Best Checking Accounts (The 2019 Edition)

When you’re searching for the perfect checking account, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the options that are available to you. Some banks offer stellar bonuses to new account holders while others allow you to earn generous rewards for every dollar spent. You also have to consider the fees that accompany select bank accounts, along with the location and if it’s convenient for you. And the list goes on.

So, to make your life easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best checking accounts on the market. Read on to explore these options that will hopefully help you narrow down your search.

Brick-and-Mortar Banks

Prefer to do banking the traditional way? If online banks just aren’t your cup of tea, these brick-and-mortar banks offer checking solutions that are a step above the rest.

Chase Total Checking

Account Overview:

With Chase Total Checking, you can enjoy a new account holder bonus of up to $350. You’ll earn $200 when you open your account and enroll in direct deposit, and $150 more if you choose to open a savings account and meet the qualification criteria.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $25
  • Monthly Service Fees- $12 (if you don’t meet the monthly balance or activity requirements)
  • ATM Network- Over 16,000 fee-free ATMs and 5,100 branches
  • Rewards- n/a

PNC Standard Checking

Account Overview:

The PNC Standard Checking account is a straightforward, low-fee solution to meet your checking needs. But it stands out above the rest because of its generous rewards program.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $25
  • Monthly Service Fees- $7 (waived if you meet the balance or direct deposit criteria, or are at least 62 years of age)
  • ATM Network- Over 9,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Rewards- PNC Purchase Payback allows you to earn cash back on everyday purchases at your favorite retailers or dining establishments.

Fifth Third Bank Essential Checking

Account Overview:

The Fifth Third Bank Essential Checking grants you the standard services you’d expect in an account of this type, and they make it easy to avoid monthly maintenance fees. They also offer a unique Roundup feature that helps you pay your student loans down faster.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $0 (but you have up to 45 days to make your first deposit)
  • Monthly Service Fee- $11 (can be avoided with qualifying account activity)
  • ATM Network- Over 50,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Rewards-n/a
  • Other Perks- Account holders have access to discounted Identity Theft Protection coverage, Roundup on purchases via Fifth Third Momentum app (funds are directly applied to student loans)

Credit Unions

There are many perks to having a checking account with a credit union. From reduced fees and more competitive interest rates on loan products to the ability to own a share of the institution, credit unions may be the perfect fit for you. Some checking account products from credit unions to consider:

Consumers Credit Union Simple Checking

Account Overview:

Consumers Credit Union Simple Checking is a fee-free product that is free of monthly service fees. They have a vast ATM network and allow you to earn cash back on everyday purchases made using your debit card.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $25
  • Monthly Service Fees- $10 (unless you maintain a daily balance of at least $1,000)
  • ATM Network- Over 30,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Rewards- Cashback rewards on purchases

Connexus Credit Union Checking Account

Account Overview:

As a Connexus Checking Account holder, you’ll earn a yield of up to 1.75 percent on your money. Even better, there are no minimum balance requirements and ATM fees for out of network transactions are reimbursable by up to $25.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $5.00
  • Monthly Service Fees- $0
  • ATM Network- Over 54,000 fee-free ATMs (monthly surcharges of up to $25 qualify for reimbursement)
  • Rewards- MyRewards allows you to earn up to $25 in rebates for ATM surcharges and up to 1.35 percent in yields
  • Other Perks- no minimum monthly balance requirements

Penfed Credit Union Access America Checking

Account Overview:

Penfed Credit Union Access America Checking also allows members to earn a return between 0.20 and 0.5 percent APY on their funds. This account is also accompanied by Apple and Samsung digital wallet capabilities.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $25
  • Monthly Service Fees- $0
  • ATM Network- Over 68,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Rewards- n/a
  • Other Perks- Interfaces with Apple and Samsung digital wallets

Online Checking Accounts

If you’re always on the go or are delighted at the thought of handling all your banking needs at the tip of your fingertips, a checking account from an online bank may best suit your needs. Here are some options to consider:

Capital One 360 Checking Account

Account Overview:

Touted as one of the best online checking account products on the market, the Capital One 360 Checking Account offers a generous APY of up to 1.00 percent. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly service fees, and you’ll have access to over 39,000 fee-free ATMs. You should also know that you have the option to open an account online or at a Capital One branch.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $0
  • Monthly Service Fees- $0
  • ATM Network- Over 39,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Rewards- n/a
  • Other Perks- first order of checks available free of charge

Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

Account Overview:

As an Ally Bank Interest Checking Account holder, you’ll earn an APY between 0.1 and 0.60 percent. You’ll also enjoy a vast ATM network and fee-free checking as the account does not incur monthly service charges.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit-
  • Monthly Service Fees- $0
  • ATM Network- Free access to thousands of Allpoint ATMs nationwide
  • Rewards- n/a
  • Other Perks- ATM fees of up to $10 reversible per month

Radius Checking

Account Overview:

Although the Radius Checking account does require a somewhat hefty opening deposit of $100, you’ll be able to earn one percent in cash back for each purchase made with your debit cards. Even better, there are no monthly service fees, and the first box of checks ordered is on the bank.

Key Features:

Minimum Opening Deposit- $100

Monthly Service Fees- $0

ATM Network- a Vast network of fee-free ATMs worldwide

Rewards- one percent cash back for every dollar spent

Other Perks- Unlimited transfers, bill pay, and mobile wallet with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, the initial order of checks covered

USAA Cashback Rewards Checking

Account Overview:

Not only will you enjoy zero service charges with this account, but you will also earn 10 cents back each time you use your debit card. There are no earning maximums and cash back can be redeemed once you’ve earned a dollar or more. And you can do so at any time (as long as your account is current and in good standing).

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $25
  • Monthly Service Fees- $0
  • ATM Network- Over 60,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Rewards- 10 cent cash back when you use your debit card

Best High-Interest Checking

Is earning top dollar on your money at the top of your list? These high-interest checking accounts will help you get the job done:

Alliant High-Rate Checking

Account Overview:

Alliant Credit Union offers a high-rate checking account that allows you to earn 0.65 percent APY, which is 7.2 times the national average for checking account yields. However, you must enroll in eStatements and make one monthly electronic deposit to earn interest. They also have a large fee-free ATM network and reimburse up to $20 on out-of-network fees.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $5 support payment made by Alliant on your behalf to a charity they are partnered with (you can bypass this by meeting another one of their eligibility requirements)
  • Monthly Service Fees- $0
  • ATM Network- Over 80,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Rewards- n/a
  • Other Perks- first order of checks covered, Up to $20 in ATM surcharges reimbursable each month, free unlimited transfers between in-house and outside accounts

Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account

Account Overview:

With a minimum opening deposit of only $10, you can become a Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account holder and earn up to 0.76 APY on your money. What’s even more enticing is that you only have to maintain a minimum balance of $100 to take advantage of this perk.

This account also offers the UChoose Rewards program where you’ll earn 1 point for every $2 spent. Points can be exchanged for points for travel, electronics, gift cards, and so much more.

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $10
  • Monthly Service Fees- $0
  • ATM Network- Bank5 Connect will reimburse up to $15 in surcharges per statement cycle incurred from using other banks’ ATMs
  • Rewards- Earn 1 point for every $2 spent on your debit card through the UChoose Rewards program
  • Other Perks- first box of checks free, up to $15 in out-of-network ATM fees reimbursable

Simple Checking Account

Account Overview:

Housed under the BBVA Compass Bank umbrella, the Simple Checking Account is designed to help you earn a large return on your money in record time. There are no minimum opening deposit or monthly balance requirements, and you’ll never pay account maintenance fees.

You can also earn as much as 2.02 percent APY on your money. However, the balance must be at least $2,000 to take advantage of this benefit. And once you’ve reached this amount, a Savings Goal account will be opened on your behalf that allows you to earn $100.93 in interest after a 12-month period.

(Making purchases by check is not an available option, but they do offer a free bill pay service and treasurer’s checks.)

Key Features:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit- $0
  • Monthly Service Fees- no fees ever! (includes account maintenance, overdraft, ACH transfers, and card replacement)
  • ATM Network- Over 40,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Rewards- n/a

The Bottom Line

Choosing the best checking account for your financial needs doesn’t have to be an arduous task. By figuring out what features are most important and prioritizing them before you start, you’ll save yourself a ton of overwhelm before you start your search.

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