Best Free Checking Accounts for September 2022 - CNET

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Checking accounts are a captious work offered by fiscal institutions allowing consumers to safely store and negociate their money. While having a checking relationship whitethorn beryllium a request for galore people, paying to usage 1 is not.  Accounts advertised arsenic "free checking" by a slope oregon recognition national bash not complaint the pursuing fees: 

  • Minimum equilibrium fees
  • Regular transaction oregon work fees
  • Monthly work fees
  • Withdrawal oregon transportation fees

By law, escaped checking accounts cannot complaint the fees listed supra oregon bounds the fig of transactions disposable per month.

CNET recognizes that keeping much of your hard-earned wealth is indispensable for gathering wealthiness and reaching your fiscal goals. Given the plethora of options disposable nationwide, we've done the enactment to find the champion picks for escaped checking accounts. Let's reappraisal the champion escaped checking relationship options available.

CNET's picks for the apical escaped checking accounts

The mean monthly work interest charged for checking accounts nationwide is $16.19, according to a 2022 checking relationship and ATM interest study from CNET's sister tract Bankrate. That tin enactment a dent successful your resources implicit time. Some banks volition waive work fees to execute the quality of escaped checking erstwhile definite criteria are met specified arsenic maintaining a minimum monthly equilibrium oregon opting for eStatements. Only accounts that offered a purely no-fee checking relationship paid the highest yearly percent yields (APY) and were insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oregon National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for up to $250,000 made our database of apical escaped checking accounts.

Some banks besides connection bonuses oregon rewards to unfastened a escaped checking account. Terms and conditions alteration with each bank. 

Top Free Checking Accounts

Name Consumers Credit Union Conexus Credit Union Axos Bank NBKC Bank Alliant Credit Union Ally FNBO Direct Capital One Discover Lake Michigan Credit Union
APY Minimum Initial Deposit Bonus Locations Overdraft Fees
3.00% $0 N/A Branches successful IL, Digital banking services $30
1.75% $0 N/A Branches done the Midwest, Digital banking services $45
1.25% $50 N/A Digital only $0
0.50% $0 N/A Branches successful Metro Kansas City, Digital banking services $0
0.25% $25 $100 Digital only $0
0.25% $0 N/A Digital only $0
0.15% $1 N/A Digital only $33
0.10% $0 N/A Branches successful 9 states, Digital banking services $35
0% $0 1% cashback Digital only $0
0% $0 N/A Branches successful MI and FL, Digital banking services $30

More details connected the apical escaped checking accounts

Consumers Credit Union

  • APY: 3.00%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $0
  • Number of locations: 11 branches
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile and online banking services are available.

This Illinois-based slope has 11 branches located successful Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Mobile and online banking marque this escaped checking relationship accessible nationwide. Membership eligibility is unfastened to anyone. The recognition national is simply a portion of a nationalist web of 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

  • APY: 1.75%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $0
  • Number of locations: 5,600 shared branches
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile and online banking services are available.

Conexus Credit Union is portion of the CO-OP Shared Branch web which allows members to sojourn immoderate recognition national successful the web to negociate fiscal transactions. There are 67,000 surcharge-free ATMs successful the network. Maintaining a minimum of 15 debit paper transactions oregon a nett spending full of $450 per period volition suffice your escaped checking relationship for a 1.75% APY up to balances of $25,000. Membership is unfastened to anyone based connected criteria listed on Connexus


  • APY: 1.25%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $50
  • Number of locations: N/A
  • Mobile banking availability: Only mobile and online banking services are offered.

Axos launched successful 2000 arsenic a integer bank. Headquartered successful San Diego, its Rewards Checking is simply a wholly no-fee checking relationship that tin connection a competitory APY of up to 1.25% based connected requirements specified arsenic a qualifying, monthly nonstop deposit, 10 oregon much debit paper transactions per month, and maintaining a minimum required equilibrium successful an Axos concern account. Rewards Checking customers besides person unlimited home ATM interest reimbursements.

NBKC logo

  • APY: 0.50%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $25
  • Number of locations: 4
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile banking app available.

NBKC has 4 branches located successful Kansas and Missouri. The mobile and online banking services marque the escaped checking Everything Account accessible nationwide. Customers tin besides retreat wealth astatine much than 37,000 ATMs and suffice for $12 successful ATM interest reimbursements per month. It offers competitory rates connected deposit accounts which tin beryllium opened via its website. 

Alliant Credit Union

  • APY: 0.25%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $25
  • Number of locations: N/A
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile banking app is disposable (online banking is not available).

Membership is unfastened to existent oregon erstwhile employees of Alliant's US spouse businesses. Visit Alliant for a implicit database of businesses. High-Rate Checking accounts opened by October 7, 2022, are eligible for a $100 slope bonus and $100 donated to a charitable enactment if a $100 minimum equilibrium is maintained done the extremity of February 2023. High-Rate Checking relationship customers besides person entree to much than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs and up to $20 per period successful ATM interest reimbursements.


  • APY: 0.25%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $0
  • Number of locations: N/A
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile and online banking services are available.

Ally's Interest Checking is disposable nationwide. It offers a robust suite of integer services without charging immoderate fees for minimum balances, overdrafts oregon authoritative checks. Account holders volition beryllium pleased with the surcharge interest web of much than 43,000 ATMs and the $10 per period successful ATM interest reimbursement available. 

  • APY: 0.15%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $1
  • Number of locations: 109
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile and online banking services are available.

FNBO Direct is the integer limb of First National Bank of Nebraska. Online checking is simply a no-fee checking relationship that provides entree to much than 2 cardinal ATMs. The $1 archetypal deposit required to unfastened an relationship is reasonable. Any balances implicit 1 cent are eligible to gain the APY. The relationship besides comes with escaped fraud monitoring and doesn't complaint for halt payments. FNBO Direct is simply a green-friendly institution that has eliminated insubstantial checks. 

Capital One

  • APY: 0.10%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $0
  • Number of locations: 755
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile and online banking services are available.

Capital One, the 10th largest bank successful the US, is an online slope with carnal locations that you tin sojourn successful 9 states crossed the eastbound and confederate US. It has besides expanded the slope subdivision conception into a java store styled Capital One Café. The Capital One 360 volition outgo thing to acceptable up. Balances nether $50,000 gain a 0.10% APY.


  • APY: 0%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $0
  • Number of locations: 755
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile and online banking services are available.

Discover Bank is an online fiscal services institution that offers products specified arsenic deposit accounts, recognition cards, idiosyncratic loans and pupil loans. It eliminated fees connected deposit accounts successful June 2019. The Discover Cashback Debit is simply a wholly escaped checking relationship that pays 1% currency backmost connected debit paper purchases up to $3,000 per month. The ATM web of much than 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs provides much entree to currency nationwide. 

  • APY: 0%
  • Minimum archetypal deposit: $0
  • Number of locations: Nearly 50 branches
  • Mobile banking availability: Mobile and online banking services are available.

Membership eligibility is unfastened to anyone. Lake Michigan Credit Union has galore branches passim Michigan and much than 10 crossed Florida. It offers a afloat suite of robust banking services in-person and virtually. Members tin besides entree fiscal wellness services. The recognition national is simply a portion of the Allpoint web with 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

What factors should you see erstwhile opening a checking account?

By law, banks and recognition unions cannot complaint monthly fees, transaction fees, transportation fees oregon minimum equilibrium fees connected accounts advertised arsenic escaped checking. Additional charges based connected services provided, specified arsenic connection copies oregon overdraft coverage, whitethorn beryllium for immoderate banks. Review the account's presumption and conditions afloat to guarantee you recognize immoderate applicable fees.

Pros and cons of a escaped checking account


  • Free checking accounts bash not complaint monthly fees, transaction fees oregon complaint a interest if your equilibrium drops beneath a minimum threshold.
  • Free checking accounts are offered by accepted brick-and-mortar banks oregon recognition unions, online-only fiscal institutions, oregon hybrid companies.
  • Some escaped checking accounts wage competitory APYs and connection rewards oregon different bonuses.
  • Many escaped checking accounts person nary oregon debased archetypal deposit requirements to unfastened an account.


  • Free checking accounts whitethorn necessitate respective further tasks to gain the highest APY.
  • Competitive APYs are often capped astatine a maximum equilibrium amount.

How tin you gain a competitory yield?

Often, competitory APYs offered by escaped checking accounts are linked to qualified activities. For example, Axos Bank offers up to 1.25% APY if the customers found nonstop deposits of $1,500 oregon much per month, adhd a indebtedness outgo and support minimum balances successful concern accounts. Axos Bank customers already doing concern with the slope should instrumentality vantage of the competitory rates.


What bash you request to unfastened a checking account?

To unfastened a checking relationship with a US-based bank, you need:

  1. A Social Security number.
  2. Government-issued impervious of individuality and ineligible residency oregon citizenship specified arsenic a driver's license, passport oregon authorities ID.
  3. Where applicable, a minimum archetypal deposit. 

What are the minimum deposit and equilibrium requirements?

Free checking accounts alteration successful the minimum archetypal deposit required. In our database above, that ranges from $0 to $50. Each bank's requirements tin alteration based connected its concern exemplary and selling efforts. A checking relationship that requires a minimum equilibrium to debar work fees is not a escaped checking account.

Are determination options for overdraft protection?

Overdraft extortion is simply a work offered by banks to screen the outgo of transactions that transcend an account's disposable balance. Banks tin complaint a monthly oregon per transaction interest for this service. Some banks that connection no-fee checking accounts volition see overdraft extortion astatine nary further cost. Others waive the 1 overdraft fee per twelvemonth arsenic an overdraft forgiveness service. 

An overdraft extortion work tin beryllium invaluable arsenic the mean overdraft interest of $30 per transaction tin adhd up quickly.

How tin you debar hidden fees?

When opening immoderate account, reappraisal the relationship disclosures wholly to recognize the presumption and conditions associated with the caller account. Sticking with accounts advertised arsenic escaped checking accounts volition assistance you debar taking connected chartless fees. 

Free checking accounts whitethorn complaint fees for services specified arsenic authoritative cheque writing. This volition each beryllium listed successful the relationship disclosures. If you're successful doubt, docket a telephone with your lawsuit work typical oregon idiosyncratic banker to reappraisal each imaginable fees customers whitethorn incur.


CNET reviewed checking accounts based connected the latest APY information, fees charged and services offered from issuer websites. We evaluated checking accounts from among much than 50 banks, recognition unions and fiscal companies. We selected the accounts that were no-fee checking with the highest APY and were insured up to $250,000 from among the organizations we surveyed.

Banks surveyed include: Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Axos Bank, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Bank5 Connect, Barclays, BMO Harris, Bread Savings, BrioDirect, Capital One, CFG Community Bank, Citizens Access, Colorado Federal Savings Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Credit One Bank, Discover Bank, First Internet Bank of Indiana, First Tech Federal Credit Union, FNBO Direct, GO2bank, Golden 1 Credit Union, HSBC Bank, Huntington Bank, Lake Michigan Credit Union, LendingClub Bank, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Merrick Bank, Nationwide (by Axos), Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC, OneUnited Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Quontic Bank, Rising Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Synchrony Bank, TAB Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, Truist Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank, USAA Bank, Vio Bank, and Wells Fargo.

The editorial contented connected this leafage is based solely connected objective, autarkic assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertizing oregon partnerships. It has not been provided oregon commissioned by immoderate 3rd party. However, we whitethorn person compensation erstwhile you click connected links to products oregon services offered by our partners.

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