The best free online checking accounts all provide solid interest rates without charging customers any kind of fees. Our list includes many popular banks.
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: CIT Bank is offering a fantastic 2.30% APY on their Savings Builder Account. There are no monthly maintenance fees and the minimum deposit to open is $100. 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 Save – 2.00% 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:
- 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.
- 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. All extra services (such as wires) are provided at cost.
- 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.
The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is a cash management account offered by Aspiration Financial, LLC, an SEC registered broker dealer, not a chartered bank.
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)
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 July 31, 2019; and
- Deposit a minimum Qualifying Balance of $5,000 or more in New Money in combined checking and savings accounts within 30 calendar days of account opening, maintain at least the minimum Qualifying Balance for 90 calendar days from the date you deposited the minimum Qualifying Balance; and
- Set-up recurring Direct Deposits from a third party to an HSBC Advance checking account at least one per calendar month for 3 consecutive months following account opening month
- 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.
- 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
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.
Read More: Chime Bank Review – Fee-Free Banking
Sofi Checking–Sofi is fairly new to the online checking account game but they have stormed in with an incredible offer. Account holders will earn a fantastic 2.25% APY on all balances and there is a $0 deposit requirement to open.
And if you’re thinking that SoFi is going to back their way into fees, think again. Two other awesome features are:
- Zero fees
- Free ATMs – Everywhere
Everyday, the money in your SoFi Money account is swept into FDIC insured accounts, meaning you’re covered. And SoFi actually has you covered for a lot more than your current bank; to the tune of $1.5MM.
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
Huntington Bank–If you’re a resident of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia then you have access to one of the best checking accounts in the country. The Huntington Bank Asterisk-Free Checking account delivers on the promise of fee-free checking.
- No monthly maintenance fee
- No minimum deposit
- No fee or minimum balance required
In addition to the fee free checking account, new account holders will receive a $150 cash bonus after making $1,000 worth of deposits within 60-days and keeping the account open for at least 90 days. Piece of cake!
Additional benefits of the Asterisk-Free Checking account from Huntington Bank include a 24-hour grace period in-case of an overdraft, all day deposits so you don’t have to rush to the bank before it closes and overdraft protection where Huntington will draw the funds from a linked account if you have one available.
Note that all of the online checking accounts listed above are FDIC insured.Topics: Banking