Best Checking Account Overall

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. We rated checking account providers on the following factors: monthly fees (50% of the rating), domestic ATMs (33.3%), interest rate (13.3%) and required minimum opening deposit (3.3%). In case of a tie, financial institutions were compared by category in the following order until one institution remained:
  • Overdraft fees.
  • Banking experience.
  • Monthly fee.
  • ATM access.
  • Checking interest rate.
  • Minimum opening deposit.

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.