When it comes to checking accounts, several fees come along with them, from maintenance and overdraft fees to ATM fees. However, you shouldn’t settle for just any checking account when you can avoid some if not all of these fees with a truly free checking account.
Free checking accounts don’t charge the monthly maintenance fees that many banks charge. When you withdraw more than what’s available in your checking account, most banks will cover the cost of a specific transaction and charge you an overdraft fee. Some banks, though, offer truly free checking accounts with no overdraft fees.
8 Best Free Checking Accounts with No Overdraft Fees
1. Ally Bank Interest Checking Account
Ally Bank is an online-only bank that offers an interest-building checking account with no overdraft fees. The checking account has no minimum balance or monthly maintenance fee. It also pays 0.10% annual percentage yield interest on balances below $15,000 and 0.25% APY on accounts with a daily balance of $15,000 or higher.
You can use your Ally debit card at over 43,000 free Allpoint ATMs across the U.S. Plus, Ally Bank reimburses $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at non-Allpoint ATMs nationwide.
This interest-building checking account lets you deposit checks remotely, easily transfer and receive money and automatically save when you spend if you have both a checking and savings account with Ally Bank.
2. Discover Bank Cashback Debit Account
This checking account allows you to earn 1% cash back for debit card purchases totalling as much as $3,000 per month. You also don’t have to worry about checking fees, since this account doesn’t charge fees for monthly maintenance, insufficient funds, online bill pay, standard checks or any of its other convenient features.
Overdraft protection also does not carry fees. When you opt in, you can link your Discover savings account or money market account to your checking account, which you can use to cover your checking overdrafts. Plus, you can access over 60,000 fee-free ATMs in the U.S.
3. Axos Rewards Checking
Axos is an online bank that offers a powerful rewards checking account with no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees. Axos Rewards Checking also offers competitive cash back rewards. The rewards checking account offers five tiers of interest, earning a decent APY of up to 1.00%.
To earn the 1.00% APY, you must meet specific requirements like receiving a minimum of $1,500 per month in direct deposits and using your debit card for at least 10 monthly transactions. Axos Reward Checking requires a $50 initial deposit, and there are no limits to the number of domestic ATM reimbursements.
4. Fidelity Cash Management Account
Fidelity does not charge account fees with its cash management account, offering free overdraft protection. If you opt in to this service, you can link your checking account to a savings account or brokerage account. When you overdraw your checking account, Fidelity will transfer the funds from your linked accounts to cover the overdraft.
A cash management account from Fidelity has no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balances and ATM reimbursements. This checking account also earns interest of 0.01% APY on balances less than $100,000. Apart from that, your account gets FDIC coverage of up to $1.25 million.
5. Betterment Checking
The online-only Betterment checking account has no account fees, account minimums or overdraft fees. It will also reimburse you for all out-of-network ATM fees and foreign transaction fees.
You’ll not only save money on fees but also earn. Betterment checking offers cash back rewards whenever you spend. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about losing your cash since your money is FDIC insured for up to $250,000 through nbkc bank.
6. Wealthfront Cash
The Wealthfront Cash is a high-yield checking account that not only offers overdraft protection but also allows you to get started with investing. There are no account fees or transfer fees with this account. Plus, you can access over 19,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide and direct deposits, with the ability to get paid two days early on recurring deposits.
This checking account also earns up to 0.1% APY on all account balances. Your funds are secure and safe since you’ll get up to $1 million FDIC insurance through Wealthfront’s partners.
7. Alliant High Interest Checking
If you’re looking for a credit union experience, the Alliant High Interest Checking account is worth considering. It has no monthly service fee, minimum balance requirement or overdraft fees. If you sign up for overdraft protection, Alliant will automatically transfer money from your savings account to avoid accidental overdraft.
Additionally, this checking account has 0.25% APY on all balances, and you’ll get ATM fee reimbursement of up to $20 per month for out-of-network ATM usage. You can also access over 80,000 ATMs across the country without charge.
8. KeyBank Hassle-Free Account
KeyBank has a Hassle-Free account with no monthly service fees and no account minimums. It also has overdraft protection, such that when you overdraw your account, the transaction will be declined. Even if you successfully overdraw, KeyBank will not charge you an overdraft or insufficient funds fee. There’s a minimum opening deposit of $10 for this account.
9. Capital One
Recently, Capital One announced its plans to end overdraft fees — a policy change that is set to begin early in 2022. Customers who have already paid overdraft fees will automatically be enrolled into an overdraft protection program. Additionally, those who choose to opt out will have any transactions that overdrawn to be declined, with a $0 fee.
Good To Know
While some free checking accounts charge neither overdraft fees nor monthly maintenance fees, they’re not entirely free.
It’s important to note that some of the above checking accounts don’t have a physical presence, meaning they operate exclusively online. Other major banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi and more offer free checking accounts with no overdraft fees but do have monthly service fees. However, some of these banks will let you waive those fees if you meet specific requirements.
Melanie Grafil contributed to the reporting for this article.
This article was updated on Dec. 2, 2021 to include new policy changes for overdraft fees from Capital One.