Best Rewards Checking Accounts of 2022

Katie Stiner

Rewards checking accounts should offer an attractive sign-up bonus, cashback, or a competitive interest rate. To help you with this process, we’ve evaluated the top options on fees, minimums, APY, customer service, digital experience, and overall quality.

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

Get paid up to 2 days earlier

$0

Monthly Fee

4.00%

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

What we don't

  • APY limited to first $6,000 only
  • 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.

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

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

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

Keep track of spending while earning cashback rewards

$0

Monthly Fee

1.25%

Est. APY

Overview

SoFi Checking and Savings allows you to simplify your banking, pay bills and earn interest. You can earn the APY on your entire account balance if you deposit at least $500 a month in your account.

What we like

  • Track your spending in the app
  • Paid up to 2 days earlier
  • Cashback rewards
  • No monthly fees
  • High APY

What we don't

  • Withdrawal limits
  • No cash deposits

Why should you open a rewards checking account?

The goal of rewards checking account is to get you to earn the most you can for your money. Here are just a few benefits that are unique to rewards checking accounts and why you should consider opening one:

  • High-interest rates (High APY): Many rewards checking accounts offer high interest rates. These rates are higher than you’d typically earn with a traditional checking account.
  • No monthly fees: Many banks charge customers hefty monthly fees on their bank accounts if they don’t meet certain requirements, such as maintaining a minimum balance or making a certain number of debit transactions per month. Rewards checking accounts usually don’t have these requirements, so there’s little risk of paying any monthly fees on your account.
  • No fees on ATM withdrawals: Another perk of rewards checking accounts is that they sometimes reimburse ATM fees. If you need to withdraw money from an ATM outside your bank’s network, you won’t pay any extra fees. However, this benefit doesn’t apply to all rewards checking accounts, so check with your bank before assuming that this applies in your case.
  • Cashback rewards: You can earn 1% or more in cashback rewards on debit cards purchases when you meet certain requirements. At the very least, you’ll need to make a certain number of card purchases every month. You may also be required to have at least one direct deposit or automatic payment per month and receive electronic statements.
  • Sign-up bonus: Sometimes a financial institution will offer a welcome bonus with cash deposited in your account after you meet certain criteria. Check with your bank on what’s required.

How do rewards checking accounts work?

These types of checking accounts offer customers an attractive sign-up bonus, a competitive interest rate, or cashback by using the debit card linked to the account. As long as you meet certain criteria, such as spending a certain amount or making a certain number of purchases each month, you’ll earn cashback.

Rewards checking accounts generally require you to perform several monthly transactions to qualify for the highest interest rate and ATM fees reimbursement. You might have to make ten or more debit card purchases per month or use your debit card at least once every three days. If you don’t meet these requirements, your account will earn a lower or no interest. Some banks offer lower rewards depending on how many transactions you make, while others exclude your account from earning any rewards for the month when you don’t meet the requirements.

Some banks require a direct deposit to your checking account to qualify for maximum interest earnings, but this is not always the case.

What do you need to open a rewards checking account?

Here’s how you can open one of these accounts and what documents you need:

  • Minimum deposit: Many banks ask that you make a minimum deposit when you open your account. Some banks may ask you to set up direct deposit to waive the minimum deposit requirement.
  • ID and Social Security number: You’ll have to provide personal information. You’ll typically need to present one form of government-issued photo ID, like a driver’s license or passport, and your Social Security number.
  • Two forms of contact information: Banks will often ask for your phone number to reach you in case of suspicious activity or problems with your account. They may also ask for an email address, so they can contact you with updates about your account or notify you if your balance is running low.

Many banks now allow prospective customers the option of opening an account online. In these cases, banks typically request that applicants upload images or scanned copies of their identification cards and other required documents, so bank employees can review them. Once approved, you can usually access the new account immediately.

What are the common rewards checking account fees?

There are a few fees that you may want to be aware of before opening an account:

  • Minimum balance fee: Many accounts charge a monthly fee if you fail to maintain the minimum balance. The minimum balance could range from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the bank and program. If you know that you rarely carry much money in your account, find out if there’s a minimum balance requirement.
  • Overdraft fee: If you overdraw your account, you may be charged an overdraft fee. Some institutions charge this fee every day until the amount is paid off. You can opt-out of overdraft protection and prevent this specific fee.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF): If your institution doesn’t cover the cost of an item (through an overdraft), you may be charged an NSF fee. Some institutions also charge a fee if they decline to pay for an item because you’ve exceeded your limit or have already reached your monthly limit on overdrafts.
  • ATM fee: If you use an out-of-network ATM, the bank that owns that ATM may charge you a fee for using it. In addition, your financial institution may also charge you. Some rewards checking accounts waive this fee, but others don’t. Be sure to check first if this is important to you.
  • Paper statement fee: Most banks want to save money by sending account statements electronically and not mailing paper statements. If you want paper statements, some banks will charge you a fee. Electronic statements are free, so if cost is an issue, it’s best to accept those instead of paying for paper copies.

How to choose the best rewards checking account

Here are some things to consider when choosing a rewards checking account:

  • Withdrawals: While they may be the checking account will more likely be FDIC insured, this doesn’t guarantee access to your money when you need it. It’s important to know the withdrawal policy of any account before you open it. Some have restrictions on how many withdrawals you can make each month.
  • Fees: Rewards checking accounts often have no monthly fees, but some may charge for account maintenance or other services. Look for an account that doesn’t charge monthly fees or if there is a fee, make sure you can easily avoid it.
  • Interest rates: If you’re going to put your money in a high-yield checking account, make sure the interest rate is competitive compared to similar accounts.
  • Online banking features: Many banks allow you to view your accounts online or through an app. You should make sure that the bank’s online system offers all the tools you need to manage your finances easily. Some banks offer mobile deposits and other features that might appeal to you.
  • Minimum balance requirements: Many banks require minimum opening deposits and balance requirements, which vary widely from bank to bank. Make sure you know what to expect before opening your account. If possible, choose a bank with no minimum balance requirements, so you won’t be penalized if your balance falls below a certain amount.