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Best checking accounts of 2020

Our top picks for high rates, minimal fees, ATM access and more.

Updated

Fact checked
Couple checking their finances
Finding a checking account that fits your lifestyle all comes down to nailing down what features matter the most to you. We assessed the competition by comparing factors such as account minimums, fees, interest rates, ATM access and unique features to bring you the cream of the crop.

5 best checking accounts

Best high-yield checking account

Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking

Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
at Consumers Credit Union (IL)'s secure site
Up to 4.09%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
Earn up to 4.09% APY on balances under $10,000. The Consumer Credit Union Rewards Checking account offers some of the highest rate tiers around. But its top APY is only accessible by meeting strict interest requirements.
  • Up to 4.09% APY. To access this account's highest APY tier, you'll need to meet several account criteria.
  • No maintenance fees. There are no monthly fees associated with this account.
  • Large ATM network. Consumers Credit Union offers a sprawling ATM network of more than 30,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • Membership required. You'll need to become a member of Consumers Credit Union and maintain a minimum of $5 in a Membership Share or Savings to apply.
  • Requirements for account perks. To access account perks like ATM fee reimbursements and high interest rates, you'll need to meet a number of monthly criteria.
  • Low APY for balances over $10,000.The account offers a high APY, but the rate dwindles to a meager 0.2% on balances over $10,000.
APY 4.09%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $30
ATM transaction fee $0
Wire transfer fee $10
Overdraft fee $30

If you’re after an interest-bearing account with less stringent requirements, compare your high-yield checking account options with additional providers.

Best free checking account

Capital One 360 Checking

0.2%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
An interest-bearing checking account with no monthly fees. The Capital One 360 Checking account has no maintenance fees and offers flexible overdraft protection for account holders. But watch out for other miscellaneous charges.
  • No fees. There's no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements with this account.
  • Earns interest. Unlike most checking accounts, this one earns 0.2% APY.
  • Overdraft protection. There are four ways to protect your account from overdraft charges: auto-decline, next-day grace period, a free transfer from your savings or an overdraft line of credit.
  • Limited branch access. Capital One primarily operates online, but it has a few branch locations spread throughout the US.
  • Credit checks. Expect a hard pull on your credit if you choose an overdraft line of credit as your overdraft protection option.
  • Other fees. Watch out for fees for overnight check deliveries, overnight card replacements, stop payment requests and more.
APY 0.2%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? No
Insufficient funds fee $9
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $5
Wire transfer fee $40
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Overdraft fee $35

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 international travel

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking

0.1%
APY
None
Fees
$0.01
Min. opening deposit
An interest-bearing account with unlimited international ATM fee reimbursements. The Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account earns interest, has no monthly fees, comes with free checks and offers unlimited ATM fee rebates. The downside? You'll need to submit to a hard credit check when you apply.
  • APY. This is an interest-bearing checking account with a 0.1% APY.
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. Charles Schwab Bank automatically reimburses ATM fees for cash withdrawals — both in the US and internationally.
  • No foreign transaction fee. When you use your debit card to withdraw foreign currency from an ATM, your account is only charged for the US dollar equivalent of the transaction.
  • Hard credit check. Charles Schwab will perform a hard credit check when you apply for this account.
  • No international wire transfers. You can only send wire transfers within the US from a Charles Schwab Bank account.
  • No physical branches. There are no physical locations and all applications and account support are by phone, email and live chat.
APY 0.1%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $0
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Overdraft fee $0

If you don’t want an account that may affect your credit score, compare the best international travel account options.

Best checking account for students

Chase College Checking

N/A
APY
$6 monthly
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
Straightforward checking with perks for students. The Chase College Checking account offers a $100 signup bonus, no monthly service fees and access to a network of more than 16,000 ATMs.
  • No maintenance fees. The $6 monthly maintenance fee is waived for students between the ages of 17 and 24 enrolled in college.
  • $100 signup bonus. If you're a new Chase customer, enroll in paperless statements and complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of opening your account, you'll receive a $100 signup bonus.
  • Mobile banking. Chase's mobile app allows you to monitor transaction history, send payments, transfer funds, deposit checks and send and receive money through Zelle.
  • Limited in-person support. Chase Bank's branch network only extends to 29 states, so if you live outside its network, your customer support options are limited.
  • Out-of-network ATM fees. You'll pay $2.50 in service fees at non-Chase ATMs.
  • Limited eligibility. This account's eligibility is limited to students between the ages of 17 and 24. After you graduate, the account converts to a traditional Chase checking account.
APY 0%
Account fees $6 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Have any ONE of the following:
• College enrollment for up to five years
• OR a direct deposit made to this account (Direct deposits can be an ACH credit, payroll, pension or government benefits such as Social Security)
• OR an average ending day balance of $5,000 or more in this account
Insufficient funds fee $34
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $6
Foreign transaction fee 3%
Overdraft fee $34

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 checking account for businesses

TIAA Bank Small Business Checking

Up to 0.55%
APY
None
Fees
$1,500
Min. opening deposit
Has an introductory APY offer for new customers and no monthly fee. The TIAA Bank Small Business Checking account hooks people in with its high introductory APY. But it also stands out for its low opening deposit requirements and large national ATM network.
  • Minimal fees. There are no monthly maintenance or overdraft transfer fees.
  • Large ATM network. Withdraw cash for free at over 80,000 Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs nationwide.
  • Decent yields. After the 1.21% APY offer ends, you'll still earn anywhere from 0.2% to 0.55% on your balance.
  • Other fees. Watch out for random fees for excess transactions, cashier's checks, stop payments and more.
  • No live chat. TIAA doesn't offer live chat as a customer service option, which is unusual for a bank that primarily operates online.
APY 0.55%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $30
ATM transaction fee $0
Overdraft fee $0
If you’re looking to make more than 100 transactions a month, compare the best business banking options currently on the market.

How to find the best checking account for you

When you’re shopping around, look for checking accounts that have one or more of the following features:

Editor's pick: HSBC Premier Checking

  • Up to $700 in cash back
  • Earn 3% cash back on qualifying direct deposits
  • Bank with a world leader

Editor's pick: HSBC Premier Checking

Get up to $700 (max. $120 per month) for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Premier checking account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.

  • 24/7 priority phone assistance
  • Emergency cash at branches across the globe
  • Free international account opening

Checking account alternatives

If you’re thinking a checking account may not be right for you, here are a few alternatives to consider:

  • Money market accounts. A money market account is like a checking account. It comes with a debit card and checkwriting 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.

Bottom line

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

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
HSBC Premier Checking
$1
Free to use at all ATMs in the US
$0
Get up to $700 (max. $120 per month) for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Premier checking account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
Chase Total Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Chase Premier Plus Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $300 signup bonus as a new Chase checking customer when you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account and set up direct deposit. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
TD Beyond Checking
$0
1,900 ATMs across the country and Canada
$0
A checking account that offers interest plus three ways to waive the monthly fee, two overdraft paybacks a year and no ATM fees with a $2,500 balance.
BBVA Online Checking
$25
No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
$3
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks
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Compare up to 4 providers

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