Checking accounts are one of the most basic types of bank accounts available. They offer an easy and straightforward way to access your money with no restrictions on the number of withdrawals you can make.
Still, different people look for different features when it comes to opening a new checking account. For example, someone who runs a business will have different banking needs than a student. As a result, banks offer different types of checking accounts including personal, business, and student accounts, among others.
This article looks at the best checking accounts in different categories, including personal accounts, business accounts, student accounts, and more.
Best Personal Checking Accounts
A personal checking account is useful for almost anyone who makes or manages money. Unlike savings accounts, they offer the ability to make unlimited transfers and withdrawals, making them ideal for making payments and everyday purchases.
In most cases, they will not have the interest rate of a savings account, but most accounts allow for easy transfer of money between accounts, making it easy to set money asides into your savings account.
1. Discover Bank: Checking Account
Discover Bank’s Checking Account does not charge any fees and offers cash back for purchases done using the account’s debit card. The cashback stands at 1% of eligible purchases of up to $3,000 every month. This means you can make up to $360 every year!
Discover doesn’t charge for most things, including monthly maintenance, replacement, and expedited delivery of debit cards, stop payment orders, NSF (insufficient funds), closing the account, and others.
Withdrawals from the bank’s network, which includes over 60,000 ATMs, are free. You can use the bank’s ATM locator to find the ATMs nearest to you by entering your ZIP code. Discover also doesn’t charge any fees for using Zelle, which allows you to pay other people in a matter of minutes.
The accompanying mobile app makes it easy to manage your account, allowing you to easily freeze the account debit card, locate fee-free ATMs and deposit checks, among other things. To keep your account secure while making access convenient, you can use touch or Face ID to log in.
2. Simple / BBVA
Simple is closing its operations, with current customers being transitioned to BBVA USA in 2021 with no details available at the time of writing – so let’s look at BBVA USA and what checking accounts they have to offer.
The Online Checking Account has a low minimum opening deposit requirement of $25. There are no monthly fees, and ATM withdrawals are free from over 64,000 ATMs, including BBVA USA ATMs, AllPoint ATMs, and participating 7-Eleven ATMs. Everyday purchases using the account debit card will also earn you cashback points through the Simple Cash Back program.
You’ll need to activate the cash bank offer through the mobile app or online banking portal. Offers are personalized according to your spending habits to help you make the most out of the program. Enrollment is completely free.
The mobile app includes mobile deposit and bill pay, allowing you to do more while on the go. Paper statements cost $3.00 and are enabled by default. You’ll need to opt-out through online banking to avoid this fee. Optional services such as overdraft protection and the BBVA ClearBenefits Program come at a charge.
The BBVA ClearBenefits Program, in particular, offers several protections for $4.00 a month, including protection against accidental death and dismemberment, identity theft protection, cell phone protection, identity theft insurance, and roadside assistance.
3. Capital One: 360 Checking
Capital One’s 360 Checking account is an online checking account with no monthly service fee and no minimum balance requirements.
The account can be opened online or by visiting one of the bank’s locations. If you intend on opening the account in person, it is best to check which locations are open first.
The account is insured by the FDIC and includes fraud coverage to keep you as safe as possible. Withdrawals from the bank’s ATM network, which includes over 40,000 ATMs, are free of charge.
This means that withdrawing money from Capital One and Allpoint ATMs is free. Capital One also won’t charge you for using an out-of-network ATM, but operator fees may still apply.
When it comes to overdraft, the bank offers three options. Auto-decline and savings transfers are free of charge. You can also opt for the Next Day Grace option, but this will set you back $35 per transaction.
|Citi Citi Priority Account||$1500||January 4, 2022||
|Chase Chase Total Checking®||$225||January 19, 2022||
|Unifimoney High Yield Checking or Investing||$5000||N/A||
Best Business Checking Accounts
Business checking accounts are essential for any business. They allow you to pay suppliers, accept payments, and manage taxes efficiently.
They add to a business’s credibility by giving customers paying by check the ability to write a check to a business account instead of a personal account. Business checking accounts are also useful to freelancers who might need more help managing their cash flow and taxes.
Here is a selection of our best business checking accounts:
1. Axos Bank: Basic Business Checking
Axos Bank’s Basic Business Checking account offers small businesses an easy way to get a checking account. There are no monthly fees to pay, and if your business was incorporated after the 1st of June 2020, you could be eligible for a new bank account promotion.
Opening the account requires a minimum deposit of $1,000. You’ll get the first 50 checks for free and up to 200 free debits, credits, or deposits. Anything over and above the $200 threshold incurs a $0.30 fee.
The account is compatible with QuickBooks and includes access to the mobile banking app, which is available for Android and iOS devices. The app can be used to pay bills using Bill Pay, deposit checks, and carry out other banking activities.
Once your business grows, you can upgrade your account to a Business Interest Checking Account and earn high interest on your funds.
2. HSBC Bank: Fusion First
HSBC Fusion is a business banking service offered to US businesses that have sales of up to $5 million per year. Fusion First is HSBC’s entry-level business checking account. It has a monthly maintenance fee of $30, which can be waived by maintaining a monthly balance of at least $5,000 across qualifying accounts.
At the moment, the bank is also offering a $400 welcome bonus. To get the money, you’ll need to open a new business account before the end of April 2021 and deposit the minimum balance required within 60 days.
You will also need to do six qualifying transactions within 60 days and keep the minimum qualifying balance for 90 days. Once these requirements have been completed, you can expect the money to hit your account within approximately eight weeks.
You get 200 free transactions each statement cycle, while incoming transfers will set you back $15. Outgoing transfers also cost $15 as long as they are done through HSBCnet. Outgoing wire transfers done at the branch cost $30.
3. Chase: Business Complete Banking
Chase’s Business Complete Banking account offers a complete checking account package aimed at small businesses. The account has a monthly maintenance fee of $15, which can be waived in one of 4 ways.
- Keep a minimum daily balance of $2,000
- Make purchases worth $2,000 or more on your Chase Ink business card
- Make deposits worth $2,000 or more through eligible transactions
- Link a qualifying account
You can use Chase QuickAccept to accept card payments through your phone. You can also add a mobile card reader to give your customers the option to tap to pay.
Keyed transactions cost 10 cents + 3.5% whilst transactions processed through the mobile card reader cost 10 cents + 2.6%. The account also includes sending wire transfers, Chase QuickDeposit, and Chase Online Bill Pay.
If you’re considering switching to Chase, the bank offers an online checklist to help you make sure that you don’t miss anything. Chase offers a $300 bank bonus when you open a new Chase Business Complete account.
|Chase Chase Business Complete Banking℠||$300||January 20, 2022||
|Axos Business Interest Checking||$100||December 31, 2021||
|NorthOne Business Banking||$10||April 22, 2022||Learn More|
Best Student Checking Accounts
Student checking accounts are special checking accounts designed for students. While each bank offers different features and perks, most accounts come with no maintenance fees and no balance requirements.
In most cases, you’ll need to provide proof that you’re a student, and most accounts automatically convert to a standard checking account once the term is over. Even so, if you’re a student over 18 years old, they are worth checking out as they can help you build a more secure financial future.
Below are some of our favorite best banks for students:
1. Chase: College Checking Account
Chase’s College Checking account is available for college students aged between 17 and 24. The account has no monthly fees for up to 5 years while you’re in college, with a $6 monthly fee applicable after that. The monthly fee can be avoided in one of two ways;
- Make electronic deposits such as payroll or government benefits into the account
- Maintain an ending day balance of $5,000 on average
This account can also help you avoid paying the monthly fee on a Chase Savings account when used for overdraft protection.
The account has many checking account features such as account alerts, easy ATM access, a mobile app, and the ability to quickly transfer money using Chase QuickPay or Zelle. You can also take advantage of options such as the Chase Freedom Student credit card, which at the moment features a $50 welcome bonus.
To get the checking account bonus money, you’ll need to make a purchase within the first three months of opening the account. The card has no yearly fee and includes a 1% cashback on all purchases.
You can also make up to $500 a year by successfully referring friends to Chase. Each successful referral pays $50, with a maximum of 10 allowed each year. Chase also offers students many resources, such as Chase Chats Webcasts, offering guidance and financial tips you can implement to improve your financial future.
2. PNC: Virtual Wallet Student
PNC’s Virtual Wallet Student combines a checking account and two savings accounts into one. There are no monthly fees and no balance requirements, making this account a great option for students. Moreover, the account can stay open for up to 6 years before it’s converted into a Virtual Waller account.
The checking account is called Spend and offers many of the features found in other checking accounts, as well as some extra functionality to make sure you stay on top of your finances.
Spend features a Money Bar and Free Balance, which together show you how much money can be spent safely. Danger Days, on the other hand, can help you assess when you’re at a higher risk of overdrawing your account – giving you some time to take action in advance.
The account also features a calendar with incoming and outgoing payments set up, including reminders. Other features such as money transfers, mobile check deposits, and account alerts are all included with the checking account.
3. TD Bank: Student Checking Account
TD Bank’s Student Checking account is for students aged 18 to 24. There is no monthly maintenance fee and no balance requirements to fulfill with the account converting to a TD Convenience Checking account after five years or on your 24th birthday.
Opening the account is easy, and the bank promises that it’ll take under 7 minutes. There is no initial deposit requirement, and you can also save the monthly fee on a TD Simple Savings account when linking the two accounts.
The account offers a number of different ways to save money, including a discount on your first check order, no overdraft protection transfer fees, and a 0.25% discount on home loans. The account also includes mobile banking, 24/7 support, and branch access.
Best Checking Accounts for Kids
Opening a checking account for your kid can help them get a head start on a healthier financial future. To this end, many banks offer checking accounts with kid-friendly features.
The features available will generally differ from one bank to another. Either way, you can expect low or no fees, interest rates, and controls to make sure your kid stays safe while learning about the responsibilities of effective money management.
1. Alliant Credit Union: Free Teen Checking Account
Alliant’s Teen Checking account is a free checking account for teens aged between 13 and 17. It is offered as a joint ownership account, with a parent being a joint account owner. It is also worth noting that the parent of the need must be an Alliant member.
The account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance. The account also offers an APY of 0.25%, but there are some requirements to be met. In fact, to earn interest, you must opt-in to eStatements and make at least one deposit into the checking account every month. Interest is paid out on the last day of each month.
The account includes fee-free withdrawals from over 80,000 ATMs and $20 each month in rebates for using out-of-network ATMs. ATM withdrawals are limited to $100 per day, while spending is limited to $300 per day. The parent can also set up alerts to get notified every time a withdrawal or purchase is made. NSF withdrawals incur a charge of $25.00 each.
Parents can set up regular ACH transfers into the account, while outgoing transfers can only be set up by the parent joint owner. The account includes a PFM to help the teen better manage their finances in a responsible way.
To open the account, you’ll first need to download a PDF form from the credit union’s website. There are two different forms available depending on whether the teen is already an Alliant member or not. Applications are submitted by secure email using the parent’s existing Alliant account.
2. Capital One: Money Teen Checking Account
Capital One’s Money Teen Checking account is a free bank account specifically designed for kids and teens aged eight years or older. Once the kid turns 18, they can opt for a 360 checking account. It includes a debit card and access to the bank’s mobile app. The account has no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements to uphold.
The account is set up as a joint account between parent and teen. The account earns an APY of 0.10% regardless of the balance, helping the account holder grow their money.
Parents can link an external account to transfer money. There are several handy parental controls to help your kid better manage their money (like the ability to make payments, track activities, and even lock the debit card).
It’s worth noting that this account is only available online. Even so, cash withdrawals can be made from over 40,000 ATMs without paying a fee, while purchases are accepted anywhere Mastercard is.
3. Wells Fargo: Clear Access
Wells Fargo Clear Access is available for teens aged between 13 and 16. An adult co-owner is required to open the account.
The account cannot be opened online. As account holders, both of you will need to visit a branch and take some form of ID with you. Teens who do not have a valid form of ID will need to take their birth certificate and Social Security card.
The account has a monthly fee of $5.00, but this is waived if the primary account holder is a teen. There is a minimum opening deposit requirement of $25.
There are no NSF or overdraft fees, and you cannot write checks either. Even so, you get access to the Wells Fargo mobile app, which allows you to send money and check your balance, among other things.
The account also includes access to Zelle, making receiving and sending money easy, and a debit card with contactless chip technology. There are Zero Liability protection and access to many tools for budgeting, cash flow management, and spending. Customer support is available 24/7, as is fraud monitoring to help the child stay secure.
Other Top Checking Accounts
There are many other checking accounts worth checking out, each offering different features and benefits.
1. Ally: Interest Checking Account
Ally is offering an interest-bearing checking account with an APY that ranges from 0.10% to 0.25%. This makes this account something of a high-yield checking account. You’ll earn the lower tier APY if your balance is less than $15.00, while balances over this amount earn the full 0.25% rate.
There is no minimum deposit requirement to open the account and no monthly fees. You get access to fee-free withdrawals from Allpoint ATMs. Ally also reimburses up to $10 in out-of-network ATM fees every statement cycle for fees, so no need to worry about using network ATMs now and then.
On top of ATM reimbursements, you also get debit card controls so that you’re always in charge of how money is spent. The account can also be opened in the name of a Trust if you wish.
2. Chime: Spending Account
Chime offers a checking account that promises to have your back. Notable features such as SpotMe, which will spot you up to $200 on your debit card purchases when overdrawing your account, can be very helpful on a bad month. The account also promises to get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier.
The account also includes a Visa debit card, Roundups to help you save money, and compatibility with Apple Pay and Google Pay, among other features. You also get access to over 38,000 fee-free ATMs, which include MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs.
There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements either. You can open the account online by visiting Chime’s website. The whole process takes less than 2 minutes and will not impact your credit score.
3. CIT Bank: eChecking
CIT Bank’s eChecking account offers an APY of 0.10% on balances under $25,000 and an APY of 0.25% when your balance goes above the $25,000 minimum. The minimum opening deposit is $100.
The account has no monthly fees, and you can get as much as $30 in ATM fees reimbursements. This being an online checking account, you can’t use paper checks, but the bank offers a number of other different ways to make payments, including Zelle and Bill Pay. You can also connect your CIT Bank eChecking account with Samsung Pay or Apple Pay.
The account is insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. You also get access to the CIT Bank mobile app, where you can deposit checks, make withdrawals, and even restrict your card.
What do the best checking accounts offer?
It’s important first to understand your financial needs and requirements before choosing a checking account.
Different people tend to value and appreciate different things, but several things can make a checking account great for just about anyone. These may include low or no fees, cashback and other offers, insurance, mobile account access, an extensive ATM network, and user-friendly account management.
Many checking accounts also offer debit cards and check writing, alongside bank transfers and other payment options such as Zelle. Although not very common, you can also find interest-bearing checking accounts with relatively high-interest rates.
Let’s look at each of these in more depth.
Many checking account charge fees for different things, including monthly maintenance fees, NSF (insufficient funds), and overdraft fees, as well as fees for checks, debit card replacement. That being said, some checking accounts are free, while others may offer reduced fees or waivers.
One thing that you might want to look for is overdraft protection. Some banks offer different ways to help you avoid going overdraft, from free declines to automatic transfers from your savings account, helping you avoid checking account fees.
Mobile account access
The ability to carry out common banking tasks from your phone has become wide-spread. Online banks tend to offer stronger apps than what traditional banks and credit unions offer. Even so, brick and mortar financial institutions have been upping their game and have started to offer mobile apps that are every bit as good as those offered by online banks.
The recent closures of several bank branches across the world have shown how beneficial a good mobile banking app can be. Online banking is also essential as this can help you bank in more comfort from a computer at your home or office.
Mobile app features such as the ability to set up direct deposit, mobile check deposit, view account balance, and set up alerts are some of the most important features of mobile banking.
Cashback and other offers
Many banks offer welcome bonuses and cashback offers on purchases made on a debit card or credit card linked to the checking account to attract new customers. I’d never say no to a cashback debit card because offers like that can help you get a respectable sum of cash over time.
Here, attention needs to be paid to any accompanying terms and conditions. Meeting these T&C’s is important to get the money, so make sure you can meet them before counting the money.
Checking accounts are used to settle bills and pay for everyday things. Sometimes, cash can be crucial in affecting those payments, so a healthy network of ATMs is important. Many banks offer access to thousands of fee-free ATMs, with some banks refunding fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs.
It might be worth your time checking which bank has ATMs in the areas you visit. Remember that some banks partner with other ATM networks such as AllPoint and 7-Eleven to offer fee-free withdrawals from these locations.
Managing your account is important. From setting up transfers to your savings account to being able to deposit checks through your phone – friendly account features can make the act of managing your money easier, which can help you stay on top of things with less effort.
This is also true for business checking accounts, which we’ll review in this article. Business checking account management can help you reduce overhead costs and run your business more efficiently, so it’s always worth checking what you’re getting for your money.
FDIC or NCUA insurance
Checking accounts generally provide a secure way to bank. The money is not invested in speculative markets such as the stock or forex markets, so there is no chance of the money disappearing. Even so, history has shown us that even the biggest banks and credit unions can fail and end up bankrupt, which is why NCUA or FDIC insurance is very important.
The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insures bank accounts, usually up to $250,000, while the NCUA (National Credit Union Association) insures credit union accounts, usually up to the same amount.
While most banks and credit unions are FDIC insured, double-checking will only take a minute of your time and help you avoid potential issues and troubles down the line.
Interest-bearing checking accounts are hard to come by. This is because interest is usually earned on savings accounts, where money tends to accumulate over a long period of time.
Even so, some banks have started to pay interest on the money their customers hold in their checking account – though it won’t be as high as offered by other types of accounts.
In most cases, interest is listed as APY – Annual Percentage Yield. This means that interest is worked out in a compounded fashion, usually compounded daily and paid out monthly. Using this method of earning interest, even if the money doesn’t stay in the account for very long, you’ll still get some interest paid out on it, even if it’s not much.
To help you understand how much money you’ll earn, try figuring out what daily balance you expect to keep in your checking account and then using an online APY calculator to get a rough idea.
Benefits of a Good Checking Account
A good checking account can help you manage your money more efficiently and are often used as the main deposit account, which then feeds into other accounts such as a high-yield savings account where money sits for a longer period of time, earning interest.
A high-yield checking account can help you grow your money even faster – but it’s important to keep other things in mind, like fees and account features.
Consider how much money you keep in your savings account, and use an APY calculator to get a rough idea of how much money the interest rate on offer will earn you.
Checking accounts tend to carry lots of fees, so looking for an account with low fees or no fees will help you better manage your money. This is especially true if you’re new to banking.
Watch out for fees for using out-of-network ATMs and foreign transaction fees – if you travel a lot, you may want to choose an account that won’t charge for spending abroad.
People with a low credit score might be declined when applying for a checking account. If this has happened to you, look for Second Chance checking account. These accounts tend to have a lower barrier of entry, and just about anyone qualifies.
Keep in mind you might have to give up on some things, such as having a Visa or Mastercard credit card, paper checks, and a few other things. Even so, some of these accounts can help you build your credit score back up, making them a viable solution.