List of Free Online Checking Accounts

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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, are the diversity in what is offered. As you’ll see below, for example, PerkStreet doesn’t pay any interest, but offers a cash back debit card and $50 sign-up bonus. EverBank pays one of the highest yields available for a checking account. Its rate is so high, it competes with rates for savings accounts and CDs. And ING Direct has no fees, pays interest, and offers a sign-up bonus.

So here’s the list, and if you know of other free checking account options, be sure to leave a comment.

Online Checking Accounts

Capital One 360Capital One 360 is the checking account my wife and I now use. Formerly ING Direct, Cap One 360 is hard to beat. They offer a $50 bonus for new accounts, no maintenance fee, and you even earn interest on the account. The website is super easy to use, and we can deposit checks to the account by snapping a picture of the check with our Smartphone. Add to that free ATMs at thousands of locations, and the Capital One 360 checking account is our top pick.

FNBO DirectFNBO Direct – The top pick for free checking accounts goes to FNBO Direct. With its Online BillPay Account, you not only get a free account, but one that pays interest. The interest rate is currently 0.65% APY. The account comes with a free Visa debit card. And you can even transfer money with a cell phone or e-mail account.

Ally Bank – Ally Bank offers a free checking account that pays interest. Add to that no minimum deposit to open, no monthly maintenance fees, free debit MasterCard, and eDeposits from home with a Smartphone, and Ally’s offer is hard to beat. I’ve had a savings account from Ally and can attest that the website is extremely easy to use.

Everbank Checking AccountEverBank – If you are looking for a checking account that pays interest, EverBank is the answer. The EverBank interest rate on it’s checking account can go as high as 0.66% for big balances but you can see a full table of interest rates below. These rates are higher than many savings or money market accounts. You can also check out our EverBank Review.

EverBank’s interest rate also has another nice feature – the Yield Pledge guarantee. EverBank pledges that its checking account will yield within the top 5% of competitive accounts.

Mutual of Omaha Bank may not be the first option that comes to mind when you are thinking about openning a checking account. But this bank headquarter in Nebraska has a very good offer. In addition to a low minimum opening balance of just $100 and a network of over 22,000 ATMs, this checking account even pays interest (0.50% APY). On top of that, your first order of checks are free.
Note that all of the online checking accounts listed above are FDIC insured.

Published or Updated: March 3, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    This is a great article for the mass of people who will be moving from Citi once the new account fees go into effect, hopefully ING and the others don’t follow.

  2. Mike says:

    Stay away from:

    1/ BoA,
    2/ Citi

    • DR says:

      Mike, I’ve used Citi for about 20 years now. I’ve certainly had times when I was frustrated with them, but overall they’ve been a good bank. I don’t have much experience with BofA banking, although I do have one of their credit cards.

      • JL says:

        B of A still has a free checking account called ECHECKING, just avoid going to a teller and get your statement electronically to avoid the 8.95 fee.

  3. Mrs. Money says:

    I love ING! They are fantastic. I’ve never heard of the other bank.

    • DR says:

      ING is great. I’ve used their savings account for years, and really like how easy it is to navigate around the ING Direct website.

  4. Stuart says:

    Sounds like banks are desperately trying to accumulate some funds to lend out. The US consumer is still on the ropes and unemployment remains high, but much higher than is reported in the media.

  5. Becky, in GA says:

    Unfortunately, Suntrust is going to be charging fees to small business accounts, so looking for bank with free business banking. My tiny company cannot afford monthly fees.

    • DR says:

      Becky, I like the Electric Orange account fro ING Direct. It pays interest and the website is very easy to use. Low fees, too.

  6. Debbi Romaniuk says:

    I am looking for a checking account that I can have my SSI direct deposited to as well as have other moneys transferred to if need be, such as a personal loan or a wire. I am also very interested in trying to build my credit. I have never had a credit card and from what I have been told the way to build your credit is to have a credit card and make the monthly payments. I have applied for credit cards but they always want me to pay an activation fee plus deposit $500 before I can use it. If I had that kind of money I wouldn’t need a credit card. I don’t have the best credit due to my divorce and being the single mom of 4 kids, but if I could just get one chance to have a credit card that is unsecured or a loan that I could pay back then it would give me a fresh start and an opportunity to move forward and build my credit. I hope there is something that your bank can assist me with.

    Thank You

    Sincerely,
    Debbi Romaniuk

    • DR says:

      Debbie, as for the checking account, any of the accounts here accept direct deposit. As for a credit card, sometimes a secured credit card is the only option when you have no credit or bad credit. As for an unsecured card with bad credit, I’d suggesting giving Orchard Bank credit cards a try. Good luck.

  7. vince says:

    I like small banks,they will work with you more, but most bank will charge you a fee for something, like atm,late charge, low blance charge.

  8. Nate says:

    ING Direct gives you a $25 bonus for signing up with them …

  9. Bo says:

    Are any of these checking accounts available to non-US residents? Sometimes I find books and other things that are only available there and it would be good to have a US checking account for purchasing goods from stores that don’t accept Paypal or non-US credit cards.

  10. Sean says:

    We have found that both Ally Bank as well as ING are both offering some of the highest rates for standard checking deposit accounts. Although there are a few other banks that are now offering free accounts since BofA initiated their new fees on standard checking accounts.

    • Zaton says:

      FNBO trumps both of those, though. I suggest you look into that for the best bang for your buck.

  11. Cally says:

    One reason to avoid online banks is that you may run into bad customer service. With a brick-and-mortar bank, you’ll likely have some familiarity with the staff. At a small credit union, the staff might know you well.

  12. Dustin says:

    where do you go to make a deposit to any of these online accounts?

  13. Yvonne says:

    Debbie
    Yes Start with Orchard Bank they gave me a change. I had real bad bad credit
    they help to get my good credit back.

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