The best high yield checking accounts offer above-average interest rates and no fees. But how do you know which ones you can trust and which accounts are the best for you? To help, we track the highest interest rates on FDIC-insured checking account offers.
- Overview of the Best High Yield Checking Accounts
- Best High Yield Checking Accounts
- What Is a High-Yield Checking Account?
- How to Choose a High Yield Checking Account
- Final Thoughts
Overview of the Best High Yield Checking Accounts
|HM Bradley||Personalized savings tiers|
|M1 Finance||No minimums|
|SoFi||Highest rate for no fees and no mins|
|Axos Rewards Checking||Total banking integration|
|Nationwide Advantage Checking||Simple, well-established|
|Consumers Credit Union||Highest APY|
|Wealthfront Cash Account||Different categories|
|First Internet Bank Interest Checking||Higher than average APY|
|CIT eChecking||Low risk|
Best High Yield Checking Accounts
M1 Finance’s high yield option is M1 Plus, a yearly subscription. There are no minimum requirements to qualify for the M1 Plus rate of 2.50% APY on your monthly balance.
You can also get 1% cash back on certain qualifying purchases made with your debit card.
Additional perks include:
- No fees on international transactions
- Early direct deposit
- Sending electronic checks from your account
- Get reimbursed for up to four ATM withdrawals per month
The annual fee for an M1 Plus account is $125. You’ll also pay standard ATM fees if you exceed four withdrawals per month.
You can try M1 Plus for a three-month trial. But, paying $125 a year afterward to earn a 2.50% APY is expensive.
SoFi is a financial services company most notable for its online lending. SoFi also offers a high yield checking and savings account combination. As far as checking accounts go, SoFi offers competitive rates and features.
To qualify for the max 2.50% APY, all you have to do is set up direct deposit. If you open an account and don’t have direct deposit, you will qualify for the lower rate of 1.20% APY. Even the lower rate is still much higher than the national average.
Additional account features include:
- Early direct deposit
- A network of free ATMs
- Cash back rewards
SoFi can also cover you up to $50 if you overdraft your account. Plus, you can get a bonus when you open the account. Bonuses range from $50 – $300 depending on the amount of your qualifying direct deposit. Minimum qualifying direct deposits of $1,000 are eligible for a $50 bonus. Minimum qualifying direct deposits of $2,000 are eligible for a $100 bonus. Minimum qualifying direct deposits of $5,000+ are eligible for a $300 bonus.
There are no maintenance fees and no overdraft protection fees for this account. There are also 55,000+ fee-free ATMs in SoFi’s network.
This can be an easy account to manage. You don’t have to do much to qualify for the high rate except setting up direct deposit with your employer. After that, there are no account minimums and no transaction minimums.
Axos Rewards Checking
Like HM Bradley’s tier program, Axos gives you pieces of the max interest rate for different actions. Enrolling in direct deposit will get you 0.40% APY. A minimum of ten transactions per month gets you an additional 0.30% APY. You can also enroll with a personal finance manager to get the additional 0.30%.
If you maintain a daily average of $2,500 in Axos Managed Investment Portfolios you can get another 0.20% APY. Maintaining $2,500 in your Axos Self Directed Trading account also gets you an another 0.20%. Using your account to make an Axos loan payment will get you another 0.15%. The maximum APY you can earn is 1.25%.
Other account perks include:
- No maintenance fees
- No minimums
- Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
There are no account fees, overdraft fees, or domestic ATM fees.
If you are already a user of Axos’ investment accounts and/or personal loans, it makes it very easy to earn the max rate. Otherwise, you can earn similar rates elsewhere.
Read more in our Axos Bank Review
Nationwide Advantage Checking
Nationwide offers a high yield checking account for an above-average rate. You can earn 0.45% APY for setting up a recurring direct deposit of at least $1,000 per month.
If you make a minimum of 10 debit card transactions per month, you can qualify for an additional 0.45% APY. The debit card transactions need to be at least $3 each. The total APY you can earn with this account is 0.90%.
There are no maintenance fees, no overdraft fees, and no insufficient funds fees. But you will need a $50 minimum to open an account.
If you regularly use your debit card, this account can make it easy to earn a high APY. It’s not the highest APY out there but you’ll be able to do the bare minimum to earn it. Plus, you’ll have access to 80,000+ ATMs nationwide.
Consumers Credit Union (Easy membership)
If you can get in on this checking option you’ll want to go all-in with a credit card too. This is the highest rate you’ll be able to find, with reasonable qualifications.
Consumers Credit Union has several qualifying APY tiers. To get the base 3.00%, you must do the following:
- Enroll in e-statements
- Make at least twelve qualifying debit card purchases per month
- Receive direct deposits of at least $500 per month
To earn 4.00%, you must meet all the previous category requirements and spend at least $500 per month on your Consumers Credit Union Visa credit card.
For a whopping 5.00%, you have to meet the same 3.00% requirements. In addition, you must increase your credit card spending to $1,000 per month. This is easy to do if your weekly grocery bill is at least $250 to $300 a week.
You need to pay a one-time $5 fee to the Consumers Cooperative Association to get a membership. Then, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 to your account upon opening. But there are no monthly maintenance fees and you can get reimbursed for all ATM fees. There is a $30 overdraft or insufficient funds fee. There are also fees for an expedited ACH payment or a three-month history print-out. You can see the full schedule here.
The biggest perk of this account is the high interest rate. Even among high yield rates, at a max 5.00% APY, this one takes the cake. Even the lowest qualifying tier is higher than most products at 3.00%. But you can only earn these rates on balances up to $10,000. If you earn more than that on a monthly basis, you may opt for an unlimited account or one with higher limits.
Wealthfront Cash Account
Wealthfront is a digital bank that offers an above-average rate for very little in return.
There is a $1 minimum to open your account, but other than that, there are no requirements for earning the 3.30% APY.
Another unique feature is Wealthfront’s categories. You can create several spending categories to organize your money. And you’ll earn the same interest rate on each of them.
Deposit $1 to open your account. There are no account maintenance fees, no overdraft fees, and no transfer fees. There may be some fees when you use your debit card on foreign transactions or out-of-network ATMs. You can see the full schedule here.
This account offers the ability to do little work and still earn a decent APY. You can also instantly send money to your Wealthfront investing account, if you have one.
First Internet Bank Interest Checking
First Internet Bank offers 0.50% APY for their Interest Checking account. To open an account, you need an initial deposit of $100. Then you need to maintain a monthly balance of $500 to avoid paying a monthly fee.
There is a $10 monthly fee for the high-interest account. But, you can waive the fee by maintaining a $500 account balance.
Aside from the higher-than-average APY, there aren’t many perks to this account. Plus, you have to keep a $500 daily balance to avoid the monthly fee.
CIT eChecking is another option that offers an above-average rate for little effort. To qualify for the maximum rate of 0.25% APY, you must keep a minimum balance of $25,000 month to month. Anything under $25,000 qualifies for a 0.10% rate.
The biggest perk for the CIT eChecking account is that there are no transaction minimums and no fees. But, as far as rates go, there are plenty of other products offering higher yields for doing the bare minimum.
You’ll need a $100 deposit to open your account. There are no monthly service fees, no wire transfer fees, and no overdraft fees. You can see the full schedule here.
If you normally keep a high balance on your checking account, this one is a good option for you.
Read more in our CIT Bank Review
Ally Bank is one of my personal favorites due to its transparency. This bank is upfront with its fees and how its products work. There are no minimum balance requirements and no transaction requirements. So you don’t have to do much to qualify for the 0.25% APY.
Ally also has a good high yield savings option, which would pair well with their high yield checking.
There are no monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees. Ally does charge for returned items ($7.50). Other fees may include expedited items ($15) and outgoing wires ($20). You can see the full schedule here.
While 0.25% doesn’t seem super high compared to other products on this list, it’s still higher than the average. You don’t have to do much to maintain that rate. This allows you to move at your own pace. There’s no pressure to make a certain number of transactions or maintain a minimum balance.
Read more in our Ally Bank Review
What Is a High-Yield Checking Account?
High-yield checking accounts can earn you interest at a higher than average rate. The current national average for interest rates on checking accounts is 0.03%.
High yield checking accounts usually come with transaction or balance minimums to earn that higher rate. In the case of a credit union, sometimes you may have to pay membership fees.
But, if you tend to keep a lot of cash in your checking account, using one of these accounts instead could be worth it.
How to Choose a High Yield Checking Account
Look For a High APY
This seems like a no-brainer. Look for the highest APY you can get that makes sense for you and your spending habits. Also, tune into phrases like “up to,” as the company is quoting you at the highest end of the range.
Check the APY Requirements
Consider the requirements to get the APY and what they mean for your income and your spending habits. Make sure that the requirements aren’t going to put you in a bad financial position. If you need to a lot of transactions to get a higher rate, are you going to stretch yourself too thin? Are you able to maintain the minimum balance required? If not, you likely won’t capitalize on the higher interest rate.
You can start by looking at your current bank statements. Check out how much you spend per month. Then look at how much you have left in your account each month, because that’s where you can earn your interest. You can even calculate how much you might earn at a higher rate.
Look at the Fees
To maximize the benefit of earning more interest, you want to limit any fees you have to pay. Some banks are transparent about fees, but some make you hunt for the information. Make sure you read the fine print and do your research before you commit to opening an account.
It’s always great to maximize the perks you get, and some banks offer unique benefits. For example, if you can earn cash back on your checking account, that’s more money for you.
Compare the perks you get with your current account to any new perks from a prospective account. For instance, are you getting early direct deposit now? Is that something you would sacrifice for a higher interest rate? Are you a frequent Zelle user? Make sure you’re going to keep your favorite features.
If you prefer to use a banking app, make sure the one you choose has good user ratings.
This may not seem as important when signing up as long as you’re getting a high rate. But, you don’t want to be stuck with a bank that doesn’t offer easy access to your money. You want a simple, safe, and user-friendly app.
Is it worth it to use a high-yield checking account?
It depends. To make it worth it, you should be in a decent financial position. You should not be living paycheck to paycheck every month. The reason for that is that you only earn interest on the money that is left in your account every month. If that’s zero, or a lower number, you are not going to earn much on your checking account. You may be better off doing some research on a high yield savings account instead.
Once you are ready to take the next step in growing your money, consider a high yield checking account.
How often do interest rates change for high-yield checking accounts?
Interest rates are tied to the rates determined by the Federal Reserve. So checking account interest rates undergo adjustments depending on the economy.
How much money should you keep in a checking account?
The answer to this question is completely dependent on your financial reality. Checking accounts are generally made for you to access your money quickly and easily. Some people may keep several months’ worth of living expenses in a checking account. But it may also be worth moving some of that money into savings where you can earn a higher rate. Savings accounts do limit the number of transactions you can make per month. So be sure you don’t need immediate access to any money you put in savings.
Choosing a high yield account may seem daunting at first. But most of the data that you need to make a sound decision exists in your own bank account. Start there and consider what features you want from a checking account.
Remember to be realistic about the account requirements and your spending habits. Choose an account that matches your current financial situation.