We researched dozens of banks to scope out top free checking accounts based on interest rate, customer service, rewards and other factors. See our favorite picks below to learn more.
You can also use our tool to get a personalized recommendation for your preferences and location — just answer a few questions on the features you care about and we’ll show you your top options, both local and national.
Find the right checking account for you
Best interest rate
Aspiration Summit Account, 1% APY on balances of $2,500 or more
Aspiration is an investment firm, not a bank, but deposits are still insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The firm’s overdraft policies aren’t quite as consumer friendly as its other services, so be sure to monitor your balance using its online and mobile tools.
» MORE: High yield checking accounts
BANK5 CONNECT HIGH-INTEREST CHECKING, 0.76% APY
What’s more, the online bank’s $15 overdraft penalty is significantly lower than the national median of $34. You’ll have to put down an initial deposit of $10 when opening the account, and you’ll need a balance of at least $100 to qualify for the 0.76% APY. Still, those are fairly easy requirements to meet, and certainly more straightforward than those at other banks that offer similarly high APYs.
Best customer service
Ally Interest Checking
Best overdraft policy
360 Checking® by Capital One
Capital One is part of the Allpoint ATM network, giving its customers access to nearly 40,000 free cash machines. Users can also visit Capital One 360 Cafés in several cities around the country to speak with customer-service representatives.
Best credit union
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
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.
» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit unions
Best rewards program
Discover Cashback Checking
You can fund your Cashback Checking account via mobile check deposit, direct deposit or transfers from other banks. Depositing cash will be tough, though: The only place to do that is at Discover’s one branch location in Delaware.
Best budgeting tool
The same can be said about Simple as a whole. This online bank offers all the tools and gizmos you’d want in a free bank account, including a feature to make check deposits remotely and a bill payment service.
Best for people who want to save
Chime Spending Account
With no monthly, overdraft or foreign transaction fees, Chime’s Spending Account is straightforward and painless to use. Its primary draw is its savings feature, which automatically rounds up every purchase on your Chime debit card to the nearest dollar and plunks the difference into a separate savings account. Other bells and whistles include cash back rewards on categories like groceries or utility bills, receiving your direct deposit up to two days early, real-time transaction alerts and daily balance alerts.
Because Chime is a mobile-only bank, you won’t find any branches or receive in-person service.
Updated August 25, 2017.
To determine the best accounts, we took a close look at over 60 financial institutions: the largest U.S. banks based on assets, debit card volume, Internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on deposits as well as broad-based membership requirements; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry.
Financial institutions surveyed include: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, Andrews Federal Credit Union, Aspiration, Associated Bank, Bank5 Connect, BankDirect, Bank of America, Bank of Internet, Bank of the West, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA Compass, Boeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, EverBank, Fidelity, Fifth Third Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Golden 1 Credit Union, GS Bank, HSBC Bank USA, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, MemoryBank, MetaBank, M&T Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, People’s United Bank, PNC, Radius Bank, Regions Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Simple, Star One Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, State Farm Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, Union Bank, UFB Direct, USAA, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Woodforest National Bank, Zero Financial and Zions Bank.