BEST OF - Virginia

Best Free Checking Accounts of 2022

Dec 9, 2021

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The best free checking accounts do more than keep money in people’s wallets by having no monthly fees. They also typically offer other free services or pay interest.

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.

Here’s a list of our favorites based on research into dozens of institutions. We scoped out accounts based on interest rate, ATM network, rewards and other factors.

» Looking for a place to stash your savings? Take a look at NerdWallet's picks for best savings accounts

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Best Free Checking Accounts

Discover Bank Cashback Debit
Learn more

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

With Discover Cashback Debit, you can get 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases monthly.

Interest rate: None.

Minimum deposit to open: $0.

Other pros: Customers have access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs.

What you should know: The only place to deposit cash is at Discover's one branch in Delaware.

Cashback Debit details from Discover: “ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, peer-to-peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as Venmo® and PayPal™, which also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple, the Apple logo and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries."

See Discover's website for more details.

Read Full Review
Axos Bank® Rewards Checking
Learn more

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

$150

Requirements to qualify

Learn more

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC


Bonus

$150

Requirements to qualify

Why we like it

Axos Bank’s Rewards Checking has an exceptional rate and unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

Interest rate: Up to 1.25%.

Minimum deposit to open: $50.

Other pros: The account has no overdraft fees.

What you should know: The maximum balance that earns interest is $50,000. To earn Rewards Checking's highest rate (1.25%), you will need to meet five requirements. To begin earning interest, you have to receive at least $1,500 in monthly direct deposits. That earns 0.40%. Once you meet that requirement, you can earn additional interest in the following ways: Make 10 debit card purchases (minimum of $3 per transaction) or sign up for the Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager tool (earns 0.30%), have an average daily balance of $2,500 in an Axos managed investment portfolio (earns 0.20%), have an average daily balance of $2,500 in an Axos self-directed portfolio (earns 0.20%) and make a monthly Axos consumer loan payment from Rewards Checking (earns 0.15%).

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Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking
Learn more

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 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Consumers Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Consumers Credit Union’s Free Rewards Checking account offers strong interest rates for customers who meet certain monthly requirements.

Interest rate: Customers can earn 2.09% on balances up to $10,000 if you make at least 12 monthly debit card purchases, have at least $500 of monthly electronic transactions and receive e-statements. If you do all of the above, you can earn 3.09% if you also make $500 in credit card purchases, and 4.09% if you make at least $1,000 in credit card purchases. These rates are only on balances up to $10,000.

Minimum deposit to open: $5.

Other pros: Consumers Credit Union offers strong customer service options such as 24/7 live chat, more than 30,000 ATMs and more than 5,000 shared branches.

What you should know: If you meet your monthly requirements for Consumer Credit Union’s interest rates but you have balances over $10,000, then the excess earns either 0.10% or 0.20% depending on the total. Customers who don’t meet the monthly requirements earn 0.01% on their balance.

Read Full Review

Quontic Cash Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Quontic Cash Rewards Checking

Monthly fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Quontic’s free Cash Rewards Checking account offers a strong cash back rate and access to a large network of ATMs.

Interest rate: None, but Quontic offers 1.5% cash back on debit card purchases.

Minimum deposit to open: $100.

Other pros: Quontic customers have access to more than 90,000 fee-free ATMs.

What you should know: Quontic is a digital bank, so branch access isn’t available.

Read Full Review

Monifi Spend Balance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Monifi Spend Balance

Monthly fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Monifi, an online-only division of MidFirst Bank, offers a strong interest rate on its Spend Balance account along with an incentive bonus for setting up and receiving direct deposits. It also belongs to a large worldwide ATM network that customers can use fee-free.

Interest rate: None, but customers can receive a $250 bonus for setting up a payroll direct deposit and receiving two direct deposits of at least $1,000 each.

Minimum deposit to open: None.

Other pros: Monifi customers have access to more than 55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs worldwide.

What you should know: Monifi doesn’t accept cash deposits; accounts must be funded via transfer or check deposit. Also, since Monifi is online-only, customers won’t have access to any branches for customer service.

Read Full Review

Connexus Credit Union Xtraordinary Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Connexus Credit Union Xtraordinary Checking

Monthly fee

$0

APY

1.75%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

In addition to no monthly fee, Connexus Credit Union offers a strong interest rate on its Xtraordinary Checking account, good free ATM access and rebates on domestic out-of-network ATM fees.

Interest rate: Connexus Credit Union’s Xtraordinary Checking account gives customers 1.75% APY on balances up to $25,000 as long as they opt-in to e-statements and either spend at least $400 per month or make a minimum of 15 debit card purchases.

Minimum deposit to open: None.

Other pros: Connexus Credit Union gives up to $25 in ATM fee reimbursements for customers who use a domestic out-of-network ATM and meet the monthly account requirements.

What you should know: Customers who don’t meet the monthly requirements for their Xtraordinary Checking account don’t earn interest, and they don’t get ATM fee reimbursements.

Read Full Review

Lake Michigan Credit Union Max Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lake Michigan Credit Union Max Checking

Monthly fee

$0

APY

3.00%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Lake Michigan Credit Union’s Max Checking has a very strong interest rate when monthly requirements are met, and the account doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement or monthly fees.

Interest rate: 3.00% on balances up to $15,000 when monthly requirements are met. To earn the interest rate, customers must opt into receiving e-statements, have at least one direct deposit into their account, make at least 10 debit or credit card purchases, and log into their account at least four times throughout the month.

Minimum deposit to open: None, although there’s a $5 minimum to open a membership with the credit union.

Other pros: Lake Michigan Credit Union reimburses out-of-network ATM fees of up to $10 per month.

What you should know: Customers don’t earn interest on balances over $14,999.

Read Full Review

Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

Monthly fee

$0

APY

0.10%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Ally offers interest on its free checking account as well as nationwide ATM fee reimbursements of up to $10 a month.

Interest rate: 0.10% or 0.25%, depending on balance.

Minimum deposit to open: $0.

Other pros: Ally customers have free access to thousands of Allpoint ATMs nationally.

What you should know: The minimum daily balance to earn the higher rate is $15,000. Ally doesn’t let you add cash to your account, so you’d have to buy a money order and use mobile check deposit, transfer money from another account, or use direct deposit.

Read Full Review

LendingClub Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
LendingClub Rewards Checking

Monthly fee

$0

APY

0.10%

With $2,500 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

LendingClub offers a strong unlimited 1% cash back on purchases for customers who meet certain balance requirements, and customers also receive unlimited worldwide ATM fee reimbursements.

Interest rate: 0.10% APY on balances of $2,500 to $99,999.99 and 0.15% APY on balances of $100,000 or more. Customers can also earn an unlimited 1% cash back on purchases.

Minimum deposit to open: $100.

Other pros: LendingClub offers unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide.

What you should know: To earn unlimited 1% cash back, customers have to maintain or direct deposit $2,500 per month.

Read Full Review
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
Learn more

at Alliant Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA

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

N/A
Learn more

at Alliant Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

With a strong online presence and easy membership requirements, Alliant has a wider reach than most credit unions. Support for an Alliant-affiliated nonprofit is all it takes to apply for membership if you don’t fulfill other requirements.

Interest rate: 0.25%.

Minimum deposit to open: $0.

Other pros: Alliant members can access more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs and have up to $20 reimbursed in out-of-network ATM fees a month.

What you should know: To qualify for the High-Rate Checking Account, members have to opt out of paper statements and have at least one electronic deposit each month, which can be a mobile, ATM or direct deposit, or a transfer from another financial institution.

Read Full Review

Last updated on December 9, 2021

You may also like these

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

Discover Bank Online Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Online Savings

APY

0.60%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

APY

0.70%

With $0 min. balance for APY

at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Online Savings

APY

0.60%

With $0 min. balance for APY

at Discover Bank, 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