The 10 Best Checking Accounts for November 2022

Higher interest rates, low fees and lots of free ATM access are some of the features we look for in the best checking accounts.
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

Do you remember why you chose your current checking account?

If you got started early, your parents might have helped you open a kids’ checking or savings account at their bank’s branch. Or maybe you went with the credit union down the street from your work after getting your first W2 job.

Whatever the reason, location likely played a big part. Thankfully, you’re no longer confined to a financial institution for a checking account because of its proximity to you — or a brick-and-mortar site altogether, for that matter.

From higher interest rates to better benefits, it pays to expand your search beyond your local bank or credit union these days. Here’s how to choose the right checking account for you.

10 Best Checking Accounts for November 2022


Is it Time to Change Checking Accounts?

Account Rewards ATM Access Fees

Chime Spending Accounts

None

60K+ fee-free ATMs

None

Varo Bank Account

None

55,000+ Allpoint ATMs

Out-of-network ATM

Chase Total Checking

None

16,000 ATMs

Yes, but may be waived

Chase College checking

None

16,000 ATMs

None

TD Bank Convenience Checking

None

700 ATMs

Yes, but may be waived

Axos Bank Essential Checking

None

Fee reimbursements

None

Ally Interest Checking

Up to 0.25%

55,000+ Allpoint ATMs

None

Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards

2.09%

Over 30,000 ATMs

Overdraft fees

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking

0.25%

Fee reimbursements

None

Montgomery Bank New Start Checking

None

Bank & MoneyPass ATMs

None

Chime Spending Account

Best for Digital Features

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Free access to in-network ATMs
  • A “Pay Friends” feature to give money to friends
Chime is an online checking account that truly embraces the digital banking space* — consider that its app has over 300,000(!) five-star reviews. The company’s tagline is “banking that has your back” and it aims to do that through its Early Payday function (where you get access to direct deposit funds up to two days early), fee-free overdraft services and more.
Chime Spending Account

Fees
None
APY
None
ATM access
60K+ fee-free ATMs
Promotions
None
Prime perk
“Pay friends” feature

More information About Chime Spending Account

Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees or for overdraft protection, a monthly maintenance fee, foreign transaction fees or minimum balance fees. You can also open an easy-to-access connected savings account — it allows you to automate your savings with features like the round-up tool, which will round up your transactions to the nearest dollar and dump the change into savings. Bonus: Chime has a “Pay Friends” feature, so you don’t have to mess with cash, math or other apps to split the bill.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Chime Bank review.

Varo Bank Account

Best for Cash Back

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • No hidden fees
  • Early access to your paycheck
  • Tool to project your cash flow
Varo has combined traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy. Its big selling points include Varo Perks — get up to 6% cash back at more than 50 select brands — no hidden monthly maintenance fee and early access to your paycheck. You can also earn up to a whopping 5.00% APY (annual percentage yield) with a Varo high-yield savings account.
Varo Bank Account

Fees
None
APY
Up to 6% cash back
ATM access
More than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
Promotions
Earn money by referring friends
Prime perk
Up to 6% cash back

More information About Varo Bank Account

With Varo, you’ll pay no monthly service fees, no extra fees for minimum balance requirements, no foreign transaction fees and no cash replacement fees. You’ll just pay out-of-network ATM fees and cash deposit fees if you deposit cash in-store through Green Dot®. Varo also offers early access to your paycheck (up to two days faster than traditional banks), as well as two automatic savings tools — Save Your Pay and Save Your Change — to help you grow your savings faster. 

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Varo Bank review.

Chase Total Checking Account

Best for Promotional Offers

3.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • A hefty sign-on bonus for new customers
  • Offers online, mobile and text banking
  • Lots of branch locations in the U.S.
Chase Bank is a well-known entity in the financial world, and we had to include its Total Checking Account on our list. The account comes with a $12 monthly service fee, but it’ll be waived if you have monthly direct deposits of at least $500. If you don’t have direct deposit, you can also have the fee waived with a minimum daily balance of $1,500 (or $5,000 across multiple Chase accounts).
Chase Total Checking Account

Fees
Yes, but may be waived
APY
None
ATM access
16,000 ATMs
Promotions
Yes
Prime perk
Branches in 33 states to avoid fees

More information About Chase Total Checking

This Chase account has other fees. For example, you can use a Chase ATM for free, but you’ll pay a $3 fee for non-Chase ATMs in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and $5 outside of those locations — so, this account isn’t the best for frequent international travelers. Thankfully, the bank has branches and 16,000 fee-free ATMs in 33 states around the U.S., so you can avoid the fees if you’ve got one nearby.

Bonus (literally): You can get $200 when you open a new checking account. Getting it is pretty simple, too, compared with similar offers — open a new Chase Total Checking account* with $0, and set up direct deposit within 90 days of opening. Keep your account open for at least six months, or you’ll lose the bonus at closing.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Chase Bank review.

Chase College Checking Account

Best for Responsible Students

3.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • New applicants can qualify for a bonus
  • Lots of branches and ATMs in the U.S.
  • No monthly service fee
The Chase College Checking Account is designed with the college student in mind. For anyone ages 17 to 24 with proof of college enrollment, there is no monthly service fee. However, it does come with some hefty insufficient-funds fees and fees for using non-Chase ATMs.
Chase College Checking Account

Fees
None
APY
None
ATM access
16,000 ATMs
Promotions
Yes
Prime perk
$100 for signing up

More Information About Chase College Checking Account

New applicants can get a $100 bonus in their account just for signing up for paperless statements and making 10 qualifying transactions within the first 60 days. Debit card transactions count, so that should be easy.

No other rewards are a part of this account, but that’s typical with a student checking account. Beyond that, the account comes with the accessibility of one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, so ATMs are plentiful and online and mobile banking is available.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Chase Bank review.

TD Bank Convenience Checking

Best for Mobile Banking

3 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Free online and mobile banking
  • No maintenance fee for students 17-23 years old
  • Monthly fee that can be waived easily
TTD Bank is another big name on our list. All TD accounts include free online and mobile banking, including mobile check deposit. The $15 monthly maintenance fee on this account sounds hefty at first, but it’s waived if you maintain a $100 minimum daily balance. However, if you tend to keep a low account balance, that fee — and the account’s $35 overdraft fee — could pinch your wallet.
TD Bank Convenience Checking

Fees
Yes, but may be waived
APY
None
ATM access
700 ATMs
Promotions
Yes
Prime perk
No monthly maintenance fees for students

More Information About TD Bank Convenience Checking

Anyone can open an online checking account, but TD's brick-and-mortar banks (and ATMs) are mostly located on the East Coast. With a $3 fee for using an out-of-network ATM, you might want to have a physical location nearby.
The best thing about this financial institution is it’ll pay you — just for opening an account. For a $300 bonus and an interest-yielding account, consider TD Bank’s higher-tier Beyond Checking account. You must meet certain criteria (and be a new customer) to earn this bonus. (And double-check when the offer ends.)

Axos Bank Essential Checking

Best for Online Customers

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Up to 1.00% APY on certain accounts
  • Requires balance of only $1
  • Unlimited ATM-fee reimbursement in the U.S.
Axos’ Essential Checking account comes with no monthly, annual or overdraft fees. An Axos representative told TPH all its checking accounts require a $100 minimum opening deposit — but, after that, you only need a minimum balance of $1. Despite the low minimum balance, this bank rewards its customers with up to 1.25% APY on their balance (though Essential Checking accounts are not eligible).
Axos Bank Essential Checking Account

Fees
None
APY
Up to 1.25% on certain accounts
ATM access
Unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements
Promotions
Yes
Prime perk
Online bankers valued

More Information about Axos Bank Essential Checking

Axos offers a lot if you’re in the market for an online-only checking account. On top of no fees, Axos will also reimburse you by the end of the next business day for unlimited ATM fees within the U.S.
Regarding spending abroad — per a rep via live chat, you’ll pay a 1% service transaction charge on purchases made in other countries. So, even though this online bank account is flexible, it isn’t ideal for international travelers.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete .

Ally Interest Checking Account

Best for No Fee Perks

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Use any Allpoint ATM in the U.S. free of charge
  • No overdraft fees
  • Up to 0.25% APY
With Ally’s online Interest Checking account, you can take advantage of no minimum required deposit and use any Allpoint ATMs in the U.S. for free. Plus, Ally will reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle for other ATM fees within the U.S. As for no fees, there’s more good news: Last year, Ally permanently suspended overdraft fees for checking accounts and all others.
Ally Interest Checking Account

Fees
None
APY
Up to 0.25%
ATM access
More than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
Promotions
None
Prime perk
Account accessible online or through app

More Information About Ally Interest Checking

With a daily balance of $15,000 or more, this checking account yields 0.25% interest. Below $15,000, it’s 0.10%. That tops a lot of bank accounts, but it’s not as impressive as we’d expect for an account with “interest” in the name — and that balance requirement is a beast. We expect more when checking accounts earn interest.

You can access Ally Interest Checking online or through the Ally app, so it’s an accessible choice for anyone within the U.S.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Ally Bank review.

Consumers Credit Free Rewards

Best for High Balance Benefits

3.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Earn 2.09% interest
  • All ATM fees in the U.S. are reimbursed
  • Branches in IL; anyone in U.S. can bank online
Prefer to bank at a credit union? Check out the Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking Account. The interest is solid and the rewards are pretty sweet — no monthly maintenance fees, good APY, early direct deposit and more — but the requirements are a bit hefty.
Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards

Fees
Overdraft fees
APY
2.09% (but up to 4.09% for all accounts)
ATM access
Over 30,000 ATMs
Promotions
None
Prime perk
Solid interest offers

More Information About Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking

With this Consumers Credit Union plant, account holders will earn 2.09% interest on your balance up to $10,000. You’ll also have all ATM fees reimbursed, as long as you:

  • Make 12 debit card purchases each month without using the PIN (as a credit transaction).
  • Have at least one direct deposit or ACH credit of $500 or more each month.
  • Enroll in e-documents.

In addition to that, you can earn 3.09% or 4.09% APY (annual percentage yield) on balances up to $10,000 if you meet CCU Visa credit card spending requirements: $500 and $1,000, respectively.
All CCU branches are in Illinois, but anyone can open and manage an account online and through the mobile app.

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor

Best for International Travelers

3.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Easy-to-use app
  • ATM-fee reimbursements around the world
  • No fees or minimum deposit required
Schwab Bank is loved by international travelers. The account offers unlimited ATM fee rebates for cash withdrawals at ATMs anywhere in the world. You can manage your account online or through the Schwab app for iPhone, and make deposits through the app, so this account keeps up with jet-setters.
Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking

Fees
None
APY
0.25%
ATM access
Unlimited ATM-fee reimbursements
Promotions
None
Prime perk
Free ATM rebates worldwide

More Information About Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking

The downside? Schwab’s online-only High Yield Investor Checking account must be linked to a Schwab One brokerage account. Luckily, there are no fees or minimum deposits to open either account, as long as you open them together.
Neither account comes with monthly fees or a minimum balance, but “other account fees, fund expenses and brokerage commissions may apply” to the brokerage account once you begin investing, according to the Schwab site.
The checking account offers a variable interest rate. If you want to grow your savings through Schwab, you’ll want to invest through the brokerage account.

Montgomery Bank New Start

Best for No-Frills Banking

3.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Low minimum deposit to open an account
  • No service fees or required monthly balance
  • Free debit card
The Montgomery Bank New Start Checking account is what you want in a second chance banking account. No frills, but no unnecessary fees, either. All it takes is a $20 minimum deposit to open the account. While this is a no-frills account, it offers a lot of benefits for those who are looking to get back on their financial feet again.
Montgomery Bank New Start Checking

Fees
$20 to open, and then none
APY
None
ATM access
Montgomery Bank & MoneyPass ATMs
Promotions
None
Prime perk
Lots of freebies

More Information About Montgomery Bank New Start Checking Account

This account is loaded with freebies and other extras, such as free direct deposit, unlimited check writing and a free debit card. You can also open interest-bearing accounts with the bank if you’re interested in other options. Additionally, Montgomery Bank offers a business checking account, too.

Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.

What Is a Checking Account?

A checking account is a place to store money at a bank, credit union or other financial institution. The money in a checking account is typically reserved for regular, everyday expenses, as opposed to a savings account. Checking accounts usually distribute paper checks and a debit card to members as well.

How to Choose a Checking Account

You probably already know that you need a checking account and if it comes with a free debit card, that’s even better. A checking plan serves as the primary hub for your money. It’s where your paychecks and direct deposits land, and, from there, you use the money to pay bills, buy the stuff you need and hopefully slide some of it into a savings account. Maintaining a savings account is a smart personal finance decision.

Picking a bank account is a personal choice. What makes checking accounts “good” depends largely on your financial situation and goals. Checking accounts come in a lot of varieties these days, each with different features and benefits. You can pick from online-only banks to those with physical branches, and from those that pay interest to those that offer free checking accounts and no fees for out-of-network ATM use. It’s up to you to do the research and find the one that will benefit you and your lifestyle the most.

But we can tell you a few things that make certain checking accounts worth opening. Here are a few important features to keep in mind when looking for the best checking accounts:

  • Fees: How much will it cost you to manage your money with this account? Make sure you know the monthly fee — or fees — to maintain the account. Also, understand the account’s overdraft fee protection.
  • Safety: If something happens to the institution where you hold your account, will your money be protected? Make sure your checking account is NCUA- or FDIC-insured.
  • Interest rates and APY: Does a particular checking account offer interest on your money to keep it in an account? (These types of accounts tend to offer no or low interest rates and APY, but there are high-interest checking accounts out there.)
  • Rewards: What do you earn in return for using the account? Are you rewarded for making regular direct deposits or keeping a high balance, for example?
  • Minimum balance: Is there a minimum or average daily balance needed to maintain the account? Or to open the account? Minimum balance requirements can range for $5 to $5,000 and you’ll want to know this before you open an account be it at a branch of through online banking.
  • Accessibility: What are the requirements to open this account (again, minimum balance requirements, and earn the rewards?
  • Mobility: Can this account travel and move with you? How are the online banking features? Do direct deposits make your banking life easier? How good is the financial institution’s app in making mobile check deposits easier? Are you considering online banks or only those with physical branches?

Types of Checking Accounts

There are a few varieties of checking accounts out there that offer different benefits. You just need to figure out which kind will work best for you. Some of your options are:

  • Student Checking: These accounts usually feature minimal fees and no minimum balance. They also don’t offer a lot of perks. They’re bare-bones accounts designed for cash-strapped students who just need the basics.
  • Express Checking: This is the checking account for today’s digital person. If you don’t like going to the bank, this could be for you. These accounts are designed for use on computers, phone apps, ATMs or by telephone. You may actually get a fee for going to a live teller. The upside is fees are minimal as long as you keep banking digitally.
  • Joint Checking: Need to share a checking account with a spouse or another person? A joint account lets you both put money in and take money out as needed.
  • Fresh Start or Second Chance Checking: If you’ve run into financial trouble and have had your accounts closed, it can be tough to get a new account. These accounts are designed to minimize the bank’s risk, but they allow you to open a new account. If you maintain it well for an extended period of time, it may open opportunities for you to upgrade.
  • Rewards Checking: Rewards checking offers the highest perks, such as annual percentage yield (APY) interest on the account balance. Debit card purchases could also receive cashback bonuses or earn points for things like airline travel or gift cards. Some, however, will come with an annual fee.
Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.

Checking Account vs. Savings Account

financial setup. You want to have one location for more regular, everyday expenses (checking) and one for longer-term savings and goals (savings).

Checking Account Pros and Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to checking accounts and below are the most common.


Pros
  • Relatively easy and quick to open
  • Low- or no-fee account options
  • Typically offer a free checkbook and debit card

Cons
  • Usually don’t earn interest
  • Certain accounts have fees (like overdraft and minimum balance requirements) that can add up quickly if you’re not vigilant

Savings Account Pros and Cons

The following pros and cons of savings accounts can help you decide how to use them.


Pros
  • Relatively easy and quick to open
  • Offers interest
  • Easy to access your money in times of need (versus a CD, for example)

Cons
  • Interest rates can vary over time
  • Certain accounts have fees or requirements (like a particular monthly balance to earn a higher interest rate)

When it comes to checking and savings accounts, don’t think of it as an either-or situation — it’s a good idea to have both. You can also mix and match. For instance, you might go for an online checking account and a local credit union for a savings account.

You can have multiple checking accounts, too; perhaps one offers a new-member bonus for an influx of free cash, while another offers free overdraft protection for regular spending. Alternatively, when it comes to savings accounts, one might offer a higher annual percentage yield, while another offers other saving products like a money market account.

Regardless of the checking account or savings account you choose, it’s a good move to keep your money in a secure place

Choosing a Bank vs. a Credit Union vs. a FinTech Company for Your Checking Account

Similarly, opening a checking account, period, is generally a good move, regardless of where you do it.

Keep your own habits and preferences in mind, especially when it comes to choosing between a brick-and-mortar (bank or credit union) and online-only setup. Consider fees, from initial to ongoing, as well to make sure the account doesn’t end up costing you.

Ultimately, though, don’t get hung up on too many details: When it comes to personal finance, it ultimately comes down to what works for you and your situation.

Methodology

We graded 10 of our favorite bank and credit union accounts on the factors that we like to see in any checking account — no fees, free ATMs, good rewards, easy setup and accessibility.

If an account has a monthly fee or out-of-network ATM charges, we highlighted some more positive qualities (think: a low minimum balance requirement, interest checking account offering or a free debit card). With that said, we prioritized those checking accounts that nixed monthly maintenance fees, featured savings accounts and had no-charge or reimbursed out-of-network network ATM fees.

Here are the best checking accounts we found across (online) banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.

Recapping the 10 Best Checking Accounts of November 2022

  • Chime Spending Account: Best for Digital Features
  • Varo Bank Account: Best for cash back
  • Chase Total Checking Account: Best for Promotional Offers
  • TD Bank Convenience Checking Account: Best for Free Mobile Banking
  • Axos Bank Essential Checking Account: Best for Online Customers
  • Ally Interest Checking Account: Best for No Fee Perks
  • Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking: Best for High Balance Benefits
  • Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking: Best for International Travelers
  • Chase College Checking Account: Best for Responsible Students
  • Montgomery Bank New Start Checking Account: Best for No-Frills Banking

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Checking Accounts

When it comes to choosing the best checking accounts, there’s a lot of information out there. Here, we’re answering some of the most popular questions about checking accounts.

What is a Checking Account?

A checking account is where you hold money at a bank, credit union or other financial institution. You typically use this account to pay for everyday expenses or bills. Depending on where you have you bank, you can access your cash in person, or via an ATM or debit card. Unlike a savings account — which you use for an emergency fund or other financial goal — checking accounts should be fairly accessible for regular spending usually with a debit card. They don't normally accrue interest.

How Can I Open a Checking Account?

Every checking account — whether it’s through a physical or online bank, credit union or other fintech setup — will have its own requirements. Generally, to open a checking account, you need to be at least 18 years old (though guardians can sometimes co-sign an account for a minor) and have a government ID (such as a passport or driver’s license). You’ll likely also need to supply contact information and possibly an opening deposit.

Which is the Best Bank to Open an Account In?

The best bank to open an account will depend on your needs. If you prioritize banking at a physical institution with plenty of locations where you can interact with staff in person, you might choose to go with a big-name chain. If you prefer a bank where you might qualify for higher interest rates in lieu of having access to brick-and-mortar locations, an online setup might work best for you. No matter your choice, it’s a good idea to evaluate it over time; if a bank ends up not being over time.

What is the Best Free Checking Account?

The best free checking account will vary based on your wants and needs in a banking account. You’ll want to look for an account that has no or a low monthly fee, a free debit card and easy access to your money — whether that is an ATM, a physical branch, an app or all of the above. Bonus: look for a free checking account that also offers a new-user bonus. Right now, Chime, Varo and Axos are overall solid free options for checking. Shop around and look for a checking account that’s best for you.

Is Wells Fargo or Chase Better?

Wells Fargo and Chase each offer online checking accounts, among other banking products. But they also have monthly fees, too. Good news: Well Fargo will eliminate non-sufficient fees funds (NSF) fees in the third quarter of 2022 and give customers early access to eligible direct deposits. Each has online and in-person banking; so, one could be a better fit depending on branch locations in your area. Chase often offers significant new-user sign-on bonuses.

What Bank is Good for a Checking Account?

What makes a bank good for a checking account weighs largely on what you prioritize in both a bank and an account. As a whole, you want to consider fees (how much does it cost you to keep your money there?), rewards (do you earn anything for banking with them?), accessibility (what are the requirements to open and keep your account open?) and mobility (does the bank charge foreign transaction fees?). Bonus points if they give out a… bonus, too, for being a new account holder.

How is Interest Taxed on a Checking Account?

The interest  earned on checking accounts is considered taxable income. So, your bank, credit union or financial institution will send you a 1099-INT form each year your account earns interest over $10. You file this paperwork along with your yearly taxes. And don’t let this income being  taxed deter you from saving money; a traditional or high-yield savings account is still a worthwhile tool for your money.

Contributor Kathleen Garvin (@itskgarvin) is a personal finance writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and former editor and marketer at The Penny Hoarder. She owns a content-writing business and her work has appeared in U.S. News, Clark.com and Well Kept Wallet.

*Chime disclosure:
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

*Chase fine print:

“Checking offer is not available to existing Chase checking customers, those with fiduciary accounts, or those whose accounts have been closed within 90 days or closed with a negative balance. To receive the $200 checking bonus: 1) Open a new Chase Total Checking account, which is subject to approval AND 2) Have your direct deposit made to this account within 60 days of account opening. Your direct deposit needs to be an electronic deposit of your paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government. After you have completed all the above requirements, we’ll deposit the bonus in your new account within 10 business days. You can only receive one new checking account-related bonus per calendar year. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT.

“Account Closing: If your checking account is closed within six months after opening, we will deduct the bonus amount at closing.”

Editorial Disclosure

This content is not provided by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.