Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Choose a bank account type
- 1.60% APY
- No monthly fees
- No minimum balances to open
Editor's pick: Barclays Online Savings
Earn 20x the national savings account average with no fees or minimums.
- Tools to help you save
- Secure, 24/7 online access to your funds
There are many different types of bank accounts out there to choose from. Deciding on which account you need depends on your financial goals. Broken down to its fundamental level, your goal is to either spend, save or do both. We’ve researched and reviewed over 100 bank accounts to help you compare what’s out there and what type of account is best for your financial lifestyle and goals.
Compare popular bank accounts by type
Money market accounts
What’s a bank account?
A bank account helps you save for the future, pay bills, spend conveniently, transfer money where you need it and get cash when you want it. Financial institutions offer bank accounts to give you a secure location to hold your money.
The benefits of owning a bank account
Having a bank account can help you manage your everyday finances and keep track of your money. Benefits of owning one are:
- A convenient way to organize your money. For example, paying bills, receiving your income, paying for goods and services or sending money to someone else.
- A safe place to keep your money. This is especially helpful during uncertain economic climates — the FDIC offers a guarantee on deposits of up to $250,000 per person, per institution.
- A place that records your transactions. When applying for a loan, lenders can refer to your transaction records to assess how well you can save money. You can also see where you’re spending most of your income.
- A place to build your assets. Money held in your transaction account is easy to access — by linking it to a savings account, you can also earn interest.
What are the risks?
- Choosing the wrong type of account. Each type of account serves a very specific purpose. Not choosing the right one could result in paying unnecessary fees or penalty charges.
- Not having the right features. Look closely at each account to ensure that it has the features you need to make your banking needs easier.
Different types of bank accounts
Let’s have a look at the different bank account profiles below to see where you fit:
Basic checking account
A checking account is a place where you can keep your money safe and accessible:
- Low fees. Low and no-fee checking accounts are plentiful, with maintenance fees that typically range from $5 to $20 monthly.
- Debit card. Most checking accounts come with debit cards, allowing you to withdraw cash from ATMs.
- Banking essentials. With a basic checking account, you can pay bills, transfer funds and make online and in-store purchases.
- Noninterest bearing. While offering access to the essentials, basic checking accounts don’t earn interest.
Interest bearing checking account
- Earns interest. While it’s often not much, interest-bearing checking accounts offer the potential to earn interest.
- Minimum balance requirement. Many interest-bearing checking accounts have minimum balance requirements for earning interest.
- Higher fees. Expect higher fees than basic checking and potential penalties if account minimums aren’t met.
These accounts can help you earn interest on money you’re saving for the future:
- High interest rate. Rates vary by account and provider, with some of the best yields offered by digital banks.
- Low fees. Many providers offer savings accounts with no monthly maintenance fees.
- Low opening deposit. Many savings accounts can be opened for free with low or no minimum opening deposits.
- Limited transactions. Savings accounts are limited to six withdrawals monthly and many providers charge penalty fees for excessive transactions.
Money Market Account
Money market accounts are similar to savings and checking accounts in that they will earn you money on interest over time:
- High interest rate. Money market accounts typically pay out higher interest rates than basic savings accounts.
- High minimum balance requirement. To access higher rates, be prepared for account minimums that typically start between $2,500 to $10,000.
- Check-writing privileges. Many money market accounts come with check-writing privileges.
- Limited transactions. Like savings accounts, money market accounts are limited to six transactions monthly.
Certificate of Deposit (CD)
These short-term investments help your money build interest over a set term:
- Fixed terms. When you open a CD, you agree to keep the money in the account for a set term — typically from a few months to several years.
- Guaranteed savings. Because CDs have fixed rates, you’re given a guaranteed return on your investment.
- Minimum deposit. Minimum deposit requirements for CDs tend to fall between $500 to $1,000.
- Early withdrawal penalty. If you need to access your cash before your CD term is up, be prepared for an early withdrawal fee.
What’s the difference between bank account types?
Paying bills or building your nest egg?
Fund management designed specifically for your smartphone.
Compare savings options, interest rates and balance requirements.
The key differences and how they can affect your ability to save.
The right choice depends on how often you use it and whether you want to earn interest.
Things to consider when choosing a bank account
- What are your goals? Do you want to build, manage or use wealth? If you’re building your wealth, you’ll want an account that restricts the way you spend and helps you save. If you’re managing your wealth, you’ll want an account that offers budgeting tools. And if you’re using wealth, you’ll want a transaction account designed to meet your everyday banking needs.
- Is there a fee involved? Bank account fees include overdraft, ATM, daily balance, paper statement, and monthly maintenance fees. While there are free bank accounts out there, they’re not usually 100% free. Free bank accounts usually don’t have a monthly maintenance fee. Look for accounts with $0 monthly fees or ones that are easy to waive.
- Is there a minimum balance requirement? Some accounts come with minimum opening deposit requirements. Depending on how much money you want to keep in your account will help you determine which bank account you’ll want to open.
- Does it earn interest? Although savings accounts are a popular choice to grow your money, there are checking accounts that earn interest. If you want an account that grows your money, you’ll want to compare the the interest rate. Compare the APY and how it’s compounded to decide which account is right for you.
- Are your banking needs being met? Everyone has unique banking needs. Some prefer convenience and flexibility, while others want to earn points on their purchases. If you’re unhappy with your current bank account, you can always switch to a new one. Review your needs regularly to see if your bank account still meets yours. The best bank account will help you manage your finances efficiently and reach your savings goals. Back to top
- Take advantage of cash back opportunities. If you’re paying for purchases using your debit card, ask for cash out at the same time rather than withdrawing at an ATM. This counts as one transaction, not two, and lets you avoid any potential ATM fees.
- Monitor your transaction history. If your account has a limit on the number of transactions you can make each month before fees apply, monitor your account regularly and try to work out ways to minimize your transactions where possible
- Bank securely with credit. When you make a purchase, should you choose debit or credit? By choosing credit, you’ll be activating enhanced security or the complimentary insurance policies offered on your card.
- Find ways to waive fees. If you’re currently paying a monthly account-keeping fee on your account, ask your bank what options you have for getting that fee waived. They may suggest opening a savings account, signing up for direct deposit or maintaining a minimum balance to get rid of that fee. They may also suggest a different transaction account that could end up suiting your needs better in the long run.
Just some of the brands we compare
Click any company logo below to compare more bank accounts from that brand.
How many bank accounts should I have?
The amount of bank accounts you open depends on your personal financial goals. Most people typically have two accounts — a checking and a savings account. If you’re starting out with your first bank account, you’ll want to open up a checking account. And once you’re ready to start saving, you can open up a savings account. As your savings start to increase, most people tend to look into other types of accounts, such as CDs. And if you’re looking for a hybrid between a checking and savings account, you can consider a money market account or an interest-bearing checking account.
How do I open and close a bank account?
Skip waiting at the bank branch.
Close your account and find a bank that meets your needs.
Joint accounts are best for people who are working towards a similar financial goal together.
Quick tips for using everyday bank accounts
Using your bank account for international transactions
Is it possible to reverse a foreign exchange transaction on my transaction account? You will need the help of your bank in most circumstances, but if you have the supporting documentation then you should be able to reverse a foreign exchange transaction.
Is it possible to cash out an international check? Yes, some US financial institutions will accept an international check deposit, although the funds could take longer to clear and you may be charged international transaction fees.
Do foreign banks charge a fee to receive an international money transfer? Yes, there are foreign banks who will charge your recipient upon receiving funds from an international money transfer. Remember to take into account exchange rates and recipient fees.
Having problems with your bank account?
Commonly asked questions about bank accounts
Read more on this topic
Best banks and credit unions in California We’ve rounded up the best five places to store your money as a California resident.
What is an ACH transfer? What to expect when you transfer money to a bank account through an ACH transfer
Explore Aspiration's suite of accounts Aspiration Bank gives you control over your monthly fees with 1% APY on savings.
Explore Community First Credit Union’s suite of bank accounts Community First Credit Union offers big-bank account features to a limited Northeast Florida membership.
Compare CD vs. savings account Compare pros, cons, interest rates, features, fees and more.
Compare CD vs. bond Explore the differences between CDs and bonds to learn which is right for you.
Explore Mutual of Omaha Bank’s suite of accounts Full line of banking and investing options, but limited physical locations
Explore Commerce Bank’s suite of bank accounts Explore this regional bank’s pros, cons and account options.
Explore Golden 1 Credit Union's suite of bank accounts Features a comprehensive list of checking and savings accounts to California residents.
Explore Alaska USA Federal Credit Union’s suite of bank accounts Offers 24/7 customer support and a suite of accounts to four states.
Ask an Expert