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Charles Schwab Bank Review: Checking and Savings

Nov. 22, 2019
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions
Charles Schwab Banking Review
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4.5 NerdWallet rating

Where Charles Schwab Bank shines:

  • Unlimited fee rebates at ATMs worldwide.
  • Attractive yields on interest checking.
  • No monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements.
  • Free overdraft transfers from linked accounts.

Where Charles Schwab Bank falls short:

  • Pulls a hard credit inquiry when you apply for a new account.
  • Difficult to deposit cash.
  • Savings interest rate is low for an online bank.

Where Charles Schwab Bank shines:

  • Unlimited fee rebates at ATMs worldwide.
  • Attractive yields on interest checking.
  • No monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements.
  • Free overdraft transfers from linked accounts.

Where Charles Schwab Bank falls short:

  • Pulls a hard credit inquiry when you apply for a new account.
  • Difficult to deposit cash.
  • Savings interest rate is low for an online bank.

Where Charles Schwab Bank shines:

  • Unlimited fee rebates at ATMs worldwide.
  • Attractive yields on interest checking.
  • No monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements.
  • Free overdraft transfers from linked accounts.

Where Charles Schwab Bank falls short:

  • Pulls a hard credit inquiry when you apply for a new account.
  • Difficult to deposit cash.
  • Savings interest rate is low for an online bank.

 

The bottom line

Schwab Bank

at Schwab Bank,

Member, FDIC

Charles Schwab may be known primarily as an investing platform, but it is also a bank that offers online checking and savings accounts. And the checking account in particular is excellent, with a solid rate of return and an outstanding ATM policy.

Best if: You want a stellar interest checking account and don’t need to deposit cash often.


Read on for more information about Charles Schwab’s checking, savings, ATM reimbursements and more.

Checking: 5.0/5.0

Schwab has one of the best ATM fee reimbursement programs in the game, and the fact it has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements is a big bonus.

More upsides:

Earns 0.15% APY: It’s hard to find interest checking accounts, and many with higher yields have monthly fees or minimum requirements. But Schwab pays a reasonable rate with no requirements.

Free debit transactions abroad: Schwab checking offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, domestically and abroad. It also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, making it one of the very best banks to use if you’re traveling out of the country.

A brokerage account is included: You’ll get a Schwab One brokerage account at the same time you open the checking account. You’re not under any obligation to use the brokerage account, but if you want to learn more, take a look at our Charles Schwab investing review.

A downside:

Credit check: The bank will do a hard inquiry on your credit when you apply for a new Schwab account. Many banks don’t do this. (Find out what a hard inquiry is and why it matters.)

» Compare rewards checking: Browse NerdWallet’s recommendations of checking accounts that offer rewards or interest.

How does Schwab Bank compare?

Schwab Bank

High Yield Investor Checking®

NerdWallet Rating

APY

0.15%

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

ATM reimbursements

10,000+ ATMs

Radius Bank

Rewards Checking

NerdWallet Rating

at Radius Bank,

Member, FDIC

APY

1.00%

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

Chime

Spending Account

NerdWallet Rating

at Chime,

Member, FDIC

APY

N/A

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

No overdraft/NSF fees

10,000+ ATMs

Not for you? Read more bank reviews

Savings: 3.5/5.0

Charles Schwab’s High Yield Investor savings account isn’t flashy. With its low rates, you could see your money grow more quickly elsewhere.

The upside:

Reasonable fees and minimums: There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements associated with the account.

The downside:

You’ll find higher APYs elsewhere. Schwab offers a relatively low APY of 0.18%. Most online banks pay more for savings. 

» Looking for higher savings rates? Explore NerdWallet’s best high-yield savings accounts.

Bank experience: 4.5/5.0

The upside:

Numerous customer service options: Charles Schwab provides customer service through multiple avenues, including Twitter and 24/7 chat support. The bank’s phone support is available from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. PT on weekends. Its Android and iOS apps are favorably rated by customers.

A downside:

Difficult to deposit cash: You’ll have to convert your cash into a money order or check and send it in via mail or mobile check deposit.

Overdraft fees: 4.0/5.0

An upside:

Free overdraft transfers: If you overdraft, Schwab may pull money from funds in your linked Schwab One brokerage account or your Schwab savings account, free of charge, if you set them up as sources for funds. An overdraft line of credit is also available to customers who qualify.

A downside:

High nonsufficient funds fees: If you don’t have enough money in a backup account, Schwab may deny the overdraft transaction, and you could be hit with a $25 nonsufficient funds fee up to four times a day — that’s $100.

Schwab Bank

at Schwab Bank,

Member, FDIC

» Ready for high yield checking? Charles Schwab is a good choice if you want to earn a decent rate on your checking account and don’t need to deposit cash often. The lack of fees or minimum balances and the perk of unlimited ATM reimbursements mean you’ll be able to bank without worrying about running up avoidable charges. Having multiple customer service channels also gives Schwab a boost in our ratings. If the savings rate doesn’t bother you, Charles Schwab Bank should provide a smooth banking experience.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, bank experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.