List of Free Online Checking Accounts

The best free online checking accounts all provide solid interest rates without charging customers any kind of fees. Our list includes many popular banks.

free online checking accounts

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.

Deal of the Day: Earn 1.55% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at CIT Bank.

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.

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

Free Online Checking Accounts

EverBank–If you are looking for a checking account that pays interest, EverBank is the answer. Their APY structure is a little funky because they offer an intro 1.21% APY for the first year (on all balances under $250,000). Their ongoing APY tier structure is as follows:

  • Balances under $10,000 : 0.25% APY
  • $10,000 – $24,999 : 0.46% APY
  • $50,000 – $99,999 : 0.51% APY
  • $100,000 or more : 0.71% APY

EverBank’s interest rate also has another nice feature–the Yield Pledge Promise. EverBank pledges that its checking account will yield within the top 5% of competitive accounts. ATM fees are always reimbursed so long as you maintain an average daily balance of $5,000. That same daily balance is required to keep the account fee free. If you know you won’t meet this amount, this is not the checking account for you.

  • Minimum deposit required to open an account is $0
  • Physical checks are OK

Capital One 360–is the checking account my wife and I now use. Formerly ING Direct, Cap One 360 is hard to beat. They offer 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.

Interest rates are so so with Capital One. Under $50,000 deposited yields a 0.20% APY. $50,000 to $99,999 offers a much stronger 0.75% APY and balances of over $100,000 will provided account holders a 1.00% APY.

  • Minimum deposit required to open an account is $0
  • Physical checks are OK

Chime–This one is not your ordinary online checking account. Chime is both a checking account and an online savings account. When you receive your Chime Visa card, purchases you make with the card will have changed rounded up to then be deposited into your savings account. Unfortunately, that savings account has a 0.01% APY but the funds can easily be transferred to a more productive online savings account.

The Chime spending account has no monthly account minimums and no maintenance fees. There are no overdraft fees and no ATM fees so long as the ATM is in network. Out of network ATM’s will be assessed a fee.

As an added bonus, all new Chime customers that come from DoughRoller will receive a free $5!

  • Minimum deposit required to open an account is $1
  • 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.

Aspiration–Aspiration is a relatively new company that offers a great APY of 1.00% on their checking account. Approval is by invitation only, but that can be obtained simply by offering your email address. There are NO monthly maintenance fees and NO minimum balance to maintain active status. A debit MasterCard is included when you open the account and perhaps the greatest feature this account offers is unlimited ATM reimbursement.

The Aspiration Summit APY is across all account balances. No tier levels to meet.

  • Minimum deposit required to open an account is $10
  • Physical checks are OK

KeyBank–KeyBank offers a wide variety of online checking accounts; all which can be used free of charge if certainly monthly requirements are met. The one account they offer that is ALWAYS free of monthly maintenance fees is their Hassle Free account. No monthly fees, free online bill pay with use of an ATM debit card and a mobile app that also assists in managing your account and making deposits.

The Hassle Free account from KeyBank does not include an interest rate. That said, the interest rate is not that great on their premier checking product (0.10% APY).  When using KeyBank for your online checking account, the value comes in the no account minimums, no fee structure. Added incentives are limited.

  • Minimum deposit required to open an account is $1
  • Physical checks are NOT allowed.

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.

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 billpay.

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 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

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.

Ally Bank currently offers a tiered interest rate based on your balance. For an average daily balance of less than $15,000, the interest rate is a paltry 0.10% APY. For balances greater than $15,000, the interest rate becomes 0.60%.

Allpoint ATM’s are always free of charge and when you use an ATM out of the Ally network, they’re willing to offer you $10 in ATM fee rebates each and every month. You can always deposit checks remotely using the Ally eCheck deposit feature or send money to friends and family using Zelle.

  • 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.

Topics: Banking

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