13 Best Checking Accounts of 2020


If your checking account simply isn’t serving your needs anymore, you have plenty of other places to turn. Big banks, small banks, online-only banks, app-based banks — each category features standouts that go above and beyond to keep deposit account holders happy.

Stop settling. Peruse this up-to-the-minute list of the best checking accounts in the United States and get ready for a better way to bank.

Best Checking Accounts for U.S. Customers

These are among the best checking accounts for U.S.-based customers. Many qualify for inclusion on our list of the best free checking accounts, while others appear on our best bank account promotions page. Each listing includes key details about the account, such as deposit and balance minimums, yield, and possible fees.

1. BBVA Online Checking

BBVA Online Checking is a truly free checking account available nationwide (except in Alaska and Hawaii) — far beyond the borders of BBVA’s physical branch footprint in the southwestern U.S.

A minimum opening deposit of just $25 complements fee-free ATM use at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven, and BBVA USA ATMs around the country, making it an excellent option for those seeking the convenience of online service with the flexibility of in-person banking. Enroll in BBVA’s free Simple Cash Back program to earn cash back on purchases made with dozens of participating BBVA partners. And for a $4 monthly fee — money well spent — enroll in the BBVA ClearBenefits program to capitalize on valuable services like cellphone protection and identity theft restoration and insurance.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $25.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: When you enroll in the Simple Cash Back program, you can earn cash back at select participating merchants. Offers are tailored based on your spending behaviors, and you have full leeway to choose which offers you want to take advantage of. There’s no cost to enroll in this program.
  • Possible Fees: Paper statements ($3 monthly by default, but you can opt for free electronic account statements and eliminate the fee when you turn off paper statements in your online banking account) and early account closing ($25 for accounts closed within 180 days of opening).

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2. Citi High-Yield Checking

Citi High-Yield Checking is an interest-bearing checking account with unlimited waived and reimbursed ATM fees and a yield clocking in at 20 times the national average on checking balances. There’s no minimum to open, no monthly fees when you meet the minimum balance requirement, and a host of online banking tools that let you manage your money from just about anywhere. Mobile check deposits, fast P2P payments, and a handy Spending Insights tool sweeten the deal.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit, but you need to maintain an average monthly balance of $5,000 to waive the $15 monthly maintenance fee.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: 0.20% APY on balances up to $9,999, 0.40% APY on balances from $10,000 to $24,999, and 1.01% APY on balances above $25,000.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy unlimited ATM fee waivers and reimbursements worldwide.
  • Possible Fees: See account disclosures for more details about possible fees on this account.

3. Chime Deposit Account

Chime also offers early direct deposit for qualifying customers subject to the policies of payers and payers’ banks — up to two days early, bumping the standard Friday payday up to Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Chime charges virtually no banking fees other than a $2.50 over-the-counter cash withdrawal charge that’s easy to avoid when you use one of the bank’s 38,000 fee-free ATMs. Don’t miss Chime’s automatic savings option, which rounds up the change on each debit card transaction and deposits it into a savings account that earns 1.60% APY on all balances above $0.01.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None, but Chime’s high-yield savings account earns 0.06% APY on all balances above $0.01 with no minimum deposit or balance requirements.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Chime charges virtually no fees. Under normal circumstances, you won’t pay a dime to use your account.
  • Possible Fees: Over-the-counter cash withdrawal.

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4. M1 Spend

M1 Spend is a free cash management account from M1 Finance, a digital banking, investing, and lending platform. With a debit card that’s accepted by millions of merchants worldwide and zero account minimums, it’s a fine substitute for a traditional checking account, especially if you don’t need lots of bells and whistles. M1 Spend is free to use, with no monthly maintenance fees — though a $125 annual payment gets you an upgrade to M1 Plus, which earns 1.0% APY on all M1 Spend balances, 1% cash back on debit card purchases, and up to four ATM fee reimbursements each month.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None at the moment, but check back for the latest offers.
  • Yield: Upgrade to M1 Plus to earn 1.0% APY on all account balances and 1% cash back on all debit card purchases.
  • Rewards and Incentives: M1 Plus members get four ATM fee reimbursements per month — three more than standard M1 members.
  • Possible Fees: Third-party ATM fees, subject to ATM owner’s discretion.

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5. TD Bank Beyond Checking

TD Bank Beyond Checking is a powerful checking solution for anyone able to clear TD’s monthly maintenance fee waiver thresholds. That entails doing one of the following:

  • Receiving monthly direct deposits of $5,000 or more
  • Maintaining a minimum daily balance of $2,500
  • Maintaining a combined balance of $25,000 or more across all eligible TD accounts.

Throw in a $300 account opening bonus when you receive at least $2,500 in direct deposits within 60 days, and you’ve got a powerful incentive to bank with TD.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: None, but a $25 monthly maintenance fee applies to accounts with minimum daily balances under $2,500.
  • Account Opening Bonus: Apply online for your new account and receive at least $2,500 in direct deposits within 60 days to earn a $300 cash bonus. This offer is open to U.S. residents only.
  • Yield: Yes, tiered yields depending on balance.
  • Rewards and Incentives: TD Beyond Checking customers may qualify for a rate discount of 0.25% on home equity lines of credit and unsecured personal loans originated by TD Bank. Separately, they always waive the monthly maintenance fee for students ages 17 to 23, regardless of the account balance. All customers with daily account balances above $2,500 enjoy free access to TD Bank ATMs.
  • Possible Fees: TD waives the $25 monthly maintenance fee for customers who meet one of the following minimums: monthly direct deposits of $5,000 or more, a minimum daily balance of $2,500, or a combined balance of $25,000 across your eligible TD accounts.

Be aware that this account is only available to residents of the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Florida
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Virginia

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6. TD Bank Convenience Checking

If you’re not able to swing $5,000 in monthly direct deposits or consistently meet a $2,500 minimum balance requirement, opt for TD Bank Convenience Checking instead. The minimum balance required to waive the $100 monthly maintenance fee is just $15.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You need to maintain a $100 minimum daily balance to avoid the $15 monthly maintenance fee.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: TD Convenience Checking customers enjoy the same rate discount opportunities as TD Beyond Checking customers. Likewise, they always waive the monthly maintenance fee for students ages 17 to 23, regardless of account balance, and TD ATM access is free.
  • Possible Fees: Check TD Bank’s account guide for a full, up-to-date list of potential account fees.

Like Beyond Checking, this account is available to residents of the following states only:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Florida
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Virginia

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7. Chase Premier Plus Checking

Chase Premier Plus Checking is a premium checking account with a modest but meaningful yield and a slew of perks and incentives, including fee waivers on most linked Chase checking and savings accounts and an impressive account opening bonus worth $300 with qualifying activities. Avoid the $25 monthly maintenance fee when you keep an average daily balance of at least $15,000 between all eligible Chase accounts or set up automatic payments to your qualifying Chase mortgage.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: None, but there’s a $25 monthly maintenance fee for accounts that don’t meet Chase’s waiver requirements.
  • Account Opening Bonus: Open a new Chase Premier Plus Checking account online or in-branch by July 20, 2020, and have a direct deposit made to the account within 60 days to receive a $300 cash bonus in your account within 10 business days.
  • Yield: See terms for the latest yield information.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Chase waives fees on the first four non-Chase ATM transactions each month and waives monthly maintenance fees on most linked Chase checking and savings accounts.
  • Possible Fees: Chase waives the $25 monthly maintenance fee if you keep an average daily balance of at least $15,000 between all your Chase accounts (checking, savings, and other balances) or you set up automatic payments to your qualifying Chase mortgage.

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8. Chase Total Checking

Chase Total Checking is an accessible alternative to Premier Plus. It waives the $12 monthly maintenance fee when you meet at least one of the following criteria in a monthly statement period:

  • Complete direct deposits totaling $500 to the account
  • Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance in the account
  • Maintain an average daily balance of at least $5,000 in qualifying linked Chase deposit or investment accounts
  • Pay $25 or more in qualifying checking-related services or fees.

Other benefits include access to nearly 5,000 Chase-branded ATMs nationwide.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: None, but there’s a $12 monthly maintenance fee for accounts that don’t meet Chase’s waiver requirements.
  • Account Opening Bonus: Open a new Chase Total Checking account by July 20, 2020, and make a qualifying direct deposit within 60 days to receive a $200 bonus within 10 business days. You can apply in-branch or online.
  • Yield: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy fee-free access to nearly 5,000 Chase-branded ATMs around the U.S.
  • Possible Fees: Chase waives the $12 monthly maintenance fee in statement periods featuring one of these qualifying activities: completing direct deposits totaling $500 to the account, maintaining a $1,500 minimum daily balance to the account, maintaining an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in qualifying linked accounts, and paying $25 or more in qualifying checking services or fees.

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9. Betterment Checking Account

Backed by Betterment, a pioneering robo-advisor and leading innovator in the digital investing space, Betterment Checking is a mobile-first banking experience with no account minimums and virtually no fees. As an account holder, you enjoy unlimited automatic ATM fee reimbursements at all Visa-accepting machines worldwide. Boost your return on excess cash by linking your Betterment Checking account to an interest-bearing Betterment Cash Reserve cash management account and utilizing Betterment’s Two Way Sweep feature to execute transfers without even thinking about them.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None, but the Betterment Cash Reserve cash management account earns 0.40% APY on all balances (subject to the $10 minimum deposit requirement).
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy automatic ATM transaction fee reimbursements at nearly 3 million Visa-accepting machines worldwide, plus unlimited reimbursement of Visa’s 1% foreign transaction fee on all international transactions and purchases.
  • Possible Fees: See Betterment’s website for a complete list of possible fees.

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10. Umpqua Bank Embark Checking

The Embark Checking account from Umpqua Bank offers a potentially valuable two-for-one deal. Make at least one transfer from your Embark Checking account into your Grow Savings account in a statement cycle to waive the savings account’s maintenance fee while growing your money much faster than a traditional checking account can. In the meantime, enjoy no monthly maintenance fees and very low initial deposit requirements. Keep at least $2,500 in your account to qualify for $10 in monthly ATM rebates.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You need $25 to open an Embark Checking account. There’s no minimum daily balance requirement thereafter, but you must maintain an average daily balance of at least $2,500 to qualify for $10 in ATM reimbursements each month.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Umpqua Bank reimburses the first $10 in ATM fees each month when you maintain an average minimum daily balance of $2,500 during the period. The Go-To app provides on-the-go financial advice from your mobile device and offers unlimited reimbursements for all U.S. ATM fees. And you enjoy a complimentary Grow Savings account (with no monthly maintenance charge) when you complete at least one qualifying monthly transfer from your Embark Checking account.
  • Possible Fees: Stop payment, paper statements, dormant account.

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11. Radius Bank Rewards Checking

The Rewards Checking account from Radius Bank offers an unlimited 1% cash-back reward on online and signature-based debit card transactions and yields up to 0.15% APY for high-balance accounts. The catch: Radius requires a minimum account balance of $2,500 or at least $2,500 in qualifying direct deposits each month to be eligible for cash back. But Rewards Checking has no hidden fees and offers the opportunity to receive direct deposits up to two days early (depending on the policies of your payer and their bank).

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: After the $100 minimum opening deposit, there’s no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: Earn 0.10% APY on balances between $2,500 and $99,999, and 0.15% APY on balances above $100,000.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Earn unlimited 1% cash back on online and signature-based debit card transactions (when you select “credit” at the point of sale). To qualify for rewards, you must do one of the following: receive direct deposit into your account from a qualifying source of income (usually an employer or government benefits provider) totaling $2,500 or more or maintain an average balance of $2,500 or more in your Rewards Checking account. Separately, you can receive direct deposits up to two days early.
  • Possible Fees: See Radius Bank’s terms and conditions for details about possible account fees.

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12. Axos Bank Rewards Checking

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is a free checking account that yields up to 1.25% on balances up to $150,000 when you complete certain qualifying activities each statement cycle, such as using your debit card 10 times per month and accepting a monthly direct deposit of at least $1,000. The more you use your Rewards Checking account, the higher your earning potential.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: After the $50 needed to open a Rewards Checking account, there’s no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: Rewards Checking accounts come with a base yield of 0%. However, you can earn interest on balances of any amount in several ways. If you only receive a $1,000 direct deposit or use your card at least 10 times (but less than 15 times) in a given month, your annual interest rate for that month is 0.4166%. If you use your card at least 15 times, it’s 0.8333%. If you both receive a $1,000 deposit and use your card at least 10 times, your rate for that month is also 0.8333%. If you receive a $1,000 deposit and use your card at least 15 times, you earn 1.25%. Qualifying transactions must be $3 or greater. Balances greater than $150,000 don’t earn interest.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Axos Bank offers unlimited reimbursements for all U.S. ATM fees. You also get your first 50 checks free with a Rewards Checking account if you ask for them at account opening.
  • Possible Fees: Debit card replacement, cashiers checks, stop payment.

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13. Empower Interest Checking

Empower is a user-friendly money management app with an above-average yield: 0.25% APY* on all balances with no minimums.

Beyond the impressive yield, Empower offers a comprehensive lineup of useful personal finance features, including:

  • Automated savings
  • Budgeting and spend tracking tools
  • Savings recommendations that can find opportunities to save or earn money
  • One-on-one guidance on any financial question upon request
  • Help negotiating bills

With all these great features, Empower’s popularity comes as no surprise. And at $6 per month after the first 30 days, its value-added feature lineup is a steal.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance required.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Yield: 0.25% APY* on all checking balances. AutoSave balances also earn 0.25% APY.*
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy up to three free ATM transactions per month^ and unlimited inbound and outbound transfers.
  • Possible Fees: Empower is free for the first 30 days. After 30 days, Empower charges $6 per month for continued access to its full suite of money management tools.

* Banking services for new accounts provided by NBKC Bank, member FDIC. 0.25% APY may change at any time. APY as of May 1, 2020. Empower charges an auto-recurring subscription fee of $6 for access to the full suite of money management features offered on the platform after your first 30 days.

^ Reimbursement for up to three ATM fees per month with a maximum reimbursement of $10 per ATM withdrawal.

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Final Word

There’s no law against having two checking accounts (or more). If you simply can’t choose between the options on this list, why not spread your liquid funds among those that seem best suited to your needs? Use a free or low-cost budgeting tool like Tiller or Personal Capital to stay on top of each account — or choose accounts with built-in budgeting tools, like Simple or Chime.

What’s your favorite checking account? What’s so great about it?



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