Best Free Checking Accounts of 2024 - NerdWallet (2024)

The best free checking accounts do more than keep money in people’s wallets by having no monthly fees. They also typically offer other free services or pay interest.

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Strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our coverage to help you choose the financial accounts that work best for you. See our criteria for evaluating banks and credit unions.

More than 90 financial institutions surveyed by our team of experts.

More than 50 data points considered for each bank, credit union and banking technology firm (or neobank).

Here’s a list of our favorites based on research into dozens of institutions. We scoped out accounts based on interest rate, ATM network, rewards and other factors.

» Looking for a place to stash your savings? See NerdWallet's picks for best savings accounts

Best free checking accounts

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi Bank, N.A.

SoFi Checking and Savings

NerdWallet Rating

5.0

Monthly Fee

$0

Read ReviewLearn more

Why we like it: SoFi’s online Checking and Savings account offers competitive interest rates on both checking and savings, and customers have access to a large, free ATM network.

Pros

No overdraft fees.

No monthly fees.

Large, free, nationwide ATM network.

Early direct deposit.

Checking account pays interest once requirements are met.

Cons

No branch access.

Fees for cash deposits.

Chime Checking Account

Why we like it: Chime’s customers have access to a broad no-fee ATM network as well as a strong overdraft program. They can also receive their paychecks up to two days early with direct deposit.

Pros

No overdraft fees.

No monthly fees.

Large, free, nationwide ATM network.

No minimum opening deposits.

Early direct deposit.

Cons

No branch access.

Fees for cash deposits.

Chime says

"SpotMe® on Debit is an optional, no fee overdraft service attached to your Chime Checking Account. To qualify for the SpotMe on Debit service, you must receive $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your Chime Checking Account each month and have activated your physical Chime Visa® Debit Card or secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card.

Qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their Chime Checking Account for up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially but may later be eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. The SpotMe on Debit limit will be displayed within the Chime mobile app and is subject to change at any time, at Chime's sole discretion. Although Chime does not charge any overdraft fees for SpotMe on Debit, there may be out-of-network or third-party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe on Debit will not cover any non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. SpotMe on Debit Terms and Conditions: https://www.chime.com/policies."

Chime also says: "Once the retailer accepts your cash, the funds will be transferred to your selected Chime Account. Barcode and debit card cash deposits land in the Checking Account. Credit Builder card cash deposits first go through your Card Account and then land in your Secured Account. Cash deposit fees may apply if using a retailer other than Walgreens and Duane Reade."

Ally Bank Spending Account

Ally Bank

Ally Bank Spending Account

NerdWallet Rating

4.5

Monthly Fee

$0

Read ReviewLearn more

Why we like it: Ally offers interest on its free checking account as well as nationwide ATM fee reimbursem*nts of up to $10 a month.

Pros

No overdraft fees.

No monthly fees.

Large, free, nationwide ATM network.

No minimum opening deposits.

Checking account pays interest.

Cons

No cash deposit.

No branch access.

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

Alliant Credit Union

High-Rate Checking

NerdWallet Rating

4.5

Monthly Fee

$0

Read ReviewLearn more

Why we like it: Alliant High-Rate Checking customers earn interest and have access to more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs in addition to a $20 monthly fee rebate for out-of-network ATMs.

Pros

No overdraft fees.

No monthly fees.

Anyone can become a member.

Large, free, nationwide ATM network.

Checking account pays interest once requirements are met.

Cons

No branch access.

One Debit

One

One Debit

NerdWallet Rating

4.5

Monthly Fee

$0

Read Review

Why we like it: Customers who are over 18 and make at least $500 in monthly direct deposits can qualify for One’s generous overdraft protection policy, which can cover up to $200 in overdrafts.

Pros

No overdraft fees.

No monthly fees.

No minimum opening deposits.

Early direct deposit.

Cons

No branch access.

Navy Federal Credit Union Free EveryDay Checking

Navy Federal Credit Union

INTCK2.5K

NerdWallet Rating

4.5

Monthly Fee

$0

Read Review

Why we like it: Customers at Navy Federal Credit Union have access to more than 30,000 shared Co-op Network ATMs and 350 branches worldwide. They also have multiple options when it comes to overdraft coverage.

Pros

No monthly fees on Free Everyday Checking account.

Large, free, nationwide ATM network.

24/7 customer service by phone.

Branches available worldwide.

Cons

Limited branch access.

Limited membership.

Our Nerds say:

“When shopping for a checking account, it’s great to find one that has no monthly fees, but you should also think about the other features you might want and need. For example, you might want to earn interest or cash back, or you might need a bank that’s part of a large, free ATM network or that offers ATM fee reimbursem*nts.

"Also, you might want to look for a bank that has a generous overdraft policy. Some banks will even spot you up to a certain amount of money if you overdraft.”

Best Free Checking Accounts of 2024 - NerdWallet (7)

Best Free Checking Accounts of 2024 - NerdWallet (8)

Best Free Checking Accounts of 2024 - NerdWallet (9)

Best Free Checking Accounts of 2024 - NerdWallet (10)

- Chanelle Bessette, NerdWallet banking writer

Frequently asked questions

What does a checking account do?

Checking accounts help you manage the transactions you need to make on a regular basis, such as paying bills, receiving your paycheck and depositing or withdrawing cash. They usually come with a debit card and the ability to write checks.

Why does it matter if a checking account is free?

The fee on your checking account can add up quickly over time. Free checking accounts give customers access to all the perks of a checking account without the burden of paying a monthly maintenance fee.

What should I look for in a checking account?

The best checking accounts have no fees and ideally earn interest, give cash back or offer a bonus. You should also make sure that the bank offers good customer service and is convenient for your lifestyle. Some accounts also offer early access to direct deposits.

Best Free Checking Accounts of 2024 - NerdWallet (2024)
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