Best Free Checking Accounts of 2019
There may be two reasons why you want to open a free checking account. One, it is your first time opening a checking account – and the moment you saw “free,” you decided that “that’s it.” Two, you may have gotten tired of paying monthly fees on your current account, which is why you decided to make the switch.
But what exactly does a free checking account imply? If it’s so great, why aren’t all of them free? Where can you find the best option to check your money? So many questions to be asked, so many banks to be considered.
If you are looking for the best free checking accounts that you can actually trust, you have come to the right place.
When it comes to banks, it is best that you are as informed as possible – since you will trust them with your wages, after all.
There are several types of checking accounts to go for, from free or interest-bearing accounts to premium, lifeline, trust, or joint checking account. Each is chosen based on the needs of the client – you!
Free checking accounts are no longer as common – at least not in the way that they used to be. Ten years ago, 76% of the banks offered the option for a free checking account.
However, right now, only 38% of the banks provide free checking – which is why it can be rather tricky to find a good bank providing a free checking account.
How could it happen, that fewer banks offer a free checking account? That’s simple, due to the low interest rates, they cannot make money with your money anymore.
Any bank wants to make money in one way or the other. No bank wants to give you really something for free!
That’s why it is so important, to look very closely at those offers. So at this point, you’ll probably have more luck at finding a free checking account at a credit union (reward checking), community bank or an online bank of your choice when reading this article.
But what does a free checking account imply? Well, it’s relatively straightforward. Banks with free checking offer accounts that charge no monthly maintenance fees and have minimum requirements for balance.
Some banks may provide free checking if you opt for direct deposits or electronic statements.
This way, the employee can directly deposit the paycheck into your bank account – and escape the checking fee if you receive a certain sum per month.
At the same time, free checking does not mean that it is free-everything. It is only the checking fee that you got rid of; other than that, you may still have to pay overdraft charges, as well as additional fees.
As lined out above, the bank wants to make money, and you have to make sure, that your overall costs keep low. Free or not free, only the total cost count!
Best Free Checking Accounts to Consider
Banks with free checking and no minimum balance allow people to keep more money in their own pockets.
Granted, there will be some banks that will have certain small fees – but the best ones will not charge any monthly fees. Better yet, these banks may even pay your interest or provide free services.
Each checking account is different, focusing on various factors such as interest rate, rewards, ATM network, and so on.
Some accounts are good for people who want to save, whereas others are recommended for those who want only the best digital experience.
But what banks offer free checking accounts? Are there any banks with no fees nearby that you can actually trust with your money? Well, let’s see what your options are:
Chimebank.com: No Hidden Bank Fees
Those opting for Chime spending accounts will notice one thing: they will no longer lose money in maintenance fees, transactions, or whatever else people do with their credit cards.
Considering that it has no overdraft charges, no monthly service fees, and no monthly service fees, Chime’s checking account is perfect for those who want to save little by little every month.
The primary draw of Chime is actually its savings program that will take every purchase that you make with your debit card and round it up to the nearest dollar – the difference going into a savings account that is separate from your main one.
Furthermore, if you are into savings, you can also choose the personal chime savings account. This way, 10% of your monthly paycheck will automatically go into your savings account – allowing you to save up for those rainy days.
One more aspect that people find attractive at Chime checking accounts is the fact that it has a free ATM network that works nationwide plus 30,000+ cash-back locations.
You will no longer have to pay commissions just for checking out your paycheck. Plus, you get transaction alerts, balance notification, and timely direct deposits.
So, which checking account is best? For many, it seems to be Chime. However, bear in mind that while Chime’s saving features will help you hang on to your money, it won’t help you much when it comes to interest.
Each savings account will help you earn basically no interest. However, considering that no money goes on fees, this is actually a fair trade and the only fee with Chime is ATM Fee outside of their ATM-network.
Bank5Connect.com: High-Interest Checking Account
If you are looking for the best free checking accounts that will provide an attractive yield even on a low balance, then Bank5 Connect might be just what you are looking for.
Granted, it is not free of every fee; still, the overdraft fees are reasonable, and the reimbursement policy for ATM fees is relatively generous.
So what’s the deal? They charge you money for some transactions like an “insufficient funds charge” of $15 and $1 for paper statements, and on the other hand side, they pay you an above average interest for your funds on your account.
So it is primarily a good choice for people with some money in the account.
If you wish to gain interest, you might want to have a daily balance that is of at least $100. Its yield also reaches an annual percentage yield – which is higher compared to most of its competitors.
Bank5 Connect won’t charge you anything if you withdraw cash from their ATMs in the USA. Even more, if you withdraw from the ATMs of other banks, Bank5 Connect will be reimbursing those surcharges every month.
Your wire transfers, cashier checks, and the first order of personal checks are also free of charge.
You are looking for banks with no fees, and even though this might not be completely free, the returns will make it worth it.
You can also use Apple Pay with Bank5connect’s High-interest checking account.
On the other hand side, standard transactions are for a fee, which makes it an excellent free checking account. For those who have regular problems paying their bills, Bank5Connect is not the right choice due to the fee structure.
Simple.com: Fee-Free Banking
If you feel that your budgeting skills are not exactly where you want them to be, then this simple check account called… well, Simple… may be able to help you out.
This mobile-focused checking account features a fully-integrated budgeting tool that is named Safe-to-Spend. https://www.simple.com/features/safe-to-spend
So, what does this tool do, exactly? It is fairly straightforward, actually. This service will take into account all your savings goals and upcoming bills – and then it will show you exactly how much you have left to spend on non-essentials.
This way, you can be certain that your rent does not accidentally go on a new pair of shoes.
The Simple online bank also features all of the gizmos and tools that you will require in a free bank account.
You will have an ATM network with more than 40,000 ATMs that can be used nationwide, a service to deposit checks simply by using a smartphone, and a bill payment service.
It may not be able to provide in-person customer support, and it may not have the branches necessary to accept cash deposits – but for an online bank, it brings many benefits.
It may involve certain other fees unrelated to checking. Still, considering that there is no official bank building to maintain, these fees are relatively low.
Are you looking for banking and budgeting in a straightforward banking app? Well then you should find out how simple it is:
Discover.com: Start Earning Cash From Your Bank
If you are looking for banks with free checking and no minimum balance, then you might want to invest in the Discover Bank Cashback Checking Account.
This is a fully-serviced bank with an online platform – one that has no monthly fees its users and over 60,000 free ATMs across the United States.
Technically, this checking account does not have a yield. However, your qualifying debit card purchases can earn you 1% cash backs on monthly purchases on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases per month.
This means that you can earn $30 cash every month and $360 every year. However, you have to check if you meet the criteria and make sure that you can really earn that money. Of course, you need to spend money to make money here.
So if your average monthly payments are below 3,000 Dollars per month right now, then you should not open an account here just to spend more money on getting 1% back, right?!
This checking account does not have a balance requirement, nor does it have a minimum deposit. Granted, it will not bring you any gains if you leave it in “idle mode” – but at least it will not cost you anything either.
Discover Bank also has a fair number of free services. For example, you will not have to pay for ATM fees – regardless of the bank that you withdraw from.
Plus, replacement debit cards and checks are also free – as well as a few other services.
Ally.com: Make Everyday Banking Count
So, who has the best free checking? If you ask anyone in the bank world, that would be an establishment that managed to gather clientele.
Considering that Ally Bank is one of the first online banks ever to come in existence, its checking account has remained one of the most popular options for every millennial.
This checking account has no minimum, regardless of its kind. It has no minimum opening deposit, nor does it have a monthly balance requirement.
Furthermore, Ally reimburses withdrawal fees from third-party ATMs – with no exceptions.
The annual percentage yield is between 0,1% and 0,6% right now, depending on your average minimum daily balance.
It does have an overdraft fee, you have to pay for returned deposit items, and if you stop payments and for international transactions.
Other than that, this checking account is a fairly sweet deal for anyone wanting to save some cash. Check out the full fee structure here:
AXOS Bank: Reward Checking
If you are looking for a bank account that has a reasonable rate for rewards checking, you might want to give AXOS bank a try.
Previously referred to as the Bank of the Internet, this one feature no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, and no opening deposits – making it as free as it can be.
Also, there are unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements and no overdraft fees.
Furthermore, this bank offers unlimited ATM reimbursements regardless of where you decide to withdraw – saving you a fair amount of cash in the long run.
However, you should know that there are a few conditions if you want to earn the highest interest rate – which is 1.25% (as of 02/2019).
However, there are some requirements to maintain the reward checking account. On their website, https://www.axosbank.com/Personal/Checking/Rewards-Checking is at the very bottom all details are explained.
For me, it is a bit too complicated with too many rules attached, but if you meet the criteria easily, then the reward checking account is an interesting one.
Also, it seems, that the reward checking account is only a product to do another upsell. When you sign up for it, you get immediately asked if you like to open a high yield savings account as well for 0.05% more APY.
Furthermore, considering that AXOS bank has no branches, you will not be able to make any direct cash deposits – nor will you be able to get face-to-face customer support.
Everything is done through the Internet. For that reason, the fee structure is good, which makes it one of the best free checking accounts for those who prefer online banking over traditional banking.
However, while axos bank meets the criteria for free checking accounts, it’s still a bit annoying, that there are so many rules attached regarding the reward checking account requirements.
The Best Free Checking Accounts: Conclusion
In a time where every service needs to be paid for, it is very convenient when you find the best checking accounts that have no hidden fees.
As with brokerage accounts; small as those fees can be, too many of them can chip away at your monthly savings – which can reach a fairly high number over the years.
So, what banks do not charge a monthly fee? Well, you can go for any of the ones presented above. Most of them do not even feature minimum deposits or requirements.
Thus, opening a bank account can be done at any time, regardless of your points.
The interest rates might not be among the highest – but considering that there are barely any fees, you could say that not making a payment can double as received interest.
However, keep in mind, the overall costs were the most important key figure when you chose your checking account.
Furthermore, “free” often stays for “sorry, we have no people you can talk with, our support is only online.”
So if you need to speak to a person in your town, then an online bank with a free checking account is not for you.
If you love online banking and investment apps, then those free checking accounts are an excellent alternative to a traditional bank.