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Axos Bank Essential Checking account

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It’s free to maintain and you won’t be dinged for overdrafts.

finder.com’s rating: 5.0 / 5.0


Axos Bank’s no-frills Essential Checking account features fully reimbursed domestic ATM transactions and no maintenance fees, but it doesn’t earn interest over time.


Monthly fee


Minimum deposit to open


Monthly fee$0
Minimum deposit to open$0
ATMsATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
ATM transaction fee$0
ATM fee rebatesUnlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
Overdraft fee$0
Nonsufficient funds fee$0

Expert review

Amy Stoltenberg

Review by

Amy Stoltenberg writes about lifestyle and money for finder.com, researching the best options for shopping, banking, insurance and authentic travel experiences. After studying writing and fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked designing apparel at a corporate behemoth before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop’s closed, she can be found wandering the streets looking for happy hour and hole-in-the-wall eateries.

Expert review

Axos Bank’s Essential Checking account is best for those looking for a no-fee account. It’s no monthly fees and no minimum requirements can help keep your hard-earned money with you.

But the account is handled entirely online and there’s no in-person help.

What are the benefits of a checking account with Axos Bank?

All of Axos Bank’s checking accounts are completely fee-free. You’ll get 24/7 access to its suite of digital banking tools like mobile deposit, online bill bay and a No-Hassle Switch Kit so you can seamlessly transfer funds from another account.

Stand-out features of the Axos Bank Essential Checking account include:

  • No minimum monthly balance required. Don’t worry about getting dinged when you’re running low on cash.
  • No initial deposit amount. You can open an account with just a dollar.
  • No overdraft fees. You won’t pay any overdraft fees with this account.
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursement. Axos Bank doesn’t have its own ATMs, so it will reimburse you for all fees associated with using other domestic machines.

What should I look out for?

Keep an eye out for these potential drawbacks when opening an Essential Checking account with Axos:

  • It doesn’t earn interest. Essential Checking is Axos Bank’s lowest tier option for adults and offers no APY to help grow latent cash over time.
  • Cash deposits are discouraged. It asks clients not to send cash deposits. If you do, it isn’t liable for lost or stolen money.
  • No in-person help. Axos bank is entirely online, so you’ll need to be comfortable calling customer service to work out issues or ask questions.

If you want an account at a bank with branches, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a checking account.

Axos Bank’s ATM network and fees

When you open an Essential Checking account, you’ll receive a debit card. And though Axos doesn’t have any physical locations, you can use any ATM in the US and get all fees reimbursed.

Axos Bank offers a completely digital experience. As such, its fee structure is almost nonexistent because overhead costs are low. You can make deposits online for free 24/7 and set up automatic bill pay at no extra cost.

Compare with other checking accounts

Name Product APY ATMs Fee
M&T Bank EZChoice Checking
Over 1,500 M&T Bank ATMs
Get $150 if you open an EZChoice M&T checking account by March 2, 2020, and make qualifying direct deposits totaling at least $500 within 90 days of account opening.
M&T Bank MyChoice Premium Checking
M&T Bank MyChoice Premium Checking
0.05% on balances of $100,000+
0.03% on balances of $50,000 to $99,999.99
0.01% on balances of $1 to $49,999.99
Over 1,500 free M&T Bank ATMs and up to $2 rebates when using all other ATMs
(can be waived)
Get up to $250 if you open a MyChoice Premium M&T checking account by March 2, 2020, and make qualifying direct deposits totaling at least $500 within 90 days of account opening.
Chase Sapphire Checking
Free to use anywhere worldwide
(can be waived)
Get a $1000 welcome bonus when you join Sapphire Banking by March 06, 2020. Within 45 days of joining, transfer a total of $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts (excludes any J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs), and maintain the balance for at least 90 days.
BBVA Online Checking
No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
1.25% on balances of $0+ with $1,000+ in direct deposits, 10 $3+ debit card transactions and 5 additional account transactions per month
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
Earn up to 1.25% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.
Axos Bank Essential Checking
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do I open an Essential Checking account?

If the Essential Checking account appeals to you, take the following steps:

  1. Go to the Axos website and click Personal in the top right corner.
  2. The landing page will suggest its Essential Checking account right away. Click Open an Account.
  3. Indicate whether you’re a new customer, existing customer or a returning applicant.
  4. If it’s your first time, you’ll create an account to get the process rolling. Input details like your name and contact info, then hit Start Application.
  5. Choose what account type you’re interested in.
  6. Next, either upload a photo of your ID for quick and automatic data entry or manually fill it out.

After Axos receives your Social Security information and birth date, you’ll submit the application.

Required information

Here’s what you’ll need to keep nearby when applying:

  • Social Security number
  • Valid US ID like a driver’s license or state ID
  • Valid US address, but not a P.O. box


To qualify for an account, you must be a US citizen or resident alien 18 years or older. Also, you must use the Essential Checking account for personal use — it’s not meant for business.

How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

Deposit cash into your Axos Bank Essential Checking account by:

  • Direct deposit. Set up automatic transfers from your employer.
  • Mobile. Download the Axos Bank for Nationwide app and snap a pic of your check to deposit money directly into your account.
  • Online. Take a picture of a check and upload it to your account through a laptop or home computer.
  • Cash transfer. Visit a qualifying partner store and ask them to load the cash into your account at the register.
  • Bank-to-bank transfer. ACH funding lets you move money electronically from another bank account.

Withdraw cash at any domestic ATM. All you need is your Axos Bank Nationwide debit card.

  • Use a domestic ATM
  • Cash a check via mobile deposit
  • Set up direct deposits
  • Bank-to-bank transfer

What other checking options does Axos Bank offer?

If you’re curious about other options, Axos Bank offers:

  • First checking. A starter account for those ages 13 to 17. It only earns 0.25% per month and comes with daily transaction limits to help teach financial responsibility.
  • Rewards checking. This account comes with a 1.25% interest rate.
  • CashBack checking. Get 1% cash back on eligible purchases by maintaining a monthly balance of at least $1,500.
  • Golden checking. Designed for individuals 55 and over, there’s a 0.2% APY, but domestic ATM fees are only reimbursed for $8 a month.
  • High yield savings. A debit card is available upon request. Earn an APY of 1.3%.
  • High Yield Money Market. Write checks and request a debit card, plus earn a 1.05% APY.

Frequently asked questions.

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

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