Best High-Interest Checking Account Rates

Earn Interest on Your Checking Balance With the Best Rates

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If you keep a large balance in your checking account, a high-interest checking account may be right for you. Traditional checking accounts don’t pay interest, but the accounts below pay impressive annual percentage yields (APYs) while keeping your money liquid. 

The accounts that made the list not only have the highest APYs, but also provide essential checking account features like the ability to write checks, pay bills online, spend with a debit card, deposit checks remotely, and more. All have federally-backed deposit insurance to keep your money safe, too (your funds are insured up to maximum limits). 

Most of the accounts only pay the highest rate on balances up to a certain limit, and only if you meet certain other requirements. For balances over the limit, the rate may drop steeply.

Learn more about the best high-interest checking accounts, along with highlights of each account, below the chart.

Best High-Interest Checking Accounts

Bank or Credit Union APY Minimum Balance Required to Open High-Interest Balance Limit Monthly Fee
La Capitol Federal Credit Union Up to 4.25% None $3,000 $8 (waivers available)
Consumers Credit Union Up to 4.09% $5 $10,000 None
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union Up to 3.30% $25 $20,000 None
Western Vista Federal Credit Union Up to 3.25% None $15,000 None
Market USA Federal Credit Union Up to 3.01% None $15,000 None
Lake Michigan Credit Union Up to 3.00% None $15,000 None
Paramount Bank 0.85% $100 None $3 (waiver available)

We partnered with the following banks to bring you the checking account offers in the table below. Under that, you'll find additional details on our editors' picks for the best high-interest checking accounts and rates as of July 28, 2020. All of the banks and credit unions listed are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

La Capitol Federal Credit Union

La Capitol Federal Credit Union

La Capitol FCU (or “La Cap”) offers a Choice checking account that pays high dividends and is relatively easy to qualify for. This account might be right for those who keep a relatively small balance, as the highest rate is only available on your first $3,000, and the rate blends down after that.

To earn the highest rate, account holders will need to have at least 15 qualifying debit card purchases per month. The credit union is based in Louisiana, but you can become a member regardless of where you live. After joining the Louisiana Association for Personal Financial Achievement (ACHIEVE) with an initial $20 membership ($5 per year after that), you’re eligible to join La Cap. You’ll also need to keep at least $5 in a savings account.


APY
4.25% on the first $3,000
2.00% on $3,000.01 to $10,000
0.10% on $10,000.01 and greater
Monthly Fee $8, waived with $1,000 daily balance or 15 qualifying debit card purchases per month
ATM Fee Rebates Up to $25 per month
Minimum to Open None
Banking Access Nearly 30,000 free ATMs and over 6,000 branches through the CO-OP shared branching network

Consumers Credit Union

Consumers Credit Union

Consumers Credit Union (CCU) offers several rate levels in the Rewards Checking account. The more hurdles you clear, the higher your rate. However, CCU caps the high-interest balance limit at a relatively low $10,000. 

To earn the highest rate, account holders are required to make 12 or more debit card purchases totaling $1,000 or more each month, sign up for electronic statements and communications, and deposit at least $500 per month. While CCU is a relatively small institution, you have fee-free access to ATMs and branches around the U.S. through the CO-OP shared branching network. Anyone nationwide can join CCU by joining the Consumers Cooperative Association with a one-time $5 membership fee. You’ll also need to keep at least $5 in a savings account.


APY
4.09% on the first $10,000
0.20% on $10,000.01 to $25,000.00
0.10% on $25,000.01 and greater
Monthly Fee $8, waived with $1,000 daily balance or 15 qualifying debit card purchases per month
ATM Fee Rebates Unlimited
Minimum to Open $5
Banking Access Nearly 30,000 ATMs and over 6,000 branches through the CO-OP shared branching network

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union (ETFCU) pays a high rate on a relatively high balance. As a result, you can potentially earn more in this account than other accounts showing higher rates. 

ETFCU offers its highest rate on balances up to $20,000 in your Vertical Checking account. To earn that rate, you’ll need to make at least 15 qualifying debit card purchases monthly, make at least one direct deposit per month, log in to mobile or online banking each month, and sign up for electronic statements.

To join ETFCU, you do not need to be a teacher. You can simply make a $5 donation during the application process to Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association. You’ll also need to keep at least $5 in a savings account.


APY

3.30% on first $20,000
0.00% on $21,000.01 and greater

Monthly Fee None
ATM Fee Rebates Up to $15 per month
Minimum to Open $25
Banking Access Nearly 5,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide

Western Vista Federal Credit Union

Western Vista Credit Union

Western Vista FCU’s Panorama Checking account is a fairly straightforward high-yield checking account. You can earn the highest rate by making just 10 transactions of $5 or more per month, along with at least one direct deposit per month and signing up for electronic statements. The credit union also refunds up to $25 per month in other banks’ ATM fees. 

To become eligible for membership, anyone nationwide can make a $5 donation to the Western Vista Community Foundation. You’ll also need to keep at least $25 in a savings account. There’s no online application, though, so you’ll have to fill out the form and mail it in if you’re not located near one of the credit union’s branches.


APY

3.25% on first $15,000
0.02% on $15,000.01 and greater

Monthly Fee None
ATM Fee Rebates Up to $25 per month
Minimum to Open None
Banking Access Nearly 30,000 free ATMs and over 6,000 branches through the CO-OP shared branching network

Market USA Federal Credit Union

Market USA Federal Credit Union

The VIP Checking account at Market USA FCU incorporates online bill payments into the requirements to earn an attractive rate. Plus, the credit union has an extensive ATM network, which may appeal to those who get cash frequently. That said, you might have an easier time qualifying each month and earn more overall at other financial institutions. 

To earn the highest rate at Market USA, you’ll need to sign up for electronic statements, have at least one direct deposit of at least $250 or more per month, make 12 or more qualifying debit card purchases per month, and set up at least three qualifying online bill payments per month.

There are numerous ways to become eligible for membership, including a $5 donation to the Market USA Cares Foundation. You’ll also have to keep at least $5 in a savings account.


APY

3.01% on first $15,000
0.01% on $15,000.01 and greater

Monthly Fee None
ATM Fee Rebates Fee-free ATM access available with direct deposit of at least $500 per month
Minimum to Open None
Banking Access Nearly 30,000 free ATMs and over 6,000 branches through the CO-OP shared branching network

Sometimes the highest rate isn’t your best option. Evaluate the big picture, including whether or not you’ll qualify to earn high rates every month. Likewise, you might prefer to use a credit card for everyday spending (because of better consumer protection, for example), making standard high-yield checking accounts unappealing.

Lake Michigan Credit Union

Lake Michigan Credit Union

Lake Michigan Credit Union’s (LMCU) Max Checking is unique, offering a different ATM network and the option to use a credit card to meet one of the requirements to earn the highest rate. Specifically, you’ll need to make at least 10 qualifying card purchases per month (linked credit card purchases may count). If you’re a fan of maximizing rewards, you can even use LMCU’s Max Rewards credit card and potentially earn cash back. 

However, you also need to log in to your account at least four times each month to earn the highest rate, which could get cumbersome. In addition, you’ll need to sign up for electronic statements and have at least one direct deposit per month. 

Eligibility at LMCU is available to anybody who doesn’t live, work, or worship in Michigan or Florida through a $5 donation to the ALS Foundation. You’ll also need to keep at least $5 in an account.


APY

3.00% on first $15,000
0.00% on $15,000.01 and greater

Monthly Fee None
ATM Fee Rebates Up to $10 per month
Minimum to Open None
Banking Access Up to 55,000 fee-free ATMs

Paramount Bank

Paramount Bank

Other high-interest checking accounts, with their monthly requirements, may demand more than you’re willing to deal with. If that’s the case, Paramount Bank’s High-Interest Checking account may offer the simplicity you crave. The account does not require you to use your debit card numerous times, and you earn the same rate on accounts of all sizes. It’s not as high as other APYs on this list, but it’s still not bad for today’s market and has far fewer requirements to meet that rate. Additionally, anyone can join the bank by signing up online.

APY

0.85% on all balances

Monthly Fee $3 (waived with at least $1 in your account)
ATM Fee Rebates Available, contact Paramount Bank for details
Minimum to Open $100
Banking Access Branches available in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, California, Kansas, and Arizona

What Is a High-Interest Checking Account?

A high-interest checking account is a checking account with an above-average APY, which is an important attribute for individuals who keep large amounts of money in their checking account. Many checking accounts offer no or negligible interest on your money, which is a disadvantage as interest represents free financial growth for you just for keeping your money at a particular financial institution. Many banks with a higher APY on their checking accounts are lesser known but still considered strong financial institutions, and your money is protected by the FDIC.

How Does a High-Interest Checking Account Work?

A high-interest checking account works like a normal checking account in the sense that you can deposit and maintain money in the account, use checks to make payments, or use a debit card to make purchases. The key difference is that a high-interest checking account has an above-average APY, giving you more money over time. Most accounts with an APY above 0.50% are considered high-interest checking accounts, but the APY on the best high-interest checking regularly tops 1% and even exceeds 3%.

Another difference is that these accounts often require you to meet certain requirements every month to earn that high APY, such as making a certain number of debit card transactions (usually 10 to 15), making a certain number or dollar amount of direct deposits, enrolling in online banking, or signing up for electronic bank statements.

With a high-interest checking account, you can still withdraw funds at any time. Plus, there are no restrictions on the number of transactions you can complete, unlike many high-yield savings accounts. That said, some banks with these accounts impose restrictions that limit you to making withdrawals from only certain ATMs.

What Is Annual Percentage Yield (APY)?

APY is the interest or real rate of return that you can earn on certain financial accounts, such as savings or checking accounts. It takes into account the effect of compounding interest, meaning the bank gives you some credit for the amount of money they earn from reinvesting the funds you keep at their bank. Your APY, because it is compounded, allows you to earn on both your initial balance and on the interest you earn over time. Essentially, APY is the extra money you can earn from just parking your cash at a stable financial institution. 

How Much Do High-Interest Checking Accounts Cost?

Many high-interest checking accounts have no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements. As you only earn on the cash you keep in the bank, there are fewer costs that the institution has to cover and pass on to you. However, some high-interest checking accounts require you to maintain a certain minimum balance to earn the stated APY, and may only offer that rate on deposits up to a certain amount. They may also charge you a monthly fee and other fees such as fees for out-of-network ATM withdrawals. Accounts with monthly fees range from $1 to $10 per month but can often be waived if you meet certain requirements such as keeping your account balance above a certain amount.

Is It Better to Keep Money in Checking or Savings?

The choice to keep money in either a checking or savings account will depend on your personal needs and which financial institution you’re using. High-interest checking accounts can pay out essentially the same thing or more than many savings accounts if you choose the right bank. You just need to determine if you need to make a lot of purchases or write a lot of checks. If the answer is yes, you’re better off with a checking account. But if you can keep money in a single place and want to build a cash reserve for a specific purpose, a savings account is likely a better option. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having both accounts, which is how you can really take advantage of what each has to offer. 

How We Chose the Best High-Interest Checking Accounts

We looked at more than two dozen of the best high-interest checking accounts and narrowed them down to the best seven accounts with the highest APY, giving you the best rates to grow your money. We not only evaluated each account based on its APY but also looked for an array of basic checking account features, the banking experience, and the strength of each option’s customer reviews.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. La Capitol Federal Credit Union. "Open an Account." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  2. Consumers Credit Union. "Rewards Checking." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  3. Consumers Credit Union. "Membership." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  4. Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union. "Vertical Checking." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  5. Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union. "How to Join." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  6. Western Vista Credit Union. "Panorama Checking." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  7. Western Vista Credit Union. "Membership." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  8. Market USA Federal Credit Union. "VIP Checking." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  9. Market USA Cares Foundation. "About Market USA Cares Foundation." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  10. Market USA Federal Credit Union. "Membership." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  11. Lake Michigan Credit Union. "Max Checking." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  12. Lake Michigan Credit Union. "It's Easy to Join!" Accessed July 28, 2020.

  13. FDIC. "High-Yield Checking Accounts: Know the Rules," Page 12. Accessed Oct. 26, 2020.