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Compare the Best Checking Accounts of May 2024

  • The best checking account depends on your financial habits and personal preferences.
  • Traditional banks, online banks and credit unions all offer checking accounts to customers of all ages.
  • Explore our featured checking accounts: Axos Bank, Quontic, Chime, Discover, Upgrade and Chase
  • Before opening a checking account, it’s important to compare several options.
  • It’s helpful to have more than one checking account if you’re concerned about having quick access to your money.

Whether you just graduated from high school or you’re an established professional in need of a new bank, it’s important to find the right fit for your needs.

To help you find the best checking account, we reviewed the options offered by top banks in the United States. We looked at interest rates, fees, minimum deposit requirements and more, ensuring that you have the information you need to make an informed decision.

Sit back, relax and learn:

  • Which banks have the best checking account for different needs
  • How to compare checking accounts based on your financial status and personal preferences
  • Why you should consider having more than one checking account

Our top picks for the best checking accounts of May 2024

Get $10 with your Chime Checking Account and Visa? Debit Card

Activate your Chime debit card within 30 days of enrollment and get $10 with our exclusive code SAVE10.

Chime believe that your money shouldn’t cost money?, so you’ll pay:

  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No transfer fees
  • Use code SAVE10 and get $10

Chime Checking Account

Compare our top picks for the best checking accounts

Aspiration Spend & Save: Best for environmentally conscious consumers

Aspiration Spend & Save is ideal for consumers who want to protect the planet while managing their money. Every time you make a purchase with your debit card, Aspiration rounds to the nearest dollar and uses the extra funds to plant a tree. We also love that customers earn up to 10% cash back on Conscience Coalition purchases.

Aspiration Spend & Save: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
1% to 3% $10 $0 for standard account; $7.99 for premium account

Aspiration Spend & Save: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? Plants a tree every time you use your debit card
? Offers up to 10% cash back on purchases from eco-friendly retailers
? 3% APY only available with premium accounts
? No brick-and-mortar locations

Chase Bank Total Checking: Best for convenience

Chase Bank Total Checking gives you access to nearly 5,000 branches and more than 15,000 ATMs, making it the best Chase checking account for convenience. If you live near a Chase branch, you can easily stop in and get personalized assistance from a teller, banker or loan officer.

Chase Bank Total Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
N/A $0 $12; waived if you meet certain balance or direct deposit requirements

Chase Bank Total Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? Thousands of brick-and-mortar locations
? Large ATM network
? Zero Liability Protection for unauthorized debit card purchases
? $12 service fee if you don’t meet the requirements to have it waived
? Doesn’t earn interest

Chime Checking Account: Best for online banking enthusiasts

If you’re not worried about visiting a local branch, consider opening an online checking account with Chime. Although Chime has no physical branches, you can still withdraw money at more than 60,000 ATMs without paying a fee. Chime also gives you plenty of tools to help you manage your money, such as SpotMe, fee-free overdraft protection of up to $200 on your debit card purchases and may be a good option if you’re looking for a second chance checking account. Get a 10$ bonus when signing up. Use SAVE10 code at checkout.

Chime Checking Account: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
N/A $0 $0

Chime Checking Account: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? More than 60K fee-free ATMs
? No minimum balance requirement
? No maintenance fees or overdraft fees
? No physical locations
? Doesn’t earn interest

Discover Cashback Debit Checking: Best for cash back

We love the Discover Cashback Debit Checking account for giving customers 1% cash back on all qualified debit card purchases. Every time you use your card, you have the potential to earn 1%, making it easier to reach your financial goals. Note that you only earn 1% on the first $3,000 worth of debit card purchases per month. If you spend more than $3,000, you won’t earn any cash back on the overage.

Discover Cashback Debit Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
N/A $0 $0

Discover Cashback Debit Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? 1% cash back on purchases per month
? Large ATM network (60K+ machines)
? Access to helpful financial management tools
? Doesn’t earn interest
? No fee rebate if you use a non-Discover ATM

Axos Rewards Checking: Best for getting a welcome bonus

Axos Rewards is the best checking account for consumers who have a significant amount of cash on hand and want to put that money to good use by earning a $300 bonus. To earn the bonus, you must maintain an average daily balance of $7,000. You also have to receive $5,000 per month in qualifying direct deposits during your first seven months of account ownership.

Axos Rewards Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
0.4% to 3.3% None $0

Axos Rewards Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? Potential to earn $300 bonus
? No monthly maintenance fees
? Reimburses all U.S. ATM fees
? Must maintain a high balance to receive account bonus
? No brick-and-mortar locations

Citibank Access Checking: Best for beginners

If you don’t have much experience managing a bank account, we recommend Citibank Access Checking. It doesn’t come with paper checks, so you don’t have to worry about balancing your checkbook. However, it does come with a debit card and other helpful account features, giving you a chance to learn how to manage your finances responsibly.

Citibank Access Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
N/A $0 $5; waived for the first three months; also waived for each month you have $250+ worth of Enhanced Direct Deposits

Citibank Access Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? More than 600 physical locations
? Low service fee
? Comes with debit card
? Doesn’t earn interest
? $2.50 fee for using non-Citi ATMs
? No check-writing privileges

Quontic High-Interest Checking: Best for security features

Quontic High-Interest Checking is ideal for security-conscious consumers looking for extra protection. This online bank offers the Quontic Pay Ring, which allows you to “swipe” your ring instead of swiping a debit or credit card. Quontic also lets you lock your debit card any time it’s out of your possession.

Quontic High-Interest Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
1.1% $100 $0

Quontic High-Interest Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? 90K ATMs
? No foreign transaction or overdraft fees
? Works with multiple digital wallets
? You can’t get the 1.1% APY unless you meet certain account requirements
? Doesn’t offer overdraft protection

PenFed Credit Union Access America Checking: Best for digital experience

The PenFed Credit Union Access America Checking account is best for consumers who want to use a credit union without sacrificing their digital experience. This account comes with a variety of tools to help you manage your finances, such as a full-featured mobile application that eliminates the need to visit a branch for most banking issues.

PenFed Credit Union Access America Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
0.15% for balances up to $20K; 0.35% for balances of $20K to $50K $25 $10; waived in certain circumstances

PenFed Credit Union Access America Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? Low monthly account fee
? Interest rate increases with high balance
? Excellent digital experience
? No welcome offer/account bonus
? Only 50 physical locations

SoFi Checking and Savings: Best for linking bank accounts

SoFi doesn’t offer separate checking and savings accounts. Instead, when you open a checking account, you also get a savings account, making it easier to reach your financial goals. To make saving as painless as possible, SoFi also rounds up every debit card transaction and deposits the extra money in your savings, making it a great option if you’re looking for a joint checking account.

SoFi Checking and Savings: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
Up to 0.5% for checking and 4.6% for savings depending on your direct deposit totals $0 $0

SoFi Checking and Savings: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? Up to 4.6% APY if you meet the direct deposit requirements
? Combines checking and savings for extra convenience
? Charges a fee for cash deposits
? Highest APYs not available if you don’t receive $5K or more per month in qualifying direct deposits

What is a checking account?

A checking account is a deposit account used to pay bills and make other financial transactions.

When you deposit money in a checking account, you can use it to:

How much you keep in your checking account depends on your personal needs. For example, if you use your debit card frequently, or if you write several checks per month, you may need to maintain a balance of several thousand dollars.

To open your own account, you generally have to be 18 years old. However, many banks offer teen checking accounts to give teenagers experience managing money with the help of a parent or guardian.

Alternatively, you may be interested in a business checking account, such as the Bluevine Business checking account. These checking accounts help you keep your personal and professional finances separate and can be used to pay your vendors and receive payments from clients.

How much you keep in your checking account depends on your personal needs. For example, if you use your debit card frequently, or if you write several checks per month, you may need to maintain a balance of several thousand dollars.

Pros and cons of checking accounts

Checking account pros
  • Convenient access to your funds via check or debit card
  • Ability to pay bills directly from your account
  • Online account statements to help you track your spending
  • Provides access to direct deposit
Checking account cons
  • Many banks charge fees to maintain a checking account
  • You may need to maintain a minimum balance to avoid service fees
  • Some checking accounts don’t earn interest

Types of checking accounts

You may encounter these types of accounts in your research:

How to compare checking accounts

Before you open an account, make sure you compare several banks to determine if each one offers the services you need.?

As you review your checking account options, consider the following criteria.

Minimums?

Many banks have minimum balance requirements, which require you to keep a certain amount of money in your account to receive certain benefits. If you don’t, you may have to pay a monthly service fee, or you may lose the opportunity to earn interest.?It’s also common for banks to have minimum deposit requirements.

Fees

A checking account should make it easier to manage your finances, not more difficult. Before you choose a bank, make sure you know how much it costs to maintain an account.?

Watch for these fees:

APY

APY stands for annual percentage yield. It represents the interest rate on your checking account based on a one-year compounding period. The higher your APY, the easier it is to earn interest on your balance.

Digital experience

Before you choose an account, be sure to review the digital experience offered by each financial institution. You should be able to transfer funds, download statements and access other features online. Many banks also offer budgeting tools and other resources to help you better manage your finances.

Customer service

If you have a question, you shouldn’t have to go through three layers of AI chatbots to get an accurate answer. When you research a bank, make sure you find out what type of customer service it provides (e.g. phone, chat, etc.), when it’s available and how long it typically takes to get a response.

Security

Your bank should offer plenty of security features to protect your money. Before you open an account, make sure your preferred bank offers fraud alerts, industry-standard encryption and other features designed to stop thieves in their tracks.

What’s the best checking account for me?

The best checking account for you depends on your personal needs.

If you just need a place to receive direct deposits, you may not care too much about bill pay and other account features. If you want to be more involved in your finances, however, you may want access to a full-featured mobile application, credit monitoring and other tools to support you on your journey.

When comparing the best banks for checking accounts, look for the following:

Where to get a checking account

You can get a checking account at any of these places:

1

Traditional banks:

Brick-and-mortar banks offer a variety of checking accounts, making it easy to manage your expenses.

See More See Less
2

Online banks:

Some banks are online-only, which means they offer plenty of digital features to help you manage your money.

See More See Less
3

Credit unions:

Credit unions offer some of the same services as banks, but they’re nonprofit organizations owned by their members.

See More See Less

How to open a checking account

Although the application process varies slightly from one financial institution to another, you typically have to follow these steps:

  1. Fill out an application. If you don’t mind visiting a branch, you can do this in person. Otherwise, the bank may allow you to complete an application online. If you decide to visit a branch, make sure you have proof of identity (e.g. driver’s license) and proof of residency (e.g. current utility bill, current lease) with you.
  2. Pay your opening deposit, if your bank requires one.
  3. Start using your account.

Should I have more than one checking account?

For some people, having two checking accounts is better than having just one.

One of the benefits of maintaining multiple accounts is that you can take advantage of special offers at different banks.?Having more than one account is also helpful if there’s a problem with your main bank.

What’s the difference between a checking and a savings account?

Checking and savings accounts share some features, but they have different purposes.

A checking account is designed to give you quick access to your money. You may be able to withdraw cash at ATMs, write checks or use a debit card to make in-person and online purchases. The purpose of opening a savings account is to save money for the future.

Our top picks for the best checking accounts of May 2024

FAQ: Best checking accounts

Which bank is the best for checking accounts?

It really depends on your financial needs and personal preferences. If you use your debit card frequently, you may want to open an account with a bank that offers cash back on all qualifying debit card purchases. If you’re more concerned with earning interest on your deposits, you may want to prioritize finding a bank with a high APY.

Do checking accounts earn interest?

Some checking accounts are interest-bearing, which means you earn money on your deposits. For example, you can earn 1% APY with Amex Rewards Checking.

How do I get a checking account bonus?

It depends on the terms of the bonus offer. Some bonuses require you to receive a monthly direct deposit or maintain a minimum daily balance for a certain period of time.

Are checking accounts safe?

Yes. Checking accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, so you won’t lose your money even if a bank fails. FDIC insurance covers up to $250,000 per account holder.

How many checking accounts can I have?

Technically, you can have as many checking accounts as you want.

Will a checking account affect my credit?

Opening a checking account does not affect your credit. However, if you overdraw your account and fail to correct the deficiency, your bank may send the debt to collections.

Leigh Morgan
Leigh Morgan Personal Finance

Leigh Morgan is a seasoned personal finance contributor with over 15 years of experience writing on a diverse range of professional legal and financial topics. She specializes in subjects like navigating the complexities of insurance, savings, zero-based budgeting and emergency fund development.

In the last five years, she’s authored over 300 articles for credit unions, digital banks, and financial professionals. Morgan is also the author of “77 Tips for Preventing Elder Financial Abuse,” a book focused on helping caregivers protect the elderly from financial scams.

In addition to her writing skills, she brings real-world financial acumen thanks to her previous experience managing rental properties as part of a $34 million real estate portfolio.

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