10 Best Options for Free Checking With No Minimum Balance

Check that comes with a free checking account with no minimum balance
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It’s always a good idea to find ways to save money or bring in extra income. While many banks charge monthly service fees and don’t pay interest to their checking account holders, there are still plenty of interest-bearing and no-fee checking accounts available.

Finding the right checking account won’t necessarily make you rich, but finding a bank that offers free checking accounts can put a few extra dollars in your pocket.

Here are some tips to consider before choosing an account, along with a list of banks that offer free checking accounts and some of the key features for each.

Banks Offering Free Checking Accounts With No Minimum Balance

When comparing checking accounts, consider all the benefits before writing off those with fees.

Keep in Mind

The money you earn from accounts with good cash-back programs or decent interest rates might more than offset any monthly service fees. If you plan to maintain a low balance in the account you want to open, no-fee checking accounts are usually the better option.

While many banks offer waived fees when you meet specific criteria, a true free checking account can be defined as an account without fees or stipulations to waive fees.

If you need an account, try to find one with a checking account bonus; many banks use such promotions to try to lure new customers. In addition to waiving unnecessary fees, like PenFed’s Access America Checking, some offer additional free checking account deals just for setting up direct deposit or making a specified number of monthly transactions.

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Keep reading to see which banks offer the best free checking options.

1. Capital One 360 Checking

Capital One offers a free 360 Checking account that includes the following:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • 0.10% annual percentage yield
  • No minimum balance
  • Mobile deposits
  • Free first checkbook
  • Overdraft forgiveness
  • Access to more than 40,000 no-fee ATMs nationwide

While the interest rate is low, there’s a lot of value in not having to pay ATM fees.

2. Ally Bank Interest Checking

Ally Bank offers a free, interest-bearing checking account without a minimum opening deposit. Other features include the following:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • 0.10% APY on accounts with a minimum daily balance under $15,000
  • 0.25% APY on accounts with a minimum daily balance of $15,000 or more
  • Free standard or expedited ACH transfers
  • Free incoming domestic and international wire transfers
  • Postage-paid deposit envelopes
  • Free official/cashier’s checks
  • Free ATM withdrawals at over 43,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide
  • Up to $10 in domestic ATM fee reimbursements a month

Ally Bank customers also have access to Zelle, an electronic payment system that lets you easily send money to anyone with a U.S. banking account using their phone number or email address.

Discover Card 2020

3. Discover Cashback Debit

The Discover Cashback Debit account offers loads of features in addition to the standard amenities for a free checking account. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • No monthly service fees
  • Free standard checks
  • 1% cash-back rewards for debit card purchases
  • Free bank/cashier’s checks
  • Free expedited delivery for debit card replacement
  • Free expedited delivery for official bank checks
  • No deposited item returned fees
  • No stop payment order fees
  • No insufficient funds fees
  • No incoming wire transfer fees
  • Fee-free withdrawals at more than 60,000 ATMs nationwide

The rewards program is a great feature, but Discover limits the 1% cash back to up to $3,000 of debit card purchases per month, for a total of $360 in cash back per year.

4. Axos Bank Checking

Axos Bank, formerly Bank of Internet USA, has five free checking account and debit card options available. Here’s a look at what each account offers.

Essential Checking:

  • No monthly service fees
  • No overdraft or insufficient funds fees
  • Free express direct deposits
  • Unlimited fee reimbursements for domestic ATMs

Golden Checking for people who are 55 or older:

  • 0.20% APY
  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance fees
  • Free personal checks
  • Up to $8 in domestic ATM fee reimbursements a month
  • No overdraft or insufficient funds fees

First Checking for teens between the ages of 13 and 17:

  • 0.25% APY
  • Up to $12 in domestic ATM fee reimbursements a month
  • No monthly service fees
  • No overdraft or insufficient funds fees

Rewards Checking:

  • Up to 1.25% APY
    • Receive $1,000 in monthly direct deposits: 0.4166% APY
    • Use the Axos Visa debit card 10 times per month: 0.4166% APY
    • Use the Axos Visa debit card five more times per month: 0.4166% APY
  • No monthly service fees
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • No overdraft or insufficient funds fees

CashBack Checking:

  • 1% cash back on up to $2,000 per month of signature-based purchases with a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more
  • 0.50% cash back on up to $2,000 per month of signature-based purchases with a minimum daily balance under $1,500
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • No monthly service fees
  • Unlimited check writing privileges

Axos Bank offers its free checking accounts online only, so if you’re looking to apply for an account with a bank that has physical locations, this might not be the option for you.

5. FNBO Direct Online Checking

The FNBO Direct Online Checking account features standard online and mobile checking services, as well as the following:

  • No monthly service fees
  • 0.40% APY on balances of 1 cent or higher
  • $1 minimum to open an account
  • No minimum balance fees
  • Free person-to-person payments with PopMoney
  • No incoming wire transfer fee
  • No stop payment fees

6. Chime Spending Account

The Chime Spending Account is easy to set up in just a few minutes. It offers everything most standard accounts offer, as well as overdraft protection and other enhancements. Chime’s services are provided by Stride Bank and The Bancorp Bank.

Here’s what you can expect when you open a free checking account with Chime:

  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance fees
  • Fee-free overdraft up to $100
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No transfer fees
  • Over 38,000 fee-free ATMs

While Chime offers a free checking account, no hidden fees and generous overdraft forgiveness, it also bears no interest. You can, however, link a Chime savings account and earn up to 1.00% APY.

7. Varo Checking Account

Varo’s checking account offers most of the typical checking account features, including the following:

  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to over 55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs
  • Up to $50 in overdraft forgiveness available monthly

With no physical branches, Varo may not be a good option for you if you usually make a lot of cash transactions at the bank.

8. KeyBank Hassle-Free Account

The KeyBank Hassle-Free Account is a basic checkless checking account with the following features:

  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance fees
  • Mobile deposit
  • No monthly transaction requirements
  • No overdraft fees
  • No insufficient funds fees

Although there are no monthly service fees, KeyBank will charge a $25 fee if you close your account within the first 180 days.

First Internet Bank logo 2019

9. First Internet Bank Free Checking

First Internet Bank is a fully online bank. Its free checking account offers the full gamut of online and mobile banking services with the following features:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No minimum balance fees
  • Free first order of checks
  • No incoming ACH transfer fees
  • No incoming wire transfer fees

First Internet Bank doesn’t have any physical branches, but you can use any ATM for basic deposits and withdrawals.

10. E-Trade Checking

The E-Trade Checking account is a noninterest-bearing account with these features:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No minimum balance fees
  • Free first order of checks

E-Trade also offers an interest-bearing checking account with a nominal 0.05% APY. The account has a $15 monthly fee unless you maintain an average monthly balance of $5,000.

What Is the Minimum Balance That Is Required in a Checking Account To Avoid Fees?

To avoid fees, many bank accounts require a significant minimum daily balance — as much as $500 or higher. With the 10 banking options listed above, even if you have a $0 daily balance, no fees are required to keep the account open.

Why Would a Bank Require a Minimum Balance for a Checking Account?

Running a bank often comes with many overhead expenses, including salaries, buildings, equipment, taxes and more. Minimum balances provide a bank with the reserves it must hold by law and give it the liquid revenue to cover overhead expenses and loans to other customers.

Can I Open a Checking Account With No Money?

While some banks require a small initial deposit, you can still find free checking accounts without a minimum opening deposit. Many allow you to open the bank account without an initial deposit and fund it later. This can be particularly useful if you just started a job and need a free checking account for direct deposit payments.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Oct. 9, 2020.

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 companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article. All fees and rates are subject to change at the issuers’ discretion. Some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. Verify terms and conditions before opening an account.

GOBankingRates bases its assessment of “best” and “top” products on the above-stated parameters to create a baseline for comparison. This assessment is an approximation of “best” and “top” designed to help consumers find products that might be appropriate for them. There could be other options available as well. Consumers should consider various options appropriate for their circumstances.

This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.

About the Author

Taylor Bell is an Los Angeles-based journalist and staff writer for GOBankingRates covering personal finance. She is a former staff writer for ATTN: and has covered topics ranging from trending pop culture news to women’s social issues.