BEST OF

9 Best Checking Accounts of July 2021

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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.

Summary of Best Checking Accounts of July 2021

Chime Spending Account
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at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Chime Spending Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Chime Spending Account

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Chime is a mobile checking account that has no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees, and you have access to more than 38,000 fee-free MoneyPass and Visa Alliance ATMs (cash withdrawal and third-party fees may apply). Through Chime’s early direct deposit service, customers can get their paychecks up to two days earlier than through direct deposit at most banks (note that early access to direct deposit funds depends on payer).

This account works best for people who don’t write many checks or make cash deposits. If you need to write a check, Chime has an online feature that creates and mails one on your behalf. For cash deposits, you’ll need to use a third-party service.

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LendingClub Rewards Checking
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at LendingClub Bank, Member FDIC

LendingClub Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
LendingClub Rewards Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.10%

With $2,500 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at LendingClub Bank, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

The LendingClub Rewards Checking account gives customers two cash-earning benefits: an interest rate and cash back on spending. For the interest rate, if your balance hits $2,500, a 0.10% annual percentage yield kicks in. If you have $100,000 or more, the rate becomes 0.15% APY. For the cash-back benefit, customers can earn 1.5% on three spending categories: dining out such as from meal delivery services, health-related costs from athletic or healthcare purchases, and subscriptions for streaming services. For the cash-back benefit, customers can earn unlimited 1% on online and signature-based “credit” purchases with their debit card.

LendingClub is also part of a network of thousands of SUM and MoneyPass ATMs which customers can use for free. In addition, customers receive unlimited ATM surcharge reimbursements if they use an out-of-network ATM worldwide. Users can also get their paychecks up to two days early via direct deposit, depending on their employer.

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One Spend
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at One, Deposits are FDIC Insured

One Spend

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
One Spend

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at One, Deposits are FDIC Insured


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

One Finance has no fees or minimum balances, and customers have access to more than 55,000 free ATMs. Customers can also earn interest with One Finance’s Auto-Save and Save "pockets," which are basically linked sub-accounts of the main One account.

One Finance has strong user ratings for its mobile app, and customers can reach out to its call center on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Read Full Review
Discover Bank Cashback Debit
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at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Cashback Debit

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Cashback Debit

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

This account from Discover offers 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month. The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, then Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

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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 minimum balance

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%, depending on your account activity. To earn maximum interest, you’d need to have monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more and use your debit card at least 15 times a month, with a minimum $3 purchase.

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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Varo Bank Account
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at Varo, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Varo Bank Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Varo Bank Account

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Varo, Deposits are FDIC Insured


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Varo’s checking account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, plus it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or fees to use its worldwide network of more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs. Varo checking customers can receive their paychecks up to two days early with direct deposit, which is faster than most banks.

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

Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

2.09%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Consumers Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

The Free Rewards Checking account offers an exceptionally high annual percentage yield of 2.09% 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 4.09% 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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nbkc bank Everything Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
nbkc bank Everything Account

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.15%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

The Everything Account from NBKC offers the features of both a checking and savings account, along with a solid 0.15% APY and no monthly fees or minimum balance. NBKC belongs to the MoneyPass network — which provides 34,000 free ATMs to customers — and also provides up to $12 in fee reimbursements per month for customers who use an out-of-network ATM.

Read Full Review

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.25%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

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 $50,000. 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.

Read Full Review

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.

Other top accounts

These providers also offer attractive checking choices and could be a great fit for you. Check them out if you want more options.

  • Service Credit Union Everyday Checking: No monthly fees; access to over 88,000 free ATMs (read full Service Credit Union review).

  • Ally Bank Interest Checking: Offers excellent customer service, access to 43,000 ATMs and an APY of 0.10% (read full Ally review).

  • Connexus Credit Union: Offers 54,000+ free ATMs and an APY of 1.75% (read full Connexus Credit Union review).

  • FNBO Direct Online Checking: Offers a free, interest-earning checking account with access to more than 2 million ATMs (read full FNBO Direct review).

Last updated on July 1, 2021

Methodology

We took a close look at over 70 financial institutions, 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.

Financial institutions surveyed are: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Associated Bank, Axos Bank, Bank5 Connect, Bank7, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA, BMO Harris, Boeing Employees Credit Union, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIBC U.S., CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens Access, Citizens Bank, Comenity Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, E*TRADE Bank, Fifth Third Bank, First Foundation Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Flagstar Bank, FNBO Direct, GoBank, Golden 1 Credit Union, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, HSBC Bank, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, LendingClub, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Nationwide Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Redneck Bank, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, State Employees' Credit Union of North Carolina, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TAB Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank, USAA, Varo, Vio Bank, Wells Fargo, Woodforest National Bank and Zions Bank.

Frequently asked questions