Best Free Checking Accounts of 2019

Hate spending money on the luxury of keeping your bank account open? You’re not alone.

It’s quite frustrating to think that a bank would charge you a fee just for keeping your bank account open – but, unfortunately, that’s the case with many banks now.

You’re required to pay a monthly fee for the maintenance of your checking account – and it can range from just a few dollars to as much as $20 a month (depending on the bank and checking account type).

Best Free Checking Accounts

best free checking accountsIf you want to keep more of your money in your pocket – and I’m sure you do – there are some pretty awesome free checking accounts to consider.

You won’t be required to pay monthly service fees – even if your bank balances aren’t extremely high.

But the best thing is that some of these accounts offer perks like free services and interest on your money!

In this post, I’ve listed the best free checking accounts of 2019 – as well as more information about their most attractive features, like their earning potential, minimum deposits, average required balances, and more.

Read on to find how you can spend less on keeping your bank account open – and make your money grow.

Discover Cashback Debit Checking Account

discover bank logoDiscover Cashback Debit Checking account will not only save you money on banking – it’ll also reward you for using your checking account.

Discover Cashback Debit allows you to earn 1% cashback on up to $3,000 spent every month – meaning that you could cash in as much as $30 a month just for using your debit card! That could add up to $360 a year – and that’s a nice round sum you could use to invest to earn some passive income.

Note that there are some exceptions for receiving cashback with Cashback Debit Checking account, meaning you won’t get cashback on ATM transactions, purchase of money orders, P2P payments, or loan payments (and a few other transactions).

Make sure you’re fully aware of them before you spend money on your Discover Cashback Debit card to maximize your rewards.

You can open a Discover Cashback Debit Checking account with no minimum opening deposit – and there are no minimum balance requirements either.

Moreover, Discover allows you to manage your checking account online with a top-rated mobile app – and there are over 60,000 no-fee ATMs in the U.S.

The Highlights of the Cashback Debit Checking Account with Discover:

  • $0 maintenance fees
  • No minimum account balance
  • You won’t pay for lost card replacement, check order, online bill pay (and other services)
  • Earn 1% cashback on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month (with some exceptions)
  • Manage your checking account with a top-rated mobile app (4.8 stars on the App Store, 4.7 on Google Play)
  • Over 60,000 no-fee ATMs nationwide

Discover Discover Bank offers 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month along with no monthly fees or balance requirements. Learn More Discover

Radius Bank Rewards Checking Account

radius bank logoFor a free checking account that offers unlimited cash back potential, high interest-earning and access to free ATMs worldwide, check out the Radius Bank Rewards Checking Account.

Earn 1% on all online and signature-based (credit) purchases made with your card – with no limit! However, you will need to qualify for these high rewards by receiving at least $2,500 of direct deposits from an employer or another income course – or by keeping an average of $2,500 or more in your checking account.

You can also earn 1.00% APY on balances of $2,500 to $99,999.99 – and 1.20% APY on balances of $100,000 and more.

You will need a minimum of $100 to open a free checking account with Radius – but no minimum balance requirements going forward. If you want to reap the rewards of this account you will want to have an average of $2,500 in it at all times – otherwise, you’ll be missing out on the rewards.

You also get access to free ATMs worldwide because Radius Bank gives unlimited automatic ATM surcharge rebates for withdrawals from Rewards Checking.

The Highlights of the Rewards Checking Account with Radius Bank:

  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum account balance (after $100 deposit required to open an account)
  • Open and manage your account online
  • 1% cashback on everyday purchases (an average balance of $2,500 or more required)
  • Up to 1.00% APY on balances of $2,500 or more
  • Use the bank’s high-rated mobile app for banking (4.4 stars on the App Store and Google Play)
  • Free ATMs worldwide (get unlimited automatic ATM rebates for fees other banks may charge you)
  • Free first order of checks

Radius Bank Price: FREE With Radius Bank, you have no monthly service fees, no minimum account balance after your initial $100 deposit and can manage it all online! Learn More Radius Bank

Chime Deposit Account

chime bank logoYou may have heard of Chime bank (one of the best banks for millennials!) – a fast-growing mobile bank that offers low-cost banking.

Unsurprisingly, Chime also has a free checking account which comes with many attractive features like no foreign transaction fees, Early Direct Deposit, and over 38,000 fee-free ATMs.

Chime makes it easy to put money aside into a savings account with automatic saving options. When you open your bank account with Chime, you get an optional Savings Account.

When you spend money using your Chime Visa Debit Card, Chime will round up your spending to the nearest dollar and transfer the round-up into your automatic savings account.

Another cool feature of Chime is that it allows you to get a jump on payday through the Early Direct Deposit feature.

Early Direct Deposit makes your money available to you when your employer deposits it, and, because traditionally it can take up to two business days to deposit paper checks, that means you could get paid up to two days early.

The Highlights of the Deposit Account with Chime:

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Automatic saving option available
  • Early Direct Deposit feature available
  • Open and manage your account online (or through the bank’s mobile app)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chime has a top-rated mobile app (4.7 stars on the App Store, 4.6 on Google Play)
  • Access to 38,000 no-fee Visa Plus Alliance and MoneyPass ATMs

Chime Bank Price: FREE With Chime Bank, you have no monthly fees, no minimum account balance requirement an early direct deposit feature, and can set up an automatic savings option. Learn More Chime Bank

nbkc Personal Account

nbkc bank logonbkc Personal Account is another excellent free checking account option that will not only save you money by cutting out banking fees – but will also help you earn interest.

nbkc Personal Account offers a very generous 1.01% APY on all balances – while many of its competitors require you to maintain an average minimum amount in your account (which can be anything from a $1,000 to $50,000).

On top of that, it won’t charge you for many of the tasks that other banks charges fees for – such as overdrafts, stop payments, or incoming domestic wires.

However, bear in mind that you will be charged for sending domestic and international wires – and other fees may apply (word of advice – always check the fine print).

You can manage your nbkc Personal Account and perform common banking tasks like pay bills and transfer money easily from the nbkc mobile app – as well as add your nbkc Personal Account card to your digital wallet.

Withdraw money at over 32,000 MoneyPass® ATMs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico for free. And, if you get charged withdrawal fees at any other ATMs anywhere in the world, nbkc offers up to $12 in monthly refunds.

The Highlights of the Personal Account with nbkc:

  • No monthly account fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Manage your account easily from your smartphone
  • No-fee check deposits
  • No fees at over 32,000 MoneyPass® ATMs (get reimbursed for any other ATM fees up to $12 per month)
  • $0 overdraft fees
  • $0 for incoming domestic wires
  • No foreign transaction fees

nbkc Bank nbkc Bank offers an excellent free checking account that will save you money on fees and help you make money by offering a generous 1.01% APY on all balances. Learn More nbkc Bank

Axos Bank Rewards Checking Account

axos bank logoLack of fees, solid rates, and domestic ATM reimbursements – Axos Bank Rewards Checking account has it all!

There are no monthly balance requirements nor maintenance fees, and you can reap some excellent rewards (for example, up to 1.25% APY on your balance) – but you will need to qualify.

To get the most of your APY with Axos Bank Rewards Checking Account, you will need to receive at least $1,000 in monthly direct deposits, and use your debit card for at least 15 transactions worth $3 or more.

If you meet the criteria – Rewards Checking offers one of the best checking account APYs on the market.

Unlike many other free checking account providers, Axos Bank Rewards Checking account requires a $50 minimum balance to open an account – but if you can qualify for APY further down the line, that’s totally worth it.

The Highlights of the Rewards Checking Account with Axos Bank:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • $50 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly balance requirements
  • You won’t get charged ATM fees by Axos bank in the U.S.
  • Three of the bank’s five checking accounts will reimburse all withdrawal fees charged by other domestic ATMs (unlimited reimbursements)
  • Earn up to 1.25% APY on balances (if you meet the criteria)

Axos Bank Axos Bank Rewards checking has it all, from no monthly maintence fees to no minimum balance, you can get some great rewards by earning up to 1.25% APY on your balance. Learn More Axos Bank

Simple Checking Account

simple bank logoIf you’re after a no-fee account that has easy-to-use mobile budgeting tools as well as an option to earn generous APY on balances – take a look at the Simple Checking Account.

With Simple’s standard checking account, you won’t pay any account maintenance fees – nor are there any minimum balance requirements. Plus, you’ll be earning a little interest (0.01% APY) on all balances.

Simple also helps manage your spending effectively with its Safe-to-Spend® feature. Safe-to-Spend® is a smart budgeting tool that provides an accurate reflection of your available balance (accounting for your future bills and other expenses).

The tool is free-to-use – and it can keep you on track with your spending and make sure you always have sufficient funds to complete a transaction.

Plus, if you open a Protected Goals Account with Simple (a separate no-fee high-yields checking account) – you could earn as much as 2.02% APY on all balances.

The Highlights of Checking Account with Simple:

  • No maintenance fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Earn a little interest (0.01% APY on all balances)
  • More than 40,000 ATMs in the U.S.
  • No overdraft fees
  • Earn 2.02% APY on all balances in your Protected Goals Account
  • Use Simple’s highly-rated mobile app to manage your account (4.8 stars on the App Store, 4.1 stars on Google Play)

Capital One 360 Checking Account

capital one bank logoCapital One 360 Checking Account is another excellent no-fee checking account that offers seamless banking on-the-go.

With a top-rated mobile app, Capital One makes it easy to transfer money, manage accounts, and deposit checks while you’re out and about.

You won’t be charged any fees for any of these actions – and you won’t pay a fee for foreign transactions either.

Moreover, Capital One 360 allows you to earn an annual percentage yield of 0.20% on any balances of $49,999.99 or less. If you have more than that in your account ($50,000-$99,999.99), you’ll earn 0.75% APY, or 1.00% APY if your balance is $100,000 or higher.

The Highlights of the 360 Checking Account with Capital One:

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Access to easy-to-use digital budgeting tools
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 0.20% APY on balances of $49,999.99 or less ($50,000-$99,999.99 – 0.75% APY; $100,000 – 1.00% APY)
  • Use Capital One’s top-rated mobile app to track your spending and for common banking tasks (4.7 stars on the App Store and Google Play)

Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

ally bank logoAlly Bank is a popular choice for customers seeking competitive rates and good customer experience. The bank also offers a completely free checking account that gives your money a boost with pretty solid APY rates.

With Ally Bank Interest Checking Account, you won’t pay a dime for keeping your account open – and there are no minimum balance requirements nor minimum opening deposits.

On top of that, you can earn 0.10% APY on balances of less than $15,000 – and 0.60% APY on balances of at least $15,000.

Withdrawing money for free is easy – use any of Allpoint® ATMs nationwide. Plus, if you do get charged fees at any other ATM in the U.S., Ally Bank will reimburse up to $10 per statement cycle.

The Highlights of the Interest Checking Account with Ally Bank:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Ally bank has a top-rated mobile app (4.8 stars on the App Store, 4.3 on Google Play)
  • Over 43,000 no-fee Allpoint® ATMs nationwide (plus you can get a reimbursement of up to $10 per statement cycle for fees you pay at other ATMs nationwide)
  • 0.10% APY on daily balances of less than $15,000 and 0.60% on daily balances of $15,000 or over.
  • Earn 1.90% APY with an online savings account

Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account

bank5 connect logoLow balances can also earn competitive yields – if you choose the Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account.

You only need $100 in your account to earn a very competitive 0.76% APR on your balance – when many other free checking accounts require at least a $1,000.

You won’t pay any monthly maintenance fees for your account – as long as you choose paperless statements.  Bank5 Connect ATMs won’t charge you for withdrawal – and you’ll also be reimbursed for other banks’ surcharges of up to $15 per statement cycle.

There is a minimum balance of $10 to open your account – but that’s pretty easy to hit.

Bank5 Connect is also not available to customers in Massachusetts or Rhode Island – which is a bit of a shame if that’s you.

The Highlights of the High-Interest Checking Account with Bank5 Connect:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Free online and mobile banking
  • Free first order of basic checks
  • Bank5 Connect has a top-rated Android app (4.3 on Google Play), as well as an iOS version (5 stars – bear in mind that it only has 11 ratings)
  • Minimum $10 account opening balance
  • Free Bank5 Connect ATM use
  • Get reimbursed for other banks’ withdrawal fees (up to $15 per statement cycle)
  • 76% APY on balances over $100

BBVA Free Online Checking Account

bbva bank logoBBVA online free checking account offers banking with no monthly service charges – and a small minimum opening deposit of $25.

Where BBVA falls short is interest earnings. You won’t be earning any interest on your balance – and that’s something many other free checking accounts offer.

Keeping your account open won’t cost you anything with BBVA, and you won’t need to worry about having a minimum balance. However, you will get charged for paper statements, so make sure you opt-out.

However, with BBVA Free Online Checking Account, you can easily withdraw money at over 55,000 ATMs worldwide. You will pay a currency conversion fee on foreign transactions, but it’s relatively low (1%).

The Highlights of the Online Checking Account with BBVA:

  • No monthly service charges
  • No minimum balance required
  • $25 minimum account opening deposit
  • Access over 55,000 ATMs worldwide
  • 1% currency conversion fee (relatively low)
  • Top-rated mobile banking app (4.8 stars on the App Store, 4.4 on Google Play)
  • Open and manage your account online

Finding the Best Free Checking Account for You

Paying for a checking bank account isn’t something you have to put up with – not when there are so many excellent free options that can help you save money, as well as allow you to earn solid interest rates.

Which free checking account you go for will depend on your financial needs and the extras you’re after. The most important thing is to do your homework before you make a decision – and get clear about what your financial needs are.

If you’re after a high APY, make sure you can hit the account minimums.

Bear in mind that many of these free checking account providers are online banks – so there are no physical branches. If you don’t think you’ll ever need to go in and see a customer service representative face-to-face, then it won’t be a problem for you.

And now – are you eager to learn how to manage your money better? Check out my 18 legit personal finance tips to get actionable advice on how to make, save, and invest your money to help you speed up your journey to financial freedom!

Grant Sabatier

Creator of Millennial Money and Author of Financial Freedom (Penguin Random House). Dubbed "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to over $1 million in 5 years, reaching financial independence at age 30. Grant has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, NPR, Money Magazine and many others. He uses Personal Capital to manage his money in 10 minutes a month.

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