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The best free checking accounts for 2022

Compare seven free bank accounts that won't hit you with monthly fees.

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 free checking account comes with no monthly fees and the features you need to reach your goals. Most free checking accounts still have backend fees for certain transactions, like overseas withdrawals and international transaction fees. We researched over 150 accounts and evaluated factors like interest, fees, ATM access, balance requirements and account features to bring you our top six picks. Use this list to quickly compare your options and find the best account for you in minutes.

What’s changed in 2021?
We added a new category for best free teen checking account and chose Capital One MONEY because it has helpful features with no fees or minimum deposit requirements. We removed Simple from our list because it’s shutting down later this year. We also added a new category for best free small business checking account and named the BlueVine Business Checking account as the winner because it has no fees, has unlimited transactions and earns 1% APY.

The 7 best free checking accounts

Compare these seven free checking accounts by exploring their minimum deposit, features, and pros and cons.

Best free checking account for high interest

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Finder rating 4.2 / 5 ★★★★★

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The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account offers a whopping 1.25% APY if you meet its strict monthly eligibility requirements. And you'll enjoy unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements.

Best free checking account for small business owners

BlueVine Business Checking

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

The BlueVine Business Checking account has no monthly fees, and you won't pay a dime for common miscellaneous banking fees you may find at other banks, such as wire transfers and overdraft penalties. But its customer service is only available by phone or email, with limited hours on the weekends.

Best free checking account for teens

Capital One Money

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Capital One Money is a free teen checking account that rises above the rest because it offers a modest APY to help jumpstart your child's savings. But you can't write checks from this account.

Best free checking account for cash back

Discover Cashback Debit

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

You can earn up to $360 cashback each year with the Discover Cashback Debit checking account. And Discover forgives one insufficient fund or stop payment fee every year. But deposits are limited to direct deposits and online transfers.

Best free checking account for travel

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

The Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking is ideal for globetrotters because of its unlimited ATM reimbursements worldwide and 0% foreign transaction fee. But this account is exclusive to existing Charles Schwab Brokerage account holders.

Best free checking account for overdraft protection

Capital One 360 Checking

Finder rating 4.2 / 5 ★★★★★

Capital One 360 Checking offers a modest 0.1% APY and four overdraft solution options so you can choose the best overdraft protection that fits your needs. And while 360 accounts are classified as online-only, you can get in-person help at a local Capital One branch. But most of its branches are on the East Coast.

Best free checking account overall

Ally Bank Interest Checking

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

The Ally Bank Interest Checking account is a well-rounded, free checking account that has no minimum balance and offers up to 0.25% APY, depending on your account balance. And although Ally Bank has no physical branches, you'll enjoy 'round the clock customer support via phone or email.

How to choose the best free checking account

When choosing the best free bank account for you, consider these six factors:

Read the fee-free conditions

Some bank accounts will waive monthly fees when you meet conditions like balance requirements or making qualifying direct deposits each month. Requirements and conditions may vary, so you should read the terms and conditions to ensure that you won’t be charged.

Determine if your salary can cover the direct deposit

If an account requires a direct deposit each month, your paychecks may be enough to waive the monthly fee. Find out what the requirements are, then sign up for direct deposit with your employer.

Look at the other fees that apply

Free checking accounts will often waive the monthly service fee, but other fees could still apply. You may be charged for using your bank account overseas, sending or receiving wire transfers, ordering checks and more. Read the terms and conditions or fee schedule for a full breakdown of fees.

Linked debit card access

Many financial institutions will give you a debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo, meaning you can use it at an ATM or for purchases. Beyond that, find out if you can link your debit card to other accounts.

ATM network and fees

Most banks charge a fee when you make an ATM withdrawal from an out-of-network ATM. You can save money by going with the financial institution with the largest ATM network, but you can also find banks that don’t charge ATM fees.

Other products offerings

Find out if the institution offers other products so that you can do all of your banking in one place and make instant transfers between your accounts.

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What are the pros and cons of free checking accounts?

Free checking accounts have a few features and drawbacks worth noting:

Pros

  • There are no monthly fees. By choosing a free bank account, you can save money every month.
  • You get ATM access. Some give you deals on ATM transactions while others don’t charge for transactions at non-partner ATMs.
  • Other benefits. Waiving the monthly service fee is the least you should expect. Some bank accounts give you other incentives like cash back or free checks.

Cons

  • You still get charged other fees. Unfortunately, truly free checking accounts aren’t common. Banks will still charge for certain activities, like foreign transactions, going into overdraft or sending wire transfers. However, it’s possible to get by without incurring any of these fees.
  • You could give up perks. Free checking accounts are a low-cost option designed for people looking to save. By choosing this account, you might be giving up valuable features that might be worth paying a small monthly fee for.

3 pesky checking account fees to avoid

Aside from monthly maintenance fees, there are 30+ sneaky fees that could eat into your balance. Here are the three most common fees you’ll see when comparing checking accounts:

  1. ATM fee. Most banks and credit unions charge a fee if you use an out-of-network ATM, averaging $3.08 per transaction, on top of whatever the ATM owner charges.
  2. Paper statement fee. If you get your bank statement in the mail, it may run you a few dollars every month. Most checking accounts offer free e-statements to bypass the monthly paper statement fee.
  3. Overdraft fee. If you overdraw from your checking account, you may get hit with a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee, which costs $33.47 on average. Though we’ve mostly seen accounts with overdraft fees of $35.

What banks offer free checking?

This table highlights banks that offer free bank accounts with no monthly fees, along with those that have no fees for domestic ATMs, overdrafts and international money transfers.

What fee do you want to avoid?Bank accounts that avoid this fee
Monthly fees
  • Ally Bank Interest Checking
  • Capital One 360 Checking
Domestic ATM withdrawal fees
  • Ally Bank Interest Checking
  • Capital One 360 Checking
  • Chase Premier Plus Checking
  • Chase Total Checking®
  • Citibank Full-Feature Relationship Checking
  • HSBC Basic Banking
  • US Bank Easy Checking
  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
Overdraft fees
  • Citibank Affordable Access Banking
International money transfer fees
  • Capital One 360 Checking

    How do free checking accounts work?

    A truly free checking account will waive the monthly fee no matter how much you deposit into the account. Here’s how some popular checking accounts compare on monthly fees.

    Bank accountMonthly fee
    Ally BankNo monthly fee.
    Bank of America Core Checking$12, avoidable if you make at least one qualifying Direct Deposit of $250 or more or maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more, or meet other conditions.
    Capital One 360 CheckingNo monthly account fee or ATM fee.
    Chase Premier Plus Checking$25, avoidable if an average beginning day balance of $15,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying deposits Footnote/investments or have a linked qualifying Chase first mortgage enrolled in automatic payments Footnote from your Chase account.
    Chase Total Checking$12, avoidable if Direct deposits totaling $500 or more made to this account or a balance at the beginning of each day of $1,500 or more in this account or an average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying deposits/investments.
    Citibank Simple Checking$12, avoidable if you make one direct deposit per month and one bill payment per month, or maintain a $1,500 or higher monthly balance.
    HSBC Basic Banking$3, Regardless of balance, $0.35 for each check/withdrawal slip over 8, You may make an unlimited number of deposits without any additional charge.
    US Bank Easy Checking$6.95, avoidable if Combined monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000+ or an average account balance of $1,500+
    Wells Fargo Everyday Checking$10, avoidable if you make 10 monthly purchases/payments, make two direct deposits totaling $500 or more, hold a $1,500 minimum daily balance, or meet other qualifications.

    Compare banks with free checking accounts

    Use the table to sort free checking accounts by ATM fees, overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees and more. View your top picks side-by-side by clicking the “Compare” box next to each.

    Name Product Fee ATM transaction fee Nonsufficient funds fee Foreign transaction fee
    Aspiration Spend & Save Account
    $0 per month or $7.99 per month for Aspiration Plus ($5.99 per month if you pay annually)
    $0
    $0
    1%
    Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and a $150 bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first 60 days.
    NorthOne Business Banking
    $10 per month
    $0
    $0
    0%
    NorthOne Business Banking is an all-in-one solution for small business owners, startups and freelancers. It boasts unlimited free transactions, subaccounts, and robust bookkeeping integrations.
    OnJuno
    $0
    $0
    $0
    0%
    A free account for crypto and cash that earns a 1.2% bonus rate plus 5% cashback on purchases from participating retailers.
    Axos Bank Essential Checking
    $0
    $0
    $0
    No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
    Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking
    $0
    $0
    $30
    Earn Up to 4.09% APY* on balances up to $10,000. No monthly maintenance fees. Online Banking and Bill Pay
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Bottom line

    Free checking accounts are a great way to cut down on your monthly expenses without sacrificing the convenience of a checking account. And while there are a handful of free checking accounts available, you can also find plenty that will waive the monthly fee when certain conditions are met. Compare bank accounts to find one that fits your financial situation.

    Common questions about free checking accounts

    Do free bank accounts earn interest?

    It depends on the account. Most free accounts won’t reward you with interest, though you might get lucky and come across one that does. If not, there are many free savings accounts that reward you with higher interest rates to help grow your balance.

    How do I know if an account is really fee-free?

    There are many accounts that waive the monthly transaction fee; however, other fees may still apply. Common backend fees include:

    • Statement reissuing.
    • Additional card.
    • Telephone banking transactions and staff-assisted transactions made at a branch.
    • Overdraft.
    • Purchase in a foreign currency.
    • Overseas ATM withdrawals.

    Can I overdraft my transaction account?

    No.
    Can I open a bank account with no money?

    Yes. Many banks let you open an account with no money, but plenty of other banks do require a minimum initial deposit. Compare free checking accounts before making a decision.

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    2 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      CandyDecember 9, 2018

      Does bank of America have a fee free checking account if so where do I apply

      • Default Gravatar
        nikkiangcoDecember 12, 2018

        Hi Candy,

        Thanks for reaching out! Upon checking, Bank of America doesn’t have a fee free checking account. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

        Best,
        Nikki

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