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Best High Interest Checking Accounts of 2022

Katie Stiner

A interest bearing checking account can be competitive with a savings account, but with the added benefit of debit card access, check-writing, and daily banking activities. We’ve evaluated the top options on fees, minimums, APY, customer service, digital experience, and overall quality.

Fee-free overdraft up to $200 for eligible members*

$0

Monthly Fee

0%

Est. APY

Overview

Chime will not charge you a monthly fee and does not require a minimum balance to avoid maintenance fees.

What we like

  • No maintenance fees
  • Receive deposits up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit*
  • Easy eligibility and quick application process
  • Send paper checks from mobile app
  • Fee-free overdraft up to $200 for eligible members1

What we don't

  • No physical branches
  • No interest on balance

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

*Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

1Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

Get paid up to 2 days earlier

$0

Monthly Fee

0%

Est. APY

Overview

Current is a financial technology company that provides banking services through Choice Financial Group, a member of the FDIC.

What we like

  • Free overdraft up to $200
  • No hidden fees
  • Fast direct deposits
  • Cashback rewards
  • Easy to use mobile app
  • Get paid up to 2 days earlier

What we don't

  • Savings account APY limited to first $6,000
  • No physical branches

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by and Visa® Debit Card issued by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

Teen accounts do not earn points

The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for Current Interest is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of April 1, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in Savings Pods to earn Current Interest on up to $2000 in deposits per Savings Pod up to $6000 total. Please refer to Current Interest Terms and Conditions

Out of network cash withdrawal fees, third-party, and adding cash fees may apply.

Faster access to funds is based on comparison of traditional banking policies and deposit of paper checks from employers and government agencies versus deposits made electronically. Direct deposit and earlier availability of funds is subject to timing of payer’s submission of deposits.

Please refer to Overdrive™ Features Terms and Conditions.

Earn up to 2% cashback on purchases

$0

Monthly Fee

0%

Est. APY

Overview

The checking account does not charge users any maintenance, ATM, or overdraft fees. Users also earn up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses and 1% on everything else.

What we like

  • No maintenance fee
  • Easy account management
  • Earn up to 2% cashback
  • No ATM fee
  • Free wire transfers (domestic)
  • Mobile deposit

What we don't

  • No interest
  • No physical branches

1There are no account fees, overdraft fees, annual fees, or transfer fees associated with Rewards Checking accounts. Rewards Checking charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. Upgrade will rebate any ATM fee charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month, customers must have (i) an open Rewards Checking account and (ii) either maintained an average daily balance in their account of at least $2,500 in the prior calendar month or made direct deposits into their account totaling at least $1,000 during the prior calendar month. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for up to the first 2 calendar months after account opening regardless of account activity. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

2Rewards Checking customers earn 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars - including deliveries - and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card charges. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers earn 1% cash back on all eligible debit card charges for the remainder of the year. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

3Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Rewards Checking services provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Upgrade VISA® Debit Cards issued by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Personal Loans made by Upgrade's bank partners. Personal Credit Lines are issued by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. The Upgrade Card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

Socially-conscious and sustainable financial services

$0 - $7.99

Monthly Fee

3.00%

Est. APY

Overview

Aspiration guarantees that none of the funds is ever used to fund fossil fuel projects or non-environmentally friendly projects. Aspiration’s acute focus on environmentally friendly practices will align with your views if you are environmentally conscious.

What we like

  • Funds socially responsible projects
  • No hidden fees
  • Up to 5% cashback on select merchants
  • User friendly mobile app
  • High APY

What we don't

  • $1000/m spend required to get APY
  • Cashback limited to few merchants

Extensive branch and ATM access throughout the nation

$0 - $12

Monthly Fee

0%

Est. APY

Overview

Chase provides you with an easy-to-use online banking and mobile app service to help you manage your account day-to-day. In addition, with branches across the U.S., you can receive personalized support at a location convenient for you.

What we like

  • Extensive branch and ATM network
  • Online banking and mobile app services
  • $0 minimum deposit requirement
  • $12 monthly fee can be waived
  • Send and receive money with Zelle

What we don't

  • No ATM fee reimbursements
  • Overdraft and insufficient funds fee

Full service online banking

$0

Monthly Fee

1.25%

Est. APY

Overview

This checking account is great because you won't have to worry about paying monthly fees if your balance goes to $0. Not only that, Axos Bank reimburses fees charged by domestics ATMs. When opening an account, you only need to deposit $50 to open it but it can be removed without any issues and fees. To get the high APY, you need to deposit $1000+ monthly and make 15 debit card transactions a month.

What we like

  • No monthly service fee
  • No minimum deposit for no fee
  • Competitive interest rate
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements
  • Full service online banking

What we don't

  • No physical branches
  • Conditions to qualify for higher APY

No monthly service and maintenance fees

$0

Monthly Fee

1.10%

Est. APY

Overview

Quontic helps maximize your savings, while managing everyday finances, by paying a high rate on your entire account balance. To qualify for the interest rate, you have to make a minimum of 10 qualifying point of sale debit card transactions that are at least $10 each, per statement cycle

What we like

  • No monthly service fee
  • No minimum deposit for no fee
  • High interest rate
  • Expansive no-fee ATM network
  • Full service online banking

What we don't

  • Minimum deposit of $100 to open account
  • Condition to qualify for interest

Why choose a high interest checking account?

There are many reasons why you might want to consider opening a high interest checking account instead of sticking with your current bank’s offering. Here are some of the most common:

  • Profit: The primary reason to open this bank account is its interest rate. An interest bearing checking account usually offers far better rates than your traditional bank account.
  • Flexibility: These accounts are typically more flexible than other higher rate investments. You can add money and usually withdraw it without penalty.
  • Low or no fees: This account will most likely have no monthly fees. If there is a fee, it can be avoided by meeting certain conditions, such as maintaining a minimum balance.
  • Security: High-interest checking accounts are safe because the FDIC insures them for up to $250,000 per depositor. This means if the bank fails, you will not lose your money based on insured amount.

What do you need to open a high interest checking account?

Opening an account isn’t a complex process. It doesn’t take long and can be done online or in-person at most banks or credit unions. You will need some basic information to open an account. Here are some of the documents you might need:

  • Social Security number: Banks use this to confirm your identity during secutiy check, and it allows them to run a credit check on you.
  • Valid ID (driver’s license, state ID card): Some banks require two forms of ID — one must be a photo ID and the other can be a passport. Sometimes a credit card can also be eligible.
  • An initial deposit: Most banks require an initial deposit in order to open a new checking account. The amount you need to deposit depends on the type of account you are opening and your banking history.

How does a high interest checking account work?

The interest on a checking account is usually compounded monthly, similar to savings and money market account. The interest rate of these accounts can be variable or fixed, and you don’t always pay fees on these accounts.

The bank usually requires that you deposit money directly into your account each month or conduct a certain number of transactions by debit card each month. In some cases, you must make ten debit card purchases every month to keep earn the high APY. If you don’t meet these requirements, you won’t receive the advertised APY for the following month.

How often do high interest checking account rates change?

Rates can be changed with most banks, but there are limits to how often they can change. The most common interest rate change schedules are:

  • Eight times a year: If your interest rate is based on the Federal Funds Rate, it can change every time the Fed raises or lowers that rate. The Fed meets eight times per year to discuss interest rates and sometimes makes changes then. It also occasionally makes changes between meetings due to unforeseen economic conditions.
  • Annually: Many banks adjust interest rates once a year, typically in January or February. They’ll publish a new rate for all accounts during this time. Depending on the bank, the rate may be fixed for a certain number of months or years before changing again.
  • Semi-annually: Other banks adjust their interest rates in June and December twice a year. This is usually done with bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), and other savings products that have fixed terms of six months or more. But it can also apply to checking accounts if the bank uses this schedule to make adjustments to many of its products simultaneously.
  • Quarterly: Your high-yield checking account’s interest rate could change quarterly. However, the rate won’t change if you maintain the minimum balance or direct deposit into the account. Be sure to ask your bank about any fees or requirements.
  • Monthly: Some banks will change their rates monthly based on the national interest rate set by the Federal Reserve. If the Federal Reserve raises or lowers its interest rate, your bank may lower or raise its rates accordingly.

What are the standard checking account fees?

You should be aware of these standard charges:

  • Overdraft fee: When you spend more than you have in your account, the bank covers the difference (although some banks will reject a transaction if you don’t have enough money in your account). That’s convenient, but it comes at a price. Overdraft fees can be as large as $35 per transaction and there is no limit on how many overdraft fees a bank can charge in a day.
  • Minimum balance fee: Some banks charge monthly or quarterly fees for maintaining a certain balance — usually about $1,000 — in your checking account. If you fail to meet that minimum, the bank charges you a fee.
  • Paper statement fee: Paper statements cost money to print and mail, so some banks charge for them. If you want to avoid this fee, consider opting for electronic statements. You’ll not only save money but also do your part to help save the environment
  • Foreign transaction fee: If you use an ATM out of network or pay with your debit card while traveling abroad, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee. These usually range between 1% and 3% and are charged in addition to any ATM withdrawal fees that apply.
  • Account closure fee: If you close your account within a certain timeframe, usually between 90 and 180 days, you might have to pay this fee. The precise length of the period varies from bank to bank, as does the amount of the fee.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee: You’ll pay this fee when you attempt to spend more than you have in your account or overdraw it by writing a check. Expect to pay a flat fee per transaction, which is often around $35, though it can be higher depending on your bank.

How to choose the best high interest checking accounts

High-interest checking accounts are an attractive option because it is much more versatile than a money market account or certificate of deposit. But there are some factors to watch out for when choosing an account:

  • Aim for high interest: Ideally, you want your high interest checking account to have a rate that’s significantly higher than the average interest rate in the market.
  • Scrutinize overdraft options: If you bounce a check with this account, you can expect a fee that’s even higher than your bank would normally charge. Some banks will also charge additional fees if you overdraw your account by using an ATM or debit card. Try to avoid overdrafts altogether, but if you do have them, make sure you’re prepared for any extra charges that come with them.
  • Look out for fees: Some high interest checking accounts come with monthly service fees unless you meet certain requirements. Typically, you need to keep a minimum balance in the account at all times or make a minimum number of direct deposits each month.