
T-Mobile may not be the first name you think of when it comes to checking accounts. Yet T-Mobile offers a checking account with an APY that is incredible. Here are the details:
- Up to 4.00% APY (see below for requirements)
- No account fees
- 55,000 fee-free ATMs
- FDIC insured
So here's the fine print on the APY:
“How APY works and what it means for you: As a T-Mobile MONEY customer you earn 4.00% annual percentage yield (APY) on balances up to and including $3,000 in your Checking Account per month when: 1) you are enrolled in a qualifying T-Mobile postpaid wireless plan; 2) you have registered for perks with your T-Mobile ID; and 3) at least $200 in qualifying deposits have posted to your Checking Account before the last business day of the month. Deposits posting on or after the last business day of the month count toward the next month’s qualifying deposits. Promotional deposits are not eligible toward the $200 in deposits. If you meet this deposit requirement in a given month we will pay you this benefit in the subsequent month as an added value provided all other requirements are met. This added value is subject to change. Balances above $3,000 in the Checking Account earn 1.00% APY. The APY for this tier will range from 4.00% to 2.79% depending on the balance in the account (calculation based on a $5,000 average daily balance). Customers who do not qualify for the 4.00% APY will earn 1.00% APY on all Checking Account balances for any month(s) in which they do not meet the requirements listed above.”
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
What is a checking account?
A checking account is a bank deposit account designed to handle your everyday spending. You can set up direct deposit of a paycheck or government benefits check to a checking account. You can write checks from these accounts or use a debit card linked to your account.
Are checking accounts safe?
Yes. Checking accounts are FDIC-insured, which protects up to $250,000 per eligible account.
What are the alternatives to a checking account?
Alternatives include money market accounts and prepaid debit cards. Money market accounts act like a checking and savings account combined. They tend to pay higher interest rates but also come with check writing. Prepaid cards can also serve as a spending account, offering direct deposit, online bill pay and even high-yield savings accounts.
Do checking accounts pay interest?
Some do and some don't. Those that do pay interest often limit the highest rates to a low balance, such as $1,000 to $3,000.
Do checking accounts pay cash back or other rewards?
Generally no, but there are some exceptions. They do not, however, pay cash back at the level as some credit cards do.