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Compare The Best Checking Accounts of 2023

Manage your money as YOU want. Compare account features, fees, promotions and more to find the perfect account with The Smart Investor's easy-to-use checking account comparison tool

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. This may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). We do not compare all providers in the market. Any information provided can be updated and may include additional terms. It doesn't affect the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. Transparency is a core value for us, read our advertiser disclosure and how we make money.

PNC Virtual Wallet
Earn up to $400, conditions apply
$0 minimum deposit to open online
Only available in specific states:
Upgrade Rewards Checking
No monthly fees
$200 promotion (terms apply)
No minimum deposit
Early direct deposit
Fee-free overdraft
No monthly fees
Varo Online Checking
No monthly fees
Online only
No minimum deposit
SoFi Checking
1.20% APY on balance
$50-$250 promotion (terms apply)
No monthly fees
CIT Bank Checking
0.10% - 0.25% APY on balance
No monthly fees
Up to $30 ATM fees reimbursment
Capital One 360 Checking
0.10% APY on balance
$50 minimum deposit
No monthly fees
Axos Rewards Checking
$100 Use Promo Code "SUNNYBONUS" for a $100 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
No monthly fees
APY on balance:
Up to 3.30% APY to get the maximum rate (up to $50,000) you'll need monthly direct deposits of $1,500 (0.40% APY), 10 transaction on your debit card (+0.30% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Managed Portfolio (+1.00% APY), average daily balance of $2,500 on Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account(+1.00% APY) and make full monthly payment on loans (mortgage, personal and auto) with Axos account (+0.60% APY).
Quontic Interest Checking
Up to 1.10% APY on balance
No monthly fees
$100 minimum deposit
Chase Total Checking®
$200 $200. Expired on 10/18/2023
16,000 ATMs and over 4,700 branches
Monthly fee:
$12 Can be waived if you maintain a $1,000 minimum daily balance, making direct deposits or Associated SnapDeposits of $500 or more per statement cycle, or holding $2,500 in combined deposit accounts with the same statement cycle date or having a Health Savings Account or investment account
Ally Interest Checking
0.25% APY on balance
No monthly fees
Online only
Chase Secure Banking
$100 $100
No minimum deposit / overdraft fees
$4.95 monthly service fee
Chase College Checking
$100 APY on balance
No minimum deposit
No monthly fees
Chime Checking Account
No monthly fees
No minimum deposit
Fee free overdraft up to $200
LendingClub Checking
No monthly fees
up to 0.15% APY on balance
Early direct deposit

How To Compare Checking Accounts?

When comparing checking accounts, consider the following factors to find the one that best suits your needs:

  • Fees: Check for any monthly maintenance fees, minimum balance requirements, overdraft fees, ATM fees, and other charges associated with the checking account. Look for accounts with low or no fees, especially if you prefer to keep a lower balance or expect frequent transactions.

  • Minimum balance requirements: Some checking accounts require a minimum balance to be maintained to avoid fees. Assess whether you can comfortably meet the minimum balance requirement and consider how it aligns with your financial situation.

  • ATM access: Determine the availability of ATMs associated with the checking account. Look for banks or credit unions with a wide network of ATMs to ensure convenient access to cash without incurring additional fees. Additionally, consider whether the bank reimburses ATM fees from other networks if you use out-of-network ATMs.

  • Promotions: many banks offer promotions and bonuses for opening a new account. While it shouldn't be the main factor, it's something with checking out.
  • Online and mobile banking features: Evaluate the online and mobile banking capabilities provided by the financial institution. Check if they offer features like mobile check deposit, bill payment, account alerts, and the ability to manage your account easily through a user-friendly interface.

  • Interest rates: While most checking accounts do not offer high-interest rates, some banks provide interest-bearing checking accounts. Compare the interest rates offered and consider if earning interest on your account balance is a priority for you.

  • Overdraft protection: Review the options available for overdraft protection. This includes features such as linking to a savings account or a line of credit to cover overdrafts and potential fees. Understand the terms and conditions of the overdraft protection offered.

  • Customer service: Assess the quality of customer service provided by the bank or credit union. Look for accessible customer support channels, such as phone, email, or online chat, and consider any reputation for responsive and helpful service.

  • Reviews and reputation: Research online reviews and ratings of the financial institution offering the checking account. Consider feedback from other customers regarding their experience with the bank's services, fees, and customer support.

  • FDIC or NCUA insurance: Verify that the financial institution providing the checking account is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This insurance protects your deposits up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution.

By considering these factors and comparing different checking accounts, you can find the one that offers the features, benefits, and terms that align with your financial needs and preferences.

Largest Traditional Banks
Largest Online Banks
Chase Bank
American Express
Wells Fargo
Bank Of America
Capital One
Citi Bank
Synchrony Bank
PNC Bank
Discover Bank
U.S. Bank
Ally Bank

Additional Essential Features Of Checking Accounts

When evaluating checking accounts, there are several essential features to consider. Here are some key features to look for:

  • Debit card: Confirm that the checking account comes with a debit card for easy access to your funds for purchases and ATM withdrawals. Check if the debit card has additional features like contactless payment options or rewards programs.
  • Check-writing ability: If you anticipate the need to write paper checks, ensure that the checking account provides this feature. Check if there are any limitations or fees associated with check usage.
  • Bill payment: The ability to pay bills directly from your online banking account is a convenient feature to manage your regular payments.
  • Mobile check deposit: The option to deposit checks using your smartphone's camera simplifies the process of adding funds to your account.
  • Funds transfer capabilities: Look for the ability to transfer funds between your accounts, including internal transfers within the same bank and external transfers to other banks or individuals.
  • Alerts and notifications: Customizable alerts and notifications can keep you informed about account activity, such as low balances, large transactions, or upcoming due dates.
  • Budgeting tools: Some online banking platforms offer budgeting tools that categorize your expenses, track your spending patterns, and help you set financial goals.
  • Automatic savings features: Look for features that enable automatic transfers to a savings account or the ability to round up transactions and save the difference.
  • Account linking: The option to link external financial accounts, such as credit cards or investment accounts, allows you to view a consolidated financial picture within your online banking platform.

These features can vary among different traditional and online banking providers, so it's important to compare options and choose a banking account that aligns with your specific financial needs and preferences.

Customer Service Number
Capital One
Bank of America
PNC Bank
Wells Fargo
US Bank
TD Bank
Alliant Credit Union
Citizens Bank
Ally Bank

Checking Account Fees: How To Waive Them?

Checking account fees can vary depending on the financial institution, but here are some common fees associated with checking accounts and ways to waive them:

  • Monthly Maintenance Fee: This is a fee charged by the bank for maintaining your checking account. To waive it, you may need to meet certain criteria such as maintaining a minimum balance, setting up direct deposit, or linking multiple accounts with the same bank.

  • Minimum Balance Fee: Some banks require you to maintain a minimum balance in your checking account, and if it falls below that threshold, they charge a fee. To avoid this fee, you need to keep your balance above the specified minimum.

  • Overdraft Fee: If you make a transaction that exceeds the available funds in your account, you may incur an overdraft fee. To avoid this, you can link your checking account to a savings account or a line of credit for overdraft protection. Additionally, monitoring your account balance closely and keeping a buffer can help prevent overdrafts.

  • ATM Fees: When you use an ATM that is not owned by your bank, you may be charged a fee. To avoid this, use ATMs within your bank's network or consider switching to a bank that offers ATM fee reimbursement.

The specific fees and waiver options can vary between banks.

Monthly Fee
Bank Type
Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking
$12 can be waived by maintaining an account balance of $1,500, qualifying deposit of $250+ per month or enrol in Preferred Rewards
Chase Total Checking®
$12 Can be waived if you maintain a $1,000 minimum daily balance, making direct deposits or Associated SnapDeposits of $500 or more per statement cycle, or holding $2,500 in combined deposit accounts with the same statement cycle date or having a Health Savings Account or investment account
Citi Checking Account
$12 Can be waived if you make one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment per statement period, maintain a combined balance of $1,500 per month across your eligible accounts or if you’re aged 62
PNC Standard Checking
$7 – $25 per month can be waived if you maintain $500+/$2,000/$5,000 direct deposit per month, $500+/$2,000/$5,000 monthly balance in savings or age 62+/$10,000 in all PNC consumer deposit accounts/$25,000 in all PNC consumer deposit accounts/
U.S. Bank Checking
$6.95 Can be waived by maintaining an average account balance of $1,500, have $1,000+ in direct deposits per month or be aged 65+
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
$10 Related to Wells Fargo Everyday Checking. The fee can be waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $500 or receive at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits per month. The fee is also waived if you’re 17 to 24 and have a linked Wells Fargo Campus Debit Card or Campus ATM card linked to the checking account
Capital One 360 Checking
Online Only
Amex Rewards Checking
Online Only
SoFi Bank
Online Only

Traditional vs Online Bank Checking Account

Traditional banks and online banks offer different types of checking accounts, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here are some key points to compare traditional and online bank checking accounts:

Traditional Banks
Online Banks
Brick-and-Mortar Presence
Convenience and Accessibility
ATM Network
Lower Fees or No Fees
Personalized Services
Competitive Interest Rates
Higher Fees
Limited Physical Presence
Digital Tools and Features

Traditional banks have physical branches where you can visit and conduct banking activities in person.

 This can be beneficial if you prefer face-to-face interactions and access to in-person customer service.

 Traditional banks often have a larger ATM network, allowing you to withdraw cash and make deposits at various locations.

Traditional banks may offer a range of financial products and services beyond checking accounts, such as loans, mortgages, and investment options.

 They may also provide additional benefits like financial advice or relationship rewards for loyal customers.

Traditional banks may have higher fees for various services, such as monthly maintenance fees or ATM usage fees. 

However, they may also provide more options for fee waivers based on maintaining higher balances or meeting specific requirements.

Online banks provide 24/7 access to your accounts through their websites or mobile apps. You can manage your finances, pay bills, and deposit checks remotely from anywhere with an internet connection.

Online banks often have lower fees or even no monthly maintenance fees for their checking accounts. They may also offer perks like free ATM usage or reimbursements for using out-of-network ATMs.

Online banks may offer higher interest rates on their checking accounts compared to traditional banks, allowing you to earn more on your deposits.

Online banks typically don't have physical branches, which means you won't have access to in-person customer service. 

However, some online banks provide customer support through phone, chat, or email.

Online banks often prioritize digital features and tools, such as budgeting apps, spending trackers, and integration with third-party financial services. They may also offer innovative services like mobile check deposit or person-to-person payment options.

How to Manage A Checking Account?

Managing a checking account effectively involves several key practices. Here are some tips on how to manage a checking account:

  • Monitor Your Balances: Regularly check your account balance to ensure you have sufficient funds for your expenses. This will help you avoid overdrawing your account and incurring overdraft fees. Consider setting up alerts or notifications through your bank to stay updated on your balance.

  • Review Your Statements: Take the time to review your monthly bank statements or online transaction history. Check for any errors, unauthorized charges, or unusual activity. If you identify any discrepancies, report them to your bank promptly.

  • Use Online Banking Tools: Many banks offer online banking platforms or mobile apps that provide convenient features for managing your checking account. Take advantage of these tools to check your balance, transfer funds, pay bills, set up automatic payments, and track your spending.

  • Set Up Automatic Payments: Consider setting up automatic payments for recurring bills to ensure they are paid on time. This can help you avoid late fees and simplify your bill management process. However, make sure to monitor your account to ensure sufficient funds are available for the scheduled payments.

  • Protect Your Account: Safeguard your account information and personal identification number (PIN). Avoid sharing this information with others and be cautious when providing your account details online. Regularly update your passwords and enable additional security measures provided by your bank, such as two-factor authentication.

  • Optimize Account Features: Explore the features and benefits offered by your bank, such as cashback rewards, ATM fee reimbursements, or linked savings accounts. Take advantage of these features to maximize your checking account's benefits and potential savings.

By implementing these practices, you can effectively manage your checking account, maintain a clear understanding of your finances, and avoid unnecessary fees or complications.