The 7 Best High-Interest Checking Accounts for December 2021

Think beyond savings accounts when considering interest. Why not make money off of your checking account too?
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When you think of interest-generating bank accounts, your mind likely goes to savings. After all, that’s your reward for building an emergency fund or socking away money for a future expense, right? A regular, end-of-month deposit into your savings account, courtesy of your bank.

The good news: You can also earn interest with select checking accounts.

What is a High-Interest Checking Account?

A high-interest, or high-yield, checking account offers a higher interest rate (annual percentage yield, or APY) on your money. Unlike a traditional checking account, you may have to keep a minimum balance in the account at all times and meet other requirements — for instance, pay a monthly fee, make a certain number of debit card purchases or schedule a recurring direct deposit — to earn the higher interest rate.

High-interest checking accounts are a solid way to earn more for your money. Whether you bank with a federal credit union, online bank or other type of financial institution, high-yield checking accounts can be a great place to store your cash.

Here’s an overview of high-yield checking accounts, what you need to know when choosing one and the top checking accounts available in the market today.

The 7 Best High-Interest Checking Accounts

Name APY Monthly Fees
SoFi Money 0.25% None
NBKC Everything Checking Account 0.15% None
Consumers Credit Union 2.09% to 4.09% None
Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking 0.03% None
Capital One 360 Checking Account 0.10% None
Ally Interest Checking Account 0.10% to 0.25% None
Axos Rewards Checking 1.00% None

Here are the seven best high-interest checking accounts where you can save your money and make a little more at the same time.

SoFi Money

Best for Users Who Want Overdraft Protection

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Free debit card
  • Fee-free ATM usage via Allpoint
  • Overdraft protection
Sofi has a Sofi Money account. It’s a cash management account, which is a brokerage product (i.e. not a bank). The account requires no minimum opening deposit and offers a 0.25% APY for the year. Users need to make deposits of at least $500 monthly to get that rate. Through a partnership with Allpoint, account holders won’t pay fees at 55,000 ATMs worldwide.
SoFi Money

APY
0.25%
Monthly fees
None
Debit card
Free
Minimum balance required
None
ATM fees
None for in-network ATMs

​​SoFi Money takes a number of steps to make the transition to online banking easy:

  • Through a partnership with Allpoint, account holders won’t pay fees at 55,000 ATMs worldwide.
  • Overdraft protection — SoFi Money members who meet certain criteria and accidentally spend more than they have in their account will be covered up to $50 with no fees.
  • SoFi’s website and mobile apps have detailed FAQs, and they make it simple and easy for you to find any information you want.

Read our full SoFi Money review.

NBKC Everything Checking Account

Best for Monthly ATM-Fee Reimbursement

3.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 24/7 mobile banking
  • Up to $12 monthly ATM-fee reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
NBKC is an award-winning regional bank. The NBKC Everything Account offers 0.15% interest on all balances and has no minimum balance requirement. It also features $0 overdraft charges. So, if you have a bad habit of overextending your money, you won’t get dinged. One other thing to note: NBKC is an online bank, though you can visit a physical branch if you live in Kansas City, Missouri.
NBKC Everything Checking Account

APY
0.15%
Monthly fees
None
Debit card
Free
Minimum balance required
None
ATM fees
None for in-network ATMs

The NBKC Everything Checking Account offers other perks, too:

  • Access to over 37,000 ATMs. Keep in mind that the mega-banks, like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, have less than 20,000 in-network ATMs. Plus, NBKC will reimburse you up to $12 monthly to refund those pesky, out-of-network ATM fees.
  • 24/7 mobile banking.
  • The ability to set up auto-pay for recurring bills.

Consumers Credit Union

Best for the Highest APY on Market

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Free nationwide checking
  • Anyone can join CCU
  • Can bank online or in person
If you’re torn between a bank and credit union and interested in options with the latter, check out Consumers Credit Union. This credit union has free rewards checking, over 30,000 ATMs, early direct deposit and more. CCU also has one of the best APY rates on the market: from 2.09% to 4.09% when you follow certain guidelines. You can also open an account online or in person in Illinois.
Consumers Credit Union

APY
2.09% to 4.09%
Monthly fees
None
Debit card
Free
Minimum balance required
None
ATM fees
Over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs

Consumers Credit Union knows plenty of people still write checks so it allows unlimited check writing. Plus, there is a feature to get paid at day early when you have direct deposit and your employer has provided the requested information. Consumers brags that clients with balances up to $10,000 can earn 80 times the national average.

Capital One 360 Checking Account

Best for Users Who Want Lots of Bank Locations

3.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 70,000 fee-free ATMs
  • 24/7 banking
  • Options for overdraft protection
Looking for a national name to bank with? Capital One could be an option. The beauty of the Capital One 360 Checking Account is the pure ease of its online banking setup; both the website and the app are remarkably intuitive. Plus, you won’t have any minimum balance or fees to deal with. The base APY right now for the Capital One 360 is 0.10%, and members have access to over 70,000 fee-free ATMs.
Capital One 360 Checking Account

APY
0.10%
Monthly fees
None
Debit card
Free
Minimum balance required
None
ATM fees
None for in-network ATMs

If you’re looking for a bank with a lot of clout in the industry and both in-person and online banking options, the Capital One 360 checking account could be a solid option for you.

Charles Schwab High-Yield Investor

Best for Unlimited ATM Fee Rebates Worldwide

3 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Low opening requirement
  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide
  • Need linked brokerage account
When you think of Charles Schwab, you probably don’t think about checking accounts — but, its High-Yield Investor Checking is a free account that earns 0.03% APY. While that’s not *a lot* of interest, Charles Schwab requires a low opening amount (just 1 cent), and has ATM fee rebates and no monthly maintenance fees. One catch: You need a linked account with a Schwab One brokerage account.
High-Yield Investor Checking

APY
0.03%
Monthly fees
None
Debit card
Free
Minimum balance required
1 cent
ATM fees
nlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide

Capital One may be the checking account for you if you travel outside of the United States. Those ATM fees can really ding you when you take out money in other countries. With Capital One, you get unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide.

Ally Interest Checking Account

Best for Users Who Worry About Overdraft Fees

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 40,000 fee-free ATMs
  • No overdraft fees
  • Super-transparent fees
Ally Financial Inc. is a leading digital financial services company. With the Ally Interest Checking Account, you’ll earn 0.10% for balances under $15,000. But, if you have $15,000, you can earn 0.25%, about 8x the national average for checking accounts that pay interest. You can send money to friends via Zelle, save more with “Round Ups” and more.
Ally Interest Checking Account

APY
0.10% to 0.25%
Monthly fees
None
Debit card
Free
Minimum balance required
None
ATM fees
None for in-network ATMs

Overall, Ally is an online-only bank with a pretty good high-yield checking account. As of June 2021, Ally Bank has eliminated them on all accounts for all customers. Another perk is Ally’s super-transparent fees. For example, there’s no gray area over what an outgoing domestic wire will run you ($20).

Read our full Ally bank review.

Axos Rewards Checking

Best for Overall Perks

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Access to 24/7 to virtual financial assistant
  • Free debit card
  • Low minimum opening deposit
Online-only Axos Bank offers a decent APY — up to 1.00% APY (0.40% + 0.30% + 0.10% + 0.10% + 0.10%)* — with its Rewards Checking account. It’s yours, if you’re organized, conduct regular monthly deposits and follow other strict guidelines. You just need $50 to open the account.
Axos Rewards Checking

APY
1.00%
Monthly fees
None
Debit card
Free
Minimum balance required
$50
ATM fees
nlimited domestic ATM reimbursements

* Here are the guidelines to receive the higher rate from Axos Bank: Receive $1.5K or more monthly deposits (0.40%), use your Axos debit card for 10 (minimum of $3) transactions (0.30%), maintain at least $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Account (0.10%), have a daily balance of $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account (0.10%) and use your Rewards Checking account to make an Axos consumer loan payment in full each month (0.10%).

Read our full Axos Bank review.

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.

Why You Should Consider High-Yield Checking Accounts

We’ll be honest — with today’s interest rates, you won’t be raking in the dough like in years past. The national average for interest checking accounts is a not-so-hot 0.03% annual percentage yield (APY), according to the FDIC.

However, if you can earn something versus nothing for keeping your money in a checking account, we think it’s worth exploring. Any secure account where you can safely store and grow your money is a win in our book.

Who Can Get a High-Yield Checking Account?

The short answer? Anyone 18 years old and up. To open any account in the U.S., you typically need the following:

  • Be age 18 and older
  • A U.S. citizen
  • Your social security number
  • A government-issued ID

Certain accounts might suit different individuals better. For instance, a super-organized person who can meet some banks’ regular requirements to earn a higher interest rate might fare better with one type of account than someone who’s more of a “set it and forget it” type who will be fine with a lower rate and fewer requirements.

Regardless, anyone can benefit from a high-interest checking account.

How Banks Offer Higher Interest Rates

Banks offer attractive rates to incentivize people to open accounts with and keep their money with them. Some companies are able to offer even higher rates than their competitors. For example, online-only banks typically have an edge here. They have less overhead than their brick-and-mortar counterparts and can pass these savings (in the form of higher interest rates) on to consumers.

What to Look for When Opening a High-Interest Checking Account

You want to have a lay of the land before you sign on the (digital) dotted line for a new bank account. Here are some key items you want to review before going with a high-interest checking account:

  • The APY
  • Minimum to open the account
  • Monthly maintenance fee
  • ATM fee
  • Minimum deposit requirement
  • Direct deposit requirement
  • Daily balance requirement
  • Number of debit card transactions you need to hit

Rates can change, so make sure you review your account offerings compared to others on the market from time to time to ensure you have the best setup for you.

How to Choose a High-Interest Checking Account

If you’re thinking about moving to a high-interest checking account, take a few things into consideration.

  • Look for accounts that won’t negate those interest earnings by charging you fees. However, if you carry a high balance, it may be worth paying a small monthly fee to get a better interest rate. Do the math.
  • Keep an eye on minimum balance requirements. We focused on accounts that don’t require a minimum balance, but if you know that you’ll consistently have at least $1,000 in your account at all times, you may want to shop around a bit more. There may be a great deal out there.
  • Look at the requirements. Maybe you don’t use your debit card that much or you don’t want to have a direct deposit. Choose an account that fits with the way you like to use your account.
  • Keep ATMs in mind if you use them. It’s 2021, and you shouldn’t have to pay those fees. There are too many banks that are willing to cover those for you.
  • Look for accounts with a mobile app. If you do a lot of banking on your phone, make sure the bank you choose has a solid banking app. Once you find the checking account that checks all the right boxes for you and how you like to use your account, sign up and start earning money on your money already.
  • Think outside the box. If your primary bank doesn’t offer a high-yield checking account (or the rates or monthly fees are a no-go), see what else is available. Consider all your options for opening a checking account — whether it’s a brick-and-mortar bank, credit union, digital-only service or other institution altogether, it quite literally pays to open an account with a bank that will reward you for having an account with them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About High-Interest Checking Accounts

Here, we’ve answered popular questions about high-interest checking accounts.

What Banks Pay the Most Interest on Checking Accounts?

ight now, Consumers Credit Union (a credit union) and Axos (an online-only financial institution) offer two of the highest APY rates on the market, at 2.09% and 1.00%, respectively. However, rates change all the time, so it’s essential to check every so often to see which places offer the best numbers. While digital-first organizations tend to offer the highest APY, regional banks and credit unions near you might also offer solid rates.

What Bank has the Highest Interest Rate on Checking Accounts?

APY rates vary at different credit unions, banks and financial institutions (they can vary by location, too). Make sure an account meets other needs you may have instead of solely chasing a high APY. Take for instance, Axos Bank at 1.00% APY — it offers one of the highest rates on the market. But, you’ll need to match particular requirements to hit that number. If you can’t meet those qualifications the higher APY won’t matter much if you won’t reliably be able to earn it.

Where Can You Open a High-Interest Checking Account?

Many traditional brick-and-mortar and digital-only banks, financial institutions and credit unions offer high-interest checking accounts to members. Our list of the seven best high-interest checking accounts should get you started. Those financial institutions include Axos, Ally, Charles Schwab, Capital One, Consumers Credit Union, SoFi and NBKC.

How Much Interest Will I Get on $1,000 a Year in a Savings Account?

This depends on a variety of factors. Let’s use an example: If you open a high-yield savings account with $1,000 at an estimated interest rate of 0.50% (that compounds annually) and don’t contribute one more dollar all year, you’ll end the next 12 months with $1,005.

How Much Interest Does $10,000 Earn in a Year?

you’ll end up with $1,305.97 in one year. Again, your results will depend on your own situation. You can always explore other finance products, such as savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs, if they offer more favorable terms for you.

How We Picked the 7 Best Checking Accounts That Pay Interest

Our methodology for this list is simple: According to the FDIC, the average interest rate for interest-bearing checking accounts is currently 0.03%. So, we looked for accounts that came in around that range or, ideally, were higher. (Note: APR fluctuates over time, so a lower rate now could rise in the future.)

Beyond the interest rate, we looked at what else the account brings to the table. We gave preference to ones that don’t have maintenance fees or require minimum balances and that offer ATM fee reimbursement.

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.