With the revolt against bank fees in the news, I thought it was a good time to highlight some no-fee online checking account options. The great thing about online banks is that not only are their checking accounts free, but many of them even pay interest.
For those that pay interest, online banks can generally beat traditional financial institutions big or small with higher rates because of lower costs. Online banks don't need to maintain an expensive network of branches, and they can pass those savings on to consumers in the form of higher interest rates and lower fees.
To give you an idea of what’s available, I’ve put together this list of free and low-cost online checking accounts. I’ll be adding to the list as interesting offers become available. What I like about these options, however, is the diversity in what is offered.
So here's the list, and if you know of other free checking account options, be sure to leave a comment.
Best Free Online Checking Accounts
Chase Total Checking® – $200 Cash Bonus
You can earn a $200 bonus with the Chase Total Checking® account. To receive the $200 checking bonus you need to open a new account and set up a direct deposit within 90 days.
There is a $12 monthly service fee associated with the account, but that becomes zero if you meet one of the following three criteria:
- Having a direct deposit of $500 or more each month
- Having a beginning daily balance of $1,500 or more (every day)
- Having a beginning daily balance of $5,000 or more when you link other qualifying Chase balances (like other checking or savings products)
Read more in our Chase Total Checking® Review
This one is not your ordinary online checking account. Through its award-winning financial app and debit card, Chime provides a broad range of services including a Spending Account, a Credit Builder Account, and a Savings Account. When you receive your Chime Visa® Credit Card, purchases you make with the card will be rounded up to the nearest dollar; then Chime transfers the round up from your spending account to your savings account.
Chime is now paying a 2.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) 1- 8x2 the national average! This is right in line with the best online savings accounts available.
The Chime Spending Account has no monthly account minimums and no maintenance fees. There are no membership fees and no ATM fees so long as the ATM is in-network. Out-of-network ATMs will be assessed a fee.
- There is no minimum deposit to open an account ($0 is A-OK)
- Physical checks are OK. In fact, Chime has something called the “Chime Checkbook” where they will mail a physical check to whomever you desire, free of charge.
Chime Disclosure - Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.
1Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.
^Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account.
Chime APY Disclosure - The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of October 25, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
Chime ATM Disclosure - Get fee-free transactions at any Moneypass ATM in a 7-Eleven location and at any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. Otherwise, out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply.
Aspiration accounts come with no fees and makes it easy to invest in eco-friendly ventures and they give back too: a percentage of any fees you do end up paying goes straight to a select group of charities.
Sign up for an Aspiration account and you’ll get:
- No fees at over 55,000 ATMs around the world
- Competitive cashback on debit card purchases, including 3-5% at brands like Warby Parker and Blue Apron and 0.5% at Target, Walmart, and CVS
- A $150 welcome bonus
Aspiration is perfect for users that want to earn interest on their savings and do their bit for the planet at the same time.
Read More: Aspiration Review
Citi Priority Account – Up to $2,000 Cash Bonus
Citi® has thousands of branches across the U.S which makes accessing your money a breeze. They currently offer a few different checking bonuses for new members, and my favorite is the (up to) $2,000 bonus; details below.
- Open a new Citi Priority by 1.09.2023
- Within the 20 days of opening your account, make the minimum deposit of new-to-Citi Funds. The balance on your 20th day will determine your maximum eligible cash bonus. Maintain the required Minimum Balance in your eligible account for an additional 60 days from the 21st day. If your Balance falls into a lower Balance Tier for even one day during the Maintenance Period, your Maximum Bonus will change.
The $30 monthly service fee for this account is waived for average daily balances of $30,000 more. Any non-Citi ATM fees you incur while owning this account are waived so long as you meet that average daily balance above.
Discover Cashback Debit Account
The Discover Cashback Debit Account is different from anything we’ve seen from the company in the past. Known as Cashback Debit, Discover provides you with a debit card that lets you earn cashback for your spending. It works in the same way as a credit card, with the only difference being that purchases are deducted from your checking account.
With no balance requirements or monthly fees, there’s no stress associated with a Discover Cashback Debit bank account. Say goodbye to ATM fees, insufficient funds fees, and online bill pay fees among others.
TD Bank Checking – $200 Cash Bonus / $300 Cash Bonus
TD Bank is currently offering two different online checking accounts that include promotions for signing up. Details are as follows:
- TD Convenience CheckingSM – New account holders can earn a $200 bonus after making $500 in direct deposits during the first 60 days. The $15 monthly maintenance fee can be waived when you maintain a balance of at least $100 in the account. Students and young adults ages 17 to 23 get additional perks like no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fee.
- TD Beyond Checking – New account holders will earn a $300 bonus after making $2,500 in direct deposits during the first 60 days. The $25 monthly maintenance fee can be waived by making $5,000 in direct deposits each month (kinda hard), having $25,000 in total combined balances across eligible TD accounts (kinda hard) OR maintaining a daily balance of $2,500 (not too bad).
Offer is available to new personal checking customers who do not have an existing or prior personal checking account at TD Bank
- Minimum deposit required to open an account is $0
- ATM fees are refunded if you have an account daily balance of $2,500 or more (Beyond Checking only)
BBVA Online Checking Free Checking with Cash Back Rewards
BBVA Online Checking is a free checking account. And not only are there no monthly service charges, but you can also earn cashback rewards. BBVA makes cashback rewards available through their Simple Cash Back program. You must either download the Mobile Banking app or participate in Online Banking, and have a BBVA Debit or Credit card.
BBVA provides a list of qualifying redemption options available when you make purchases at participating merchants. You’ll earn cashback rewards that will be deposited directly into your account the following month, making this offer a true cashback rewards program.
Features offered with BBVA Online Checking:
- No monthly service charges.
- No ATM fees at over 64,000 fee-free ATMs through the BBVA USA and Allpoint ATM Networks, plus participating 7-Eleven stores.
- Free BBVA Visa Debit Card.
- Complimentary Online Banking, Mobile Banking, and Bill Pay
You will need a minimum deposit of $25 but there is no minimum ongoing balance requirement.
Wait – what? Betterment is a robo-advisor, right? Yep. They are. But they’re not JUST a robo-advisor. Betterment can serve all of your financial needs with Betterment Checking.
Betterment Checking is a mobile-first checking account that gives you a sleek, blue debit card with tap-to-pay capability (meaning, it’s contactless wherever merchants accept that payment form). Also, the account is FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 and there are no fees. Betterment reimburses ATM fees and foreign transaction fees, and there’s no account minimum and you’ll never pay an overdraft fee.
Plus, the mobile app is really nice — it’s clean and easy to use, and you can easily deposit paper checks by snapping a picture, too. While it may be unconventional for your broker to give you a checking account, this one hits the mark on a lot of fronts and we highly recommend it.
With FNBO Direct’s Online BillPay Account, you not only get a free account but one that pays interest. The account comes with a free Visa debit card. And you can even transfer money with a cell phone or e-mail account.
This is one of the truly fee-free accounts out there. No monthly maintenance fees or requirements, free ATM withdrawals, free Popmoney transfers, free wire transfers, one free over-limit fee per year, and free online bill pay.
The only fee you’re likely to find is that FNBO Direct will not reimburse you for foreign ATM transactions. If you use an ATM that’s on their platform, then you will likely be charged a fee by the other bank. FNBO will never charge you a fee.
- Minimum deposit required to open an account is $1
- Physical checks are OK
Note that all of the online checking accounts listed above are FDIC insured.