What Makes A Checking Account Good Or Not Good
Roger Ma, CFP:
“I would look at the ATM branch locations and then minimum balance amounts to not incur a monthly fee I think there’s other stuff that could make life easier, whether it’s a free checks, online bill pay, are they in the Zelle network?”
Laura Grace Tarpley, Personal Finance Insider:
“I would make a list of the top three to five things you want out of a checking account. Is it a great mobile app, 24/7 customer support, no ATM fees? Then research the best banks for those features.”
Best Joint Checking Accounts Of 2022
- Best for Parents & Teens: Capital One
- Best for Frequent ATM Users: Axos Bank
- Best for Debit Users: Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union
Ally offers the best checking account because it doesnt charge any fees and doesnt require a minimum deposit.
Free checks with unlimited refills
Well-designed online and mobile tools
Some other accounts pay higher interest
No physical branches
Cannot deposit cash
Its hard to beat Allys Interest Checking Account, whose ease of couples account management and the ability to avoid almost all fees makes it our all-around winner among joint checking accounts. Established in 2009 as an internet-only bank, Ally also offers savings, money market, and CD accounts, as well as mortgages, auto and personal loans, and investment accounts.
Opening a joint bank account with Ally is quick and simple and is handled almost entirely online. While there are no brick-and-mortar branches you can visit, customer service is easy to access via a phone call or live chat, available both in the app and via online banking.
Allys web and mobile interfaces are among the most user-friendly banking apps in the industry. Plus, each account holder gets their own login, letting you individually set up your own external transfer accounts, Zelle contacts and payments, and so forth, making it easy for each of you to both view and execute transactions.
Key Checking Account Terminology
Available balance: The amount that youre free to spend from your checking account. The available balance might be different from your account balance due to new deposits into your account or holds on funds in your account.
Debit card: A debit card is a plastic payment card linked to your account. You can use that card like a credit card for in-person purchases or with online merchants. You can also withdraw cash from an ATM with your debit card.
PIN: Your personal identification number is a numeric code that helps to protect your account. You may need to enter your PIN when you withdraw cash at an ATM or perform other transactions. Keep that number secret because it helps prevent unauthorized users from accessing your account.
Insufficient funds: If you try to spend more than your available balance, you may have to pay an insufficient funds fee. Always check your balance and stay up-to-date on your account by balancing the account monthly and setting up alerts.
Overdraft: When your bank allows you to spend more money than you have in your account, you become overdrawn. Banks often allow you to opt in to a feature known as overdraft protection, which allows you to cover the difference between the amount you want to spend and the amount you have in your account. Overdraft protection often has a maximum limit and may come with a fee. It may be smart to pass on this feature and only spend what you can afford.
Recommended Reading: Overdraft Td Bank
What Is A Good Apy For A High
The federal rate hikes generally trickle down to consumer deposit accounts, but it can take a while to see the effects. Rates of 0.50% to 0.60% were the highest available in early spring, but now several banks are providing high-yield savings APYs above 1.00%.
Despite the Fed rate increases, the big banks of Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase seem unwilling to budge so far, and are still offering savings accounts with very low 0.01% to 0.03% interest.
Rewards On Debit Card Spending
Cash back on debit card purchases is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when the typical consumer hears the term rewards checking.
Which is why its one of the most important considerations for us. Most of the accounts on this list offer some type of rewards on spending, whether its straight cash back or a more convoluted points-based system.
You May Like: Td Bank Debit Card Advance
Summary Of Best Business Checking Accounts
|Best Business Checking Accounts|
- Access: 7.5%
- APY: 5%
The specific characteristics taken into consideration within each category included monthly fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, minimum deposit requirements, minimum balance requirements, integration with accounting and payroll, merchant services, cash deposit and transaction limits, APY, customer service ratings, mobile and online access, ATM network and the national availability of the account.
Business checking accounts offering no or very low fees scored higher, as did those offering low minimum requirements, high customer service and digital experience scores, and reasonable transaction and cash deposit limits. To appear on this list, the business checking account must be nationally available.
Weigh Additional Benefits As Tie
Banks sometimes offer promotions like cash bonuses and other gifts for opening an account. Some checking accounts even offer interest on your account balance.
They use a variety of enticements to attract customers but in the long run, the value of these offers tend to pale in comparison to how much you could spend on fees.
These additional benefits should not be your primary reasons for choosing a bank, but they could be useful for deciding between two banks that are very similar on other criteria.
Use promotions, gifts, interest, and other benefits as a tie-breaker.
Recommended Reading: How To Connect Clickbank To Paypal
Best With Branches: Chase Bank
Big banks may not have a reputation for low-cost accounts, but Chase Banks Total Checking account comes pretty close. With nearly 4,700 branches available, you can bank in person if you so choose. You can also waive the monthly fee by direct depositing at least $500 per month or keeping a daily balance of at least $1,500 in the account. If you dont qualify for a waiver, expect to pay $12 per month.
Rbc Day To Day Bank Account
With similar offerings as the Scotia Basic Banking Account at almost the same price, the RBC Day to Day Bank Account is also worth a look. Both accounts include 12 free transactions per month, but the RBC package has an edge by offering unlimited free Interac e-Transfers. Another perk is that you get instant savings of $0.03/litre at Petro-Canada. That said, it doesnt offer rewards earnings which ultimately keeps this account from the top spot in the category.
- Monthly fee: $4
- Extras: Savings at Petro-Canada free after Seniors rebate mobile banking app for Apple and Android
- Service charges: Many, including $2.00 for Interac access at non-RBC ATMs
You May Like: Td Bank Overdraft Fees
Best Checking Account Bonuses
- Chase QuickPay with Zelle®
- Direct deposits
Once you’ve met these requirements, Chase will deposit the bonus into your new account within 10 business days.
Who’s eligible for the bonus? You can qualify if you don’t have an existing Chase checking account, you haven’t received a Chase account-opening related bonus in the past two years, and you haven’t closed an account within 90 days or closed an account with a negative balance. You can receive only one bonus per account.
Monthly fee: $6, waived with one of the following:
- College students age 17 to 24, who show proof of student status at account opening, waived up to five years
- One direct deposit each month
- An average beginning day balance of at least $5,000
Discover Bank: Cashback Debit Online Checking
Why it stands out: The Cashback Debit Online Checking account allows you to earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 of debit card spending, which is a unique perk that not many accounts offer.
- Earn cash back with your debit card spending
- No account fees
- Access to over 60,000 no-fee ATMs
- Online-only bank
What to look for: Discover is also an online-only bank. It’s competitive in that it has no monthly fee for its checking account, along with no minimum deposit or minimum balance requirement. It also doesn’t have an overdraft/NSF fee. With Discover’s checking account, you can earn cash back with your debit card. You’ll also have access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs.
Don’t Miss: Venmo Won’t Sync Contacts
How Do You Open A New Checking Account
When you’re ready, it’s extremely easy to open a new checking account. While the process will vary, if you’re opening an account online, you simply click the link above and follow the directions. You simply need to fill out the personal information, including Name, Address, and SSN, and you’re set.
Some banks may need you to upload copies of your identification or other items. You can typically do this online.
When it comes time to fund your account, you can simply setup a transfer into the account.
If you’re opening an account at a brick and mortar bank, the same steps will apply, except you will need cash or a check to fund the account.
Are Online Checking Accounts Safe
Yes, checking accounts are safe, especially if you have less than $250,000 in the account. As we mentioned earlier, all checking accounts are FDIC-insured for as much as $250,000 per depositor, per institution. If you have more than $250,000, divide the balance between checking accounts at several banks to ensure all of your money is protected.
In addition, most institutions offer fraud protection for checking account customers. This helps protect you against unauthorized withdrawals or usage of your debit card. Many of our best checking account picks offer fraud protection.
Recommended Reading: Wells Fargo Expresssend Online
Pnc Bank: Virtual Wallet
Why it stands out: PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet combines checking and savings accounts to help you to track your spending and budget your finances.
- Ability to waive the monthly service charge
- Ability to monitor activity and receive notifications
- Monthly fee
- Higher minimum balance requirement
What to look for: The Spend account in PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet does come with a monthly fee of $7, but there is the ability to waive that fee. It also has a required minimum deposit of $25 and a minimum balance of $500 to avoid the service fee. However, you can easily monitor your activity and receive various notifications through this account. The overdraft/NSF fee is $36.
Why it stands out: The E-Trade Checking account offers no fees and no minimum balances.
- Easy access to your money through ATMs
- Online-only bank
- Doesn’t earn interest
What to look for: This online-only, non-interest-bearing checking account is competitive with the other accounts when it comes to fees and minimum requirements. It doesn’t have a monthly fee or requirements for deposit or balance.
Chase Total Checking: Best For Welcome Bonuses
- Earn a $200 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking account and post a direct deposit to your account with 60 days of account opening
- Earn another $150 when you open a Chase Savings account and deposit $10,000 or more in new money within 20 business days and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days
Chase has one of the best offers for new customers who are looking for a new checking account .
In addition to an attractive welcome bonus, the Chase Total Checking account is the bank’s basic checking offering that is capable to serve many consumers well. You can visit a large number of branches and ATMs across the country while also having access to comprehensive banking services that aren’t typically available through online banks.
For a full-service, traditional checking account with widespread branch access, Chase Total Checking is the best option for the average consumer.
Read the full editor’s Chase Total Checking Account Review.
Recommended Reading: Ibc Bank Mobile Deposit Limit
What Makes The Best National Brick
The best national brick-and-mortar banks and the best national online banks have different pros and cons. Brick-and-mortar banks are more likely to offer promotions or welcome bonuses for new accounts, while online banks are more likely to pay higher rates on deposits, often above 0.40% for savings.
While both are available to many people in the U.S., brick-and-mortar banks offer more in-person accessibility, and online banks tend to offer longer customer service hours via phone. Online banks can also offer large ATM networks.
Best Online Checking For Travel: Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab Banks High Yield Investor Checking account gives you unlimited worldwide ATM fee reimbursement. The account charges no monthly fee and has no minimum balance requirement. Schwab also doesnt charge a foreign transaction fee when making overseas purchases. Youll also earn a little bit of interest on your balance.
What to watch: The Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account requires new account holders to also open a Schwab One brokerage account.
Also Check: Is Chase Pay The Same As Zelle
Challenges With Transferring Funds
Online checking accounts generally make it easy to access your money with debit cards that work at thousands of ATMs. Some also offer checkbooks, no matter how archaic they may seem.
Online savings accounts, on the other hand, can be more challenging to access in emergencies than accounts at brick-and-mortar banks, but thanks to improvements in the speed of electronic transfer and new solutions from online savings accounts , this issue has been largely reduced.
How Much Do Joint Accounts Cost
With a little shopping around and choosing an account that meets your expected banking behavior, you should be able to avoid almost all fees on a joint checking account. One set of options will be those accounts with no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance requirement.
But dont overlook the accounts that charge a monthly fee but make it easy to waive. For instance, if you can count on receiving at least one direct deposit paycheck every month, this will enable you to avoid monthly fees on many checking accounts. Similarly, if youre confident you can keep $500 or $1,000 in your joint checking account at all times, this will waive the monthly fee on another group of accounts.
Monthly fees are only part of the picture, however. Before choosing an account, note whether youll have to dish out for your own checks and whether youre likely to be charged ATM fees in a typical month given your expected ATM behavior.
Also Check: Does Ibc Use Zelle
Why Should You Have A Checking Account
Most American adults have checking accounts, and there’s a good reason why it’s such a popular place to keep money.
Here are a few reasons to open a checking account, whether it be a high-interest online checking account or one from a traditional brick-and-mortar bank:
- Liquidity: This is a financial term that basically means “ease of accessing money.” With the many ways you can withdraw funds from a checking account, it’s extremely liquid for spending. On the credit side of the ledger, thanks to things like direct deposit, its easy to receive money too.
- Flexibility: Checking accounts often have no restrictions on spending. If you put your funds in a savings account instead, you’d be limited to a handful of withdrawals every month. If that money’s in a certificate of deposit , you’d be penalized for taking money out of it. Also, checking accounts typically provide different ways to transact, such as checks, debit card, online banking, and mobile wallets.
- Protection: All checking accounts with up to $250,000 in deposits are fully insured by the FDIC, so in the unlikely event your bank melts down you won’t lose a cent. Also, consumer fraud protection services are now standard and free of charge in many checking accounts, both nationwide and at local banks.
Heritage Bank Ecentive Checking Account 102% Apy
Best checking account for overall rate
Balance to open: $100
Pros: The 1.02 percent APY on the eCentive checking account applies to qualifying balances up to $25,000. To earn the APY, spend at least $500 a month in debit card purchases , have at least one direct deposit or automatic payment per month and receive monthly e-statements.There are no monthly service charges and no minimum balance requirements. Customers can access information via the bank’s app, the mobile browser or through text inquiries and alerts. Online banking customers can also make person-to-person payments using Popmoney. The bank refunds up to $25 a month in ATM fees. The bank’s “hybrid” ATMs also let customers interact with live video tellers during certain hours.
Cons: Not making at least 10 debit card transactions per month means you’ll earn only 0.05 percent APY. You’ll also be charged $4 per month to have paper statements mailed to you. But you can avoid this by signing up for eStatements
Heritage Bank has locations in just seven cities across Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota. Overdrafts and non-sufficient funds cost $33 per paid item $36 per returned item. If you close the account within six months of opening it, you’ll pay a $30 exit fee. Qualifying balances of $25,000.01 and greater earn only 0.14 percent APY.
Read Also: What Banks Sell Silver Bars
Best Online Banks In Canada
While many users value the history and human service of brick-and-mortar banks, more and more people are choosing to bank the way they watch TV, order a takeaway curry, and buy concert tickets. Online-only banks have become increasingly popular because of the convenience they offerall your banking can be done from your laptop or even from an app on your smartphone, without ever having to get up from the sofa.
While most chequing accounts at brick-and-mortar banks will charge you a so-called account maintenance fee, online banks usually dont charge anything for their accounts, tend to have lower or even no minimum account balances, and offer higher interest rates on savings accounts. Thats because online-only banks have way less overhead costs: They dont have to rent space for physical branches, and they dont have to pay tellers, security guards, and other staff. Those savings are passed along to the consumer. Plus, you know your money is safe: The funds you deposit in Canadian online banks are protected by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or the relevant credit union deposit guarantee corporation.
Here are the most popular online banks currently operating in Canada: