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Best Checking Accounts of 2022

Katie Stiner

Checking accounts provide a safe location to keep your money, which you can subsequently use to make purchases or pay bills. We’ve evaluated the best checking accounts 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

What to consider before opening a checking account?

There are several factors to consider before opening a checking account. The first is to consider if a checking account suits you better than a savings account. To do this, see if you are looking to save money or need an account to make purchases.

The next thing to consider is the fees that banks charge for having a checking account. Different banks have different rates and different ways of charging for running a checking account. For example, some banks charge a standard monthly rate for each transaction, while others charge a fee for every check processed through your account.

It is also important for you to look past the promotions on offer by the banks. These promotions are often meant to entice customers but are usually only on for specific periods. Check out the bank’s general practices, conditions and limitations, because these will matter more when the promotions are over.

Finally, check out the other features that each bank offers for their checking account, like debit cards or ATM cards and online banking. This will help you decide which bank to choose.

Why should you have a checking account?

A checking account has so many benefits, the obvious being that it allows you to keep your money safe. Keeping large amounts of cash at home poses a risk of loss from several factors, like robberies, floods, fires, or disasters. Banks have insurance that protects them against any loss.

Another benefit of using a checking account is that you have access to your money anywhere you are. With different options like an ATM card and online banking, besides the cheques issued by the banks, you have various options to access your money from anywhere and at any time.

A checking account also allows you to track your expenses and bill payments. In case of discrepancies in payments, you can easily keep track because every transaction done on your account registers on transaction ledgers, and you get statements. So you have a paper trail for every transaction you make as proof of transaction.

Also, a checking account does not have limits on transactions. While savings accounts limit withdrawals, transfers, or payments, there are no such limits with a checking account.

What are the common checking account fees?

A checking account holder incurs some fees a month on the account. These fees vary in amount and types four different Banks. Here is a list of some common checking account fees.

  • Monthly service fee: this is the most common Bank charge attached to a checking account. It is a fee charged monthly to maintain your account.
  • Overdraft fee: this is the thing you pay if you spend more than you have in your account. Whenever you spend more than you have in your account, it results in a negative balance, and you pay a fee for that. Overdraft fees at the most expensive and common type of fees you can incur on your checking account.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee: you incur this fee when you write a check that bounces because you don’t have sufficient money in your bank account. A bounced check simply means a check returned to you. When this happens, you’ll likely be charged an NSF fee.
  • ATM fee: banks charge a fee for every time you use their ATM. However, if you use an ATM not affiliated with your bank, the ATM operator also charges a fee for using their ATM. This fee is usually higher than that charged by your bank.

How many checking accounts should I have?

There is no limit to the number of checking accounts you can have, and there are several reasons people have multiple checking accounts. However, unless you have a good reason, one checking account is good enough.

One reason you might consider opening multiple checking accounts is the FDIC insurance. This insurance only covers $250,000 per depositor for a bank. That means if you want to deposit an amount of money above this threshold, consider opening another checking account with another bank.

Email also consider opening another checking account if you wish to keep some transactions separate from others. Keeping separate accounts may qualify you for specific parts like loan discounts or higher interest rates on your deposits.

How to choose the best checking account?

Each bank has unique features that they offer as part of their package for opening a checking account. Below is a list of what to consider as you choose the best checking account for you.

  • Fees: This is very important because you will use your checking account for transactions. That means you should expect fees like maintenance fees, out-of-network ATM fees, and overdraft fees. You can, however, look out for banks with the least amounts of charges.
  • Minimums: Some banks require that you open your checking account with a minimum deposit. Some also require that your balance meet a certain minimum to be eligible to earn the APY or avoid paying a monthly maintenance fee. Make sure you can meet the required minimum before you open an account with the bank. You can also choose a bank that operates with no minimum requirements.
  • APY: Some banks do not pay interest on checking accounts. So if you wish to earn interest on your money, lookout for Banks that offer APY on deposits.
  • Customer service: this is very essential for a smooth banking experience. The ease of getting in touch with a customer service representative should an issue pop up is something you should consider when choosing a bank.
  • Digital experience: if you are someone who banks online or via mobile apps often, then it becomes important that you consider a bank with an excellent online presence. Their online and mobile banking technology should be innovative and user-friendly.