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.
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
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 meet one of the following three criteria:
- Having a direct deposit of $500 or more each month
- Having a beginning day balance of $1,500 or more (everyday)
- Having a beginning day balance of $5,000 ore more when you link other qualifying Chase balances (like other checking or savings products)
TD Bank Checking – $150 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:
- Convenience Checking – New account holders can earn a $150 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.
- 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 deposits across all 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 balance of $2,500 or more (Beyond Checking only)
- A tiered APY is earned in the Beyond Checking Account only (up to 0.05%, so not a big benefit)
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 12.31.2019.
- 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.
- Maintain a daily balance of $1,500 or more in qualifying Citi accounts (combined)
- Make one direct deposit and one bill pay transaction each month
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking – $400 Cash Bonus.
You can earn a $400 bonus by opening a Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account. To qualify for the bonus, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Open the account
- Make a deposit of at least $25 into the account.
- Within 150 days opening the account, receive a cumulative monthly total of $3,000 or more in qualifying direct deposits each month for three consecutive months.
- You must open and fund your account no later than March 31st, 2020.
Upon completion of the above four steps, the $400 bonus will be deposited into your account within 45 days. You will not be eligible for this offer if you already have a Wells Fargo consumer checking account, you are a Wells Fargo team member, or if you have received a bonus for opening a Wells Fargo consumer checking account within the past 12 months.
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking has a $10 monthly service fee that can be waived for any of the following:
- You maintain a minimum daily account balance of $1,500.
- Have $500 or more in total qualifying direct deposits.
- Have 10 or more posted debit card transactions from the account during each fee period. This includes debit card purchases using PIN, signature, online, phone, and digital wallet.
- You have a link to Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card.
- The primary account owner is 17 to 24 years old.
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.
Read More: Chime Bank Review – Fee-Free Banking
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
Note that all of the online checking accounts listed above are FDIC insured.