Most banks offer checking accounts, but some charge high fees, or don’t offer much by way of features or benefits. With the advent of online banking and the rise in competition among financial institutions, you can now find many free checking accounts that offer a variety of services, including high bank interest rates. Because there are many competitors for the title of best bank, GOBankingRates has analyzed offers from over 100 banks to find some of the best checking account offers for 2018.
The GOBankingRates ranking identified the best bank accounts using a methodology centered on the following criteria:
- Minimum deposit required
- Monthly maintenance fee
- Minimum balance required to avoid fees
- Annual percentage yield
- Nonsufficient funds fee
Whether you are looking for free checking, the best interest rates, online banking or a checking account bonus, you’ll be able to find a good option in the list. Read on for details on each account so you can more easily choose the best bank for your needs.
Here are the 10 best checking accounts selected by GOBankingRates:
- Bank of Internet USA
- Incredible Bank
- Bank5 Connect
- FNBO Direct
- Capital One 360
- TIAA Direct
- First Internet Bank
- My eBanc
|10 Best Checking Accounts of 2018|
|Checking Account||Min. Deposit||Monthly Fee||Min. Balance||Interest Rate (APY)|
|Bank of Internet USA Rewards Checking||$0||$0||$0.00||1.25%|
|Nationwide Member Checking||$25||$0||$300.00||1.00%|
|Incredible Bank Free Incredible Checking||$0||$0||$0.00||0.00%|
|Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking||$10||$0||$0.00||0.76%|
|FNBO Direct Online Checking||$1||$0||$0.00||0.65%|
|iGObanking.com iGOchecking High Interest Checking||$1||$0||$0.00||0.25%|
|Capital One 360 Checking||$0||$0||$0.00||0.20%|
|TIAA Direct Interest Checking||$100||$0||$0.00||0.25%|
|First Internet Bank Online Checking||$100||$10||$500.00||0.55%|
|My eBanc Advantage Checking Account||$5,000||$0||$0.00||0.50%|
|Rates accurate as of Sept. 21, 2017.|
Compare With Last Year’s Winners: 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2017
Why: Bank of Internet USA has the highest checking account interest rate in the GOBankingRates 2018 ranking at 1.25% APY.
Review: In addition to a high interest rate, Bank of Internet USA’s Rewards Checking account offers all the zeroes that account holders want — a $0 minimum deposit, a $0 monthly fee, a $0 minimum balance and a $0 NSF fee. The account also provides unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements, cash-back purchase rewards, overdraft protection and a Visa debit card.
How to Open: You can apply for an account online with your Social Security number, a valid form of ID, and a valid, non-P.O. box address. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
More About the Best Checking Account of 2018: Bank of Internet USA
Why: Nationwide Bank offers a Nationwide Member Checking Account that pays a 1.00% APY, second-highest on the list.
Review: Highlighted features of the Member Checking Account include a $0 monthly maintenance fee, $0 non-Nationwide ATM fees for up to eight withdrawals per cycle, $0 online statements and $0 money transfers. A minimum $300 balance is required to avoid a monthly service fee of $3, although the account can be opened with as little as $25.
How to Open: The online application process requires your address, date of birth, Social Security number and occupation. Nationwide will ask additional questions during the application.
Why: Incredible Bank offers no-fee checking; this checking account also has a $500 minimum deposit to open the account.
Review: Standard features on the Free Incredible Checking Account include free online bill pay, free online and mobile banking, reimbursed U.S. ATM fees, and a Visa debit card. Bank-to-bank transfers are available after your account has been open for 60 days.
How to Open: You can open an Incredible Checking Account online. You’ll need a government-issued ID, a valid Social Security number, and your physical and mailing addresses.
Also See: 10 Best Savings Accounts of 2018
Why: The Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account lives up to its name, with a 0.76% APY, one of the highest interest rates on the list.
Review: In addition to a competitive interest rate, Bank5 Connect’s High-Interest Checking has no monthly fees and requires a minimum deposit of $10, although a $100 deposit is required to earn interest. The checking account also includes online banking, mobile banking, bill pay, a free first order of checks, and up to $15 in ATM fee reimbursements per cycle when using out-of-network ATMs. The bank’s NSF fee is $15.
How to Open: You can open a bank account online or by calling the bank’s customer service number at 855-55-BANK5. You’ll need your Social Security number, valid ID, address and a source of funding.
Why: FNBO Direct’s Online Checking Account is perfect for customers who want an account with no monthly service fees and a high interest rate of 0.65% APY.
Review: The FNBO Direct Online Checking account doesn’t charge a monthly service fee, but it does charge a $33 NSF fee for overdrafts. The account’s several free features include free online banking, bill pay, account alerts, stop payments, debit card fraud monitoring and person-to-person payments with Popmoney. All it takes to open the account is $1.
How to Open: You can open a checking account online. You’ll need your Social Security or tax ID number, valid driver’s license or state ID, employment history, and information about any loans or mortgages you have, as well as your bank account and routing numbers to fund your account. The application process takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Why: iGObanking.com’s online account pays 0.25% APY interest while having no monthly maintenance fee and a minimum deposit of just $1.
Review: The iGObanking High-Interest Checking Account offers free bill pay and a tool that lets you import an unlimited number of bills and pay them online. You also have surcharge-free access to the 43,000-plus ATMs on the Allpoint network. The NSF fee is relatively high at $30.
How to Open: The account-opening process at iGObanking is online and takes about 10 minutes. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number, ID, address, and current bank account and routing number to transfer funds to your new account.
Related: How to Open a Checking Account
Why: Capital One Bank customers enjoy no fees and no minimum deposit or minimum balance requirements with the Capital One 360 Checking account, which offers a 0.20% APY.
Review: The Capital One 360 Checking account’s base APY of 0.20% APY increases to 0.75% APY on balances of $50,000 to $99,999.99 and to 1.00% APY on balances of $100,000 or more. Customers have fee-free access to both Capital One and Allpoint ATMs, providing a total network of more than 39,000 ATMs nationwide.
How to Open: You can open an account online in about five minutes, and you’ll need a check from an existing account to fund your new account.
Why: The TIAA Direct Interest Checking Account pays a 0.25% APY but carries no monthly maintenance fees and requires just $100 to open.
Review: The TIAA Direct Interest checking account comes with free bill pay, a debit card, and a free first order of checks. Nationwide ATM access is free on many networks, but if a fee is charged, TIAA will reimburse up to $15 per cycle in ATM fees. The APY rises in increments until it reaches a 0.71% APY for balances of $100,000 and above.
How to Open: You can open an account online as long as you’re at least 18 years old, are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, have a U.S. mailing address and a Social Security number. You can also call 855-842-2372.
Online Banks vs. Traditional Banks: Where to Get the Best Interest Rates
Why: First Internet Bank’s Interest Checking Account pays a higher-than-average rate of 0.55% APY. The $10 monthly fee can be avoided with a balance of at least $500.
Review: First Internet Bank does offer a Free Checking account with no monthly fees at all, but that account doesn’t pay interest; just a $500 balance is enough to earn you the 0.55% APY with the Interest Checking Account. The Interest Checking Account also refunds ATM surcharges of up to $10 per cycle, while both accounts come with free online and mobile banking, bill pay, and a free first order of checks.
How to Open: Accounts can be opened online or by calling 888-873-3424.
Why: The My eBanc Advantage Checking Account offers a respectable 0.50% APY.
Review: On the downside, the Advantage Checking Account requires a $5,000 opening deposit, and a $15 monthly fee is charged if your balance falls below this limit. However, you can aggregate account balances at the bank to reach that $5,000 limit. On the plus side, there is no minimum balance required to earn the high interest rate. The account also comes with free online and mobile banking, unlimited check writing, person-to-person and interbank transfers, local discounts, and a free money management tool.
How to Open: The online application process takes about 10 minutes and requires a copy of your valid driver’s license, your bank account and routing number, your current home address, and your email address. You can also call 855-512-0989 or live chat.
Check Out All the Finalists: Best Banks 2018
Methodology: To compile its list of the top 110 banks, GOBankingRates surveyed the FDIC’s list of banks sorted by asset size, excluding non-active institutions, investment banks and any institutions that require customers to use investment services to access commercial bank accounts. This list of 110 banks includes 82 brick-and-mortar banks and 28 online-only banks according to the GOBankingRates database. For brick-and-mortar financial institutions, the asset threshold was a minimum of $10 billion. No asset threshold was consulted for online-only banks.
Criteria for ranking: To determine its Best Checking Accounts category ranking, GOBankingRates scored each bank’s basic, personal checking account from most to least favorable on the following factors: (1) minimum deposit to open the checking account, (2) monthly maintenance fee, (3) minimum balance to avoid a fee, (4) annual percentage yield and (5) nonsufficient funds fee. Monthly maintenance fee and APY were weighted more heavily than other ranking factors, and accounts were then ranked by overall score.
Data for the Best Banks of 2018 was compiled from and verified against the individual institutions’ websites between Sept. 12 and Sept. 21, 2017. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of the individual financial institutions. APY was based on the minimum deposit required to open the account. Some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.
GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some banks mentioned in the Best Banks of 2018 are clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement.