Finding banks with free checking and no minimum balance isn’t easy, as you’ve probably already noticed.
Banks often charge monthly maintenance fees – just to keep your account open! They can waive these fees for you – but only if you meet their requirements, like keeping a minimum daily account balance.
If you’re not cool with this, don’t worry – there are plenty of free checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements out there.
The financial institutions we’ve listed in this article don’t have a minimum balance requirement to open an account.
They also don’t charge maintenance fees, but they might have some other fees.
6 Best Banks With Free Checking and No Minimum Balance Requirements
Here are the top banks that offer free checking with no minimum balance requirements:
- Ally Bank: Best Free Checking Account
- Capital One 360 Checking: Best Customer Experience
- Chime: Best Banking App to Open a Checking Account
- Alliant Credit Union: Best Credit Union with No Balance Requirement
- Discover Cashback Debit: Best Free Online Checking Accounts
- Axos Rewards Checking: Best Free Checking Account that Earns Interest
1. Ally Bank
Ally is one of the best online-only banks, and its free high-interest earning accounts are becoming very popular. Ally gets great reviews and is praised for being customer-friendly, and delivering an enjoyable banking experience.
The Interest Checking Account is free, so there are no minimum balance requirements and no account fees.
On top of that, you can even earn money on your checking account with variable interest rates, which change depending on the balance you have in the account.
The APY is 0.10%, with a minimum daily balance below $15,000. It goes up to 0.25% APY if you can keep an average daily balance of $15,000 or above.
Your Ally account is FDIC insured, and your interest is compounded daily. That’s a significant advantage over those financial institutions that compound it monthly, as the daily compounding rate speeds up your savings growth.
Since it’s an online bank, Ally lets you manage all banking functions using online banking or a mobile application. You won’t find any branches where you can go and consult with a representative.
There is nothing to worry about – Ally offers consistently positively reviewed customer service, which includes 24/7 phone and a live chat.
Ally’s online banking and app are great as well. Some of the best features of Ally’s app include mobile check deposits, direct deposit, an ATM locator, your balance history, and Zelle, a person-to-person money transfer service.
Ally uses Allpoint ATM networks, which consist of 55,000 ATMs. It is also one of the most secure ATM networks nationwide. It gives up to $10 out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements on amounts charged by other financial institutions per each statement cycle.
Keep in mind that you can’t deposit cash with Ally. You might also have to pay some fees, like low overdraft fees and fees on returned deposit items. You may also be charged for international transactions, stop payments, and outgoing wires.
So, the account is free – but be mindful of other fees you could be charged if you’re not careful.
2. Capital One 360
Capital One 360 has a financial offer that includes a fee-free checking account. It has no service fees or minimum balance.
However, account holders could incur some fees in case of an overdraft, stop payments, if they have bounced checks, or on some other occasions. Make sure you always read the fine print.
The main perk of Capital One Free Checking Account is the outstanding customer experience.
Its online banking and mobile banking app are compatible both with Apple and Android devices. They are highly rated and are equipped with fast mobile deposit, bill pay, an ATM finder, spending alerts, and more.
Capital one 360 cafes are worth mentioning. They are where you can meet with an advisor, ask questions, open an account, or attend events. It’s all for free, and it really makes for a more personal finance experience which most consumers appreciate.
This checking account will give you access to more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs since you can use both Capital One 360 and Allpoint ATMs for free nationwide. However, this bank won’t reimburse any out-of-network ATM usage fees.
Capital One 360 checking account also offers a free checkbook and no foreign transaction fees. The account earns also earns you a 0.20% annual percentage yield on all balances.
Capital One 360 used to give $50 as a welcome gift to everyone that opened their free checking account for the first time, but that, unfortunately, has been discontinued.
This checking account remains an excellent free option anyway, with no minimum balance, no minimum opening deposit, and no fees.
3. Chime Bank
If you want to get technical, then Chime isn’t a bank per se. It’s an electronic commerce company, which constitutes a valid alternative to traditional banks.
These companies are often called online banks by most of us, but it isn’t very accurate.
Chime is a top-rated financial technology company dedicated to helping you manage your account balances and transfer money from anywhere in the world.
Its deposit accounts are member FDIC insured, just like bank deposits, so nothing to worry about in the safety department.
It doesn’t have brick-and-mortar branches – it’s online-only. Since it doesn’t have physical locations, Chime concentrates its efforts on the online experience.
Thanks to its great intuitive design and usability, Chime’s mobile app has more than 135,000 5-star reviews in app stores.
Withdrawing money with Chime won’t be a problem. They have 38,000 free ATMs available nationwide.
Chime prides itself on not having any hidden fees.
What a Chime Account Offers:
- No minimum opening deposit
- No minimum balance required to keep your account open
- No transaction fees
- No overdraft fees
- Free card replacement if needed.
An extra perk of setting up a checking account with Chime is that payday with direct deposits comes up to 2 days early!
Chime could also be able to help you increase your credit score but to know more about that. You will have to check their website because there are specific requirements to qualify for their Credit Score Builder Plan.
Downsides to Chime:
- There is no overdraft protection in place. If you attempt to spend an amount that would give you a negative balance, the debit card transaction will be declined.
- Over-the-counter cash withdrawals may have fees.
4. Alliant Credit Union
If you are open to considering a credit union account instead of a bank account, Alliant is your best option for free checking that also earns a high rate.
Alliant Credit Union doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar locations, so you will have to be comfortable using their online banking.
Luckily, both online banking and mobile app are highly rated. It is super easy to get help from customer service when you need it by phone, email, and online.
With Alliant, you can stop worrying about hidden costs since they pride themselves in being upfront about all of the fees they ask you to pay. They offer complete transparency and excellent customer service.
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking Account includes:
- $0 minimum balance required
- $0 monthly maintenance fees
- $0 account opening minimum
- $0 for the first box of standard checks
- $0 to replace your debit card
- $0 for overdraft protection (only if you have a savings Account also opened at Alliant connected to your checking account)
- $0 for incoming wire transfers
I think we can agree this is a lot of free stuff. But there’s more! You also get free access to more than 80,000 ATMs and up to $20 in ATM fee reimbursements each month.
So, what do you actually have to pay? You will have to pay some fees for outgoing wire transfers, NSF (non-sufficient funds), inactivity, and stop payments.
Why choose Alliant credit union over a bank?
Well, credit unions have a reputation for being more customer-friendly. As you have just read, Alliant offers countless benefits.
A common downside for credit unions is that they usually offer membership only to a specific group of people based on their industry, where they live, or other factors.
The good news is that Alliant is not one of those credit unions. Anyone can become a customer of Alliant (even if you live outside of Chicago, where its headquarters are).
The only real requirement to join Alliant is donating $5 to Foster Care to Success.
The best financial product offered by Alliant credit union is its interest-bearing checking account. There’s no minimum deposit and no monthly fee.
On top of that, it earns 0.25% APY, provided you opt for e-statements over paper statements and set up monthly recurring deposits into the account.
5. Discover Bank
Discover Bank is an online bank that offers full service.
On top of being completely free, Discover Cashback Debit checking account also allows you to earn rewards. It offers no yield but up to 1% cashback on a maximum of $3,000 debit card purchases every month.
The following don’t count for the cashback program: P2P transfers, third-party money market purchases, ATM transactions, and point-of-sale cashback.
Contrary to many other banks, Discover has no minimum balance, no maintenance fee, and no fees for many other things. These include insufficient funds, stop payments, incoming wires, official bank checks, and replacement debit cards.
Being an online bank, Discover allows you to manage your funds entirely online.
Its mobile banking app has high ratings and is compatible both with Apple iPhones and Androids. It includes mobile deposits, bill pay, the possibility to freeze your account remotely, if necessary, and Zelle for money transfers.
As it’s often the case with online banks, Discover has 24/7 customer service available, so you don’t have to worry if you aren’t an online banking expert. There will always be someone there to help you at any time of the day or night if you feel stuck.
Discover Bank Cashback Debit Account comes with access to over 60,000 ATMs worldwide. Free ATMs only apply for in-network ATMs, while there will be a cost for out-of-network operations.
Last, Discover has a convenient way of handling your overdraft. It lets you connect your checking account with another Discover deposit account so that you can automatically transfer funds between the two.
Transactions that would have typically caused a negative balance will happen without any consequences.
6. Axos Bank
Axos Bank Rewards Checking Account offers an outstanding up to 1.25% APY – as long as you meet some optional requirements. These include making at least ten debit card purchases or maintaining a minimum balance in their Self-Directed Trading platform.
That’s why it’s the best checking account to choose if your goal is earning interest.
Like the other accounts, it requires no monthly maintenance fees or minimum daily balances. You will need $50 to open the interest-bearing Rewards Checking account, but after that, no recurring fees.
Some possible fees to watch out for are cashier check fees. Debit card replacement and stop payments might also cost you something with this account.
Axos gives you two options of handling overdraft: the option of letting your transaction fail in case of an overdraft or as an alternative. You can link an internal savings account or money market account to this checking account and have free overdraft transfers.
Axos also has a mobile app that allows for check deposits, bill pay, and many other transactions.
Another great feature of this account is that it offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements for all those ATM fees charged in the United States.
It also includes both incoming wires and outgoing wires online for free, which is rare to find.
Axos only accepts account holders with a good banking history. So, if you like the Rewards Checking account and want to be approved by Axos, make sure your credit history is looking its best.
Important Things To Look For In a Checking Account
Here is a list of the most important characteristics that a checking account should (or shouldn’t) have:
- Online banking and mobile apps: in today’s world, it’s becoming more and more important to keep an eye on our accounts and perform financial operations wherever we are. You can check the app’s bank’s rating to see which kind of online experience is offered there.
- No monthly fees: many banks waive these fees for easy-to-meet requirements or don’t have them. Try to avoid these fees as much as possible. They can get very expensive over time. With all of the options offered nowadays, it would be a shame to pay for something another bank provides for free.
- No ATM access fees: we all need ATM access multiple times a month, and we know ATM fees and ATM surcharge are annoying! If there are fees, at least make sure ATM fees reimbursements are also an option.
- Direct deposit: the possibility to set up direct deposits on your account is very convenient, and not all banks offer it without additional requirements.
- No monthly balance requirements: some banks will charge you a fee if you don’t keep a minimum amount of funds in your account. Be careful about that.
- Interest-bearing accounts: Many accounts have interest-bearing options. Banks with similar characteristics can vary dramatically in terms of the APY earned on their accounts, so it’s something worth taking into account.
- Perks offered: some banks will provide extra benefits such as cashback rewards, rebates, free checks, free international transactions, Visa or American Express credit card (depending on the issuer), etc. Always try to weigh all the pros and cons before definitely choosing a financial institution.
These are only some of the things to look for – it’s best to talk to a financial advisor or at least with a branch representative if you can.
And you don’t even have to go anywhere to do that. Most banks, credit unions, and other financial companies have customer service available online, by phone, or through social media.
Banks With Free Checking and No Minimum Balance FAQs
What bank does not require a minimum balance?
Banks with free checking and no minimum balance requirements to open:
- Ally Bank Checking
- Capital One 360 Checking
- Chime Free Checking
- Alliant High-Rate Checking
- Discover Cashback Debit
- Axos Rewards Checking
Some of the banks require a minimum balance if you were planning on earning interest on your account.
I recommend reading carefully and talking to a bank or credit union representative before signing up for your favorite account.
Which banks offer no-fee checking accounts?
Most of the banks mentioned above are virtually free, which means that they waive most of the fees but sometimes not all.
There is rarely a completely 100% free checking account.
Discover Bank is one of the banks with the least amount of fees nationwide on its checking account online.
It has no minimum balance and no monthly maintenance fee. There are also no fees for insufficient funds, stop payments, incoming wires, official bank checks, and replacement debit cards.
Online banks usually have an easier time lowering fees because they have to pay fewer fees themselves to survive.
Each bank has its own “level of fees.” Most of them will waive the costs for one thing – but you may need to pay for something else.
What bank has no monthly fees?
The banks and credit unions that we’ve listed have in common that they don’t require any monthly maintenance fee.
However, other fees may apply, depending on the account and the financial institution.
For example, Capital One 360 checking account has no service fees or minimum balance. However, you can incur some fees if you overdraft, stop payments, or have bounced checks.
Ally has no recurring monthly fee, but it charges fees on returned deposit items, international transactions, stop payments, overdraft, and outgoing wires.
The example could go on and on since each bank has different fees. But the article above lists all the United States banks with free checking and no minimum balance requirements and the least amount of fees possible.