Best Free Checking Accounts of July 2020
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).
If 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!
12 Best Free Checking Accounts
Here are the best free checking accounts you can open today:
- Discover Cashback Debit Checking
- Aspiration Checking
- Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking
- Axos Bank Rewards Checking
- Chase Total Rewards Checking – $200 Bonus
- Betterment Checking
- Chime Deposit Account
- BBVA Online Checking
- nbkc Personal Checking
- Simple Checking
- Ally Bank Interest Checking
- Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking
Discover Cashback Debit Checking
Earn 1% cashback on up to $3,000 spent every month – as much as $30 a month just for using your debit card! That could add up to $360 a year – which you could use to start investing in some of the best passive income ideas.
Note that there are some exceptions for receiving cashback. For example, eou 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 (4.8 stars on the App Store, 4.7 on Google Play) – and there are over 60,000 no-fee ATMs in the U.S.
Read more about the best online checking accounts.
Learn More: Read our full Discover Bank Review.
|APY||N/A, 1% cashback on debit spending|
|Fee-Free ATMs||60,000 in U.S.|
Aspiration Spend & Save™
You can earn up to 10% cash back on debit card purchases — earn the most when you shop with socially conscious retailers.
Combine that with the account’s 1% APR on your checking account balance, and you’ll notice the savings trickling in, little by little, as you go about making your normal transactions.
Aspiration also pays you back for all ATM fees other banks charge at Allpoint ATMs and does not charge overdraft fees.
How can they make this work? With no branches and a small staff, Aspiration saves a ton on overhead. They can afford to share their savings with you — and still have enough left over to donate 10 percent of its profits to charities.
Their skeletal staff helps you save a little money every day, but this business model has a downside: getting help from customer service will usually take longer compared with a traditional, neighborhood bank.
|APY||up to 1%|
|Fee-Free ATMs||55,000+ Allpoint ATMs|
Get Startedat Aspiration
Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking
The Rewards Checking account requires no minimum balance and there are no monthly fees. To make things even easier, you only need $5 to open an account.
Enjoy unlimited reimbursement for any and all ATM fees. They offer over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide and refund fees charged by other bank ATMs when you meet your minimum Rewards Checking requirements.
You won’t be charged any fees for any of these actions – and you won’t pay a fee for foreign transactions either.
Online banking and bill-pay, mobile banking, and unlimited check writing are just a few other features offered by this account.
Note: to qualify for the highest APY, you will need to complete qualified activites, such as enrolling in eDocuments, completing monthly debit card transactions, direct deposit or ach credits, and credit card transactions. They offer several tiers for you to earn higher APYs at 2.09%, 3.09% and 4.09%.
|APY||up to 4.09%|
|Fee-Free ATMs||∞ (Fee reimbursement)|
Get Startedat Consumers Credit Union
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
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 as stated below.
To earn the highest APY, 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 – Axos Rewards Checking offers one of the best checking account APYs on the market.
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account requires a $50 minimum balance to open an account.
Learn More: Read our full Axos Bank Review.
|APY||up to 1.25%|
|Fee-Free ATMs||∞ Domestic (Fee reimbursement)|
Get Startedat Axos Bank
Betterment is the largest independent online investment advisor, and their mission is to help you make the most of your money.
One of my favorite things about Betterment Checking is the ability to transfer money in and out of your Betterment robo-advisor account seamlessly — no more waiting three or four business days for the money to materialize.
Betterment will also reimburse you for other bank’s ATM surcharges no matter whose bank or where in the world you happen to be. Once again, you won’t have to do the legwork to receive this reimbursement; Betterment automatically pays you back.
This new mobile-friendly bank also reimburses Visa’s standard 1-percent fee on international transactions when you use your Betterment Checking debit card.
And here’s the biggest freebie of them all: no overdraft fees. Betterment doesn’t charge them. If you slip into the red by accident you won’t get a $29 or $31 hit to make matters worse. You will need to make a deposit quickly though, or Betterment will automatically pull from your other connected accounts.
Betterment easily syncs with Mint and TurboTax.
Learn More: Read our full Betterment Review.
|Fee-Free ATMs||∞ (Fee reimbursement)|
Get Startedat Betterment
Chase Total Checking
The main reason I couldn’t leave this one off the list is the sweet $200 sign-up bonus after you complete a direct deposit within 90 days. Offer expires 10/14/2020.
Chase Total Checking does have a couple of fees; however, there are ways to avoid them. For example, the $12 monthly fee can be waived with activities like maintaining a minimum balance of $1,500 or $500 in direct deposit each month.
Withdrawing money for free, but only at one of their 16,000 ATMs. Otherwise, you’ll be charged $2.50 per transaction within the U.S., $5 international.
Online banking is standard, but you can also do “text banking” for checking balances and transaction history via messaging.
Chase also offers account alerts to warn you prior to over-drafting and for account security.
Chase is a great choice for customers seeking a big brand with many product lines like: savings, cds, mortgages, lines of credit, etc.
Learn More: Read our full Chase Bank Review.
|Monthly Fees||$0, with qualifying activities|
Note: If you have a higher balance of $15,000 or more, consider the Chase Premier Plus Checking account which offers a $300 sign-up bonus after you complete a direct deposit within 90 days.
Get Startedat Chase
Chime Deposit Account
Unsurprisingly, Chime also has a free checking account which comes with many attractive features like no foreign transaction fees, Early Direct Deposit, and access to over 38,000 no-fee Visa Plus Alliance and MoneyPass ATMs.
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.
Chime has a top-rated mobile app (4.7 stars on the App Store, 4.6 on Google Play) and access to 38,000 atms
Learn More: Read our full Chime Bank Review.
|APY||N/A, 1% cashback on debit spending|
Get Startedat Chime
BBVA Free Online Checking
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%).
BBVA has a highly-rated mobile banking app (4.8 stars on the App Store, 4.4 on Google Play).
Learn More: Read our full BBVA Bank Review.
Get Startedat BBVA
nbkc Personal Checking
This account offers a very generous .75% 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, nbkc 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.
Learn more: Read our full nbkc Bank Review
|Fee-Free ATMs||32,000+ MoneyPass® ATMs|
With Simple’s standard checking account, you’ll earn 0.01% APY on all balances; however, if you open a Protected Goals Account (a separate no-fee high-yields checking account) – you could earn as much as 1.20% APY on all balances.
With Simple’s standard checking account, you won’t pay any account maintenance fees – nor are there any minimum balance requirements.
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.
Use Simple’s highly-rated mobile app to manage your account (4.8 stars on the App Store, 4.1 stars on Google Play).
Learn More: Read our full Simple Bank Review.
|APY||.01% or 2.02%|
|Fee-Free ATMs||40,000+ MoneyPass® ATMs|
Ally Bank Interest Checking
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.
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.
Ally bank has a top-rated mobile app (4.8 stars on the App Store, 4.3 on Google Play).
Ally is a popular choice for customers seeking competitive rates and a good customer experience.
Learn More: Read our full Ally Bank Review.
|APY||.10% – .50%|
|Fee-Free ATMs||43,000+ Allpoint® ATMs|
Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking
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.
Your first order of basic checks is free.
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 at the time of this writing).
Bank5 Connect is also not available to customers in Massachusetts or Rhode Island – which is a bit of a shame if that’s you.
|Fee-Free ATMs||1,000s of SUM® ATMs|
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!