Banking » Compare Banks » Best Free Checking Accounts For February 2024
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Best Free Checking Accounts For July 2024

Besides no monthly fees, the best free checking accounts offers a variety of banking features, high deposit rates and great customer service
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: June 3, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: June 3, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. It doesn't affect the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. Transparency is a core value for us, read our advertiser disclosure and how we make money.

Are Free Checking Accounts Really Free?

When people are looking for a no fee checking account, they are generally referring to an account with no monthly maintenance fee. Free checking accounts also typically have no minimum balance requirements.As we touched on above, you may still incur other charges and fees with your day to day account activities. It is highly unusual to find a checking account that has no fees whatsoever.

You can still expect to pay fees if you go overdrawn, have returned payments or even ATM fees. You’ll need to check the full account terms and conditions to see what fees and expenses you may incur. It is also important to check if the account is fee free permanently.

Some banks have no fees for a set period or only if you meet certain qualifying criteria. For example, the monthly fee may be waived if you receive a minimum amount via direct deposit, you make a minimum number of debit card purchases or if you have linked savings account with a minimum balance.

As with every financial product, read through the account details fully before you apply to ensure that you are fully aware of whether the account is fully free and what charges will still apply.

There are lots of no-fee checking accounts in the marketplace today, but here are our picks for the best free checking accounts with no minimums.

Amex Rewards Checking

American_Express
American_Express

Amex Rewards Checking

Fees

$0

Minimum Deposit

$0

Current Promotion

None

APY Checking

1.00%

The American Express Rewards Checking account is available to existing Amex customers or those who have held an Amex credit card for at least three months.

However, if you qualify, this is an interesting product. Not only are there no monthly maintenance fees or account minimums, but you can earn American Express Rewards, which you can combine with your Amex credit card reward points to redeem for travel, experiences, or gift cards. You’ll earn points each time you use your account debit card to make eligible purchases.

The account itself offers access to a large ATM network with over 37,000 machines and you can enjoy purchase protection with eligible debit card purchase items. You can also manage your account on the go with the excellent app, which also facilitates mobile check deposit.

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Cards
  • Credit Cards
  • Debit Cards
  • CDs
  • Personal Loans

SoFi Checking and Savings

Minimum Deposit

$0

Fees

$0

Current Promotion

$50 – $300 Minimum deposit of $1,000 – $5,000

APY Checking

0.50%

SoFi is another popular online bank offering free checking accounts, including no overdraft fees, no minimum balance fees, and no monthly fees. In addition, SoFi customers can get up to 2-day-early-paycheck and cash bonus of $50 – $300 when opening the account.

With that being said, the top feature we like is the interest rate on balance. SoFi checking account offers 0.50% APY on your balance, one of the highest rates on checking account balance in the banking sector.

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Accounts
  • Mortgage
  • Investing Capabilities
  • Credit Cards
  • Debit Card
  • Personal Loans
credit score on SoFi app
(Screenshot from SoFi app)

Upgrade Rewards Checking

Fees

$0

Minimum Deposit

$0

Current Promotion

$200 $200 welcome bonus when you start using a new Rewards Checking account and make 3 purchases with Upgrade OneCard

APY Checking

None

Upgrade has its Rewards Checking account that has no monthly fee. While it doesn’t have its own ATM network, you can receive a rebate for up to five ATM fees if you maintain a minimum average daily balance or receive direct deposits into the account.

However, what makes this account really interesting is the rewards. You can earn cash back rewards with your debit card purchases as you would with a rewards credit card.

The reward structure allows you to earn up to 2% cash back on gas station, restaurant, and drugstore purchases in addition to payments for streaming services, phone bills and utilities up to a cap of $500 per year, with a base rewards rate after this point on all your other purchases or payments.

Just be aware that while you can use mobile check deposit or direct deposit and make transfers, you cannot deposit cash into the Upgrade Rewards Checking account.

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Cards
  • Credit Cards
  • Debit Cards
  • Personal Loans
  •  

Varo Money Account

varo-bank-logo
varo-bank-logo

Varo Money

Fees

$0

Minimum Deposit

$0

Current Promotion

None

APY Checking

None

Varo is an online bank that gears its services towards infrequent cash deposit customers, While it is possible to make cash deposits, you’ll need to use the Green Dot Reload feature at participating retailers.

This does incur a retail service fee, which makes it unappealing for those who regularly deposit cash. However, if you’re strictly digital and rarely handle cash, it could be a great fit.

The account has no account fees and you can apply via the app or online in a matter of minutes. Although there are no physical branches, you can use the Allpoint ATM network with no fees, which has over 55,000 machines. Like Chime, Varo has round up to help boost your savings and you can set up automated transfers to your savings account.

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Cards
  • Credit Cards
  • Debit Cards
  •  

Capital One 360 Checking

Fees

$0

Minimum Deposit

$50

Current Promotion

None

APY Checking

0.10%

Capital One is best known for its credit cards, but it also offers a no fee checking account. The Capital One 360 Checking account has no account minimums and you’ll earn interest on your credit balance.

You can access the 450 Capital One physical locations, but it also has a top rated mobile app. There are even Capital One Cafes where you can get your banking done and enjoy a cup of coffee and advice from a certified money coach.

An attractive feature of this account is that you can opt into the Next Day Grace feature. Essentially, this allows the bank to authorize transactions that exceed your account balance. You’ll have until close of business the following working day to bring your balance out of the red or there is an overdraft fee.

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Accounts
  • CDs
  • Credit Cards
  • Debit Cards
Capital One app overview
Capital One checking options (Screenshot from Capital One)

Quontic High Interest Checking

Quontic bank logo
Quontic bank logo

Quontic High Interest Checking

Fees

$0

Minimum Deposit

$100

Current Promotion

None

APY Checking

Up to 1.10%

Quontic is a digital bank with a decent product line, including three checking account options. While all three checking accounts have different features, there is no monthly maintenance fee. For example, the High-Interest Checking is an interest-bearing account that requires you to make ten debit card purchases of at least $10 per month to access the highest rate.

There are also cash rewards, where you can earn cash back on your eligible debit card purchases, or Bitcoin rewards, which work similarly, but you get Bitcoin rather than cash back. While there is no monthly maintenance fee, each account does have its minimum deposit requirements.

Additionally, Quontic does not accept cash deposits, so you’ll need to fund your account via electronic transfer, direct deposit, or remote check deposit.

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Accounts
  • CDs
  • Mortgage
  • Government Mortgage
  • Credit Card
  • Debit Card
  • Investing

Ally Interest Checking Account

ally bank
ally bank

Ally Interest Checking Account

Fees

$0

Minimum Deposit

$0

Current Promotion

None

APY Checking

0.25%

Ally is an online bank that offers a fantastic no fee checking account. The Ally Interest Checking account has no account minimums, no monthly maintenance fee and no overdraft fees. You can access a network of more than 43,000 Allpoint ATM machines with no fees, but you can also receive up to $10 per month in reimbursement if you use out of network machines in the U.S.

As the name suggests, the Ally Interest Checking is an interest bearing account with a tiered rate depending on your daily balance. There is also an Ally Online Savings account that offers high yields.

Since this is an online bank, you’ll be managing your day to day account activities via the online platform or app, which are both excellent. As with Amex, the app also facilitates mobile check deposit.

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Accounts
  • CDs
  • Money Market Accounts
  • Debit Cards
  • Mortgage
  • Investing
Ally transfer funds
Transfer funds from Ally app (Screenshot taken by our team from Ally app)

Table Of Content

Why Do Banks Offer a “Free” Checking Account?

There are a number of reasons why banks offer “free” checking accounts. The first is that it is a great way to start a relationship with a potential customer. If you are benefiting from a no fee checking account, you are more likely to bring your savings, investments, loans and even mortgage to that bank.

However, the reasons behind offering a free checking account go a little deeper than this. Banks need customers paying money in, so they have funds available to offer to borrowers. So, by bringing your checking account and its income to a bank, they can then lend this out to other customers and charge them a percentage. So, while they may not be earning from your checking account, they have the funds to earn from other customers.

Finally, there is always the potential that the bank will be able to earn money on other fees and charges associated with your account. While you may not be paying a monthly maintenance fee, you may incur overdraft charges, and other fees that would generate additional income for the bank.

Free Checking Accounts Pros & Cons
Free checking accounts seem to be an ideal option, but there are drawbacks to consider (Photo by Lisa-S/Shutterstock)

How to Choose a Free Checking Account

If you’re still unsure which no fee checking account is the right choice for you, you’ll need to narrow down the available options. Some of the factors to consider include:

The first thing you need to assess is whether you are looking for a bank that has physical branches or operates online. 

Although online banks tend to have fewer and lower fees, you need to be comfortable with only accessing customer support via phone or online chat.

If you like the reassurance of being able to speak to someone face to face if you have an issue, you’ll need a bank with a physical presence.

This follows on from the previous point, but if you tend to deal in cash regularly, you’ll need an account that has facility for this.

As we discussed above, many of our picks for the best free checking account do not allow cash deposits or you need to pay a fee for them via a third party network. So, if you regularly use cash, you’ll need to avoid banks that charge a fee for this service.

It is also worth checking if the bank has no fee ATMs in your area. It doesn’t really matter if a bank has a large ATM network if you don’t have one locally.

There is no point in saving money on your monthly maintenance fee if you get stung each time you want to withdraw some cash.

SoFi find ATM
Use your bank app to find ATM location (Screenshot taken by our team from SoFi app)

While you may only be assessing no fee checking accounts, you do need to check what other charges may apply to your account.

Most banks will provide full details of the fees and charges that apply to specific accounts on their website, so you can compare which account represents the best deal for you. If you like to travel, pay particular attention to the foreign transaction fees.

While you’re checking consumer reviews, be sure to pay attention to any comments about the levels of customer support offered with each account. It is also important to note that not all banks offer the same methods to contact their support teams.

So, whether you prefer phone support, email or online chat, make sure that your account provides this.

Chase digital assistant
Chase digital assistant (Screenshot from Chase app)

Although you’re looking for a checking account, it is worth taking note of other products and services offered. Many banks offer relationship perks if you have a linked savings account or hold another product.

For example, you can only access the Amex checking account if you have had an American Express credit card for at least three months.

Most banks have an online banking portal and an accompanying app. These are great features for managing your day to day finances from home or when on the go.

It is well worth taking a little time to check reviews from current and previous customers to see if there are any complaints about these features.

Top Offers From Our Partners

PNC bank logo

Promotion:
Up to $400 Open a new, select Virtual Wallet product and receive $500/$2,000/$5,000 or more in qualifying monthly direct deposits within 60 days to earn a $100/$200/$400 bonus.
Subject to state availability
PNC Virtual Wallet ® is available in AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, NM, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WI, and WV. Virtual Wallet ® is offered in the state of MO with the exception of the Greater Kansas City area. Product availability may vary based on where you open your account and the Zip code of your primary address.

Chase_logo

Promotion:
$300 New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.. Expired on 10/16/2024
Chase Overdraft Assist
With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, you won’t be charged an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day

UpgradeLogo

Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$500 Use Promo Code “RC500” for a $500 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
Up to 3.30% APY
to get the maximum rate (up to $50,000) you'll need monthly direct deposits of $1,500 (0.40% APY), 10 transaction on your debit card (+0.30% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Managed Portfolio (+1.00% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account(+1.00% APY) and make full monthly payment on loans (mortgage, personal and auto) with Axos account (+0.60% APY).

Promotion:
Up to $2,500 You could earn $1,500 or $2,500 if you open a new, eligible HSBC Premier checking account from July 1, 2024 through November 22, 2024, and complete qualifying activities: • Get a $1,500 Cash Bonus: Add New Money of $100,000 to $249,999 in deposit and/or eligible investment accounts within 20 days of opening your new checking account and maintain the Qualifying Balance for 3 full consecutive months. • Get a $2,500 Cash Bonus: Add New Money of $250,000+ in deposit and/or eligible investment accounts within 20 days of opening your new checking account and maintain the Qualifying Balance for 3 full consecutive months. – Cash Bonus will be deposited into your new checking account within 8 weeks of meeting all the offer requirements
Wealth Products & Advice
Get access to wealth products, insights and advice from an HSBC Financial Professional through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc

fifth-third-bank-logo

Promotion:
$200 $200 cash bonus if you make direct deposits totaling $2000 or more within 90 days of account opening.
No Minimum Deposit
Free checking account, no minimum balance, check writing, two days early paycheck
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

PNC bank logo

Promotion:
Up to $400 Open a new, select Virtual Wallet product and receive $500/$2,000/$5,000 or more in qualifying monthly direct deposits within 60 days to earn a $100/$200/$400 bonus.
Subject to state availability
PNC Virtual Wallet ® is available in AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, NM, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WI, and WV. Virtual Wallet ® is offered in the state of MO with the exception of the Greater Kansas City area. Product availability may vary based on where you open your account and the Zip code of your primary address.

Chase_logo

Promotion:
$300 New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.. Expired on 10/16/2024
Chase Overdraft Assist
With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, you won’t be charged an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day

UpgradeLogo

Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$500 Use Promo Code “RC500” for a $500 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
Up to 3.30% APY
to get the maximum rate (up to $50,000) you'll need monthly direct deposits of $1,500 (0.40% APY), 10 transaction on your debit card (+0.30% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Managed Portfolio (+1.00% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account(+1.00% APY) and make full monthly payment on loans (mortgage, personal and auto) with Axos account (+0.60% APY).

Promotion:
Up to $2,500 You could earn $1,500 or $2,500 if you open a new, eligible HSBC Premier checking account from July 1, 2024 through November 22, 2024, and complete qualifying activities: • Get a $1,500 Cash Bonus: Add New Money of $100,000 to $249,999 in deposit and/or eligible investment accounts within 20 days of opening your new checking account and maintain the Qualifying Balance for 3 full consecutive months. • Get a $2,500 Cash Bonus: Add New Money of $250,000+ in deposit and/or eligible investment accounts within 20 days of opening your new checking account and maintain the Qualifying Balance for 3 full consecutive months. – Cash Bonus will be deposited into your new checking account within 8 weeks of meeting all the offer requirements
Wealth Products & Advice
Get access to wealth products, insights and advice from an HSBC Financial Professional through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc

fifth-third-bank-logo

Promotion:
$200 $200 cash bonus if you make direct deposits totaling $2000 or more within 90 days of account opening.
No Minimum Deposit
Free checking account, no minimum balance, check writing, two days early paycheck
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

Essential Features of Free Checking Accounts

When you have a shortlist of potential free checking accounts, there are some essential features you should look out for.

  • Attractive Rates: If the checking account is interest-bearing, it should have attractive rates with minimal or no requirements to qualify for the higher interest tiers. Of course, you shouldn’t expect high-yield savings rates, but it is still nice to earn a competitive rate on any balance you leave in your checking account.
  • Reasonable Fees: It is very unusual for any bank account to have no fees whatsoever, but the fees for slipping overdrawn, foreign transactions and any other day to day transactions should be reasonable. As we mentioned earlier, there is no point in saving money on monthly maintenance fees, if you end up paying the same or more in other charges.
  • Reasonable Balance Requirements: Many checking accounts have no minimum balance requirements, but you may find it worthwhile to open an account with a reasonable balance requirement if it gets you additional account perks. Assess what you’re comfortable with and choose an account that suits your preferences.
  • Mobile Banking: Most banks have an app to manage your accounts, but not all the apps are well designed and offer a good user experience. You’ll very quickly get frustrated if the app keeps glitching on your phone when you’re trying to check your statement or arrange a transfer.
  • Security as a Priority: Since you’re dealing with your personal and financial information, you need to know that your new checking account has industry standard or greater security measures. This could include two factor authentication when you log in, and a high level of encryption.
  • Solid Customer Service: We mentioned this before, but it is worth reiterating. You can have the best checking account in the world, but it won’t be worth much if you can’t get help when there is an issue. Whether you have a general query or have fraud concerns, you need to be able to rely on the customer service offered with your new account.
  • FDIC Insurance: Finally, it is crucial that your new bank has FDIC insurance. This provides protection in the event that the bank has some financial issue. Even if the bank completely folds, FDIC insurance will ensure that you get your funds back up to the maximum cap of $250,000.
FDIC vs SIPC vs NCUA
FDIC insurance protects checking, savings, money market, and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Free Checking Accounts: What Are the Drawbacks?

In theory, free checking accounts are a great product, but there are some potential drawbacks you should be aware of. These include:

  • Higher Fees: Some banks compensate for the lack of a monthly maintenance fee with higher fees in other areas. For example, paying a $5 monthly fee may be worthwhile if you get free overdraft protection, no ATM charges, and no foreign transaction fees. So, check the fees and how they compare to checking accounts with monthly maintenance fees.
  • Limited Branch Access: Even if a bank has a branch network, some limit branch access with their fee-free checking account. This may restrict whether you can deposit cash and speak to someone in person if you have any account issues.
  • Account Restrictions: Another potential drawback is that there could be other account restrictions that you need to meet to access all the features of the account fully.

How to Open a No Fee Checking Account?

Most banks make it straightforward to open a checking account online, including no-fee accounts. While the procedure may vary slightly from bank to bank, the basic steps are the same.

1. Check your Paperwork

Before you begin, it is good to check that you have the appropriate paperwork to support your application.

All banks will require you to provide proof of your identity and address. The accepted documentation is usually a government-issued form of ID, such as a driver’s license or passport and a utility bill.

Although many online account applications do allow you to save part way through, if you get to a point where you need your documentation and you can’t keep it, you’ll have to start over again later.

2. Check the Account Information

Before you click to start the application process, it is a good idea to double-check the account information to ensure that you are entirely comfortable with the terms and any fees.

You should find a complete list of the terms and conditions and crucial information points for the account on the bank’s official website.

3. Submit an Application

Once you’re happy to proceed, simply click the “Apply” button for the specific product, and you’ll be redirected to an application form.

You’ll need to complete all the required fields, which include your full name, email address, home address, Social Security Number, and phone number.

4. Provide Supporting Documents

Some banks have this as part of the application stage, while others will do this step via email.

In most cases, you will need to photograph or scan your documents and submit them as per the specific bank instructions. If you are doing this after you submit your application form, aim to send your documents quickly, or it will delay the application approval.

Once the bank has your supporting documents, they will contact you to let you know if your application has been accepted and provide your new bank account details.

Top Offers From Our Partners

PNC bank logo

Promotion:
Up to $400 Open a new, select Virtual Wallet product and receive $500/$2,000/$5,000 or more in qualifying monthly direct deposits within 60 days to earn a $100/$200/$400 bonus.
Subject to state availability
PNC Virtual Wallet ® is available in AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, NM, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WI, and WV. Virtual Wallet ® is offered in the state of MO with the exception of the Greater Kansas City area. Product availability may vary based on where you open your account and the Zip code of your primary address.

Chase_logo

Promotion:
$300 New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.. Expired on 10/16/2024
Chase Overdraft Assist
With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, you won’t be charged an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day

UpgradeLogo

Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$500 Use Promo Code “RC500” for a $500 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
Up to 3.30% APY
to get the maximum rate (up to $50,000) you'll need monthly direct deposits of $1,500 (0.40% APY), 10 transaction on your debit card (+0.30% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Managed Portfolio (+1.00% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account(+1.00% APY) and make full monthly payment on loans (mortgage, personal and auto) with Axos account (+0.60% APY).

Promotion:
Up to $2,500 You could earn $1,500 or $2,500 if you open a new, eligible HSBC Premier checking account from July 1, 2024 through November 22, 2024, and complete qualifying activities: • Get a $1,500 Cash Bonus: Add New Money of $100,000 to $249,999 in deposit and/or eligible investment accounts within 20 days of opening your new checking account and maintain the Qualifying Balance for 3 full consecutive months. • Get a $2,500 Cash Bonus: Add New Money of $250,000+ in deposit and/or eligible investment accounts within 20 days of opening your new checking account and maintain the Qualifying Balance for 3 full consecutive months. – Cash Bonus will be deposited into your new checking account within 8 weeks of meeting all the offer requirements
Wealth Products & Advice
Get access to wealth products, insights and advice from an HSBC Financial Professional through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc

fifth-third-bank-logo

Promotion:
$200 $200 cash bonus if you make direct deposits totaling $2000 or more within 90 days of account opening.
No Minimum Deposit
Free checking account, no minimum balance, check writing, two days early paycheck
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

PNC bank logo

Promotion:
Up to $400 Open a new, select Virtual Wallet product and receive $500/$2,000/$5,000 or more in qualifying monthly direct deposits within 60 days to earn a $100/$200/$400 bonus.
Subject to state availability
PNC Virtual Wallet ® is available in AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, NM, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WI, and WV. Virtual Wallet ® is offered in the state of MO with the exception of the Greater Kansas City area. Product availability may vary based on where you open your account and the Zip code of your primary address.

Chase_logo

Promotion:
$300 New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.. Expired on 10/16/2024
Chase Overdraft Assist
With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, you won’t be charged an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day

UpgradeLogo

Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$500 Use Promo Code “RC500” for a $500 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
Up to 3.30% APY
to get the maximum rate (up to $50,000) you'll need monthly direct deposits of $1,500 (0.40% APY), 10 transaction on your debit card (+0.30% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Managed Portfolio (+1.00% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account(+1.00% APY) and make full monthly payment on loans (mortgage, personal and auto) with Axos account (+0.60% APY).

Promotion:
Up to $2,500 You could earn $1,500 or $2,500 if you open a new, eligible HSBC Premier checking account from July 1, 2024 through November 22, 2024, and complete qualifying activities: • Get a $1,500 Cash Bonus: Add New Money of $100,000 to $249,999 in deposit and/or eligible investment accounts within 20 days of opening your new checking account and maintain the Qualifying Balance for 3 full consecutive months. • Get a $2,500 Cash Bonus: Add New Money of $250,000+ in deposit and/or eligible investment accounts within 20 days of opening your new checking account and maintain the Qualifying Balance for 3 full consecutive months. – Cash Bonus will be deposited into your new checking account within 8 weeks of meeting all the offer requirements
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Promotion:
$200 $200 cash bonus if you make direct deposits totaling $2000 or more within 90 days of account opening.
No Minimum Deposit
Free checking account, no minimum balance, check writing, two days early paycheck
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Is a Free Checking Account Worth It?

This does depend on the account, your requirements, and your circumstances. There are some great free checking accounts in the marketplace, but there may be compromises to be made. If you have no problem with a fully online checking account and don’t need to deposit cash, you can earn some decent interest rates on your credit balance and minimal fees.

However, if you want all the bells and whistles, you may be better suited with an account with a monthly maintenance fee that will be waived if you meet some basic requirements.

Picking The Best Free Checking Accounts: Methodology

The Smart Investor team meticulously reviewed numerous banks and credit unions to identify the best free checking accounts available. We focused on four primary categories to assess and rate these accounts:

  1. Fee Structure (15%): We examined the fee structure associated with each checking account, including overdraft fees, ATM fees, and minimum balance requirements. Free checking accounts with minimal additional charges received higher ratings in this category.

  2. Account Features (50%): This category evaluated the features and benefits offered by each free checking account. We looked at aspects such as ATM access, mobile banking capabilities, check deposit options (mobile or in-person), bill pay services, and access to surcharge-free ATM networks. Free checking accounts offering a comprehensive range of convenient features earned higher scores.

  3. Customer Experience (25%): We assessed the overall customer experience, including the ease of account opening, the responsiveness of customer service representatives, the usability of mobile banking apps (tested by our team), and the availability of support channels. Free checking accounts with user-friendly interfaces, responsive customer support, and efficient mobile apps received higher ratings.

  4. Bank Reputation (10%): Our team analyzed the reputation of each bank offering free checking accounts. We considered factors such as customer satisfaction ratings, JD Power scores, TrustPilot reviews, and the bank's Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile. Banks with positive reputations and a history of providing excellent service received higher ratings in this category.

Throughout our evaluation process, we assigned weights to various features and qualities to ensure a comprehensive assessment of each free checking account.

FAQs

There are many free checking accounts that have no minimum deposit or balance requirements. So, this should be no problem.

This depends on the bank. Some banks do have promotions periodically to attract new customers, but generally the lack of a monthly maintenance fee is enough of an inducement for most people.

Yes, there are accounts where you don’t need to provide an initial deposit. Of course, if you want to use the account, you will need to fund it, but this doesn’t necessarily need to be immediate.

Some banks offer checking account fee waivers if you meet certain criteria, but this varies from bank to bank.

Even though the account is no fee, this refers to the monthly maintenance fee. If you overdraw your account, you will still be liable for overdraft fees in most cases.

Yes, no fee checking accounts typically have an associated debit card that you can use to swipe for purchases, shop online and use at an ATM.

Some free checking accounts are interest bearing, with some offering high interest yields, but this varies from bank to bank and account to account.

While it is possible to have the monthly maintenance fees waived on Bank of America checking accounts, this bank does not currently have a fee free checking account option.

No, you can have the monthly maintenance fee waived, but there are no fee-free Wells Fargo checking accounts.

No, all Citibank checking account options carry a monthly fee that can be waived if you meet the requirement criteria.

No, while you can have the monthly maintenance fee waived, there are no free Chase checking account options.

This depends on the bank. For example, the Chime no fee checking account is available to those with less than ideal credit. If you do have bad credit, it is worth checking the banks that offer prequalification, so you can see if you qualify with only a soft credit pull.