DollarGeek Presents:

Best Checking Accounts - August 2020

DollarGeek's goal is to help you make the best financial decisions. To help us do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations or ratings.

The best checking accounts need to give you the most flexibility. You need no monthly fees, access to a lot of ATMs, great customer service and total transparency.

Dive in and find the best checking accounts with DollarGeek. You shouldn’t have to worry about how much money you need in your account to avoid fees. Start banking with efficiency and find a checking account that can help you save money and provide you actual value. Use our filters and check out which banks can offer you the best checking account.

Browse the best checking accounts
Sort accounts by:
Showing 1-10 of 10 accounts
OVERALL RATING:
(4.5)
on Simple's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.00%

Minimum

$0

APY

1.00%

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OVERALL RATING:
(5)
on Aspiration's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.00%

Minimum

$0

APY

1.00%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.5)
on Bank5 Connect's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.25%

Minimum

$10

APY

0.25%

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OVERALL RATING:
(5)
on Ally Bank's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.50%

Minimum

$0

APY

0.50%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.5)
on Alliant Credit Union's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.25%

Minimum

$0

APY

0.25%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.8)
on Axos Bank's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.25%

Minimum

$100

APY

1.25%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4)
on BBVA's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.05%

Minimum

$25

APY

0.05%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.8)
on nbkc bank's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.65%

Minimum

$5

APY

0.65%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.9)
on Chime's website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.00%

Minimum

$0

APY

0.00%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.9)
on Consumers Credit Union (IL)'s website

Min. Balance

$0

to start

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.10%

Minimum

$0

APY

0.10%

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Best checking accounts at a glance - August 2020

PROVIDER

Minimum Deposit

APY

$0
1.00%
$0
1.00%
$10
0.25%
$0
0.50%
$0
0.25%
$100
1.25%
$25
0.05%
$5
0.65%
$0
0.00%

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.00%

OVERVIEW

Do you find it difficult to save money? Simple motivates its checking account holders to save money by offering 1% APY for Protected Goals. You can open this checking account with a $0 minimum balance and nil maintenance charges. Any funds in a Simple checking account earn an APY of 0.01%, but as soon as you transfer these funds into Protected Goal Account, the transferred amount starts earning 1.00% APY.

Simple checking account comes with a smart money management feature, safe-to-spend. The account tracks your spending pattern and creates category-wise expense lists. Any amount above your regular expenses is marked as safe to spend.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Safe-to-spend feature for better money management
  • A huge ATM network (40,000)
  • Supports all online banking features

Aspiration Cash Management Account: Best for no fees and high APY

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.00%

OVERVIEW

If you’re worried about your carbon footprint or want to work with companies having a positive impact on our planet, the Aspiration cash management account is the right choice. Unlike a traditional checking account, the Aspiration cash management account maintains separate checking and savings balances. You can open your account with $10. Aspiration doesn’t charge any type of fee, including overdraft fee, check deposit fee, debit card fee, or dormant account fee.

Any funds in your Aspiration Save account earn an APY of 0.25% with the standard account and 1.0% with Aspiration Plus subscription (fee of $3.99 per month). You’ll get 10% cash back at network merchants or Conscience Coalition purchases.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Ability to choose your own fees
  • Aspiration donates 10% fee towards environmental protection
  • 10% cash back with network partners
  • Large ATM network (55,000)

Bank5 Connect Checking Account: Best for no fees and high APY

Minimum Deposit

$10

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.25%

OVERVIEW

Bank5 Connect checking account is a perfect fit for people seeking an online banking experience with higher APYs. You earn an APY of 0.25% on your checking account balance, though you’ll need a minimum balance of $100 to earn this APY. As an online bank, Bank5 Connect passes its savings to its account holders with no maintenance charges, free e-statements, external transfers, and out-of-network ATM fees reimbursement (up to $15 per billing cycle).

Bank5 Connect checking account comes with robust online banking features, including online bill payments, free external transfers, and free checks (first-order). 

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Higher than average APY on checking account
  • Low minimum balance requirements
  • No maintenance fee and ATM fee reimbursement ($1 if you choose paper statements)

Ally Bank Checking Account: Best for online banking and no fees

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.50%

OVERVIEW

If you maintain a high-balance checking account, Ally Bank offers a decent APY in comparison to traditional financial institutions. There are no minimum deposit requirements or maintenance fees with Ally Bank checking account. The checking account comes with an APY of 0.50% for daily balances above $15,000 and 0.10% for accounts with lower balances.

You can order cashier’s checks with no extra fees. Ally Bank operates a huge ATM network (43,000), and if you use an out-of-network ATM, the bank will reimburse up to $10 during every billing cycle.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Higher APY for checking accounts
  • No maintenance charges or minimum deposit requirements
  • Free cashier’s checks and ATM fee reimbursement (up to $10 per billing cycle)

Alliant Credit Union Checking Account: Best for those who would rather work with a credit union over big bank

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.25%

OVERVIEW

If you want to bank with a credit union instead of a large bank without sacrificing higher interest rates, Alliant Credit Union has the perfect checking account. The checking account earns an APY of 0.25% as long as you opt for e-statements instead of paper statements and have at least one electronic deposit in your account. There are no minimum balance requirements or maintenance charges for the Alliant Credit Union checking account.

Also, if you are seeking a better online banking experience, Alliant has an award-winning mobile banking app. You will receive a free Visa contactless debit card with your account.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • ATM fee reimbursement of up to $20 per month
  • No maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Huge ATM network (80,000+)

Axos Bank Checking Account: Best for online all around online experience

Minimum Deposit

$100

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.25%

OVERVIEW

If you maintain a high-balance checking account, Ally Bank offers a decent APY in comparison to traditional financial institutions. There are no minimum deposit requirements or maintenance fees with Ally Bank checking account. The checking account comes with an APY of 0.50% for daily balances above $15,000 and 0.10% for accounts with lower balances.

You can order cashier’s checks with no extra fees. Ally Bank operates a huge ATM network (43,000), and if you use an out-of-network ATM, the bank will reimburse up to $10 during every billing cycle.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Higher APY for checking accounts
  • No maintenance charges or minimum deposit requirements
  • Free cashier’s checks and ATM fee reimbursement (up to $10 per billing cycle)

BBVA Checking Account: Best for overall bank experience

Minimum Deposit

$25

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.05%

OVERVIEW

For users seeking a conventional checking account with all the necessary features minus fees, the BBVA checking account is an ideal choice. You can open your checking account with a $25 initial deposit. BBVA doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees. You receive all necessary services free of cost, including unlimited network ATM transactions, e-statement or paper statements, free checks, and a Visa debit card.

If you want to add more features to your account, you can get unlimited standard and cashier’s checks for $2 each, safety deposit for $3, and out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement for a $5 fee.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Higher APY for checking accounts
  • No maintenance charges or minimum deposit requirements
  • Free cashier’s checks and ATM fee reimbursement (up to $10 per billing cycle)

nbkc bank Checking Account: Best for online all around online experience

Minimum Deposit

$5

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.65%

OVERVIEW

We find it hard to pass on online checking accounts with excellent APYs and nbkc bank is one such name. If you are seeking an online checking account with a high APY, nbkc personal account is a good option. There are no monthly charges, minimum balance requirements, or overdraft charges with nbkc bank’s personal account.

You need only $5 to open the nbkc bank personal account. It comes with a starter book of checks and offers online banking features, including bill pay, transfers, e-statements, and a debit card. The bank has a huge ATM network (32,000+), and if you use an out-of-network ATM, nbkc bank will reimburse up to $12 in monthly fees.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • No maintenance charges, monthly balance requirements, or overdraft charges
  • Huge ATM network and out-of-network fee reimbursement ($12 per billing cycle)

Chime Spending Account: Best for digital experience and getting paid early

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.00%

OVERVIEW

Chime spending account is designed for tech-savvy users who expect their banking services to be as smooth as other online accounts. There are no maintenance charges or minimum balance requirements with the Chime spending account. It comes with a round-off feature under which the app will automatically round-off your debit card transactions and transfer the difference in a savings account. Chime app offers online transaction control, ability to turn off debit card transactions or international transactions, transfers, quick direct deposits, and much more.

Plus, if you receive $500 or more in direct deposits, you may receive a free overdraft limit of up to $100. Talking about direct deposits, Chime has an early paycheck program that allows you to receive your paycheck up to two days early in comparison to other traditional banks.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Get your paycheck early
  • No maintenance charges, monthly balance requirements, or overdraft charges
  • Huge ATM network and out-of-network fee reimbursement ($12 per billing cycle)

Consumers Credit Union Checking Account: Best for high APY and no fees

Minimum Deposit

$0

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.10%

OVERVIEW

Can you imagine earning an APY of up to 4.09% on your checking account? As surprising as it may sound, Consumers Credit Union offers some of the highest APYs in the country. This checking account has a tiered APY structure (account balances under $10,000).

  • 2.09% APY: e-statements, 12 debit card purchases, $500+ direct deposit per month
  • 3.09% APY: e-statements, 12 debit card purchases, $500+ direct deposit, spend $500+ from CCU Visa Credit Card per month
  • 4.09% APY: e-statements, 12 debit card purchases, $500+ direct deposit, spend $1,000+ from CCU Visa Credit Card per month

There are no monthly maintenance charges or minimum balance requirements for a CCU checking account. The credit union offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements for out-of-network ATM usage.

WHY WE LIKE IT

  • Higher APY than most banks
  • Large ATM network and unlimited ATM fee reimbursement
  • Online and mobile banking support

Learn more about checking accounts

A checking account is a bank account that allows you to make frequent transactions. Many people have their employer deposit their pay into a checking account through a direct deposit. You may also fund your checking account through a check or cash deposit (depending on bank). You should use a checking account as a place to hold your funds that you plan to use soon. To use the funds in your checking account, you can use a debit card, write checks, pay bills by transferring money or link your account to payment apps like Paypal and Venmo.

Checking accounts can be a great place to park some cash that you’ll be using soon. Walking around with a wad of cash is not ideal. Also, if your bank is federally insured your deposits in the account are covered for up to $250,000 if your bank goes under.

Theoretically you can have as many checking accounts as you’d like. You will need to make sure you have the necessary requirements covered to avoid any fees.

Checking accounts offer convenience. Instead of carrying cash or keeping the money at your home, you can deposit it in your checking account. The FDIC or NCUA insures most financial institutions for up to $250,000, providing safety to your account.

  • You can carry out transactions with your checking account, including electronic transactions and physical checks.
  • You can make timely bill payments. Most checking accounts come with auto-pay features, ensuring that you never miss a bill again.
  • You can use your debit card for shopping or online purchases.

In short, checking accounts are more of a fundamental banking account that everyone needs at some point in their life.

When you’re trying to select the best checking account you should consider the following:

  • ATM network: When choosing a checking account, this is the most crucial factor to consider. Nearly one-third of Americans compare the ATM network of a bank before opening a checking account. Not only will it offer easy access to money, but you will also save out-of-network ATM charges.
  • Monthly maintenance charges: Are you paying a maintenance fee for your checking account? Banks charge maintenance fees against their financial services. Try to find a bank that has low or nil maintenance charges.
  • Account minimums: Since most checking accounts are non-interest bearing or low-interest accounts, you don’t want to put a lot of money in these accounts. Check the account minimum balance requirements. If you have to maintain a balance of $1,000 or above, continue your search.
  • Interest or effective APR: Interest-bearing checking accounts can offer you an additional incentive for keeping money in your account. While the national average interest rate on checking accounts is 0.04%, the DollarGeek team was able to identify online checking accounts that offer APYs as high as 4.09% (Consumers Credit Union).
  • Online services: With the growing onset of online financial services, you want to make sure that your bank offers the latest features, such as bill pay, budgeting, and smart savings goals, and app-based banking services. 
  • Additional features: On top of what we have already mentioned, you can seek extra features, such as mobile check deposits, mobile transfers, support for digital wallets, and free check-writing privileges.
 

While most online checking accounts charge little to no fees, the convenience of checking accounts can sometimes come at a cost. Most Americans pay average fees of $7.69 for their checking accounts. If you’re opening a checking account, here are some of the associated fees that you may have to cough up for usage:

  • Overdraft fees: If your bank account balance reaches zero, the bank offers a credit limit that allows customers to withdraw funds despite having zero balance. The bank charges a fee against this service, called overdraft fee or overdraft charges. The average overdraft fees in the US stands at $33.36. As a customer, you may want to choose a bank with lower overdraft charges.
  • Monthly service fees: These are monthly maintenance charges that banks levy for the checking account. Most banks waive off maintenance fees as long as you maintain the minimum deposit and fulfill monthly deposit requirements. You can expect to pay anywhere between $5.61 to $15.05 in monthly maintenance fees.
  • ATM fees: If you’re using an out-of-network ATM for cash withdrawal, you may have to pay additional charges. The average US checking account holders pay an average of $4.72 for out-of-network ATM withdrawals.
  • Minimum deposits: Several checking accounts require you to maintain a minimum account balance. Failing to do so may attract some penalties. We recommend you to choose banks that don’t have minimum monthly balance requirements.

The best checking accounts on DollarGeek’s list are mostly online checking accounts. Online checking accounts are gaining popularity among the younger generations. Besides offering all the services and features of a traditional checking account, online accounts provide the convenience of doing all your transactions right from your home, office, or even while traveling. Check out some of the benefits below:

  • You can access banking services without having to visit the physical branch.
  • Online checking accounts have nil or lower management fees.
  • You can withdraw cash from any ATM or affiliate ATM networks.
  • Online checking accounts support mobile check deposits, bill payments, transfers, and other banking services.
  • The APY on online checking accounts is higher.
  • You get access to high-end features, such as budgeting, automatic bill payments, custom security alerts, and the ability to connect with various third-party services.

A savings account is another financial account that people use to save and park money. If you’re wondering whether you’re better off with a checking or savings account, here is a short comparison of these accounts.

  • Primary purpose: The primary purpose of a checking account is to provide easy access to your funds for spending and purchases. Savings account, on the other hand, are designed for saving money.
  • Interest rates: Most checking accounts do not offer any interest, and if they do, these are usually lower than a savings account. Savings accounts offer higher interest rates. You may find higher interest rates with online savings account or high-yield savings account.
  • Withdrawals: You can make unlimited withdrawals from a checking account. Savings accounts are limited to only six withdrawals in a statement cycle. Any additional withdrawals may result into a penalty.
  • Minimum balance: Minimum balance requirements will vary from one bank to another for both checking and savings accounts. However, savings account may have a tiered interest rate structure. Make sure to find the minimum balance for earning the highest interest rates.

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