Best Free Checking Accounts of 2017

Whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck or have millions in the bank, monthly checking account fees can add up. Overlooking these expenses, which might range from $2 ATM fees to $35 overdraft fees, can cost you a pretty penny each year.

You shouldn’t have to pay high fees just to have a checking account; many banks offer free checking accounts. To help you find the top banks with free checking, GOBankingRates identified the best checking accounts — based on monthly fee, minimum deposit, minimum balance and annual percentage yield –that won’t charge you for being a customer.  Check out some of the best checking accounts, which offer a variety of services with no monthly fees.

Best Free Checking Accounts of 2017

Here are the 10 best free checking accounts of 2017:

Best Free Checking Accounts of 2017
BankChecking AccountFeeMin. DepositMin. BalanceAPY
BankofInternetUSA logo 2017 iconBank of Internet USARewards Checking$0$0$01.25%
Bank5 logo 2017Bank5 ConnectHigh Interest Checking$0$10$00.76%
fnbo direct logoFNBO DirectOnline Checking$0$1$00.65%
Nationwide logo 2017Nationwide BankNationwide Member Checking$0$25$3001.00%
igobanking com logoiGobanking.comiGOchecking$0$1$00.25%
Capital OneCapital One Bank360 Checking$0$0$00.20%
Charles Schwab logo 2017Charles Schwab BankHigh Yield Investor Checking$0$0$00.15%
 SouthTrust BankDirect Interest Checking$0$25$00.10%
Ally logo 2017Ally BankInterest Checking$0$0$00.10%
TIAA logo 2017TIAA DirectInterest Checking$0$100$00.25%
Capital One and FNBO rates accurate as of today
All other rates accurate as of Dec. 17, 2017

Top 10 Free Checking Accounts of 2017

Here’s a closer look at the year’s best offerings for free checking accounts. So you can better decide which one is best for your needs, here are the key features of the best free checking accounts of 2017:

Bank of Internet USA Rewards Checking

With no minimum deposit or minimum balance requirements, Bank of Internet USA’s Rewards Checking account is a free online checking account that will earn you a 1.25% APY if you meet all the conditions. You can also earn cash back on select purchases when you use your Bank of Internet USA Visa debit card. That’s like getting a free checking account bonus deposit each month.

To earn 1.25% APY on your balance, you must receive monthly direct deposits totaling at least $1,000 and use your Bank of Internet USA Visa debit card for 15 or more transactions.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • Free Visa debit card with chip technology
  • No minimum deposit or minimum balance
  • 0.42% to 1.25% APY
  • Online and mobile banking
  • Unlimited, domestic ATM reimbursements

Check Out: 20 Checking Account Bonuses and Promotions Available Today

Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking

Bank5 Connect’s High-Interest Checking account has one of the highest interest rates on this list. To earn that 0.76% APY, you’ll need to maintain a minimum balance of $100 in your account.

Bank5 Connect customers can access any ATM in the world for free. You’ll even get reimbursed up to $15 each month for other banks’ ATM surcharges.

Key Features

  • $10 minimum balance to open the account
  • Online banking and bill pay
  • Free first order of basic checks
  • Free overdraft transfer
  • UChoose Debit Rewards program
  • No ATM fees within the SUM Network

FNBO Direct Online Checking

The FNBO Direct Online Checking account offers an interest rate of 0.65% APY and allows account holders to manage their bills with bill pay and account alerts. If you have a Direct Online Checking account you can easily send and receive money through Popmoney. All you need is the recipient’s email address or mobile number and he will be notified when the money goes into his account.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • Free FNBO Direct Visa debit card
  • Online banking and bill pay
  • Person-to-person money transfer with Popmoney
  • Free access to more than 2 million ATMs
  • One overdraft forgiveness every 12 months

See: 20 Best Free Business Checking Accounts

Nationwide Bank Nationwide Member Checking

With no monthly maintenance fees and only a $25 minimum opening deposit, Nationwide Bank’s Nationwide Member Checking account is one of the best free bank accounts. Because Nationwide doesn’t have bank branches, you’ll have access to free, non-Nationwide bank ATMs. You’ll also get competitive bank interest rates — you can earn 1.00% APY on your balance under $10,000 and 1.15% APY on anything over that.

To get premier benefits, you must open at least one other Nationwide account in addition to your checking account. Premier benefits include 0.25 percent cash-back rewards on qualifying debit card purchases and unlimited, non-Nationwide Bank ATM transactions.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • Up to eight free, non-Nationwide ATM transactions per statement cycle
  • Online banking and bill pay
  • Free online personal finance management tool
  • Free monthly online statements
  • Free money transfers iGOchecking

Consider opening an iGOchecking account if you don’t keep a lot of money in your checking account. The iGOchecking checking account offers a 0.25 percent bank interest rate on any balances that exceed $1.

Android and iPhone users can make mobile deposits using the iGObanking Flexible Deposit app — or from a computer with a desktop scanner. The daily deposit limit is $1,500 and the monthly deposit limit is $25,000.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • Mastercard iGOdebitcard
  • Online and mobile banking
  • Free access to 43,000 ATMs in the Allpoint network

Read: What to Ask Before Opening a Checking Account

Capital One 360 Checking

Capital One has one of the best checking account offers on the list. Its Capital One 360 Checking features no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. Once you open an account, Capital One will send your 360 Checking Mastercard debit card via FedEx so it will arrive in one to three business days.

The Capital One 360 Checking account offers number of overdraft protection options. Its Next Day Grace protection allows you a full business day to replace the money that’s overdrawn in your account before the bank charges you a $35 fee.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Online and mobile banking
  • 0.20% APY to 1.00% APY
  • Free access to more than 39,000 Capital One and Allpoint ATMs
  • Overdraft protection options

Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking

When you open a Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account, you’ll open a brokerage account as well. You won’t pay any fees or have to worry about minimum balance requirements, and it’s free to transfer funds between each account. Think of it as a free savings account linked to your checking account.

Charles Schwab does not charge any fees for using an ATM. You will be refunded in full for any ATM charges throughout your statement cycle.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • 0.15% APY
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Mobile deposit
  • Link to Apple Pay
  • Free Schwab Bank Visa Platinum debit card

SouthTrust Bank Direct Interest Checking

SouthTrust Bank’s Direct Interest Checking account offers a customers a free debit card, free online banking and bill pay and a free thank you gift from participating branches. To earn interest on your account, you’ll need to set up a monthly direct deposit or any automatic payment.

SouthTrust will pay up to $10 for unused checks and debit cards from another bank. All you have to do is hand over the checks and debit card when you open the account and you’ll receive the money.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • Free debit card
  • $25 minimum opening balance
  • Online and mobile banking
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Online statements with check images

Ally Bank Interest Checking

Ally Bank’s Interest Checking account is one of the best bank accounts, and you’ll get 24/7 live customer service as a customer. The account doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee and has no minimum balance requirements.

Ally pays 0.10% APY on balances of less than $15,000 and 0.60% APY on daily balances of $15,000 or more.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • 24/7 live customer service
  • Mobile deposits with Ally eCheck Deposit
  • Zelle to send or receive money
  • Free cashier’s checks
  • Free U.S. Allpoint ATM usage and reimbursement for up to $10 per statement cycle for fees from other ATMs

Ally Bank Review: High Interest Rates and 24/7 Accessibility

TIAA Direct Interest Checking

The Direct Interest Checking account from TIAA requires a $100 deposit to open. To avoid paying an NSF fee, set up overdraft protection by linking a TIAA savings or money market account.

Important to know: Accessing cash is easy and free at any ATM nationwide with the Direct Interest Checking account: TIAA will reimburse you for up to $15 per statement cycle.

Key Features

  • No monthly fees
  • 0.25% APY to 0.71% APY
  • No minimum balance
  • Free debit card
  • Free first order of checks
  • Mobile deposit

Methodology: identified the best free checking accounts for 2017 by analyzing monthly service fees, APYs, and minimum deposit and balance requirements. All fees and rates are accurate as of Dec. 17, 2017 and are subject to change at the banks’ discretion. And some bonus offers may or may no longer be available on the banks’ websites, depending on how you access the web page.

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’s 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, and some bonus offers might no longer be available on the issuers’ websites, depending on how you access the web page.

All rates are accurate as of Dec. 17, 2017, except for Capital One, FNBO and Nationwide, which are accurate as of today.

Nationwide, Nationwide Bank, the Nationwide N and Eagle and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Member FDIC.