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Most brick and mortar banks offer traditional checking accounts, but online banks can offer checking account perks you won’t find at your bank down the street.
Similar to looking for a good savings account, when searching for the best checking account, you should look for one with low or no fees. In addition, many checking accounts now offer the chance to earn interest on your account balance. Is there anything better than free money?
So, what are the best checking accounts in 2020 and what do they offer? Let’s take a look.
Best Checking Accounts for 2020
1) Axos Bank
Axos isn’t your normal bank. They are an online bank that offers rewards for their checking account. With the Axos Rewards Checking Account, you can earn up to 1.25% APY. They also did away with:
- Overdraft fees
- Non-sufficient funds fees
- ATM fees (unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements)
- Monthly maintenance fees
Axos has no minimum balance requirements, but with their competitive rates, the Rewards Checking Account is the perfect place to keep higher account balances.
Although it’s known mostly for its investment services, Betterment also has a fee-free checking account. Betterment Checking accounts have no minimum deposit or balance requirements. An account also comes with a complimentary Visa debit card.
Betterment doesn’t charge fees on its checking account — not even monthly maintenance or overdraft fees. While Betterment doesn’t have its own ATM network, it does reimburse fees from ATMs worldwide. The company also reimburses Visa’s 1% transaction fees on foreign purchases made with your debit card.
It’s important to note that when you open a Betterment Checking account, the company will automatically open a Cash Reserve account — a high-yield cash account — for you. Customers have the option to close their Cash Reserve account if they don’t want it.
Betterment Checking accounts do not come with check-writing privileges or a bill-payment feature. These accounts are geared towards fans of mobile banking. Customers can use the Betterment mobile app to manage their accounts, make mobile check deposits, and integrate with third-party payment apps like Venmo and Zelle. Betterment Checking is an excellent option if you like having your everyday money and investment accounts in one place.
3) CIT Bank eChecking
CIT Bank is known for its high-yield savings products. Now the bank has added an interest-bearing checking account to complement its wide array of options.
CIT Bank eChecking allows customers to earn different amounts of interest at each of two tiers:
- 0.10% APY for balances under $25,000
- 0.25% APY for balances of $25,000 or more
You only need an initial deposit of $100. There are no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum ongoing balance requirements. They provide up to $30 in reimbursements each month for ATM fees charged by other banks.
Opening an eChecking account means customers can use an online portal or mobile app to manage their money, see their transaction history, pay bills, deposit checks, set up direct deposit, and more. The only thing CIT Bank’s eChecking account is missing is check-writing privileges.
You can earn even more interest by linking your eChecking account with a Savings Builder account and setting up automatic deposits.
If you’re looking for both checking and savings options, Aspiration is could be a good fit. Their Spend & Save Account is a hybrid account that earns interest. The account is offered by Aspiration Financial, LLC, which is a broker account, not a traditional bank. Despite that fact, your deposits are FDIC-insured.
With Aspiration, you will never pay an ATM fee. If another bank charges you a fee, Aspiration will reimburse you for it. You can also earn cashback rewards for every dollar spent on your Aspiration debit card. And you’ll earn 1.00% APY interest on your Aspiration Save deposits.
5) Chime Spending Account
Chime doesn’t mess around when it comes to checking accounts. The Chime Spending Account has:
- No service fees
- No minimum balance requirements or fees
- No overdraft fees
- No foreign transaction fees
- Access to 38,000 fee-free ATMs
Your Chime Spending Account comes with a free Visa Debit Card that can be used almost anywhere in the world. You do face $2.50 fees for out-of-network ATMs, though.
Hate waiting for your paycheck every week? With Chime, you can get your paycheck up to two days earlier by setting up direct deposit. And while you won’t be able to write checks, Chime will send one for you through its “Checkbook” feature. There’s no limit on the number of checks that you can send per day, but the maximum amount is $5,000 per check.
Chase is one of the oldest and largest financial institutions in the US. They are mostly known for their credit cards, but they also offer traditional banking services like the Chase Checking Account.
With a Chase Checking Account, customers get access to 16,000+ ATMs and 5,000 Chase bank branches. You’ll also receive a Chase debit card. You can snap a photo of checks for mobile deposit and send money from your Chase checking account to other people using Zelle.
Chase does charge a $12 monthly fee. This fee can be waived if you have:
- Direct deposits totaling $500 or more
- A beginning of day balance of $1,500 or more
- An average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more combined with qualifying linked Chase accounts
Use our link below to get a $200 bonus for opening a new checking account and setting up direct deposit!
Ally is one of the originals of online banking and they continue to make a splash with their Interest Checking Account. How much interest can you earn with Ally?
- 0.10% APY on accounts with less than $15,000 minimum daily balance
- 0.60% APY on accounts over the $15,000 minimum daily balance
Ally doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees and they offer 24/7 live customer service.
You’ll have access to any Allpoint ATM in the U.S. for free and get reimbursed (up to $10 per statement cycle) for out-of-network ATM fees. You can make deposits by direct deposit, wire transfer, mobile deposit, or by sending a check in the mail.
8) M1 Finance
It’s not often that you see brokerage firms offering checking accounts, but that’s basically what M1 Finance provides in the form of M1 Spend. Meant as a replacement to traditional checking accounts, M1 Spend offers two tiers to choose from.
The first tier is a simple M1 Spend checking account. This free account comes with a plastic debit card and the ability to waive ATM fees once per month.
The second tier is M1 Plus, a premium service with extra perks. M1 Plus carries a $125 annual fee, which is almost unheard of with traditional checking accounts. However, the perks tied to M1 Plus may well be worth the extra cost. With the M1 Plus checking account, customers will earn 1.5% APY and will receive the Tungsten metal debit card. They’ll also snag unlimited 1% cash back on all debit card purchases and get ATM fees waived up to four times per month.
No matter which option you choose, M1 Spend offers tons of value. Both checking account tiers offer direct deposit and money transfers, have no balance minimums, and are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. M1 Spend is also fully integrated with all of the M1 Finance offerings, such as M1 Invest and M1 Borrow.
If you’ve ever invested money, you know there’s often a three-day hold on money transferred from your bank to a brokerage account. Having an M1 Spend checking account allows you to transfer money to your M1 Invest account without any wait time.
If you’re someone who likes earning cash back rewards but doesn’t use credit cards, M1 Spend is a great fit. It’s also a great way to earn a high APY on everyday spending.
Although TIAA offers savings and money market accounts, it’s best known for its Yield Pledge Checking Account. TIAA guarantees high interest yields through their Yield Pledge Promise, which ensures they are among the top 5% of competitive accounts.
Opening a Yield Pledge Checking Account does require a $5,000 starting deposit. There are no monthly account fees with TIAA and you get reimbursed for out-of-network ATM fees. First time checking clients with TIAA earn 1.21% APY their first year on balances up to $250K.
10) Capital One 360 Checking
Capital One continues to shine in the banking field with the Capital One 360 Checking Account. This account offers competitive rates and no fees for online or mobile banking.
You can open an account and keep it open for $0. Your first checkbook is free and you can earn up to 1.00% APY. Capital One also provides their customers with access to 39,000 ATMs as well as online bill pay.
Discover is known for their cashback rewards, and that stands true for their checking account, too. Open a Discover Cashback Debit Account and earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases every month.
Additionally, Discover doesn’t charge any fees. You get access to 60,000+ ATMs across the US, and their mobile bill pay feature is perfect for account owners on the go.
High-Rate Checking from Alliant Credit Union is an online checking account that offers up to 0.65% APY. Alliant doesn’t charge any monthly service fees and carries no minimum balance requirements.
Get access to over 80,000 fee-free ATMs in the US plus rebates on out-of-network ATM fees up to $20/month. If you travel internationally, note there is a 1% Visa foreign transaction fee with the Alliant debit card. They also offer online banking and an easy-to-use mobile banking app. Your first box of checks and your debit card are free with Alliant High-Rate Checking.
13) First Tech
Dividend Rewards Checking from First Tech, a federal credit union, is a high-yield checking account that offers up to 2.00% APY up to $15,000. Customers have access to 30,000+ ATMs and 6,000 shared branches across the US.
First Tech also reimburses for out-of-network ATM fees. There’s never a minimum balance with their Dividend Rewards Checking account and it comes with no monthly maintenance fees.
14) Bank5 Connect
Bank5 is another online bank offering high interest rates to customers. Earn up to 0.76% APY with the Connect High-Interest Checking Account. With no monthly maintenance fees and your first order of checks free, it’s hard to go wrong with Bank5.
You’ll only need to make a $10 deposit to open a checking account and a $100 balance to start earning interest. Gain access to free online banking, bill pay, and mobile banking options, too. They offer access to ATMs all over the world and will reimburse up to $15 per statement cycle for out of network ATM fees.
15) Connexus Credit Union
Earn up to 1.75% APY with the Xtraordinary Checking Account from Connexus. In order to earn the high monthly yield, simply have:
- 15 debit card transactions
- 1 direct deposit
- 1 online bill pay
Connexus has no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirement. This credit union also gives you access to 54,000+ fee-free ATMs and $25 monthly ATM rebates on out-of-network ATM fees.
Fidelity is known for its investment accounts, and the Fidelity Cash Management Account is technically a brokerage account…but, it functions like a checking account. The Cash Management Account comes with no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, free mobile check deposit, and online bill pay. They will automatically reimburse for ATM fees nationwide. Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $1.25M.
If you have other accounts through Fidelity, you can access them easily, make transfers, and pay bills all in one spot online.
17) USAA Federal Savings Bank
From USAA comes Classic Checking, an account for military members and their families. Classic Checking has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements.
USAA is open to active military, former military, eligible family members, cadets, and midshipmen. Open an account with only $25 (new recruits don’t need an opening deposit).
Despite being limited to specific people, Classic Checking still offers features like online bill pay, access to Zelle, and a network of 60,000+ fee-free ATMs. They will also reimburse you for up to $15/month for out of network ATM fees.
18) FNBO Direct
Earn 0.65% APY with the Online Checking Account from FNBO Direct. It only takes one dollar to open this high-yield checking account, but you earn interest with a balance as low as one cent.
FNBO doesn’t charge any monthly service fees and offers free access to online banking, bill pay, and account alerts. Account owners can make free person-to-person payments using PopMoney. You’ll also get free incoming wire transfers and access to over 2 million ATMs.
Not all checking accounts are created equal. Whether you open an account at your local bank or choose one of the online checking account options, be sure to find an account that fits your financial needs and makes your money work for you.