Best no-fee checking accounts of June 2024 (2024)

Checking accounts are an essential financial tool, but they can also be expensive. Many major banks charge account maintenance fees that can cost you up to $15 a month.

Sometimes, if you meet certain requirements, such as maintaining a minimum balanceand/or setting up direct deposit, your bank will waive the monthly fee. However, there are several good no-fee options that don't come with a bunch of rules attached.

CNBC Select analyzed and compared dozens of checking accounts offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions that charge zero monthly maintenance fees. When ranking the best no-fee checking accounts, we focused on criteria like no minimum balance requirement, low initial deposit of $0 to $50 and nationwide availability. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best checking accounts.)

Best no-fee checking accounts

Compare offers to find the best checking account

Best for rewards

Discover® Cashback Debit Checking

Discover® Bank is a Member FDIC.

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $0

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $0

  • Minimum balance

    None

  • Rewards

    1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month. See website for details by clicking "Learn More".

  • Free ATM network

    60,000+ Allpoint® and MoneyPass® ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursem*nt

    None

  • Overdraft fee

    $0

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month
  • Opt-in to free overdraft protection
  • No overdraft fees

Cons

  • No reimbursem*nt for out-of-network ATM fees

Who's this for? If you want a debit card that acts similar to a credit card, the Discover Cashback Debit Account has you covered. This checking account provides customers with 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month. That's up to $30 cash back per month and $360 annually.

While 1% is lower than the cash-back rate you'd receive with one of the best credit cards, it's great for debit cards, which typically don't offer rewards programs. Account holders have the ability to redeem cash back as a deposit into a Discover® checking, savings or money market account or transfer it to their Discover credit card.

Since Discover is an online bank, there are no physical locations. However, Discover provides 100% U.S.-based customer service representatives that are available 24/7 and access to over 60,000 fee-free Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs.

There is no minimum deposit required to open this account, and overdraft protection is free (which is hard to find).

Best for branch access

Capital One 360 Checking®

Capital One Bank is a Member FDIC.

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • 0.10% APY on all account balances
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free savings transfer for overdrafts after opt-in

Cons

  • No reimbursem*nt for out-of-network ATM fees

Who's this for? The Capital One 360 Checking Account takes the number-one spot on our list thanks in part to its top-rated mobile app, physical bank locations and an above-average APY. Plus, this account ranks number four on J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study, which ranksbank customer experience across various factors, including deposit accounts and convenience. Capital Onereceives strong satisfaction scores for mobile banking and checking accounts.

There's no minimum to open a Capital One 360 Checking Account, and you can earn 0.10% APY on all balances, which is higher than the national average of 0.04%.

Capital One charges no overdraft fees. If you overdraw your account, Capital One offers the ability to opt-in to No-Fee overdraft, which allows the bank to authorize certain transactions that exceed the balance in your account. According to Capital One, you'll need to replenish your balance promptly — otherwise, you may lose the ability to overdraft in the future, and your account may be closed. If you don't opt-in, Capital One will either auto-decline transactions that exceed your checking account balance (at no fee) or transfer available funds from a linked savings account,depending on the option you choose.

For account holders who prefer to bank in person, Capital One has 450branch locations and is a better choice than online-only checking accounts. Plus there are currently 41Capital One Cafes that provide a place to bank, work, grab a cup of coffee and get advice from a certified money coach.

There are no foreign transaction fees, so you can use your debit card outside the U.S. without incurring extra costs.

Best for out-of-network ATMs

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

Alliant Credit Union is a Member NCUA.

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $0

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $25 when opening online or over the phone

  • Minimum balance

    None

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.25% with paperless and recurring monthly electronic deposit

  • Free ATM network

    80,000+ Alliant network ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursem*nt

    Up to $20 per month

  • Overdraft fee

    $0

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • ATM fee reimbursem*nt up to $20 per month
  • 0.25% APY
  • No overdraft fees

Cons

  • Must opt-in to paperless statements and have a recurring monthly electronic deposit to earn APY

Who's this for? Consumers who find it hard to stick to in-network ATMs should opt for a checking account that reimburses the fees you may incur. The Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking Account provides you with up to $20 per month in ATM fee rebates if you use out-of-network ATMs.

This is one of the highest monthly reimbursem*nts and can save you up to $240 in ATM fees each year. There are no requirements to benefit from this perk.

Beyond ATM fee rebates, the Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking Account offers 0.25% APY, and you don't have to deposit any money to open an account. To earn interest, you must opt-in to paperless statements and have a recurring monthly electronic deposit (such as direct deposit, payroll deposit, ATM deposit, mobile check deposit or transfer from another financial institution).

Alliant is primarily an online-only institution with one location in Illinois. Since it's a credit union, you have to be a member to open a checking account. The easiest way to become a member is by supporting Alliant's partner charity, Foster Care to Success. However, you don't need to pay the charity directly since Alliant pays $5 on your behalf when you apply to join the credit union.

Beyond no-fee checking, Alliant offers an industry-leading cash-back credit card: theAlliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card. This is a great cash-back card with2.5% cash back on your first $10,000 of qualifying eligible purchases (1.5% for purchases over $10,000).

Best for earning interest

Ally Bank Spending Account

Ally Bank is a Member FDIC.

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $0

  • Minimum deposit to open

    $0

  • Minimum balance

    None

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.10% less than $15,000 minimum daily balance; 0.25% over $15,000 minimum daily balance

  • Free ATM network

    43,000+ Allpoint® ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursem*nt

    Up to $10 per statement cycle

  • Overdraft fee

    $0

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • ATM fee reimbursem*nt up to $10 per statement cycle
  • 0.10% or 0.25% APY, depending on daily account balance
  • $0 overdraft fee

Cons

  • Online-only bank (no brick-and-mortar locations)
  • $15,000 minimum daily balance required for 0.25% APY

Who's this for? If branch-based locations aren't a must, consider the online-only Ally Bank Spending Account (Ally's checking product). This account ranks slightly behind Capital One due to its lack of physical locations. Otherwise, it's quite similar with no minimum to open and a well-reviewed mobile app.

Ally Bank account holders have access to over 43,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs, but even then you may want to use an ATM from a different provider. What sets Ally apart is that you can be reimbursed up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at out-of-network ATMs nationwide. You don't need to meet any requirements to benefit from this perk.

Account holders also earn a higher-than-average APY. You can earn more depending on how much you have in your account:

  • 0.10% APY on minimum daily balances less than $15,000
  • 0.25% APY on minimum daily balances over $15,000

While the Ally Bank Spending Account (Ally's checking product) offers a higher interest rate on balances over $15,000, you're better off putting that money in a high-yield savings account. The Ally Online Savings Account, which is on Select's list of the best high-yield savings accounts, currently offers a 1.00% APY on all balances, which is double the checking account's APY.

Best for students

Chase College Checking℠

On Chase's secure site

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    None

  • Minimum balance

    $5,000 to waive monthly service fee

  • Monthly fee

    $12 monthly service fee; no monthly service fee for up to 5 years if you're a student between the ages of 17 to 24 at account opening with proof of student status

  • Free ATM network

    More than 15,000 Chase ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursem*nt

    None

  • Overdraft fee

    With Chase Overdraft Assist℠, Chase doesn't charge an Overdraft Fee if you're overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you're overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day (you have until 11 PM ET, 8 PM PT, to make a deposit or transfer). Chase Overdraft Assist does not require enrollment and comes with eligible Chase checking accounts

  • Mobile check deposit

    Yes

Terms apply.

Pros

  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • Overdraft assistance
  • Top-rated mobile app
  • Chase is no. 2 on J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study
  • Send and receive money with Zelle®

Cons

  • No APY
  • Monthly fees, but there are options to waive
  • No reimbursem*nt for out-of-network ATM fees

Who's this for? The Chase College Checking℠ provides zero monthly service fees for up to five years for college students 17 to 24 who show proof of student status at account opening.

After the five-year period, the monthly fee is $12 or $0 when you do at least one of the following each statement period:

  • Have electronic deposits made into this account totaling $500 or more, such as payments from payroll providers or government benefit providers, by using (i) the ACH network, (ii) the Real Time Payment or FedNow℠network, or (iii) third party services that facilitate payment to your debit card using the Visa® or Mastercard® network
  • Keep an average ending day balance of $1,500 or more in your checking account.

Beyond no service fees for students, this Chase account is known for offering new account holder bonuses. Currently, new Chase College Checking℠ account customers can receive $100 after completing 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of coupon enrollment (offer ends 7/24/2024).

There's no deposit required to open this account, and you'll also pay no monthly maintenance fee on a Chase Savings℠ account linked to this account for overdraft protection.

Chase has more than 15,000 fee-free ATMs and more than 4,700 branches across the U.S. Plus Chase ranks number two on J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study for providing innovative technology and high satisfaction with ATMs, plus the lowest incidence of problems.

Find the best savings account for you: Help your money grow by finding the savings account that offers the best rates and features for you.

Common checking account fees

Before you choose a checking account,familiarize yourself with common checking account fees. Here are seven common fees you may incur:

  • Monthly maintenance fee:The monthly service fee,often up to $15, that banks or credit unions charge to maintain your account.
  • Overdraft fee:If you spend more than the amount in your account, resulting in a negative balance, you may be hit with a steep overdraft fee up to $35.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee:If you write a check and it bounces because there isn't enough money in your bank account, you'll likely incur a NSF fee.
  • ATM fee:When you use ATMs that aren't affiliated with your bank or credit union, you may be hit with two fees: one from your bank/credit union and another from the ATM operator. Banks/credit unions charge around $1.63 while ATM operators charge roughly $3.09.
  • Paper statement fee: If you don't enroll in paperless, you may pay up to $5 per statement.
  • Foreign transaction fee:If you use your debit card to make purchases or withdraw money from an ATM outside of the U.S., you'll often incur a fee that's often 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of the transaction.
  • Account closure fee:If you close your account within 90 to 180 days of opening it, you may incur an account closure fee of around $25.

Read more

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Looking to make a little extra money? Earn up to $400 when you sign up for these checking accounts

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every checking account review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of banking products. While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best checking accounts.

Our methodology

To determine which checking accounts provide the best place to deposit your money at no monthly cost, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. checking accounts offered by online and brick-and-mortar banks, including majorcredit unions. We narrowed down our rankings by only considering checking accounts that charge no monthly maintenance fees (and no catches to benefit from zero monthly fees).

While the accounts we chose in this article consistently have no monthly maintenance fees, we also compared each checking account on a range of features, including:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Low initial deposit of $0 to $50
  • Available nationwide
  • Physical branch locations and/or online accessibility
  • Large ATM network
  • Ease of use and account accessibility
  • Customer reviews, when available

All of the accounts included on this list are Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insured up to $250,000. This insurance protects and reimburses you up to your balance and the legal limit in the event your bank or credit union fails.

The rates and fee structures for checking accounts are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate in accordance with the prime rate.

Your earnings depend on any associated fees and the balance you have in your checking account. To open an account, some banks and institutions may require a deposit of new money, meaning you can't transfer money you already had in an account at that bank. However, the five accounts listed above currently don't require any deposit during account opening.

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Information about the Ally Bank Spending Account and Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Ally Bank is a Member FDIC.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

Best no-fee checking accounts of June 2024 (2024)

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