Finding the best bank is no easy task, especially when you consider the potential fees involved. Although most individual bank fees are relatively inexpensive, they can quickly add up each month.
According to the most recent FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, 7 percent of Americans are unbanked, and almost 28 percent of those households cited bank fees as the reason. But you don’t have to avoid banks to stop spending money on fees.
Best Banks for No Fees
Instead of avoiding banks, look for the best banks with no fees and other complimentary perks, such as free checking, bill pay, ATM usage and more. Here are five banks that have a number of bank accounts with no fees:
|Best Banks With No Fees|
|Bank||Number of Accounts With $0 Fees||Accounts with $0 Fees||Min. Balance Required||How to Apply|
|Bank of Internet USA||10||Rewards Checking |
Money Market savings
IRA CD and savings
Roth CD and savings
|$1,000 for CDs|
$1,000 for IRA and Roth CDs
$250 for IRA and Roth savings
$100 for money market savings account
$0 for all checking and savings
|BankDirect||8||Smart Checking |
Money Market Plus Account
Mileage Money Market Plus Account
Regular savings account
IRA money market account
|$10,000 for Interest CD and Mileage CD|
$1,000 for IRA CD
$500 for Money Market Plus and Mileage Money Market Account
$100 for IRA money market, Smart Checking and regular savings
|Ally Bank||9||Online checking|
Raise Your Rate CD
IRA high-yield CD
IRA Raise Your Rate CD
IRA online savings
|$0 for all||Learn More|
|TIAA Direct||4||Interest checking|
|$2,500 for money market|
$1,000 for CDs
$100 for checking and savings
|Capital One Bank||4||360 Money Market|
|$0 for all||Learn More|
You don’t have to commit to paying fees when you open a bank account. To learn more, here are details on the best banks that don’t charge fees on checking and savings accounts, and more free bank accounts.
Bank of Internet USA
Bank of Internet USA has put together a handy, three-question quiz to help you determine which of its products are best for your financial needs and goals.
BofI’s Rewards Checking is among the top checking accounts — it has no monthly maintenance fee, no minimum monthly balance, and no overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees. On top of that, the account earns up to 1.25% APY — one of the highest APYs offered by banks with free checking accounts — as well as cash-back purchase rewards.
The money market savings account and the high-yield savings account enable you to earn 1.05% APY, and interest is compounded daily on both accounts. You can also use these accounts to pay bills online, and the money market savings account allows you to write a limited number of checks each month for free.
When you have more than one account, it can be difficult to manage and organize them. To solve this issue, BofI offers fee-free access to FinanceWorks, a tool that enables you to track all your banking accounts, credit cards, loan accounts and investment portfolio.
BankDirect offers a Mileage CD if you’d like to earn reward miles and interest on your CD. A two-year mileage CD comes with a 0.10% APY and 1,000 AAdvantage miles for every $1,000 you invest, up to $50,000.
Interest-only CDs include the 24-month CD, which comes with no monthly fees and currently earns 1.22% APY. The 36-month interest-free CD has the highest rate at 1.45% APY. Although neither CD will cost you monthly fees, you do need a $10,000 minimum opening deposit, and you are subject to penalty fees for early withdrawal.
BankDirect’s Regular Savings account also has no fees and requires a minimum of $100 to open an account. Customers are allowed four non-network ATM withdrawals — they will be reimbursed for up to $2.50 per transaction, per statement cycle — so you don’t have to worry too much about which ATM you use. Although this account earns a modest 0.10% APY, the interest is compounded daily and paid on collected balances.
Ally Bank has been named the best online bank for three years in a row by GOBankingRates in its annual Best Banks study. You don’t need to fear using an online bank, especially if it offers fee-free perks that make banking convenient without having to visit a brick-and-mortar location. Also, Ally’s online savings account earns 2.00% APY.
In addition to its free savings account, which doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee, some other $0-fee services include:
- Waiving bank transfer fees on ACH transfers to non-Ally bank accounts
- Incoming wires
- Postage-paid deposit envelopes
- Cashier’s checks
Ally also offers a fee-free online checking account. The account earns 0.60% APY if you keep a $15,000 daily minimum balance — and 0.10% APY if you don’t — and includes a free debit Mastercard and checks. Although Ally doesn’t have actual bank locations, it offers nationwide, Allpoint ATMs you can use for free plus $10 in reimbursement each month for out-of-network ATM fees, as well as 24/7 live customer service.
With TIAA Direct’s money market account, you can enjoy the benefits of higher rates and check writing with no monthly fees, regardless of what your balance is. The account requires a $2,500 minimum deposit, but after that does not require a minimum balance. Accounts of less than $25,000 earn 1.01% APY. Your first set of checks is free, and so is your nationwide ATM use.
The high-yield savings account requires an opening balance of only $100, and there’s no required minimum balance after that. All balances earn 0.71% APY. TIAA Direct will also reimburse you up to $15 per statement cycle for non-network ATM fees.
TIAA Direct’s interest checking account is free from annoying maintenance fees, too. This fee-free checking account earns anywhere from 0.25% APY to 0.71% APY, depending on your balance. You must open the account with a minimum of $100, but after that, there is no minimum balance or direct deposit required. The account also comes with one free order of checks, a debit card and free ATM reimbursements for non-network machines of up to $15 per statement cycle.
Capital One Bank
Many banks with free checking aren’t as free as they appear. Usually, these accounts are “free” only after certain conditions are met, such as a required direct deposit or minimum balance. Capital One’s 360 Checking account offers fee-free banking with a couple exceptions.
Capital One’s best free checking account charges no monthly service fee, and there are no requirements for a minimum opening deposit or minimum balance. Although 360 Checking comes with many free perks, such as free ATM usage, you will be charged for other services, including $5 for checks — though the first order is free — and $20 for an online cashier’s check with overnight shipping. Plus, you’ll earn 0.20% APY for balances below $50,000, 0.75% APY when your balance is between $50,000 and $99,999.99, and 1.00% APY when your balance is $100,000 or more.
Why You Need a Free Bank Account
Using banks with no fees can save you quite a bit of money throughout the year. A basic checking account can cost you up to $15 per month, and a high-yield checking account can cost even more, which doesn’t include other fees, such as overdraft charges or minimum balance costs.
Now you have a head start on finding the best free account to meet your banking needs, so get one today — and just say “no” to fees.
Up Next: 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2017
Michael Keenan contributed to the reporting for this article.
Methodology: GOBankingRates surveyed financial institutions to find the best banks for no fees and considered the following factors: banks that consistently charge zero fees and the number of products the banks offer with $0 monthly fees. Banks are ranked by the number of $0-fee products they offer. Rates are accurate as of Oct.25, 2017, except for Ally and Capital One, whose rates are accurate as of today.