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10 Best No-Fee Checking Accounts Of 2024

10 Best No-Fee Checking Accounts Of 2024

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Although many banks advertise fee-free checking accounts, not all of them actually provide fee-free accounts. The finest no-cost checking accounts don’t charge a monthly maintenance fee, which is usually what makes a bank declare an account to be “fee-free.” A no-fee checking account should not have a minimum balance requirement and, in general, have minimal or no costs associated with overdrafts and using ATMs outside of the network in order to be ranked among the best.

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Best No-Fee Checking Accounts

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To identify some of the greatest checking accounts available, we compared 157 accounts offered by 66 banks and credit unions across the country. Continue reading to see why we chose each account, to weigh the benefits and drawbacks, and to access reviews of specific banks.

The account information and annual percentage yields (APYs) are current as of December 14, 2023.

Methodology

The accounts in this list have relatively low total fees. These accounts either don’t have a monthly maintenance cost or offer simple ways to avoid paying one. Additionally, they rarely, if ever, charge fees for third-party ATMs, overdrafts, or non-sufficient cash.

The accounts in this list have relatively low total fees. These accounts either don’t have a monthly maintenance cost or offer simple ways to avoid paying one. Additionally, they rarely, if ever, charge fees for third-party ATMs, overdrafts, or non-sufficient cash.

Forbes Advisor examined 157 checking accounts at 66 financial institutions—a mix of conventional brick-and-mortar banks, internet banks, and credit unions—to compile a list of the top no-fee checking accounts. Within the categories of customer experience, digital experience, fees, access, and minimal requirements, we scored each account based on 17 data points.

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The weights given to each category of no-fee checking accounts are as follows:

Monthly fees, the option to waive monthly fees, overdraft fees, non-sufficient funds penalties, ATM fees, minimum deposit requirements, and minimum balance requirements were among the specific features that were taken into account within each category. We also took into account the account’s national availability, customer service ratings, mobile app ratings, online access, and mobile access.

The best-rated checking accounts were those with minimal requirements, no fees, or excellent ratings from Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau. The checking account needs to be accessible across the country in order to be included here.

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See our article on How Forbes Advisor Reviews Banks to find out more about our editorial process, rating and review methodology.

What Is a No-Fee Checking Account?

The term “no-fee checking” frequently describes a checking account without a monthly maintenance charge. But according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an account that is advertised as “free” or “no cost” is not allowed to charge maintenance fees or any of the following two types of costs:

fees for more transactions above a specific threshold

Deposit, withdrawal, and transfer fees

However, the bureau notes that there may be additional fees associated with a “no-fee checking account,” such as:

Your checking account costs could include overdraft, ATM, minimum balance, and monthly maintenance fees, depending on which bank you bank with. Banks and credit unions may charge their clients for debit cards, supplementary checks, wire transfers, returned deposits, and halted payments in addition to the standard fees. Banking consumers look for an account whose price schedule fits with their banking needs and habits because fees may really eat into your budget.

How To Choose a No-Fee Checking Account

Selecting a no-fee checking account involves a lot of considerations. Before creating an account, you should consider asking yourself the following questions.

What Is the Financial Institution’s Definition of a “No-Fee Checking Account”?

Any fees for a checking account must be disclosed by the bank or credit union when you open one. Examine the fee schedule provided by the bank or credit union to determine whether some charges are imposed, such as ATM fees, but not monthly maintenance fees.

How Much Are the Other Fees?

How much are the additional expenses (such ATM fees) if a bank or credit union omits fees that make a checking account qualify as no-fee? You should strive for a no-fee checking account with the fewest costs feasible because account fees can mount up quickly.

A financial institution may increase fees as long as it notifies you that they are changing, but they are not permitted to collect fees that are greater than what you have been notified. You must receive a written copy of this notice at least thirty days prior to the charge increase taking effect. The amount of costs associated with checking accounts is not set by federal law.

What Are the Requirements for Getting a No-Fee Account?

A bank may waive other fees or monthly maintenance costs in some circumstances, provided that you fulfill specific criteria. These could consist of:

  • Making a minimum deposit, such as $50, to open the account
  • Maintaining a minimum daily balance, such as $100
  • Making a certain number of deposits each month
  • Being in a group, such as students 17 to 23 years old

Does the Checking Account Pay Interest?

It may be more desirable to have a no-fee checking account that pays interest as opposed to one that doesn’t. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the average interest rate for an interest-earning checking account as of November 20, 2023, is 0.07%. Some high-yield checking accounts do, however, provide rates of one percent or higher.

How Is the Bank’s Customer Service?

Granted, you might save a little money with a no-fee checking account, but if the bank or credit union has subpar customer care, the savings might not amount to anything. Verify the institution’s reputation before creating an account by visiting the Better Business Bureau or Trustpilot websites.

How To Open a No-Fee Checking Account

Generally, you must follow these procedures in order to open a no-fee checking account:

Shop for a financial institution that offers no-fee checking

Apart from the fact that there are no fees, make sure to take into account additional advantages, such as the account’s desireable features, including an extensive ATM network, a free debit card, or interest earning potential.

Find out where you need to apply

Online applications are accepted by many banks and credit unions.

Provide personal information

You will typically need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and a copy of a government-issued photo ID when applying for a checking account.

Come up with an opening deposit

Upon approval of your application, you might be required to make a minimum starting deposit (e.g., $25) in order to activate your no-fee checking account. However, some credit unions and banks don’t have a minimum initial deposit requirement.

Bottom Line

There are several fees that no-fee checking accounts do not impose, like monthly maintenance fees. However, the greatest no-fee checking accounts eliminate additional costs like overdraft and ATM fees and offer enticing extras like interest-bearing capabilities.

Banks We Monitor

We considered these financial firms in our study.

ableBanking, Acorns, Affinity Federal Credit Union, Affirm, Albert, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, Amalgamated Bank, American Express, Aspiration, Axos Bank, Apple Federal Credit Union, BancorpSouth Bank, Bank of America, Bank5 Connect, BankDirect, BankPurely, BankUnitedDirect, Barclays, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Betterment, Blue Federal Credit Union, Bread Savings (formerly Comenity Direct), BrioDirect Banking, Capital One, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chevron Federal Credit Union,  CIBC Bank, CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens Access, Colorado Federal Savings Bank, Comerica, CommunityWide Federal Credit Union, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Copper, Credit Union of Denver, Dave, Discover, Dollar Savings Direct, E*Trade Bank, EmigrantDirect, Fidelity, Financial Partners Credit Union, Financial Resources Federal Credit Union, First Internet Bank, First National Bank of America,  FNBO Direct, Georgia’s Own Credit Union, Golden1 Credit Union, Greenwood Credit Union, Heritage Bank, HSBC Direct, Hughes Federal Credit Union, Ideal Credit Union, iGoBanking, Investors eAccess, Keybank, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, LendingClub, Limelight, Live Oak Bank, MAC Federal Credit Union, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, My eBanc, MySavingsDirect, Navy Federal Credit Union, nbkc Bank, Northern Bank Direct, Northpointe Bank, Nuvision Federal Credit Union, Pacific National Bank, Paramount Bank, Pen Air Federal Credit Union, PenFed, PNC Bank, Popular Direct, Purepoint Financial, Quontic, Quorum Federal Credit Union, Radius Bank, Regions Bank, Rising Bank, SalemFiveDirect, Sallie Mae Bank,  Santander, SFGI Direct, SmartyPig Bank, SoFi, Spectrum Federal Credit Union, State Bank of Texas, State Department Federal Credit Union, Step, Superior Choice Credit Union, Synchrony Bank, TAB Bank, TD Bank, EverBank (formerly TIAA), TotalDirect Bank, Truist, Union Bank & Trust, U.S. Bank, USAA, USAlliance Federal Credit Union, Varo Bank, Vio Bank, Virtual Bank, Wealthfront, and Wells Fargo.

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