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: American Express® Personal Savings is offering a terrific 2.10% Annual Percentage Yield on their savings account. Rate as of 12.20.2018. There are no monthly maintenance fees and NO minimum deposit required. FDIC Insured.

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

Aspiration Spend and Save2.00% APY + Cash Back

Aspiration has launched a brand new Spend and Save account designed to make your current checking account jealous.  The Spend and Save account offers two separate but connected accounts.

The Save account offers a 2.00% APY on all balances if you can make at least a $1 deposit each month OR maintain a balance of $10,000.  The Spend account offers 0.5% cash back on all purchases with the chance to earn more for shopping at businesses that are good to their people and the planet.

Good features so far, but here are three simply ridiculous reasons Aspiration is a cut above the rest:

  1. Unlimited ATM reimbursement worldwide – You read this correctly.  No matter what ATM you use, Aspiration will reimburse you the ATM fee.  There is no limit to the number of fees you’ll have reimbursed.
  2. Pay what you want fee structure – Aspiration charges you nothing unless you decide you want to pay them something.  You can set your fee amount to anything you want, INCLUDING ZERO.
  3. Aspiration provides cell phone protection, up to $600 per device ($25 deductible).  Use your spend account to pay your cell phone bill and if you 2 year old smashes it while at the grocery store (shout out to my son Max), you’re covered!

Aspiration also vows to donate 10% of all profits to charity.

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 60 days.

There is a $12 monthly service fee associated with the account, but that becomes zero if you meat one of the following three criteria

  1. Having a direct deposit of $500 or more each month
  2. Having a beginning day balance of $1,500 or more (everyday)
  3. Having a beginning day balance of $5,000 ore more when you link other qualifying Chase balances (like other checking or savings products)

HSBC Advance Checking – $350 Welcome Deposit – HSBC Advance is offering a welcome deposit of $350 for new account holders that meet a couple of simple criteria:

  • Get a $350 Welcome Deposit for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Advance checking account with qualifying activities.
  • Open your new HSBC Advance checking account online by June 2, 2019; and
  • Deposit a minimum Qualifying Balance of $10,000 or more in New Money in combined checking and savings accounts within 30 calendar days of account opening; and
  • Maintain at least the minimum Qualifying Balance for 90 calendar days from the date you deposited the minimum Qualifying Balance.
  • You will automatically receive the $350 Welcome Deposit in your new HSBC Advance checking account approximately eight weeks after completing all qualifying activities. It’s that simple.

There is a $25 monthly maintenance fee on the HSBC Advance Checking Account that is waived so long as you maintain the $10,000 minimum balance requirement.  You can also avoid this fee with a $5,000 minimum balance requirement with recurring direct deposits.

The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Please refer to issuer website and application for the most current information.  Deposit products are offered in the U.S. by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.

Citi Basic Banking Package – $200 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 $200 bonus; details below.

  • Open an a Citi Basic Banking Package before on or before 6.30.2019.
  • Within 30 days of opening the account, make a deposit of $5,000 or more. This amount must stay in your account for the first 60 days. And you must maintain the $5,000 minimum daily balance during that period.

The $12 monthly maintenance fee can be waived by meeting one of two easy requirements.

  1. Maintain a daily balance of $1,500 or more in qualifying Citi accounts (combined)
  2. Make one direct deposit and one bill pay transaction each month

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 Debit 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.

  • 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.

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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