Best Checking Account for High Interest

How we picked the companies to evaluate:

We took a close look at over 70 financial institutions, including the largest U.S. retail banks, based on assets and internet search traffic; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on assets and membership; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry, based on competitive checking and savings offerings. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage yields, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more. Some of the providers are NerdWallet partners, but this did not influence our selection of the winner.

How we chose the winner:

When a financial institution offered multiple checking accounts, NerdWallet based its evaluation on the account with the lowest monthly fee and/or the lowest minimum deposit requirement. The winning bank or credit union was the one with the highest annual percentage yield for a checking account, given the following hypothetical monthly user behavior: $1,000 direct deposit, $2,500 minimum balance, 12 debit card transactions that total at least $100. To qualify for this award, a financial institution must not charge fees for online transactions and must have fee-free membership available to all consumers. In case of a tie, financial institutions were compared by category in the following order until one institution remained:
  • Maximum balance limit.
  • Best overdraft policy (based on fees, maximums and availability of overdraft lines of credit and overdraft protection transfers).
  • Banking experience.
  • Best branch availability, based on number of branches.
  • Monthly fee.
  • Best ATM access (based on number of ATMs, out-of-network fees and reimbursements).

How we verified our data:

NerdWallet writers and editors confirmed fees, rates, policies and other key features on each financial institution’s website. If an institution’s website was missing information, we contacted a representative directly for confirmation.