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In 2018, just 4% of consumers moved their money from one bank to another, according to the data and analytics company J.D. Power. That’s not surprising.

Major banks (and some online banks) go beyond traditional checking and savings accounts to keep our business. They offer budgeting features, investment portfolios, credit cards, loans and financial advice. Banks are not trying to meet one need—they’re trying to meet many—which makes it hard to leave when you feel dissatisfied with only one of your bank’s products.

We don’t expect you to leave your bank. We expect the opposite. But you may be open to having more than one or two checking accounts: one because it has branches near your job or your home, possibly another because it came with a high-yield savings account, maybe one for mortgage rate discounts and one after that because its debit card comes with cash back. Whatever it is, we created this list to help you weed through the numerous offerings out there.

Below is a list of the best checking accounts available today. The list is based on the top 15 major banks with the addition of online banks.



We chose to screen checking accounts from banks that have a wide reach (mainly major banks and popular online banks). There’s only one bank that’s small but offers a socially responsible checking account cool enough to land it on this list. There are no cash management accounts on this list since we’ve already ranked a handful in the Best Cash Management Accounts of 2020.

We took the list one step further by highlighting which aspect of each checking account beats out the other checking accounts. So, these accounts are depository accounts ranked according to their unique offerings like free ATM withdrawals worldwide or the highest annual percentage yield on account balances.

The 10 Best Checking Accounts

Chase Total Checking®: Best Sign-Up Bonus

The bank is currently running a sign-up bonus where new customers can get $200 for opening a Chase Total Checking® account and establishing direct deposit.

Sign-Up Rewards:To receive the $200 bonus, you’ll have to set up direct deposit in the form of a paycheck, pension or government benefits check within 90 days, after which the bonus will be deposited into your account within 10 business days. Online bonus offer is valid until October 14, 2020.

Account Minimum: $0

Fees: $12 monthly fee that can be waived with $500 per month in direct deposits, a balance of $1,500 at the beginning of each day, or $5,000 or more in combined Chase account balances.

Interest: None

Discover Checking Account: Best No-Fee Account

Discover Bank* is among the few banks that have cash back rewards linked to the Discover Checking Account*, offered through the Discover Cashback Debit. Trust us, there aren’t as many of these offers as there used to be. With the debit card, account owners can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.

Account Minimum: $0

Fees: None

Interest: Not an interest-bearing account

Rewards: Get 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases per month.

Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking: Best for International Use and Investors

The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account beats out interest-bearing accounts at Bank of America, Chase and Citi. There’s no monthly fee and unlimited ATM rebates. The top reason that it made this list is its $0 foreign transaction fees. You can withdraw money abroad without any fees. The only way to open this account is to open a brokerage account.

Account Minimum: $0 if you are linked to a Schwab One brokerage account.

Fees: $0 monthly fee, unlimited ATM rebates and no foreign transaction fees.

Interest: 0.03% APY

Rewards: None

Chime Spending Account: Best for Early Direct Deposit

Who doesn’t enjoy receiving their money earlier than expected? Chime claims you’ll get access to your direct deposited paycheck funds up to two days early. That, however, assumes you don’t have direct deposit now. The fine print from Chime’s website: “Faster access to funds is based on a comparison of traditional banking policies and deposit of paper checks from employers and government agencies versus deposits made electronically. Direct Deposit and earlier availability of funds are subject to payer’s support of the feature and timing of payer’s funding.”

Account Minimum: $0

Fees: None

Interest: Not an interest-bearing account

Rewards: None, but you get your direct deposits of pay up to two days early.

 Chase Sapphire Checking : Best for ATM Fees and Free Stock Trades

Chase is back on this list for the Chase Sapphire Checking * account that can be accessed worldwide. The account has no ATM fees for withdrawals in- or out-of network, whether domestic or abroad. Perks include premier relationship rates on a linked Chase Premier Savings account*, as well as special access to sports and entertainment hospitality lounges.

Account Minimum: $0

Fees: $25 monthly fee unless you have $75,000 in deposits or investments. There are no fees for out-of-network ATMs domestically or internationally.

Interest: 0.01% APY

Sign-Up Rewards: None

Simple Protected Goals Account: Best APY (Without a Brokerage Account)

Simple is a relative newcomer. It’s an online bank that’s backed by traditional brick-and-mortar bank BBVA. If you’re curious, you can get more details from our review. The Simple Protected Goals account has one of the highest APYs on checking accounts available nationwide.

Account Minimum: $0

Fees: No fees

Interest: 0.80% APY for all Protected Goals Account balances

Sign-Up Rewards: None

SunTrust Advantage Checking and the Delta SkyMiles Debit Card: Best for Travel Rewards

SunTrust Bank has some competitive checking accounts, but its Advantage Checking stands out. The way it helps you reach more travel helped land it on this list. The account comes with a debit card that earns you Delta SkyMiles on eligible purchases and, if you’re in the market, a credit card that offers cash back. Basically, you have the option of two reward programs that can be attached to your checking account.

Account Minimum: Three tiers of benefits: $0 – $25,000, $25,000 – $100,000 and $100,000+

Account Minimum Breakdown: Let’s break down the account minimum. The account minimums are segmented for a credit card loyalty bonus that SunTrust offers customers who use more than one of the bank’s products. Although this article is focused on checking accounts and not credit cards, we felt it important to mention a potential and additional benefit to this checking account. If you have less than $25,000 in your depository accounts (checking, savings and money market) you can receive a 10% cash back bonus on the cash back from your SunTrust credit card. If you have $100 in cash back from the card, then you’ll get an additional $10 for a total of $110 in cash back rewards. The higher your account balance, the more your cash back bonus will be. You can get a 25% bonus with a balance that’s more than $25,000 but less than $100,000. If you’re banking more than $100,000, then you get a 50% bonus.

Fees: $20 monthly fee. The monthly fee is waived if you make $3,000 or more in monthly direct deposits or maintain a $10,000 combined balance from all your accounts. Get reimbursed for three out-of-network ATM surcharge fees per statement cycle.

Interest: 0.01%

Sign-Up Rewards: Earn 5,000 miles after one PIN or signature purchase. Then earn 1 mile for every $2 spent. Miles increase when purchasing Delta flights and in-flight items.

Capital One MONEY: Best Student Offerings

This card is good for teenagers; it’s actually created with teens in mind. The Capital One MONEY checking account carries no fees and no minimum balance, and includes a free debit card. Parents and teens receive text alerts about balances, which is helpful if mom or dad are the teen’s real bank.

Account Minimum: $0

Fees: None

Interest: 0.10% APY

Sign-Up Rewards: None

See our other top picks for student checking accounts in The Best Student Checking Accounts For 2020.

Amalgamated Bank Convenience+ Checking: Best for the Environment and Social Causes

If you’re looking to move to a bank that’s using your money to help the environment and fund solutions to societal issues, then consider Amalgamated’s Convenience+ Checking. Amalgamated Bank is one of a growing number of banks that say they’re providing an alternative to financial institutions that fund environmentally unfriendly business projects.

Account Minimum: $0

Fees: $10 monthly fee. The fee is waived if you have a qualified direct deposit. Two out-of-network ATM fees are waived per monthly statement.

Interest: 0.01% APY for $0-$499.99, 0.05% APY for $500-$999.99, 0.05% APY for $1,000 and up

Sign-Up Rewards: None, but $0.10 of every $10 purchase made on the Donate The Change Enhanced debit card will go to the Frontline Workers Fund, to support those working on the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis.

Simple Shared Account: Best Shared/Joint Account

Simple is back again. Earlier it was for its Protected Goals account and now it’s for its Simple Shared account. This account allows people with their own individual Simple account to create a joint checking account that can be used for anything, such as paying rent or funding a trip.

Account Minimum: $0

Fees: None except for out-of-network surcharges

Interest: 0.01% APY, Simple Account; 0.80% APY for all Protected Goals Account balances

Sign-Up Rewards: None

See our Simple Bank Review—The Pros and Cons.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Checking Account


Deciding on a checking account requires knowing what you need or what you want. Banks usually offer more than one checking account. They may have a basic checking account for simple direct deposit and more advanced depository accounts to accompany a reward program or investment services. The question for you is, what will you be using this account for?


If it’s for receiving your paycheck, you might focus on how early you can receive direct deposit or how reachable bank branches are. You may even consider whether you can deposit checks through a mobile banking app and how easily you can transfer money. Or what about the online banking features? Are they user-friendly for you?


Shopping for a checking account should always include evaluating fees. Are there any annual or monthly fees? Can they be waived? How much does the bank charge you for withdrawing money from out-of-network ATMs?

Customer Service

If you prefer to interact with human beings, that might be something you want to add to your list of things to look at. Large banks tend to have more customer service options like 24/7 support. However, that does not necessarily translate to better customer support. Most banks use chatbots to field common customer questions, which might be enough for you. But, if it isn’t, look at what customer support services a banks offers when a chatbot isn’t sufficient. Does the bank provide an easy-to-find phone number so you can talk to a person or of support by email? Or does it always seem to be directing you instead to a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page?

Account Minimum

The most competitive checking accounts can have some great bells and whistles. And you’ll be swept off your feet by them until you learn what’s required to get them. One of those requirements may be an account balance minimum that you cannot support for whatever reason. You may have only wanted the account to pay rent, but it requires that you maintain a certain amount daily to not incur a fee. Or you may want to use it as a main hub that you transfer money out of to fund other accounts, but still you need to maintain a certain balance to prevent fees or earn interest.

By understanding what your needs and wants are specific to a checking account, and doing a bit of shopping around, you can make the best choice for you and your finances.

Next Up In Banking

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