The 8 Best Banks for Checking Accounts in 2019
It's time to get the most out of your bank
A checking account acts as the nerve center of your finances, as it's where income goes in and expenses go out. Because it's so important, it is essential to pick not just an overall great bank, but a bank that offers a great checking account. And there are a bunch to choose from, including accounts that offer cash back rewards, those that have no ATM fees, and more. To help you make the right choice, we put together a list of what we consider the best banks for checking accounts based on fees, features, and rewards.
The best overall checking account doesn’t come from a traditional bank, it comes from an investment company. Charles Schwab bank accounts are designed for Schwab investors, but the accounts stand out for low fees, a lack of minimum balance requirements, and fee-free access to any ATM in the world. The only thing this account does not let you do is deposit cash.
The account has the same features you would expect from an online banking account, including free bill pay, free transfers to accounts at Schwab and other banks, a free debit card, and perks such as free checks. The biggest benefit is no-fee ATMs. Schwab charges no foreign ATM fees and reimburses you for charges from other banks' ATMs automatically anywhere in the world. For regular international travelers or anyone who likes using ATMs but does not like fees, this is a major benefit.
Want to learn more? Read through our full review of Charles Schwab Bank.
Ally Bank offers a top account in the online checking account space. It comes with useful features such as free access to Allpoint ATMs (43,000+) in the U.S. and a $10 reimbursement per statement cycle for other ATMs. Plus, you can reach a real human being on Ally's 24/7 phone support line, and you can make quick transfers to friends and family with Zelle.
There are almost no fees for this account for regular activity. You can even get a cashier’s check free of charge. There isn’t much to complain about here. The only thing you can’t do with this online-only account is deposit cash. But because it’s 2019 and cash deposits are not all that common for those outside of the service industry, that shouldn’t hold you back.
Capital One 360 prides itself on user-friendly technology. Perhaps that's why its online banking and mobile banking rank high in a 2019 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. This means you get some of the best tools and features, plus no fees for regular activity, and no minimum balance requirements.
The account lets you use any Capital One or Allpoint ATM for free, and it has a limited number of branches (called cafes) in large cities. Capital One offers remote deposits from your phone, and besides the banking app, it has an app called Credit Wise that includes a free credit score and credit simulator. The bank offers competitive interest rates on checking and savings accounts.
Discover is best known for credit cards, but it offers a compelling online checking account as well. The Discover Cashback Debit account pays 1% cash back on up to $3,000 of debit card purchases each month. That gives you an ability to earn as much as $360 per year in cash back.
The accounts come with very few restrictions, including no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement. There are no fees for online bill pay, access to 60,000+ ATMs, checks, debit card replacements, official bank checks, ACH transfers, incoming wires, deposit items returned, or insufficient funds. This account costs very little and offers a lot in return. The only big downside is that the debit card works at a limited number of merchants compared to Visa and Mastercard branded cards.
Check out our full review of Discover Bank.
USAA is a financial institution just for military members, veterans, and their families. If you are lucky enough to qualify for membership, you can get access to a wide range of value-priced insurance and other financial products, including two great checking account choices.
The flagship checking account is USAA Classic Checking, which offers 60,000 free ATMs (plus refunds of up to $15 a month on other banks' ATM fees), overdraft protection, no minimum balance requirement, no monthly fee, and early access to your paychecks in some cases when directly deposited by DFAS. Plus, you get every feature you would expect from a modern bank through online and mobile banking.
Simple is a bank and budgeting app in one. Acquired by BBVA (think Compass Bank) in 2014, Simple continues to operate as a stand-alone bank. It launched in 2012, making it a newer entrant to the industry. It has no physical branches and offers all services through online and mobile banking apps.
Simple offers free access to a network of more than 40,000 ATMs, mobile check deposits, and the ability to earn one of the highest interest rates on a checking account. But Simple's defining features are automatic savings and budgeting tools, which are perfect to help you fix up and take control of your financial situation. Oh yeah, and no fees!
Want more information? Check out our full review of Simple.
Chime is a mobile-first bank that makes your banking easy. It offers automatic savings plans, early access to direct deposit funds in some cases, and charges no overdraft, maintenance, or foreign transaction fees. Plus, there's no minimum balance required.
The mobile app is easy to use and comes with useful notifications and access to the most important information in a couple of taps. You can even send a paper check to someone by tapping a button in the phone app. There are not a ton of bells and whistles. Everything just works.
You can also read through our full review of Chime.
If your biggest concern is having a wide network of bank branches where you can meet with a human for in-person banking, Chase is at the top of the pack. While it is an old school bank that charges fees for, among other things, not meeting an account balance minimum, Chase does give you access to one of the biggest networks of bank branches in the country.
If you are OK with low interest rates and potential monthly fees, you will find that Chase has generally good customer service, offers a huge range of banking products, and has checking accounts that can handle pretty much everything you throw at them, including cash deposits. Just beware of using any non-Chase ATMs. Depending on which kind of account you have, you could get dinged with fees from both Chase and the other bank.
If you want to learn more, you can also read through our full review of Chase Bank.
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