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Best Free Checking Accounts

  • Capital One 360

  • Chase Total Checking®

  • USAA®

  • Ally Interest Checking

  • GoBank™

  • EverBank Yield Pledge®

  • Bank5 Connect High Interest Checking

Now that you know where to find some good options for a free checking account online, let’s get into more detail on how you can use your checking account.

The Best Checking Accounts in Detail

Capital One 360

The Capital One 360® account is a great all-around selection for a person looking for a “big bank” feel from their online account. Capital One is a trusted financial brand and has a large network of ATMs across the country. To top if off, Capital One boasts access to about 40,000 no-fee ATMs. By contrast, Chase has about 15,500. Their superb mobile platform means your money won’t miss a beat. That’s a ton of value for no monthly account fee.

Highlights:
  • No hidden fees or minimums as you earn interest on your everyday money

  • 38,000 fee-free Allpoint® ATMs and 2,000 Capital One® ATMs

  • Free MasterCard® Debit Card for all purchases

  • Mobile check deposits with CheckMateSM & one checkbook’s free

Chase Total Checking®

If you want a cash reward for opening your new account, Chase Total Checking® is always a good bet. With the current promotion, you may be eligible for $200 in cash if you open a new account and set up direct deposit.

Chase Total Checking® offers a ton of perks that make managing your own money easier. One of those perks include Chase QuickDeposit℠ – a feature that lets you deposit checks by taking a picture.

Highlights:
  • Earn a $200 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit

  • Access 15,500 Chase ATMs and 5,300 branches

  • Chase QuickDeposit℠ lets you deposit checks almost anytime, anywhere with the ease of taking a picture. Just point, snap, and deposit.

USAA®

USAA® offers a free checking account designed around your needs. This account makes it easy and convenient to make deposits and offers plenty of free tools that can help you budget and monitor your spending. For your convenience, USAA® also offers Web BillPay®, an online bill pay feature that makes it easy to manage all of your household bills online. However, like other USAA products, this is only available to active duty military personnel, veterans, their families, and other affiliates.

Highlights:
  • No monthly service fees

  • No minimum balance requirements

  • Free ATMs nationwide

  • Free direct deposits

  • Free transfers and bill payments

Ally Interest Checking

Ally’s Interest Checking packs a punch, especially when linked to the Ally savings account which topped my list of Best Savings Accounts.

The best feature of this account is Popmoney®, which you can use to move money between Ally accounts or transfer to non-Ally accounts. Popmoney® also serves as a micropayment solution, enabling you to pay almost anyone anywhere via email or text.

Highlights:
  • No monthly maintenance fees

  • No minimum balance to open

  • 24/7 live customer care – talk to a real person

  • No ATM fees from Ally, nationwide.

  • Deposit checks remotely with Ally eCheck Deposit℠

  • Send someone money with Popmoney®

GoBank

If you like the idea of a mobile-first banking strategy, then GoBank™ is for you. GoBank is the only account on the list that does not pay interest, but its features are so innovative that I had to include it as a best free checking account option.

As with Chase, there is a ‘membership fee’ that is waived in any month where you have a direct deposit of $500 or more – so make sure you hook up direct deposit if you choose this account. Mobile check deposits, online bill pay, and a massive free ATM network all come standard. The big feature is that there are absolutely NO overdraft fees or NSF charges.

GoBank does charge a foreign transaction fee of 3% — so if you’re planning to travel internationally, this isn’t the checking account for you.

The mobile app has a really unique feature that, when authorized, enables you to check your balance from your phone without logging into the app. This is called the Balance Bar.

Additionally, the Fortune Teller feature enables you to set a very simple budget with payment due-date reminders. Then, the magic happens. You can check your budget beforeyou spend by inputting the cost of what you want to buy. The program then gives you a “yay” or “nay” based on the budget you set for yourself. If only Mint.com would do this!

Highlights:
  • No monthly fees

  • Mobile app available

  • Innovative mobile budgeting tools

  • Free bill pay

Everbank Yield Pledge® Checking

EverBank is the place to go for high-interest checking. Their first-year bonus APR of 0.95% on all balances is about 15 times the national average. Use this checking account like a savings account and set up transfers or a partial direct deposit into this account. With the mobile app, you can deposit checks, pay bills, or check your balance on the go.

If you can maintain a $5,000 account balance, EverBank will reimburse all of your ATM fees. If $5,000 is a bit steep, I would recommend going with a Capital One 360® account or Bank5 Connect to avoid ATM fees.

Highlights:
  • $1,500 minimum opening balance

  • $0 minimum balance to earn interest

  • No debit-card fee

  • No EverBank ATM fee

  • Unlimited ATM reimbursements with minimum balance

  • Free online & mobile banking

  • Free deposits from home

Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking

Like EverBank, the most attractive features of Bank5 Connect’s High-Interest Checking are the high interest rates and ATM fee reimbursement. Bank5 offers a 0.76% APY on all balances over $100 and reimburses third-party ATM fees, up to $15 per statement cycle.

While EverBank reimburses unlimited ATM fees, remember you need to keep a minimum balance of $5,000 to enable that feature. Bank5 has no minimum balance requirement for ATM reimbursement. Bank5 also employs dedicated mobile apps, complete with mobile check deposit and online bill pay, for free, all with no monthly fee.

Highlights:
  • No monthly maintenance fee

  • Free online banking/bill pay/eStatements

  • Free mobile banking

  • UChoose Debit Rewards program

  • Free first order of basic checks

  • No ATM fees, and third-party fees are reimbursed up to $15/month


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