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BBVA Free Checking review

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A full-service checking account without the monthly service fees.

finder.com’s rating: 3.3 / 5.0

★★★★★

The BBVA Free Checking has a low minimum opening deposit and no monthly service fees, but it’s only available in seven states, and you’ll pay fees if you use an ATM that isn’t owned by BBVA.

$0 per month

Fee

N/A

APY

$25

Minimum deposit to open

Details

APYN/A
Fee$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open$25
ATMs1,000 fee-free ATMs across the country
ATM transaction fee$0
ATM fee rebatesFor $5 a month, you can get up to four ATM fee rebates
Out-of-network ATM fee$3
Foreign transaction fee3%
Overdraft fee$32
Nonsufficient funds fee$38
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Review by


Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

The BBVA Free Checking account is best for those who live near a BBVA branch and only have basic needs. It offers online and mobile access along with free ATM use at more than 1,500 ATMs.

However, this account is only available in seven states, and you’ll face fees if you use any ATM that BBVA doesn’t own. Plus, BBVA charges above-average fees for most penalties and optional services. If you’re looking for a bank with a larger ATM network and more free perks, it won’t take much effort to find one. For instance, Axos Bank offers three free checking accounts that include unlimited ATM fee reimbursements among other benefits.

How do I open a BBVA Free Checking account?

You can open the BBVA Free Checking at a branch, over the phone or online by following these steps.

  1. Click Apply now.
  2. From the navigation menu on BBVA website, select Checking.
  3. Choose your state from the drop-down menu.
  4. Under Free checking, select Open now.
  5. Enter your personal information and employment details.
  6. Decide whether you’d like to open a BBVA Online Savings account or just fund this account.
  7. Select Continue, then make your first deposit of $25 or more using a debit card, credit card or existing bank account.
  8. Review and confirm all details.

Eligibility

If you’re not a US citizen, you may be able to open an account by visiting a BBVA branch. Otherwise, you can open an account online if you meet the following requirements.

  • US citizen
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Valid address
  • $25 minimum deposit

Required information

However you decide to apply for an account, you’ll be asked for the following information:

  • Name, date of birth and address
  • Social Security number or tax ID number
  • Government-issued ID number
  • Phone number and email address
  • Employment information

Compare BBVA Free Checking to similar accounts

We’ve gathered a quick comparison of BBVA Free Checking and similar accounts to help you decide which is the best fit for you. Click “Compare accounts” to compare even more checking accounts.

HSBC Premier Checking

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 2.7 / 5

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Fee

$50 per month

APY

0.01% on balances of $5+

Minimum deposit to open

$1

ATM network

Free to use at all ATMs in the US

What are the benefits of a BBVA Free Checking account?

Aside from being a free and secure checking account with no monthly fees, the BBVA Free Checking account offers these benefits:

  • No monthly fee. There’s no monthly Service Charge for this account and no minimum balance to maintain.
  • BBVA ClearBenefits. For $4 per month, BBVA members can enroll in this program to get access to perks such as roadside assistance, identity theft protection, cell phone protection and more.

    BBVA ATM network and fees

    You can only use the Visa debit card that comes with this account at roughly 1,500 BBVA ATMs without paying fees.

    • For an extra $5 per month, BBVA will waive out-of-network ATM fees it usually charges, and you’ll receive up to four rebates per statement cycle to put toward other bank’s ATM fees.
    • You’ll be charged 1% of each transaction when you use an ATM outside the US.
    • You’ll be charged 3% of each transaction when you use your card outside of the US.

    What should I look out for?

    While you won’t need to jump through hoops to avoid monthly fees with this account, there are a few things to look out for.

    • Only available in seven states. You can only open this account if you live in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico or Texas. Those are also the only states with BBVA branches and ATMs.
    • Limited ATM access. Although some of BBVA’s other checking accounts include free access to the 55,000 ATMs in the Allpoint network, this account only lets you withdraw funds for free from the roughly 1,500 BBVA-branded ATMs.
    • No free ATM reimbursements. Some other free checking accounts, including Axos Bank’s Rewards Checking, include unlimited out-of-network ATM reimbursements, but this account doesn’t include any.
    • Some high service fees. BBVA charges a $38 NSF fee, $32 overdraft fee, $12 inter-account transfer fee to cover overdrafts and more. And if you close your account within 180 days of opening it, you’ll face a $25 fee.

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

    How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

    There are several ways to move money into and out of your BBVA Free Checking account.

    Deposit

    • Branches. Deposit cash or checks at any BBVA branch.
    • ATMs. Deposit cash or checks at BBVA ATMs.
    • Mobile deposit. Use your smartphone’s camera and BBVA’s app to deposit checks from anywhere.
    • Incoming ACH transfer. Link an external bank account and transfer funds via BBVA’s website or app.
    • Incoming wire transfer. Accept incoming wire transfers for $15 apiece.

    Withdraw

    • Branches. Withdraw funds from your account at any BBVA branch location.
    • ATMs. Access your funds from ATM, but you’ll pay a fee if it’s not owned by BBVA.
    • Checks. Write checks from your account, but the checks aren’t free.
    • Outgoing ACH transfer. Send funds to an external bank account from BBVA’s website or app.
    • Outgoing wire transfer. Initiate a domestic wire transfer for $30 or an international wire transfer for $45.

    What other checking options does BBVA offer?

    Beyond the BBVA Free Checking account, BBVA offers a three other checking accounts:

    • Premium Checking. An interest-bearing checking account that offers 0.01% APY, two ATM fee rebates per month and free access to Allpoint’s nationwide ATM network. There’s a $19 monthly Service Charge that can be waived if you receive at least $4,000 in monthly direct deposits or maintain an average daily balance of $4,000 or more.
    • BBVA Online Checking. An online-only checking account that includes bill pay, cash-back rewards and access to Allpoint’s ATM network. There’s a $3 monthly Service Charge, but you can avoid it by opting out of paper statements.
    • Convenience Checking. A relatively basic checking account that includes one out-of-network ATM fee rebate per month, plus free access to Allpoint’s nationwide ATM network. There’s a $9 monthly Service Charge that you can avoid by receiving at least $500 in direct deposit per month or maintaining an average daily balance of $1,500 or more.

    How to contact BBVA customer service

    You can contact BBVA’s customer support department in two ways.

    • Visit a branch
    • Call 844.228.2872 on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT or on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. CT.

    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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