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Best checking accounts of 2022
Our top nine picks for high rates, minimal fees, ATM access and more.
This article was reviewed by Marguerita Cheng, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning advocate for ethical financial planning for over 20 years.
The best checking accounts offer convenience, rewards and low fees. But finding a checking account that fits your lifestyle comes down to identifying which features matter the most to you. To bring you the cream of the crop, we assessed more than 165 checking accounts and compared factors such as fees, interest rates, ATM access, account minimums and unique features.
What’s changed in 2021?
We added Ally Bank Interest Checking as the best free checking account because it has no monthly fees, a $0 opening deposit, and 24/7 customer support. We added BlueVine Business Checking as the best checking account for businesses because it earns 0.6% interest, comes with unlimited transactions and has no monthly fees.
We also added Discover Bank as the best cashback checking account because it offers 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases each month and selected Capital One 360 Checking as our best online checking account because of its extensive ATM network and has no monthly fee. We also chose Chase First Banking as the best checking account for kids because of its allowance and chores features. We also updated our pick for best checking account for college students to OnJuno.
9 best checking accounts
Here’s a quick snapshot of the nine best checking accounts:
|Checking account||Finder rating||Best for||APY||Learn more|
|Chase First Banking℠|
|Best checking account for kids||Up to 0%||Go to site|
|Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking|
|Best high-yield checking account||Up to 4.09%||Go to site|
|Best checking account for college students||1.2%||Go to site|
|Capital One 360 Checking|
|Best online checking account||Up to 0.1%||Read review|
|Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking|
|Best student checking account||Up to 0.25%||Read review|
|BlueVine Business Checking|
|Best checking account for businesses||Up to 0.6%||Read review|
|Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking|
|Best checking account for international travel||0.03%||Read review|
|Ally Bank Interest Checking|
|Best free checking account||0.15%||Read review|
|Discover Cashback Debit|
|Best checking account for rewards||0%||Read review|
Closer look at the best checking accounts
Take a deeper dive into the nine best checking accounts by exploring their pros and cons here:
Best checking account for kids
Best high-yield checking account
If you’re after an interest-bearing account with less stringent requirements, compare your high-yield checking account options with additional providers.
Best checking account for college students
If you’re looking to grow your money with an interest-bearing account, you may want to compare the best checking accounts for students.
Best online checking account
Best student checking account
Best checking account for businesses
If you’re looking to make more than 100 transactions a month, compare the best business banking options currently on the market.
Best checking account for international travel
If you don’t want an account that may affect your credit score, compare the best international travel account options.
Best free checking account
If you’re looking for a checking account with more branch locations, compare your free checking account options with other providers.
Best checking account for rewards
How to find the best checking account for you
- Minimal fees. Monthly maintenance and overdraft fees are known to eat into your bank account balance. Look for accounts that have little to no fees or ones that waive fees when you meet certain direct deposit or minimum balance requirements.
- Low minimum deposit requirements. Some checking accounts have high minimum deposit requirements, while others let you open an account with as little as $0. Factor in how much money you have on hand when you’re shopping around for accounts.
- Large ATM network. Checking accounts are designed for everyday spending, and the best ones make it easy to access your money everywhere you go. Look for bank accounts that have large ATM networks with no ATM network fees. Some banks will even reimburse fees you pay for using non-network ATMs.
- Features that fit your priorities. Checking account features vary widely, so consider what you want your account to do for you. If you want it to make you money, look for one that earns interest. If you want to stay on top of spending, look for one that comes with budgeting tools.
- Earns rewards. There are several checking accounts that pay interest or offer cashback rewards. And while you’ll generally earn more interest with a savings account and get more cashback with a credit card, some checking accounts do pay solid rewards and APY.
- Keeps your money safe. A critical feature to consider when looking for the best checking account is whether it’s backed by an FDIC-insured bank. Banks that are FDIC insured keep your money is safe up to $250,000, even if the bank fails.
- Good customer service. Look to see if the institution is strictly online or if you have the option of calling or visiting a local branch. If you prefer to talk to a teller about your financial decisions, you may want to consider a financial institution that has a physical presence.
3 experts on what makes the best checking account
We asked three experts to share their take on which features make a checking account “the best.” Here’s what they had to say:
Financial advice – Ricardo Flores – November 2020
Financial Advisor at The Product Analyst
Here’s my guide to clients on what makes a good checking account:
- Low fees. Always take a close look at the fees and whether it’s a reasonable spending. Avoid checking accounts with too much charge and those that don’t allow you to waive fees. Keep in mind that you’re choosing a checking account for convenience, and having to spend so much on fees, isn’t strategic for spending wisely.
- Accessibility. It’s best to find a checking account with a bank that offers a mobile app or online banking. Also check whether that bank has nearby ATMs for when you need cash. Consider your bank’s accessibility as this is a handy criteria for when errors or glitches happen. You wouldn’t want to travel miles just to fix a bank error.
Financial advice – Ben Premo – November 2020
Founder & CEO of TrueFees
Financial advice – Andrew Thake – November 2020
Mortgage Broker at andrewthake.com
First, you’ll want to verify what fees your financial institution charges you. Many banks will charge you a monthly fee if your balance is below a certain amount, so be sure to check the minimum balance requirements and how much they would charge if you would consider opening an account.
Then there are the ATM fees when accessing your money at an ATM that is not part of your bank. There are also overdraft fees. Many banks charge an overdraft fee once you’ve exceeded your limit. This is something else to be cautious about and understand your financial institution’s policy regarding this.
Finally, an essential feature that needs to be highly considered is whether the financial institution offers high-interest rates. However, most banks that have high rates will have a high minimum balance fee.
Therefore, if you would like, you can have your money split across several bank accounts. This can allow you to save in one account with high-interest rates while having regular access to your money with the other where the minimum monthly balance fee is low.
3 checking account alternatives
- Money market accounts. A money market account is like a checking account. It comes with a debit card and check-writing privileges. But it has features that encourage you to save — such as a higher interest rate and a limit on monthly withdrawals.
- Digital bank accounts. Most digital banks offer all-in-one accounts designed for saving and spending. They also come with modern budgeting tools to help you track and manage your money.
- Prepaid debit cards. Similar to a second-chance checking account, many prepaid cards support direct deposit and ATM withdrawals and may be a good option if you can’t open a regular checking account. But they usually come with hefty fees.
There are thousands of providers offering checking accounts across the US. Knowing how to compare checking accounts with multiple providers can help you narrow your options and find the account that best fits your lifestyle.
Compare other checking accounts
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