A checking account is perhaps one of the most common and essential type of accounts you can open. It’s easy to open and manage and has no complex processes. Once you deposit money in it, unlike savings accounts, there are no restrictions when it comes to accessing it.
A checking account is also called a transactional account because it’s what you use to pay your bills and other transactions. Everyday spending is channeled to this account and money comes in and out often. Most don’t have a limit on how many times you can withdraw money once deposited. With a checking account, you can make payments by writing a physical or e-check and using a debit card.
Checking accounts are not the best if you intend to save money. Keep them for day to day spending only. It’s easy to spend the money in your checking account. This type of account doesn’t require a large balance or pay interest to the money deposited. It’s revolving with money in and out frequently.
Once you decide to open a checking account, start by doing some research. There are many types of these accounts offered by banks. You must know what you want then seek out one with similar features. What are the minimum balance requirements for the accounts you’re considering? You need to open an account that you can maintain the minimum balance without falling short at any time.
Some accounts limit the number of debit transactions you can have on a single day. Opt for a limitless type of account if you have many transactions throughout the day. Other types limit the number of paper and e-checks you can write in a day. Keep this information in mind as you select the best account to suit your daily needs.
Another feature to watch out for is accounts that charge a monthly fee. Not all do but you have to note the ones that do. They rarely include this in the advertisements or brochures. Ask the attendant or do ample research online. Monthly fees are accumulative and keep adding up even when you don’t have funds in the account. To avoid such fees, keep free checking accounts.
Best Checking Accounts
|Name of Checking Account||Monthly Fee||ATM Withdrawal Fee||Min. Balance to Open||Min. Balance to Maintain||Foreign Transaction Fee||Cash Back Reward|
|Discover Checking Account||$0||$0||$0||$0||0%||1% on Debit Purchases of $3000 monthly|
|Axos Bank Essential Account||$0||Charged but reimbursed||$0||$0||1%||0%|
|HSBC Premier Checking Account||$50 with less than $75000||$0||$5000||$75000||0%||0%|
|Chase Total Checking Account||$12 but can be waived||$0||$0||$5000||3%||$200 after opening an account and setting up Direct Deposit of $500|
|TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking Account||$0||$0 in-network $3-5 out-of-network but can be reimbursed||$0||$5000||3%||0%|
|Simple Bank Checking Account||$0||$0||$0||$0||1%||0%|
|Capital One 360 Checking Account||$0||$0||$0||$0||0%||0%|
|Radius Bank Rewards Checking Account||$0||$0||$100||$2500 and above to earn APY||1%||1%|
|Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account||$10||$0||$25||$1500||0%||0%|
1. Discover Bank Checking Account
Discover bank has a checking account that offers its users a 1% cashback each month. You get this on a limit of $3000 purchases made using your debit card. This sums up to a reward of up to $30 each month after using this account. Cashback isn’t only the reserve of credit cards even though the reward isn’t as high.
The advantage is this is a free account with no fees charged per month. You don’t have to deposit any amount once you’ve set up the account. Also, you don’t get charged a monthly fee to maintain this account. The process to set it up is simple and lasts a few minutes. All transactions are online as this bank has no physical branches. There are however over 60,000 ATMs spread across the country that don’t charge you to withdraw money.
Additional charges are minimal with this checking account. It comes with a free checkbook and debit card. In case you lose the debit card or need a replacement checkbook, they are sent to you free of charge. In case you need an expedited debit card or check delivery, there are no additional charges unlike in most banks. No fees apply in foreign transactions.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Easy to open online
- Free checkbook and debit card replacement
- 1% cashback reward monthly
- Free ATM withdrawal
- No opening or maintenance balance
- No additional charges to expedite checkbook or debit card delivery
- Doesn’t have physical branches
- Minimal rewards as compared to credit cards
2. Axos Bank Essential Checking Account
With Axos bank, your search for a free checking account comes to an end. There are no monthly fees to keep you up at night. You don’t have to worry about convenience as all transactions are easy to handle through online and mobile banking. There is no minimum balance required to keep your account open and active each month. Once you’ve set up the account you can opt to leave it empty and make a deposit later on.
The checking account doesn’t charge you any overdraft fees in case you need the services. Unfortunately, this bank doesn’t have its ATMs so you have to use others. The advantage is all the fees incurred in this other ATMs are reimbursed to your checking account.
Money deposited into the account won’t earn any monthly or APY interest. There are no physical branches and all transactions are online. A 1% fee is charged on all foreign transaction fees.
- Online and mobile banking available
- No minimum opening balance
- No maintenance fee charged on the account
- ATM withdrawal fee reimbursed to your account
- Charges 1% fee on foreign transaction
- Doesn’t have a physical premise, only available online
- Axos Bank doesn’t have its ATM
3. HSBC Premier Checking Account
The HSBC Premier checking account is the best when you need a more detailed account to use. Business travelers are better suited for the account as it requires a balance of $75000. With it comes an HSBC Premier Account Debit Card that is easy to use from anywhere in the world. It incurs no foreign transaction fees. Deposits can get a little APY interest of up to 0.1% making it more suited for day to day transactions than savings. You only get the APY if you maintain a balance of more than $5.
A maintenance fee is charged on it at $50 that is only avoidable if you maintain the min. balance of $75000. Another way to avoid the monthly fee is by making monthly deposits of $5000. With this account, you can access HSBC ATMs worldwide for easy transactions. Withdrawing from these ATMs is Free.
Online and mobile banking are accessible for convenience. When you want to close the account, you are charged a fee of $25 for this in case you opened it less than 180 days ago.
- Money in the account earns an APY of 0.1%
- Maintenance fee is waived with a balance of $75000
- Can bank online or using your mobile phone
- HSBC ATMs are available worldwide
- No Foreign transaction fees
- Free ATM withdrawal worldwide
- Large minimum deposit of $75000
- Charge a fee of $25 to close the account
4. Chase Total Checking Account
This is by far the most popular checking account by Chase Bank but it charges a monthly maintenance fee of $12. There is no APY interest earned on the money you have in it annually. The maintenance fee can be waived by the bank if you set up a Direct Deposit of $500 per month. Also, by maintaining a minimum balance of $1500 every morning or a combined balance of $5000 monthly.
Once you successfully apply for the account, you can opt to leave it empty without an opening deposit. A reward of $200 awaits you once you set it up and authorize a Direct Deposit of $500 monthly to the account. Chase bank has physical branches and ATMs across the country that you can access. You don’t have to pay any amount to withdraw your money from the ATMs.
To use the debit card on international soil incurs a foreign transaction fee of 3%. Overdrafts are charged a fee of $34. You must maintain the minimum balance at all times of the bank charges you a fee of $34.
- Easy to set up an account with $0 opening balance
- Bank branches and ATMs available countrywide
- No withdrawal fee from Chase ATMs
- Can have the maintenance fee waived
- Monthly maintenance fee of $12 charged
- Overdrafts incur a fee of $34
- Charged $34 in the account balance is below the minimum of $5000
5. TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking Account
TIAA is available online making it one of the most convenient banks to open a checking account. Not only do you get full features of a checking account but also introductory interest. The Yield Pledge means the bank won’t change their interest rate below what the top 1% accounts are offering. This ensures all customers they always earn a good rate every time.
You get an APY of 0.71% on a minimum balance of $100000 in your checking account. It’s part of the ATM Plus Alliance that has a network of thousands of ATMs nationwide. No fee is charged when withdrawing money from your TIAA checking account. Fees might be incurred if you opt to use an ATM outside of this network from $3 to $5. To make even out of network ATM withdrawals free, maintain a minimum balance of $5000 in the account. TIAA bank will reimburse you for the fee charged.
No maintenance fees apply to keep your account active. For overdrafts, you incur a fee of $30 and 3% for foreign transactions. Apart from ATMs, you can opt to transact through online or mobile banking. A check deposit limit of $50000 applies per day.
- Part of the ATM Plus Alliance
- No fees charged on network ATMs
- No maintenance fees
- Pledge to maintain good interest rates at all times
- APY of 0.71% for $100000 in the account and above
- Foreign transaction fee of 3% applies
- Overdraft fee charged is $30
- APY only for a minimum balance of $100000 and above
6. Simple Checking and Budgeting Account
Simple Bank makes it easy to have a checking account by applying for one online. You can conveniently open one without visiting a bank branch and start transacting. With this account, you can at least get an APY of 0.1%. It’s lower than what savings account offer but still something to benefit from. You have the opportunity to authorize a Direct Deposit.
The reason it’s a budgeting account is the online tool called Safe to Spend which makes it stand out. You can use it for your savings goals and monthly spending. This way you get the total amount you can spend on non-essential items. There are over 40000 Simple bank ATMs across the country that don’t charge to withdraw funds.
You don’t have to worry about any monthly maintenance fees charged to your account. Even with insufficient funds, the account is free from extra fees. Overdrafts are free as well.
- Easy to set up the account online with minimal requirements
- Has an APY of 0.1% on $0 balance
- No opening deposit needed
- No maintenance fee
- No overdraft fee
- No ATM withdrawal fee
- Safe to Spend budgeting tool
- You can only bank online. No physical premises available
- Charge foreign transaction fee of 1%
7. Capital One 360 Checking Account
There are a few checking accounts that your money can earn a little interest. You get to enjoy an APY of 0.2%. It’s not as good as the savings account APY but not so bad either. You don’t need many requirements to open this account and can opt to deposit funds later on. It won’t incur any monthly maintenance fees.
You can opt to withdraw all your money as there is no set minimum balance. But, it’s better to leave at least $5 to earn the APY interest rate. You get a Mastercard Debit card for free once you set up the account. All foreign transactions are free of any extra fees. Transfer of funds from your account to another in a different bank is free also.
You can opt to deposit checks using its mobile app that’s easy and convenient to use. All ATMs for this bank are free and spread across the country.
- Convenient online banking
- APY of 0.2% on all balances in your account
- No minimum opening balance
- Free from maintenance fees
- Bank overdrafts are free of charge
- Comes with a free Mastercard Debit card
- No foreign transaction fees charged
- Free ATM withdrawal
- Free transfer of funds to another account in a different bank
- Low APY and doesn’t bump it even with higher account balance
8. Radius Bank Rewards Checking Account
In case you need to visit a physical Radius bank branch then, you should get to Boston. Mainly the rewards checking account is easily set up online without visiting the branch. To successfully open it, be ready to deposit $100 into the account for activation.
To access the account, you can log in online. Other options are your mobile phone, debit card on an ATM and via phone call. Expect a reward of 1% cashback into your account. To get an expedited debit card, the bank will charge you $35. Withdrawing from any Radius ATM is free.
This is one of the current accounts insured by the FDIC but only to a set amount as per the law. No monthly maintenance fees are charged to keep the account running. You can earn two types of APY on different balances. For $2500 to $99,999 you get 0.10 APY and for $100000 and above you get 0.15%. You, therefore, must maintain at least a minimum balance of $2500 to start earning interest.
- Has a bank branch but only in Boston
- Simple account requirements for online opening
- 1% cashback reward
- No fee charged at ATMs
- APY earned on balances above $2500
- Insured by FDIC
- APY starts at $2500
- Charges 1% foreign transaction fee
9. Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account
Wells Fargo Everyday checking account charges a maintenance fee of $10 per month. You can opt to set up a Direct Deposit of $500 or more to evade this fee. Another way is by posting more than 10 debit card purchases or maintaining a balance of $1500 per month. The account is convenient to access online or on your mobile.
There are about 13000 Wells Fargo ATMs across the country that you can use to withdraw. The ATM fee is $0 for in-network ATMs. You can’t earn an APY interest rate or rewards with this everyday checking account. Unlike other banks, here you are charged $35 for overdrafts. There is no set opening deposit balance so you can set it up and deposit funds later.
- Free ATM withdrawal
- Maintenance fee can be waived
- Easy access online or on your mobile
- Charges $35 for overdrafts
- Has a maintenance fee of $10
The best checking accounts have fewer charges to incur but this varies from one to the other. Some have no opening balance while others do. The same applies to the maintenance fees, foreign transactions, and overdrafts.