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Best Checking Accounts of 2022

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Checking accounts are a safe place to keep money you need for everyday spending, and these days, there's no reason you have to pay high fees.

Most checking accounts today make it easy to access your money, offer flexible withdrawal options, and are FDIC insured. And the best checking accounts have low or no fees, a high APY (so your money is making money), and ATM reimbursement.

You can open a checking account through both traditional brick-and-mortar banks and an increasing number of online financial institutions (like that new banking app your coworker won't stop raving about).

We've checked out the banking industry to find our picks of the best checking accounts available for you. Keep reading to see our top recommendations.

Rates as of Aug. 2, 2022
  • High APY
  • ATM fee reimbursements
  • No maintenance fees
  • $100 bonus opportunity
  • Not all balances earn the highest APY
  • Must have multiple account types to earn the highest APY

A solid checking account with an APY that far outpaces the competition. The fact that it also has no maintenance fees and no overdraft or NSF fees are the cherries on top.

$100 bonus opportunity

Use Promo Code “Summer” for a $100 Bonus, valid through 9/30.

To receive a $100 Bonus: An Axos Bank Rewards Checking application that includes the promotional code “SUMMER" must be submitted between 7/5/2022 at 12:00am PST and 11:59pm PST on 9/30/2022 to qualify. Accountholders must open a new Rewards Checking account and have qualifying direct deposit(s) that total at least $1,500 within a single calendar month during the first three calendar months the account is open, including the month in which the account was opened. Direct deposit funds must be new to bank from a third-party source (not originated from another Axos Bank brand account) to receive bonus credit. All eligible awards will be delivered to the Rewards Checking account within 30 days following the 90-day waiting period. Account must remain open for 180 days or an early closure fee of $50 may apply.

  • Innovative Bitcoin Rewards Checking account
  • Excellent customer service
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Missing some common CD terms
  • Checking accounts not ideal for infrequent debit card users

The Quontic High Interest Checking account is one of the few checking accounts that offers a high APY, free ATMs, and few account fees. Account holders can earn a nice APY on all account balances up to $150,000. Account balances between $150,000.01 and $1 million earn a smaller, but still competitive APY, and balances above $1 million don't earn anything. To qualify for interest, account holders need to make at least 10 qualifying debit card transactions of at least $10 per statement cycle.

10 debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle required to earn the maximum APY. If the qualifying activity requirement is not fulfilled, the interest rate paid on the entire balance will be 0.01% APY.

  • High savings account APY
  • Great customer service
  • Get direct-deposited funds up to two days early
  • Automated savings tools
  • Secured credit card with no credit check or fees
  • Difficult to deposit cash
  • Savings Account requires Spending Account

The Chime Checking Account charges few fees. Users get access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide through the Allpoint network. Another valuable feature is early direct deposit, which allows account holders to access funds up to two days earlier than otherwise scheduled. This account also comes with a savings account included, so it’s a good fit for those interested in both.

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

Ally Interest Checking

  • High customer satisfaction ratings
  • Competitive APYs
  • Loyalty bonuses on CDs
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No brick-and-mortar branches

Online-only bank Ally offers a high APY on its Interest Checking account for customers with a $15,000 minimum daily balance. Account holders with lower daily balances won't be left out since Ally Interest Checking also earns a nice return for daily balances less than $15,000. Ally skips common fees too, like monthly maintenance and check fees.

Alliant High Rate Checking

  • Network of 80,000 ATMs
  • Reimburses up to $20 ATM fees
  • No monthly fees, overdraft fees, and no monthly minimum balance requirements
  • No physical branches
  • Higher APY available at other financial institutions

Alliant's marquee checking account kicks back at a decent rate. The bank's competitive APY is returned in what it calls its "monthly dividend," and the requirements are extremely modest -- a customer need only opt in to e-statements for their account and have one direct deposit made every month. There is no monthly service fee or minimum balance requirement. Plus, the bank will reimburse up to $20 per month in out-of-network ATM fees and customers can use a network of 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements worldwide
  • Great customer service
  • Free linked investment account with checking account
  • Low APYs
  • No relationship benefits

The feature-packed Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® account charges surprisingly few fees. There's also no minimum required balance. Customers using their Schwab Bank Visa® Platinum Debit Card have their ATM fees refunded, even those incurred abroad. Speaking of that, Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® incurs no foreign transaction fees on debit card purchases.

Discover Cashback Debit

  • Few account fees
  • Competitive APYs
  • Rare account types
  • Great customer service
  • Somewhat high minimum deposit on CDs
  • No interest-bearing checking account

It's common for credit cards to offer a cash back feature, not so much for traditional checking accounts. Discover Cashback Debit earns 1% for debit card transactions, for up to $3,000 in spending every month. This account also has a long list of fee-free services. For example, Discover won't charge for monthly maintenance, online bill pay, a replacement debit card, outbound ACH fees, and a lot of other activities. Account owners also have access to their cash at more than 60,000 ATMs throughout the U.S.

ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as Venmo® and PayPal™, who also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple, the Apple logo and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Capital One 360 Checking

  • High APYs
  • Branches in some states
  • Variety of accounts
  • Great customer service
  • Some CD rates are low

Capital One emphasizes the words "fee-free" in its literature for good reason. Few activities with this account incur a fee. Some exceptions are overdraft on credit, overnight check or replacement card delivery, stop payments, and bounced checks. The goose eggs also include $0 minimums to open or maintain the account, and this continued fee-free theme makes up for the competitively lower APY.

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Checking

  • Good variety of account types
  • High APYs
  • ATM access with out-of-network fee reimbursement
  • Some branch locations
  • Difficult to gauge customer service

TIAA Bank's rate isn't as high as some of its competitors, but it does come with a guarantee that most other checking accounts don't offer. The bank promises to keep its APY in the top 5% of what it terms "Competitive Accounts." There are also unlimited ATM fee reimbursements as long as the customer keeps at least $5,000 in the account.

LendingClub Rewards Checking

  • Cash back on debit card purchases
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements worldwide
  • Get your paycheck up to two days early
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Low balances won't earn interest
  • Most customers won't qualify for the highest APY

LendingClub Rewards Checking includes the table-stakes perks we covet, including no monthly maintenance fees. It also packs in an array of other benefits that make it a solid contender. Notably, account holders can earn up to 1% cash back and get paid up to two days early when direct depositing their paychecks. The cherry on top is unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide.

What is a checking account?

A checking account is a bank account designed for spending. Most checking accounts come with a debit card. Account holders can also take advantage of online bill pay services.

It contrasts with a savings account, which is intended for -- yes -- saving. Savings accounts usually don't have debit cards, because banks don't expect you to spend the money in your savings account.

Types of checking accounts

Here’s a look at some of the most common types of checking accounts.

Traditional checking account

Traditional checking accounts are available through most banks and credit unions. They usually don’t earn interest, and some charge monthly maintenance fees if your balance is too low. But it's usually pretty easy to access your funds. Most give you check-writing capabilities and a debit card so you can directly withdraw your funds when you need them. And if you choose a brick-and-mortar bank, you'll be able to get money at any bank branch as well.

Premium checking account

Premium checking accounts offer special perks, like lower fees or monthly out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements. But these are usually only available to customers who open multiple accounts with the same bank. Brick-and-mortar banks offer these as a way of competing with the fee-free checking accounts offered by online banks.

Student checking account

Student checking accounts are geared at college students, usually up to age 25. Most of the time, these accounts don't have monthly maintenance fees and they allow for online and mobile banking just like traditional checking accounts.

RELATED: Best Student Checking Accounts

Senior checking account

Senior checking accounts are targeted to adults who are 62 or older in most cases. These accounts may have lower monthly maintenance fees or they may not charge a monthly fee at all for account ownership. Their features are usually pretty similar to traditional checking accounts.

Interest-bearing checking account

Interest-bearing checking accounts enable you to earn a modest annual percentage yield (APY) on your checking account funds. Rates are usually lower than what you typically see with high-yield savings accounts, and you may need to maintain a high minimum balance to qualify for interest.

Business checking account

Business checking accounts are designed for companies rather than individuals. There are often several options business owners can choose from, depending on the features they need and the number of monthly transactions they make.

Checkless checking account

Checkless checking accounts are traditional checking accounts that don’t offer check-writing capabilities. Banks sometimes offer these as a fee-free or low-cost alternative to traditional checking accounts. One of these might suit you as long as you're comfortable paying for items a different way.

Rewards checking account

Rewards checking accounts offer special perks, like cash back on debit card purchases. This is more common with online banks. It may not appeal to everyone, but if you use your debit card often, you might earn more money this way than you would with a traditional interest-bearing checking account.

Private bank checking

Private bank checking accounts are reserved for the ultra-wealthy. These customers usually have large balances, and banks give them dedicated representatives to assist them with their needs.

Second chance checking

Second chance checking accounts are for individuals who have previously had their bank accounts closed, usually due to a failure to pay fees or because they were using their accounts to commit fraud. This makes banks reluctant to work with them again. These second chance accounts usually have more stringent application requirements and there's often a monthly fee you can't waive.

How to choose the best checking account

You'll probably use your checking account a lot, so choosing the right one is important. Here are the basic steps you should follow:

  1. Think about your needs: Everyone has different checking account needs. Think about how you like to deposit and withdraw funds and make a list of which features are most important to you in a checking account.
  2. Estimate what your average balance will be: You want to avoid paying for a checking account if you can, so you need a rough idea of how much you'll keep in your account. If you come across a checking account with a minimum balance requirement that's more than what you'll keep in the account, it's probably not right for you.
  3. Focus on accessibility: As you explore your options, focus on banks that offer features you want. Online and mobile banking is popular these days, so you probably want to make sure this is an option. If you're more comfortable banking in person, look for a bank that offers branches nearby. Verify if the account comes with check-writing capabilities or a debit card, too.
  4. Pay attention to fees: Once you narrow down your list, look at the account's fee schedule. You may be able to find this online, or you can inquire about it at the bank. Make sure there are no surprises there and that you'll be able to avoid the monthly maintenance fee, if there is one.
  5. Look for bonuses: If you can't decide between two similar checking accounts, look for extras that make one stand out. Some banks offer sign-up bonuses to new customers who fulfill certain requirements. Others might offer cash back on debit card purchases or out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements. Go with the account that offers you the most bang for your buck.

What to look for in a checking account

The best checking accounts typically have:

  • Low fees: There's no reason that anyone should have to pay an account maintenance fee. Hot tip: Fees (of any type) are less common with online banks.
  • High interest rates: Many checking accounts pay interest. To compare accounts, look at each account's annual percentage yield -- or APY.
  • ATM reimbursement: Some of the best online checking accounts reimburse ATM fees charged by other banks.
  • Convenient ATM or branch locations: Traditional banks with plenty of brick-and-mortar locations can be incredibly convenient. But some online banks have massive ATM networks and easy methods to make deposits, even with cash.

Why should you have a checking account?

Most American adults have checking accounts, and there's a good reason why it's such a popular place to keep money.

Here are a few reasons to open a checking account, whether it be a high-interest online checking account or one from a traditional brick-and-mortar bank:

  • Easy spending: If you have an emergency expense, an unexpected bill, or even just a fun shopping spree -- it's easy to spend money out of a checking account. Some options for spending out of a checking account include checks, debit cards, online banking, and mobile wallets.
  • (Usually) no restrictions: Believe it or not, most other bank account types have restrictions on spending. With a savings account, you can usually only make six withdrawals each month. And with a certificate of deposit (CD), you can't take money out at all without paying a penalty (unless your CD has matured -- but waiting for it to mature can take months).
  • Protection: All checking accounts with up to $250,000 in deposits are fully insured by the FDIC. In the unlikely event your bank melts down, you won't lose a cent. Also, consumer fraud protection services are now standard and free of charge in many checking accounts, both nationwide and at local banks.

Are checking accounts free?

The short answer to this is maybe.

Checking accounts are wonderfully convenient. You pay for this, though, and not only with razor-thin or nonexistent interest rates. Checking accounts, particularly those offered by brick-and-mortar institutions, are known for the numerous fees banks impose for maintaining them.

There are a host of these charges. Here are three of the more common ones:

  • Monthly maintenance fee (also known as the service charge, among other names): This is the most common recurring checking account charge. It often ranges from $5 to $15, but can vary widely. Fortunately, banks often waive this charge if a customer meets certain standards. These can include a minimum number of transactions on the account's debit card, setting up recurring direct deposit from an employer, or meeting a minimum ongoing balance amount.
  • Overdraft fee: This classic charge has been a staple of the checking account for many years. Should you spend more money than what you've got in the account, you'll be hit with an overdraft fee. $35 per incident is roughly the going rate. Banks don't typically waive overdraft fees, though some online checking accounts don't charge them.
  • ATM fee: Banks like to charge ATM fees if you draw funds from cash machines that aren't theirs. A standard hit is $2 or $3 per transaction, but these can be much higher in certain locations, especially abroad. The ATM owner may charge their own fees as well.

To be clear, not all checking accounts (especially online checking accounts) charge all of these fees. For example, many of our best high-interest checking account picks don't have any monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees, and some even go so far as to reimburse customers for ATM fees charged by other banks.

RELATED: Best Free Checking Accounts

Do checking accounts earn interest?

What you gain in flexibility with a checking account, you lose in earnings potential. In contrast to fellow banking products like money market accounts and CDs, checking accounts often don't earn interest -- or, at best, they earn at extremely thin interest rates.

This is particularly true of banks with brick-and-mortar operations. Keeping branches open is expensive and resource-draining, and the prevalence of checking accounts make them a prime target for cost cutting.

There are, however, exceptions to this no-interest standard. Interest-bearing checking accounts exist, but they often have relatively high opening and/or minimum ongoing balance requirements. The effort it takes to hit those marks, plus the funds they tie down, are not worthwhile for many customers, especially because many of the best interest-bearing checking accounts only offer about a low APY.

Online-only banks have more wiggle room to pay interest since they don't bear those brick-and-mortar costs. It's not unusual to see interest-bearing online checking accounts. Even then, we're still in a low-rate environment. These rates might be higher than 0%, but they're still much lower than what you'll find with online savings accounts.


How many checking accounts should I have?

Most people have just one or two checking accounts, but like many personal finance categories, it depends on you. In addition to a standard individual checking account, many couples have joint checking accounts, and many business owners also have business checking accounts.

Checking vs savings account: What's the difference?

A checking account is primarily designed for making day-to-day payments, while a savings accounts is best suited for money intended for longer-term goals.

Savings accounts typically have higher APYs, which makes them a better choice for an emergency fund or other cash you don't anticipate using anytime soon but don't feel comfortable investing. But savings accounts also have restrictions that limit the number of withdrawals you can make per month and the ease of access you have to your money.

Checking accounts are intended to be spending accounts used for everyday purchases. They have fewer limitations on the number of payments or withdrawals you can make each month. But they usually don't have a high APY like savings accounts do, even if they are high interest.

For more on the difference, be sure to check out our beginner's guide to banking.

RELATED: How to Open a Checking Account

Key checking account terms to know

Here's some important checking account terminology you should be familiar with:

Debit card: A debit card is a payment card that's linked to a checking or savings account. It's usually (but not always) Visa- or Mastercard-branded. Unlike a credit card, which allows you to borrow money and pay it back later, debit card transactions are approved based on the current balance of your account, and the money is immediately deducted.

PIN: Short for "personal identification number," a PIN is a number that's typically four to six digits. It's used to identify you when using your debit card for ATM withdrawals or in-store purchases.

Insufficient funds: If you write a check or attempt to spend more money than you have in your checking account, the transaction may be rejected for insufficient funds.

Overdraft: An overdraft is the result of a transaction that causes your account to have a negative balance. The key difference between an overdraft and insufficient funds is that a transaction that results in an overdraft is approved, and a transaction resulting in insufficient funds is rejected. Overdrafts usually carry fees.

Mobile or remote deposit: Most checking accounts allow customers to make check deposits from their smartphone or other mobile device by uploading a photo of the check, thereby saving a trip to the bank.

Endorsement: To endorse a check means to sign the back of a check in the specified area, indicating that the person being paid is accepting the money.

Routing number: There are three important numbers on every check, and the first is the routing number. This is a nine-digit code that corresponds with the bank that holds the checking account. Some major banks have several different routing numbers, depending on the geographical location where the account was opened.

Account number: The account number identifies the specific deposit account within the bank indicated by the routing number. In order to send money to a checking account, you'll need both the routing and account number. In short, the routing number tells the sending institution which bank to send the money to, and the account number tells that bank where to put it.

Check number: Although it's not particularly important when it comes to most transactions, every check has a unique number (usually three or four digits). Check numbers are useful for helping the account holder keep track of payments they make by check and can also help identify fraud in many cases.


  • A checking account is a bank account designed to allow the account owner easy access to their money. Checking accounts typically have no limits on the number of withdrawals or payments the owner can make, unlike savings accounts.

  • Well-established online banks are just as secure as traditional banks. They're FDIC insured as well, and they follow the same regulatory laws as any other bank. Not only are they required to put numerous security measures in place to protect your information, but they're also required to limit your liability as a consumer in cases of fraud.

  • Checking account costs vary dramatically. Some have multiple fees, such as maintenance charges, overdraft fees, and ATM fees, while others are entirely fee free.

  • Some checking accounts, especially those offered by online banks, earn interest on deposits. But it's usually a small amount.

  • While some banks offer checking accounts with rewards, not all of them do. If earning rewards is important to you, make sure any bank or credit union you're considering offers this opportunity.

  • Rules vary based on the financial institution. Conditions for earning a bonus may include:

    • Using a promotional code
    • Making a minimum initial deposit
    • Maintaining a minimum balance for a specific amount of time

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