Best Checking Accounts

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 17, 2023

Your checking account can do more than receive deposits and fund purchases. You can find accounts with benefits like free ATM fees, low or no account fees and even the option to earn interest on your checking account balance. 

Ready to find an account that can do more? Start with Benzinga’s list of the best places to open a checking account for the rundown on the unique benefits available now.

The Best Checking Accounts

  • Best Checking Account App: Current
  • Best Bank Checking Account: CIT Bank
  • Best Credit Union Checking Account: Alliant Credit Union
  • Best for ATM Fee Reimbursements: Axos Bank
  • Best for Savings, Spending & investing: Fierce
  • Best for Small Business Owners: NorthOne
  • Best for Budgeting: Simple
  • Best for Rewards Checking Accounts: Radius Bank

1. Best Checking Account App: Current

Current is a fintech that helps parents and children make smart money choices. It also provides various benefits through its checking account.

Current is a mobile banking solution that helps improve the financial outcomes for people and their unique lives. These accounts are mobile-only with account accessibility only offered through one of the Current mobile apps.

Current doesn't pay any interest on its checking accounts. There are 2 plans available. Basic is free, and Premium is $4.99 per month.

Pros

  • Current.com offers checking, savings and even investing options
  • You get the best experience because this way made to be an app first

Cons

  • Users may not want to pay for a checking account plan

2. Best Bank Checking Account: CIT Bank

  • securely through CIT Bank's website
    securely through CIT Bank's website
    Best For:
    Business and Personal Checking
    Rating:

CIT is a digital bank that offers eChecking. This standard checking account earns compound interest on your balance. This compound interest is known as an annual percentage yield (APY).

You can open an eChecking account through CIT with as little as $100. You can earn 0.10% APY with under $25,000 in your account. A larger balance will earn you 0.25% APY. 

There’s no monthly service fee and no online transfer fee with eChecking. You can also get up to $30 in reimbursed external ATM fees each month. 

Possible fees include charges for:

  • Outgoing wire transfers (free if you keep a $25,000 balance) 
  • Overdraft fees
  • Return deposit items
  • Stopping a check
  • Processing legal documents

You may also have to pay for debit card replacements (you get 1 free per year) and international withdrawals. 

Pros

  • You can get started with just $100
  • You also benefit from a high APY for your savings if you choose to hold more than one account
  • You can get reimbursed for non-bank ATM fees

Cons

  • You could incur a range of fees on your account based on your activity

3. Best Credit Union Checking Account: Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union’s High-Rate Checking account is our pick for the best credit union checking account. Note that credit unions require your membership. 

Benefits include 0.25% interest on your balance. There are no service fees if you sign up for paperless statements and make 1 qualifying deposit per month. There’s no minimum balance, and you’ll have access to over 80,000 free ATMs. Alliant also reimburses up to $20 monthly in out-of-network ATM fees.

Membership with Alliant isn’t as limited as some other credit unions. You must be a former or current employee or family member of an employee at an Alliant partner. You may be eligible if you live near its headquarters in Chicago. 

Membership is also available for children who work with Foster Care to Success (FC2S). This program helps kids transition from foster care into adulthood with support from scholarships, grants, internships and more.

Pros

  • As a credit union, the company returns profits to members
  • You can earn interest on your balance when you qualify
  • The credit union doesn’t charge service fees

Cons

  • While this credit union offers a good experience, you may feel as though your options are limited if you don’t live near one of their branches

4. Best for ATM Fee Reimbursements: Axos Bank

  • securely through Axos Bank Savings's website
    securely through Axos Bank Savings's website
    Best For:
    No Maintenance Fees
    Rating:

ATM fees add up and paying to withdraw your own money feels unfair. Axos Bank offers some degree of ATM fee reimbursement with all 5 of its personal checking accounts. 

Rewards Checking earns up to 1.25% APY and charges no overdraft or insufficient funds fees if you use a debit card all the time and opt for direct deposit. 

Essential Checking is a basic account with no monthly fees and no overdraft or insufficient funds fees. It also allows you to receive your paycheck up to 2 days early. 

CashBack Checking gives you 1% cashback on debit card purchases when you maintain an average daily balance over $1,500. Rewards, Essential and CashBank Checking all include unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursement.

The Golden Checking account is restricted to those 55 and up. You can earn 0.20% APY and get reimbursed up to $8 in domestic ATM fees. The accounts provide unlimited checks. There is no minimum balance or monthly fee. 

First Checking is attached to a parental account for teens aged 13 to 17. This account earns 0.25% APY. There is no monthly fee or overdraft charges. First Checking aims to give kids a banking and money management head start with the peace of mind of a joint account.

Pros

  • No overdraft fees, meaning you can protect your money and get out of bad situations without fighting the bank
  • Cashback checking accounts can help you save even more money

Cons

  • Fee reimbursements might seem low for what you’re getting

5. Best for Saving, Spending & Investing: Fierce

  • securely through Fierce's website
    securely through Fierce's website
    Best For:
    Saving, Investing & Spending
    Rating:

Get a 5.25% APY with Fierce’s checking accounts, with no fees or minimums. By downloading the Fierce app, you get a free debit card to use for all your purchases with access to a nationwide ATM network with more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs, meaning that you will keep money in your pocket even though you don’t have physical branches that you can visit. Even so, you can save money in your checking account and get that competitive APY you want, and it’s all FDIC-insured.

If you’re interested, the app also offers the option for fractional stock trading, crypto trading and wealth tracking all in one place. In this way, you can make more of your money and get a hold of how your finances are working.

Pros

  • This app does offer a checking account, but it also allows you to save your money with a high APY
  • Because your checking account is tied to an app that allows you to invest, it’s much easier to fund your account and withdraw your earnings back to your checking account

Cons

  • While the app is convenient, some people with checking accounts might prefer to deposit at a physical location, etc.

6. Best for Small Business Owners: NorthOne

NorthOne is an online-only bank designed specifically for small businesses, freelancers and startups. It gives special attention to the needs of small business owners and builds solutions into its checking accounts. 

Small businesses banking with NorthOne benefit from the following features:

  • Fully-mobile banking, including cash deposits using your NorthOne Mastercard debit card at ATMs nationwide
  • 24/7 human support via an in-app chat, scheduled call or email
  • Cash flow tracking for revenue coming in and expenses going out
  • Built-in accounting and bookkeeping features

NorthOne’s accounting options let you create subaccounts to save for expenses like taxes. You can also manage receipts and sort purchases into labeled categories.

Monthly fees are on a sliding scale. Each account option is set up for a specific number of transactions each month.  A Starter account is $10 per month for up to 20 transactions. 

Growth and Rocket Ship accounts are offered as your business grows. Growth is $20 per month for 21 to 45 transactions and Rocket Ship is $50 per month for 46 transactions and up. 

Pros

  • Accounting fees are on a sliding scale so that you don’t overpay
  • You can easily track cash flow
  • You can get human support 24/7

Cons

  • As a business owner, you may not want to deal with an online-only bank

7. Best for Budgeting: Simple

Simple offers online checking accounts and other personal finance products. It strives to simplify finance management with its intuitive app that integrates budgeting into banking.

The basic Simple checking account is free. It includes a debit card, checks, mobile deposit, fee-free ATMs along with access to the Simple budgeting tools. 

Simple’s budgeting tools include:

  • An automated expense tracker
  • A savings tool to set aside money for your goals
  • A Safe-to-Spend budget tracker that analyzes potential purchases
  • An analytics tool to track your spending habits and cash flow

You can also upgrade to a High-Yield Account to earn interest and use Simple’s advanced budgeting and savings tools. 

Pros

  • Basic accounts are free
  • Budgeting tools are helpful for individuals and business owners
  • There’s a savings tool to help you reach your goals

Cons

  • You may not want to pay a fee to upgrade

8. Best Rewards Checking Accounts: Radius Bank

Radius Bank is an online bank with 2 interest-earning and cashback checking accounts: Rewards Checking and Superhero Checking.

Both accounts earn interest after a certain balance. There are no monthly fees and you only need $100 to open an account. Both are free to use with a few requirements like signing up for paperless statements.

Rewards Checking also offers 1% cashback. Superhero Checking matches your interest and donates it to the March of Dimes. Radius donates up to 1% of Superhero Checking debit card purchases to the organization as well. 

Pros

  • You can choose a rewards or high-interest account
  • No monthly fees, meaning you keep more money in your pocket and have more financial options
  • You can even donate to charities and get those donations matched

Cons

  • While account are free, you may feel as though the bank doesn’t offer enough perks

Find the Right Checking Account

Consider which features are most important to you before you select a checking account. You can find a bank or credit union to match your preferences.

Start with our recommended institutions to get started today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Is the money in my checking account insured?

A

Yes. The Federal Deposit Insurance Agency (FDIC) has insured all bank deposit accounts since 1933. Individual accounts are insured up to $250,000.

Q

What is the minimum deposit to open a checking account?

A

It depends on institution requirements. Many banks require as little as $25 to open a checking account. Some banks don’t require a minimum opening deposit but do require that you make a deposit within a certain period of time.

Q

Are online checking accounts safe?

A

Online checking accounts can be a unique and simple way for you to manage your money, but you must research the security protocols that are used by the bank. Because not all mobile apps are the same, you can research before choosing the appropriate bank for your situation.

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