BEST OF - Virginia

8 Best Checking Accounts of October 2022

Oct 3, 2022

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To get the most from your checking account, you need low fees, good customer support and free ATMs nearby. If you earn interest on your cash, even better.

Why trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our coverage to help you choose the financial accounts that work best for you. See our criteria for evaluating banks and credit unions.

NerdWallet staff analyzed, compared and rated dozens of institutions, including banks, nonbanks and credit unions, before selecting the checking accounts that offer the best combination of consumer-friendly features. (Nonbanks provide many of the same services that traditional institutions offer, but are not technically banks.) Some of these providers are NerdWallet partners, which was not a factor in our evaluations.

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Best Checking Accounts

SoFi Checking and Savings
Learn more

at SoFi, Member FDIC

SoFi Checking and Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Checking and Savings

Monthly fee

$0

APY

2.50%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$300

Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

Learn more

at SoFi, Member FDIC


Bonus

$300

Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

Why we like it

SoFi’s Checking and Savings account allows customers to put their cash into a general checking and savings balance, and the savings balance can be broken down into subaccounts called Vaults. You can earn 2.50% APY (variable and subject to change) on all account balances as long as you set up direct deposit. There’s no minimum direct deposit amount to earn interest or to get your paycheck two days early, but you’ll need a minimum monthly direct deposit of $1,000 to qualify for overdraft coverage and protection.

SoFi is part of the Allpoint network, so customers have access to more than 55,000 ATMs for cash withdrawals.

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Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking
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at Consumers Credit Union, Federally insured by NCUA

Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking

Monthly fee

$0

APY

3.00%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Consumers Credit Union, Federally insured by NCUA


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

The Free Rewards Checking account offers an exceptionally high annual percentage yield of 3.00% for balances of up to $10,000, as long as you’re able to meet a few spending and online banking requirements. Jumping through some additional hoops will land you as much as 5.00% APY on balances of up to $10,000. If you can’t qualify for these rates, your APY will be 0.01%, and you won’t get unlimited ATM fee refunds.

Consumers Credit Union is easy to join: Just pay $5 to become a member of the Consumers Cooperative Association. The credit union participates in shared branching, so you’ll have access to thousands of branches and ATMs.

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Axos Bank® Rewards Checking
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at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC

Axos Bank® Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Axos Bank® Rewards Checking

Monthly fee

$0

APY

1.25%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Rewards Checking has no minimum balance aside from a $50 balance required to open an account, and no monthly maintenance, overdraft or nonsufficient-funds fees. The account also has an annual percentage yield as high as 1.25% on up to $50,000, depending on your account activity. To start earning interest, you need to have at least $1,500 in monthly direct deposits. That earns you 0.40%. To earn the maximum APY, you have to: make 10 debit card purchases — with a minimum of $3 per transaction — or sign up for the Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager tool (earns 0.30%). You also need to have an average daily balance of $2,500 in a managed investment portfolio (earns 0.20%), have an average daily balance of $2,500 in a self-directed portfolio (earns 0.20%) and make a monthly Axos consumer loan payment from Rewards Checking (earns 0.15%).

In addition, Axos Bank (formerly Bank of Internet) offers unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements on several of its checking accounts, including this one.

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Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

Monthly fee

$0

APY

0.25%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$100

Requirements to qualify


Bonus

$100

Requirements to qualify

Why we like it

It’s easy to apply for Alliant membership. Just agree to support an Alliant-affiliated nonprofit if you don’t meet the other criteria, and Alliant will make a $5 donation on your behalf. Once you open an account, you’ll have access to Alliant’s services, including more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

You’ll qualify for an annual percentage yield of 0.25% if you opt out of paper statements and have at least one electronic deposit made to your account each month, such as a direct, ATM or mobile deposit or a transfer from another financial institution. Alliant’s digital tools are a step ahead of those offered by other credit unions. Its mobile check-deposit feature, for instance, lets members make daily deposits of up to $100,000. The account also doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

However, the credit union has very limited branch locations and doesn’t participate in shared branching.

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Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Frequently asked questions

What's the best checking account for me?

When choosing a new checking account, take a close look at fees, branch and ATM accessibility, and interest rate. People who do online banking should select an institution that offers a good website along with a mobile app that lets them deposit checks remotely.

As a rule, it’s a good idea to avoid checking accounts that charge — and don’t allow you to waive — fees.

» Looking for somewhere to stash your savings? Check out NerdWallet's picks for best savings accounts

Should I have more than one checking account?

Usually there won’t be many downsides to keeping multiple checking accounts open as long as you are able to meet the requirements of those accounts to avoid fees.

The number of checking accounts you should have is based on your personal situation. If you’re single, for example, you may be fine with just one checking account. If you’re married, you may want to have a personal account and a joint account that you share with your spouse. There are also a number of accounts that offer bonuses and promotions for opening an account, so if you’re able to juggle the requirements, you could make some extra cash by opening multiple accounts. You also may want to consider opening multiple checking accounts at different institutions for different uses, such as keeping an account at a provider that works well for international travel if you go out of the country a lot, or keeping a checking account open with the bank that handles your mortgage for faster payment transfers.

Last updated on October 3, 2022

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People often identify opening a savings account as their next money move.

SoFi Checking and Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Checking and Savings

APY

2.50%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$300

Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

at SoFi, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Online Savings

APY

2.15%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

Capital One 360 Performance Savings™

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Capital One 360 Performance Savings™

APY

2.15%

With $0 min. balance for APY

at Capital One, Member FDIC

Methodology

We took a close look at over 80 financial institutions and financial service providers, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on assets and membership; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage yields, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.

Frequently asked questions