Banking » Compare Banks » SoFi vs Varo: Which Account Is Better For Your Money?
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SoFi vs Varo: Which Account Is Better For Your Money?

While SoFi has a hybrid savings and checking account, the Varo checking account and savings account are designed to work in concert. Both accounts aim to make it easier to manage your finances and work towards your financial goals.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: January 1, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: January 1, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. 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.

Table Of Content

When SoFi Money Wins?

SoFi has developed its banking product line since its initial launch. Today, you can access mortgages, loans, and investment products in addition to its hybrid checking and savings account.

SoFi even offers insurance products. The only obvious gap in the product line is no CDs or conventional savings accounts.

SoFi Money can be a better choice than Varo Bank if:

  • You want to access mortgage and home loan products

  • You are happy to have a hybrid savings and checking account

  • You want access to a regular credit card

sofi logo
sofi logo

When Varo Bank Wins?

On the other hand, Varo has a limited banking product line. Rather than trying to emulate a conventional high street bank, Varo’s aim is to help its customers rebuild or build credit. So, its products are tailored to this purpose.

There is one savings account, one basic checking account and a credit card. Some customers may also qualify for a fee free cash advance of up to $100 (Varo Advance). This makes Varo a good option for those who want to concentrate on credit building.

Varo bank can be a better choice than SoFi Money if:

  • You want a secured credit card

  • You like the idea of a checking account working seamlessly with your savings account

  • You want help to build or rebuild your credit

varo bank review
varo bank review
SoFi Money
Varo Bank
Savings Accounts
Checking Accounts
CDs
Money Market Account
Debit Card
Credit Cards
Personal Loans
Mortgage
Government Mortgage
Business Loans
Investing Capabilities

Savings Account

SoFi has a hybrid Spend and Save account, which is part savings and part checking account. You can earn up to 4.60% on your full balance, but you can also set up savings vaults. These are separate funds within the account that allow you to allocate money towards different savings goals. This allows you to save for short or long term plans without needing to manage multiple saving accounts.

On the other hand, Varo has a more conventional savings account and it offers 3.00% – 5.00% rate. You can qualify for higher rates by maintaining a savings balance of $5,000+ or receiving $1,000 or more in direct deposits during the qualifying period.

You can also qualify for a higher rate if you can average a $0 balance when you add your checking and savings accounts together. However, you do need to have both a Varo savings and checking account to take full advantage of this product.

SoFi Money
Varo Bank
APY
up to 4.60%
3.00% – 5.00%
Fees
$0
$0
Minimum Deposit
$0
$0
Checking Needed?
Yes
Yes
Main Benefits
  • Savings vaults to have separate funds for each savings goal
  • No account fees
  • Rounds up your debit card purchases into your linked savings account
  • if you keep a savings balance of $5,000+ or receive direct deposits totaling $1,000+ , you can earn 3.00% APY on balances up to $5,000.
  • Auto save features include saving a designated percentage of your paycheck.

Checking Account

As we touched on above, the SoFi hybrid account is part checking account with some nice features. This includes round up, so your debit card purchases are rounded up and the difference is placed into your specified savings vault.

There is also $50 of overdraft protection, so if you accidentally slip into the red, you won’t incur a fee. SoFi also offers new customers a $100 welcome bonus. Lastly, you can synchronize your account with the different options SoFi invest offers.

The Varo checking account is designed to work with the Varo savings account. This is a fee free checking account with no monthly fee or balance requirements. Varo checking also has round up and you can access your direct deposit paycheck up to two days early.

SoFi Money
Varo Bank
APY
0.50%
0%
Fees
$0
$0
Minimum Deposit
$0
$0
Main Benefits
  • Overdraft Coverage covers you up to $50, no overdraft fees
  • Early payday – automatically get your paycheck up to two days early every time
  • Remote check deposit using your smartphone
  • cash back when you have recurring $500 monthly deposits.
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with Direct Deposit Express.
  • No monthly fees or balance requirements.
  • Deposit checks through the app
  • ATM network of 55,000+ fee free machines

Mortgage Options

SoFi has a decent choice of home loans and mortgages including fixed rate mortgages, home equity loans and cash out refinancing with pre qualification. You can select the term and its associated rate which best suits your budget and circumstances.

You can put down as little as a 5% down payment and the home loans require a loan to value ratio of more than 80%. SoFi also offers its members a discount on refinancing and home loan fees of $500.

On the other hand, Varo does not currently offer mortgage or home loan products.

Loan Options

SoFi also has a variety of loan products including personal loans, credit consolidation loans and loans for home improvements. You can borrow as much as $100,000 while there are no origination fees, and you can also access bonus rewards. SoFi offers new customers a $10 bonus for viewing your specific rate, and if you complete your loan, you’ll get up to $1,000 in cash.

Varo does not currently offer a formal personal loan. The only form of lending you can obtain through this bank is the Varo Advance. This is a fee free cash advance of up to $100, which is only available for qualified customers.

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Promotion:
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Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$300 Use Promo Code “AXOS300” for a $300 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
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).

Promotion:
Up to $4,000 New customers may earn up to $4,000 when they open an eligible HSBC Premier checking account from January 8, 2024 through March 27, 2024 and complete qualifying activities:

• Receive a cash bonus of $1,500 when you deposit or invest $100,000 – $199,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,000 when you deposit or invest $200,000 – $299,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,500 when you deposit or invest $300,000 – 499,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $3,500 when you deposit or invest $500,000+

• Earn an extra $500 when you set up recurring monthly Direct Deposits totaling at least $5,000 for 3 months
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Promotion:
$300 New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.. Expired on 4/17/2024
Chase Overdraft Assist
With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, you won’t be charged an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day

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Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$300 Use Promo Code “AXOS300” for a $300 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
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).

Promotion:
Up to $4,000 New customers may earn up to $4,000 when they open an eligible HSBC Premier checking account from January 8, 2024 through March 27, 2024 and complete qualifying activities:

• Receive a cash bonus of $1,500 when you deposit or invest $100,000 – $199,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,000 when you deposit or invest $200,000 – $299,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,500 when you deposit or invest $300,000 – 499,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $3,500 when you deposit or invest $500,000+

• Earn an extra $500 when you set up recurring monthly Direct Deposits totaling at least $5,000 for 3 months
Wealth Products & Advice
Get access to wealth products, insights and advice from an HSBC Financial Professional through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc
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The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

Credit Cards

Both SoFi and Varo only offer one credit card option. The SoFi card is designed with the intention to help customers save, invest or pay down debt. The cash back rewards are weighted towards this intention.

If you intend to save, invest or pay down your SoFi loan with your rewards, you’ll get 2% unlimited cash back. However, if you want your rewards as statement credit for your SoFi credit card, you’ll get 1% unlimited. SoFi also offers a rate reduction by 1% if you make 12 monthly minimum payments on time.

The Varo credit card aims to help you build your credit. This secured card has no annual fee, no minimum security deposit, and no APR. You just add money to your “Believe” secured account and then you can use your card for purchases.

Each time you pay your balance on time and in full, it will be reported to the credit bureaus. The Varo app even allows you to monitor your credit score, so you can watch for any changes resulting from using your card.

SoFi credit card balance
SoFi credit card balance (Screenshot from SoFi)

Customer Service

SoFi has a variety of customer service lines according to the banking product. While the credit card line is available 24/7, most of the other lines are only available from 5 am to 7pm.

Varo has a website help center with an extensive FAQ section. There is also a contact email and customer service phone number, but there are no details of when the phone lines are open to receive calls.

This level is supported by the bank’s Trustpilot scores. While SoFi has an average  3 out of 5 rating, Varo has an excellent 4.4 out of 5.

Online/Digital Experience

Both SoFi and Varo intuitive websites make it easy to explore the products and access help with various finance topics. This ensures a great user experience, particularly if you’re not sure exactly which banking services and products are the best option for you.

Both the banks also have highly rated apps. The SoFi app is rated 4.4 out of 5 on Google Play and 4.8 out of 5 on the Apple Store, while Varo’s app is rated 4.6/5 on the Apple Store and 4.5/5 on Google Play.

These apps allow you to not only transfer funds and manage your transactions, but you can access support and manage your card.

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Savings Rate: 5.21% APY
Minimum Deposit:
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Savings Rate: 5.05% APY
Minimum Deposit:
$5,000
Quontic bank logo
Savings Rate: 4.50% APY
Minimum Deposit:
$100
 
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Which Bank is The Winner?

These banks offer similar products, but with different aims, so how do we decide which is the better bank? We’ll need to look a little closer to make that determination.

While SoFi has a hybrid savings and checking account, the Varo checking account and savings account are designed to work in concert. Both accounts aim to make it easier to manage your finances and work towards your financial goals.

Although neither bank has CDs, SoFi does have a more extensive product line, with mortgages and personal loans, while Varo has a core product line to help you boost your credit.

 

sofi logo
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APY Savings The annual percentage yield (APY) is a percentage that represents the amount of money or interest earned on your savings account over the course of a year. The APY factored in compound interest. A savings calculator can help you quickly determine how much you'll earn with a given APY.
up to 4.60%
3.00% – 5.00%
Up to 5.02%
Checking Fee The monthly fee on checking account
$0
$0
Compare Banking
Mobile App Rating
4.8/5 on iOS
4.2/5 on Android
4.9/5 on iOS
4.7/5 on Android
Various Banks
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on SoFi website
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on Varo website
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on our website

FAQs

The answer is yes. As of March 2024, SoFi checking and savings promotion is one of highest in the market – you can get $50-$300, depending on your deposit and as long as meet SoFi requirements.

 As of March 2024, Varo has no bonus or special promotion for opening a new account. There are many other banking promotions out there – but keep in mind that promotions is not the most important thing when choosing a checking account.

As a fully online platform, SoFi encourages you to use the website dashboard to manage all your account activity including closing your account. Once you log into your dashboard, you’ll find the “Close Account” button under the “more” tab.

This screen will take you through the checks before you can close your account including if you have any pending transactions or outstanding card disputes. After you’ve checked these items, you can then click to close your account. You’ll see a confirmation screen to verify the account closure.

SoFi appreciates that many couples want to integrate their finances, so the bank aims to make it easier to create a joint account. When you open a SoFi account, you have the option to add a co-owner. Of course, you will need to provide ID verification and personal details for both parties.

However, you can also add a second person to your existing SoFi account. You’ll find an “Add Joint Account Holder” link on your account dashboard. This will provide a prompt to send an email invitation to the other person.

Varo does not have an investment arm or investment products, so if you want to buy gold stocks or other gold products, this may not be the best primary bank for you. You may prefer to use another bank or broker for your savings and credit card needs while using Varo for your savings and credit card needs.

Varo is a completely online bank with no physical locations or branches. You can, however, manage your account through the AllPoint ATM network, which has over 55,000 machines across the country.

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Promotion:
$300 New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.. Expired on 4/17/2024
Chase Overdraft Assist
With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, you won’t be charged an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day

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Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$300 Use Promo Code “AXOS300” for a $300 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
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).

Promotion:
Up to $4,000 New customers may earn up to $4,000 when they open an eligible HSBC Premier checking account from January 8, 2024 through March 27, 2024 and complete qualifying activities:

• Receive a cash bonus of $1,500 when you deposit or invest $100,000 – $199,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,000 when you deposit or invest $200,000 – $299,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,500 when you deposit or invest $300,000 – 499,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $3,500 when you deposit or invest $500,000+

• Earn an extra $500 when you set up recurring monthly Direct Deposits totaling at least $5,000 for 3 months
Wealth Products & Advice
Get access to wealth products, insights and advice from an HSBC Financial Professional through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

Chase_logo

Promotion:
$300 New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.. Expired on 4/17/2024
Chase Overdraft Assist
With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, you won’t be charged an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day

UpgradeLogo

Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$300 Use Promo Code “AXOS300” for a $300 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
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).

Promotion:
Up to $4,000 New customers may earn up to $4,000 when they open an eligible HSBC Premier checking account from January 8, 2024 through March 27, 2024 and complete qualifying activities:

• Receive a cash bonus of $1,500 when you deposit or invest $100,000 – $199,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,000 when you deposit or invest $200,000 – $299,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,500 when you deposit or invest $300,000 – 499,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $3,500 when you deposit or invest $500,000+

• Earn an extra $500 when you set up recurring monthly Direct Deposits totaling at least $5,000 for 3 months
Wealth Products & Advice
Get access to wealth products, insights and advice from an HSBC Financial Professional through HSBC Securities (USA) Inc
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

SoFi vs Varo: Comparison Methodology

In our detailed comparison, The Smart Investor team thoroughly looked at SoFi and Varo in five main areas:

  1. Checking Accounts (30%): We checked things like direct deposit, debit card availability, monthly fees, ATM and branch access, check deposit, bill pay options, and account alerts. We also considered any special offers for customers.

  2. Savings Accounts including CDs (20%): We focused on important stuff like how much interest you can earn (APY), the smallest amount you need to open an account, how flexible the accounts are, and if they're insured by FDIC. We also looked at special savings offers, different types of CDs, and any fees for taking money out early.

  3. Credit Cards (15%): We looked at what rewards you get, how much the card costs each year, any bonuses you get for signing up, perks for traveling, how much interest you pay on balances, and if you can transfer balances from other cards.

  4. Lending Options (15%): We checked out the different kinds of loans they offer, like personal loans, student loans, mortgages, and loans where you use your home as collateral.

  5. Customer Experience And Bank Reputation (20%): We looked into how easy it is to use their online and mobile banking, how helpful their customer support is, what people say about them online, any awards they've won, and how stable they are financially. This gave us a good idea of what it's like to be a customer and how much people trust them.

Compare SoFi With Alternative Banks

Spend and Save is a SoFi savings and checking account hybrid. For the purposes of this comparison, we'll look at the savings features, of which there are a few. The most visible are the savings vaults. These enable you to set up separate funds to work toward different savings goals without the need for multiple accounts. This helps you organize your money, and you can even designate a vault for your round-up funds.

Bank of America offers a more traditional savings account, but it pays far less interest, ranging from 0.01 percent to 0.04 percent depending on your Preferred Rewards status, compared to SoFi's 0.25 percent. In addition, there is a $8 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived by keeping a balance of $500 or more in the account or linking your checking account. By linking your accounts, you can avoid going overdrawn with Balance Connect.

Read Full Comparison: SoFi Money vs Bank of America: Which Is Better For Your Needs?

SoFi has developed a respectable banking product line. Aside from its hybrid savings and checking account, it also offers mortgages, loans, and investment products. The only thing missing from the offering is a traditional savings account and CDs.

Since its inception as a credit card provider, Discover has come a long way. Of course, credit cards are available, but you can also get home loans, personal loans, and a variety of checking and savings products such as retirement accounts, CDs, and money market accounts.

Read Full Comparison: SoFi Money vs Discover: Which Online Banking Suits You Best?

Since the bank's inception, the SoFi product line has come a long way. You can now get access to investment products, mortgages, and loans, in addition to its hybrid checking and savings account. SoFi even offers insurance. The only thing missing from this bank are CDs and traditional savings accounts.

Ally offers a much broader range of traditional banking products. In addition to checking, savings, and CD accounts, there are investment and retirement products, mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans available.

Read Full Comparison: SoFi Money vs Ally Bank: Compare Banking Options

Marcus is a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, which is reflected in its banking products. Marcus provides high-yielding savings and CDs, as well as investment options and a variety of loans. This does not, however, include a checking account.

SoFi's banking products are more akin to those of traditional banks. While there are no checking or savings accounts available, rather a hybrid account, you can access loans, mortgages, and investment products. SoFi also offers insurance. CDs and traditional savings accounts, on the other hand, are not available in the SoFi catalog.

Read Full Comparison: Marcus vs SoFi Money: Which Banking Service Is Better?

SoFi's online Spend and Save account, like the Chime online checking account, is fee-free, but it has some different checking account features. Chime, for example, offers a $200 fee-free overdraft facility subject to terms, whereas SoFi provides cash back if you have recurring direct deposits of $500 or more each month.

Read Full Comparison: SoFi vs Chime: Which Online Banking Wins?

Upgrade and SoFi Bank offer various online banking products, including checking, savings, and credit cards. Let's compare them side by side: Upgrade vs. SoFi Bank

Chase Bank is our winner with a complete package of banking services. SoFi is best for savings rates, online experience, and lending options.

Chase vs. SoFi: Which Bank Account Is Better?

There is no clear winner between SoFi and Wells Fargo as each bank excels in different areas – but Wells Fargo is our winner. Here's why.

Wells Fargo vs. SoFi: Which Bank Account Is Better?

PNC Bank is our winner with a complete package of banking services. SoFi is best for savings rates, online experience, and lending options.

PNC Bank vs. SoFi Bank: Compare Banking Options

Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
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Savings Rate: 5.21% APY
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Promotion:
$300 New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment.. Expired on 4/17/2024
Chase Overdraft Assist
With Chase Overdraft AssistSM, you won’t be charged an Overdraft Fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you’re overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day

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Fees:
No monthly fees No monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Plus get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account 
Rewards:
Up to 2% cash back Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases 
Promotion:
$300 Use Promo Code “AXOS300” for a $300 bonus when you apply for a Rewards Checking account
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).

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Promotion:
Up to $4,000 New customers may earn up to $4,000 when they open an eligible HSBC Premier checking account from January 8, 2024 through March 27, 2024 and complete qualifying activities:

• Receive a cash bonus of $1,500 when you deposit or invest $100,000 – $199,999.99

• Receive a cash bonus of $2,000 when you deposit or invest $200,000 – $299,999.99

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