Checking Account Fees Comparison Chart: Best Banks for Free Checking Accounts

Compare checking accounts to locate the best deals and services.

Figuring out the best bank to open a checking account usually entails finding an account that charges minimal fees and if you’re lucky, interest. Plenty of banks advertise free checking accounts that come with no monthly maintenance service charges and free ATM usage. But even these free checking accounts might carry high fees such as overdraft and stop-payment charges. Take a look at some of the fees you might be charged with a free checking account.

Fees Associated With Free Checking Accounts

Of the 15 financial institutions listed in the bank fees comparison chart below, none of them charge a monthly maintenance fee. Many of these banks also offer additional banking services, like mobile and online banking, at no extra cost. But the most common fees associated with free checking accounts are overdraft fees. And even the best free checking accounts sometimes require a minimum balance, though it tends to be relatively low.

To identify the best free checking accounts, compare banks and their bank account fees:

Free Checking Account Fees
BankFree Checking AccountOverdraft FeeMin. Opening DepositFree ServicesHow to Apply
BankofInternetUSA logo 2017 iconBank of Internet USARewards Checking$0$0Online and mobile banking, bill pay, mobile deposit, purchase rewards, cash-back offersLearn More
Capital OneCapital One Bank360 Checking$9$0Free use of 39,000 Allpoint or Capital One ATMs, Mastercard debit card, mobile deposit, checkbookLearn More
Charles Schwab logo 2017Charles Schwab BankHigh-Yield Investor Checking$25$0Unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwideLearn More
Ally logo 2017Ally BankInterest Checking$25$0Online and mobile banking, debit Mastercard, checks, online bill pay, postage-paid deposit envelopesLearn More
Simple BankSimple Checking$0$0No fees for transfers or card replacementLearn More
DiscoverDiscover BankCashback Checking$30$0No-fee replacement debit cardLearn More
First National Bank logoFirst National BankFirst National Free Checking$33$0Free cashier’s checks, incoming wires, stop paymentsLearn More
FirstBankAnywhere Account$34$0Free mobile checking depositLearn More
fulton bank logoFulton BankSimply Checking$39$0No annual fee Relationship Rewards Visa debit cardLearn More
The Huntington National BankAsterisk-Free Checking$37.50$024-Hour Grace feature gives you more time to make a deposit to avoid an overdraft feeLearn More
fnbo direct logoFNBO DirectOnline Checking$33$1Free person-to-person payments with Popmoney, free debit card fraud monitoringLearn More
igobanking com logoiGobanking.comiGOchecking$30$1Free iGOdebitcardLearn More
New York Community Bank logo 2017New York Community BankMy Community Free Checking$36$1Free mobile checking depositLearn More
Bank5 logo 2017Bank5 ConnectHigh Interest Checking$15$10Free downloadable financial resourcesLearn More
KeyBankKeyBankHassle-Free Checking$0$10Free mobile checking depositLearn More
Information accurate as of Dec. 13, 2017.

Of the 15 checking accounts listed on the bank comparison chart, 10 don’t require a minimum opening deposit, three accounts only require $1 and two ask for $10 to open a checking account. The low minimum deposit requirements make the accounts accessible to all consumers. Of course, you’ll also need to review the checking account fees, which vary widely from bank to bank, as well as the many additional features these free checking accounts offer.

Learn More: 13 Banks Offering Free Checking With No Minimum Balance

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Free Checking Accounts With the Fewest Fees

Many banks with the lowest fees utilize online banking because it’s cheaper to operate. An online checking account usually incurs no overhead costs, so it’s easier for the banks to pass on savings to clients.

Bank of Internet USA, for example, has no service fee or monthly account maintenance fee and no overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees. Simple Bank is another online bank of the no-fee checking accounts with no overdraft, transfer or card replacement fees. The company also boasts a network of 40,000 free ATMs.

The best route to getting a checking account with fewer or no fees might be to go with an online bank. But if you prefer a no-fee checking account from a brick-and-mortar bank, try to negotiate a deal. If that doesn’t work, prepare to meet the requirement for monthly fees to be waived, such as keeping a minimum balance. This will keep the cost of maintaining your checking account low so that it works with your budget and gives you the opportunity to use the money you would have spent on fees on something more important.

Free Checking Accounts With the Most Fees

A large percentage of the banks with the high fees are brick-and-mortar banks, most likely because they are more expensive to operate. For example, Fulton Bank’s Simply Checking has the highest overdraft fee of the free checking accounts compared here, at $39. Ally Bank, on the other hand, charges an overdraft fee of $25, and the bank reimburses up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other domestic ATMs.

Although Discover Bank’s Cashback Checking doesn’t have a minimum opening deposit requirement or charge a monthly fee, it does impose a $30 outgoing wire fee, a $15 stop payment fee and a hefty $30 non-sufficient funds fee.

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Despite having more fees overall, there are benefits to maintaining an account at a brick-and-mortar bank, including a wider range of accounts offered, keeping all of your assets and accounts in one place and one-on-one interaction with a bank representative. The last point might sound silly to millennials, but for other generations, interacting with an individual at a bank is an integral part of their relationship with a financial institution.

Find Out: How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

Free Services Offered With Checking Accounts

The best free checking accounts compiled here offer a wide array of free services and perks. Not only do they make banking more convenient, but they also provide additional ways to save. Here are some of the best free services offered:

  • Free online banking
  • Free mobile banking
  • Free online or electronic statements
  • Free standard checks
  • No ATM fees
  • ATM rebates
  • Debit card rewards programs
  • Free fraud monitoring

Before committing to a bank, consider which of these features is most important to you so you can find a bank that offers a checking account with the features you value most.

Related: Best Checking Account Bonuses, Promotions and Offers

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Pros and Cons of Free Checking Accounts

Free checking accounts that come with minimum opening deposits and overdraft fees also tend to offer more free services, rewards and convenient perks. You’ll even find that some offer an interest-bearing checking account that allows you to earn interest on the money you keep in your account. For example, Bank of Internet USA offers a 1.25% APY on its Rewards Checking, Capital One Bank provides up to 1.00% APY on its 360 Checking, and Bank5 Connect gives clients a 0.76% APY on its High-Interest Checking account.

Free checking accounts without minimum opening deposit requirements or overdraft fees still tend to provide plenty of free services and features, such as rewards programs and online and mobile banking. When it comes to the best free checking accounts, you can pick and choose which fees and benefits fit what you’re trying to do with your money. For example, if you tend to visit the ATM frequently, you’ll want a checking account with a complimentary debit card and no ATM fees. Individuals who use their debit cards more than average would benefit from free fraud monitoring and the opportunity to take part in a rewards program.

Keep Reading: Guide to Daily ATM Withdrawal and Debit Purchase Limits

Alicia Bodine and Ashley Redmond contributed to the reporting for this article.

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About the Author

Andrew DePietro is a finance writer with years of experience covering topics such as taxation, Social Security, entrepreneurship, investing, real estate and housing markets. His work has appeared on MSN, Yahoo Finance, Fortune, Forbes, CBS and U.S. News. Before writing for GOBankingRates, Andrew worked as a research assistant and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in History.