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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 account might be right for you if you’re looking for a free account that offers more than just the basics. It has a low minimum opening deposit, no monthly service fees and free access to a large network of Allpoint ATMs.

$0

Monthly fee

0%

APY

$25

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Monthly fee$0
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

Expert review

Kevin Joey Chen

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, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and expertly navigate the cutting-edge financial tools available -- 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 want a standard product. It offers easy online and mobile access along with free ATM use at over 1,000 ATMs across the country.

However, this bank doesn’t have nearly as many domestic ATMs as larger banks and only has branches in seven states, which could limit your banking opportunities.

What are the benefits of BBVA Free Checking?

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

  • No fees at BBVA ATMs. You won’t be charged any ATM fees when using BBVA ATMs.
  • Add a savings account. When you open your checking account, consider adding a BBVA Online Savings Account as well. It costs $15 per quarter and garners a 0.05% APY, though you can qualify to have the fee waived.
  • Get a Visa debit card. Personalize your Visa with your own image and use it to earn cash back at specified retailers.
  • Convenient checking account perks. Set text-message alerts for your checking account, receive online statements and write unlimited checks — all for free.
  • BBVA ClearBenefits. BBVA members can enroll in this program to get access to perks like roadside assistance, identity theft protection, cell phone protection and more.

BBVA ATM network and fees

This account comes with a Visa debit card, allowing you to make purchases almost anywhere. Plus, you’ll get access to a network of domestic ATMs.

  • Use any of the 1,000 BBVA ATMs in the US for free.
  • For a $5 add-on charge per month, BBVA will waive their out-of-network ATM fees 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:

  • Not as many ATMs as other banks. Larger banks have more ATMs than you’ll find with BBVA — and you’ll pay a fee each time you use an ATM out of network.
  • High service fees. BBVA charges a $38 NSF fee, $32 overdraft fee, $12 inter-account transfer fee to cover overdrafts and more.
  • Limited branches. BBVA only has branches in seven states, so if you live outside this service area, you won’t be able to get face-to-face customer service.
  • No interest. Some checking accounts pay interest on the daily balance, but this one does not.

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.

Compare with other checking accounts

Name Product APY ATMs Fee
M&T Bank EZChoice Checking
Over 1,500 M&T Bank ATMs
$0
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
$24.95/month
(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
0.01%
Free to use anywhere worldwide
$25/month
(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
$0
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
$0
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
$0
No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do I apply?

You can open the BBVA Free Checking account online, by phone or at a branch:

Online

  1. Visit the BBVA website and click Checking.
  2. Scroll down to Free Checking and click Apply Now.
  3. Enter your personal information, then proceed to the next step.
  4. Decide whether you’d like to open a BBVA Online Savings account or just fund this account.
  5. Review and confirm all details.

Eligibility

In order to open this account, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements:

  • Social Security number or tax ID number
  • Government-issued ID
  • 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
  • Contact information (phone and email)
  • Employment information

What other checking options does BBVA offer?

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

  • Premium Checking. A high-interest checking account that offers all of the standard BBVA perks and earns up to 0.50% interest while your money sits in the account.
  • Online Checking. A simple checking account that’s designed to help you move your finances in the right direction.

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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