Best Checking Accounts in June 2024

A good checking account should offer access to ATMs everywhere you need them, super-simple mobile banking so you can manage your money from anywhere, and no account fees. Oh, and good customer service is a must!

Based on that, we’ve put together a list of the top checking accounts to cover a variety of banking styles.

Erika's Picks for Best Checking Accounts

  • Best overall: SoFi Online Checking Account
  • Best for ATM access: Capital One 360 Checking
  • Best for college students: Chase College Checking
  • Best sign-up bonus: Axos Rewards Checking
  • Best for digital banking: Quontic High-Interest Checking
  • Best credit union: Alliant High-Rate Checking Account
  • Best for getting paid early: Varo Bank Account

. . .

Best Overall: SoFi Online Checking Account

  • APY: 0.50%
  • Welcome offer: Up to $250 with qualifying direct deposit
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
SoFi logo

. . .

SoFi is a complete financial services company that offers investing, insurance, loans, and even crypto. Its banking services are simple to use and come with a comprehensive mobile app that gives you access to all your accounts in one place.

The SoFi high-yield checking account is currently offering 0.50% APY on all deposits.

You can also get a welcome offer if you receive a direct deposit in the first 25 days of the account. You'll receive a $50 bonus if the direct deposit is between $1,000 and $4,999. Direct deposits of $5,000 or above will earn a $300 bonus.

There are no monthly maintenance fees and, unless you're trying to earn the welcome bonus, no minimum deposit.

Other highlights of the SoFi Online Checking Account include:

  • Access to 50,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • Mobile check deposit and bill pay
  • Send money to other SoFi users instantly
  • Up to $50 in overdraft coverage
  • Earn cashback with the SoFi debit card

Pros

  • No fees
  • Earn interest on deposits
  • ATM access nationwide
  • Super-simple mobile app

Cons

  • No physical locations
  • Cash deposits must be made via Green Dot, which charges fees
  • $1,000 minimum direct deposit for overdraft coverage

Open your SoFi Online Checking Account

Best for ATM access: Capital One 360 Checking

  • APY: 0.10%
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0

. . .

Capital One is a large online bank known for its credit cards, but it also offers a fee-free checking account and access to a huge selection of ATMs nationwide. Capital One has also an intuitive mobile app that makes it easy to manage your account 24/7.

Capital One does have a few in-person locations, called “Capital One Cafes,” which offer modern workspaces, free WiFi, and access to coffee and food. 

There is no minimum deposit required to open an account and no monthly maintenance fees.

Other highlights of the Capital One 360 Checking account include:

  • Over 70,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Zelle payments
  • Account locks and protection
  • Account alerts

Pros

  • No minimums (at all)
  • Access to all MoneyPoint and Allpoint ATMs
  • Can connect to a high-yield savings account

Cons

  • Not many physical locations
  • No free checks

Best for College Students: Chase College Checking

  • APY: 0%
  • Welcome offer: $100 if you complete 10 qualifying transactions in the first 60 days
  • Monthly fee: $0, for up to 5 years
  • Minimum balance: $0
Chase logo

. . .

Chase is the largest bank in the U.S., with thousands of locations across the country, plus almost any type of banking service imaginable.

Most of Chase's checking accounts come with high fees, except for the Chase College Checking. You must be between the ages of 17 and 24 to qualify. This account has no fees while you’re in college, for up to five years, no minimum deposit, and a $100 sign-up bonus.

To qualify for the $100 bonus you have to complete 10 qualifying transactions in the first 60 days of account opening. Qualifying transactions include debit card purchases, online bill payments, Zelle transactions, ACH credits, and Chase QuickDeposit.

Other highlights of the Chase College Checking include:

  • Unauthorized debit card purchase protection
  • Zelle payments
  • Access to over 4,500 Chase in-person branches
  • Free credit score monitoring

Pros

  • No fees or minimums for up to five years
  • Access to in-person banking in all 50 states
  • $100 bonus after 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days

Cons

  • There’s a $6 monthly fee after college (can be waived)
  • Must be 17 to 24 years old to open

Best Sign-Up Bonus: Axos Rewards Checking

  • APY: up to 3.30%
  • Welcome offer: up to $300
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum balance: $50
Axos logo

. . .

Axos is an online bank that offers free checking with up to 3.30% interest. However, to earn that top rate, you have to jump through some hoops. You'll need to:

  • Have at least $1,500 in direct deposit per month
  • Complete 10 debit card transactions per month
  • Keep an average daily balance of $2,500 in an Axos Invest Managed Portfolio account
  • Keep an average daily balance of $2,500 in an Axos Invest Self-Directed Trading Account
  • Have a mortgage, personal loan, or auto loan with Axos, and use the account to make the payment

If you don't have an investment account or a loan, you can still earn 0.70% APY by meeting the direct deposit requirements and having 10 debit card transactions per month.

There is also a sign-up bonus of $300 you can earn by using the promo code AXOS300, having $5,000 in direct deposit each month for seven months, and maintaining an average daily balance of $7,000.

Those hurdles could be worth it, though, since the Axos Rewards Checking charges no monthly maintenance fees, no overdraft of non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees, and all domestic ATM fees are reimbursed. It also has zero minimum monthly balance requirements (apart from earning the welcome bonus). However, there is a $50 minimum to open an account.

Other highlights of the Axos Rewards Checking account include:

  • Connect the account with an investment account for automated investing
  • Deposit cash with Green DOT ATMs at 7-Eleven locations (fees apply)

Pros

  • Very few fees
  • Simple application process
  • Big new account bonus

Cons

  • A $50 minimum balance required
  • The highest APY requires an investment account and consumer loan with Axos 

Best for Digital Banking: Quontic High-Interest Checking Account

  • APY: up to 1.10%
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum balance: $100
Quontic logo

. . .

Quontic is an innovative online bank that offers a high-interest checking account paying up to 1.10% APY. All you have to do is make 10 debit card purchases each month for at least $10. They also have a “pay ring,” letting you tap to pay without a debit card.

Quontic checking accounts don’t have monthly fees or overdraft charges, and you can even get free cashier’s checks. There is a $100 minimum to open an account.

Other highlights of the Quontic High-Interest Checking account include:

  • Access to 90,000+ ATMs for free
  • 24/7 online and mobile banking
  • Can connect to a high-yield savings account

Pros

  • Can earn up to 1.10% interest
  • Innovative pay ring
  • Live online chat support

Cons

  • $100 minimum deposit to open an account
  • No paper checkbook
  • No physical locations

Best Credit Union Checking: Alliant High-Rate Checking

  • APY: 0.25%
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
Alliant logo

. . .

Alliant is a national credit union that offers a fee-free checking account paying 0.25% APY on all deposits, with no balance minimum required. Alliant's high-rate checking accounts have access to more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs around the country and will reimburse up to $20 per month for out-of-network ATM fees.

Unlike many credit unions, Alliant is open to nearly anyone, making it easy to become a member and open a checking account. There is a minimum deposit of $25.

Here are some features of the Alliant High-Rate Checking account:

  • Mobile deposit and contactless payment are available
  • Overdraft protection
  • $0 liability on fraudulent charges

Pros

  • No hoops to jump through for a 0.25% APY rate
  • Account activity alerts
  • Easy-to-join online membership

Cons

  • No physical locations

Best for Getting Paid Early: Varo Bank Account

  • APY: 0%
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0

. . .

Varo is an online bank that offers a fee-free checking account with the ability to access direct deposit funds up to two days early. Varo bank accounts release access to your paycheck funds when they arrive, up to two days before payday, depending on your employer.

There are no monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees, and no minimum balance requirement.

Varo has a well-designed mobile app to manage everything, and you can chat with customer service on the app or website seven days a week.

Other highlights of the Varo Bank account include:

  • Access to 40,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • Zelle payment integration
  • Access to a high-yield savings account
  • Up to 6% cashback with certain brands through the Varo app

Pros

  • Online chat is available every day 
  • Very well-designed mobile app
  • No account minimums

Cons

  • Fees for out-of-network ATMs
  • No physical locations
  • No paper checks

What To Look for in a Checking Account

When searching for the right checking account, you want to consider what you will use it for and what features are most important to you.

For example, maybe you don’t care about physically going into a bank, but you value low fees and the mobile banking experience. In this case, an online bank would be your best bet.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing your checking account:

  • What will I use this account for?
  • Do I need paper checks?
  • Do I prefer banking online or in person?
  • What services will I use (cashier’s checks, bill-pay, money transfers, etc.)?
  • Do I need ATM access?

After answering these questions, you can narrow your search to banks that offer the services you require. 

Don’t forget to ask about fees, as some checking accounts charge monthly fees or require a minimum balance.

Tips for Managing Your Checking Account

After opening your checking account, it’s important to set up all the features you will be using. Here are a few things to do to get your account set up:

  • Arrange direct deposit with your employer
  • Create your online account to log in
  • Request a debit card 
  • Request paper checks (if needed)
  • Move bill autopay over to your new checking account
  • Set up account alerts
  • Connect your budgeting app to your new account (if applicable)
  • Download the banking mobile app and log in

Once your account is set up, you should be able to completely manage your account from the bank’s website or mobile app.

Pros and Cons of Checking Accounts

Checking accounts are designed to be your day-to-day money management account — but they shouldn't be used for everything.

Here are some advantages to using a checking account, and some reasons to avoid them:

Pros

  • Easy access to your money
  • Debit card for spending
  • FDIC-insured
  • Direct deposit your paychecks
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Can access cash through ATMs

Cons

  • Low interest rates
  • Monthly fees may apply
  • Some require a minimum balance

Related: Checking vs. Savings Accounts: What’s the Difference?

Man writing a check. Guide when opening one of the best checking accounts.

FAQs

What are the requirements when opening a checking account?

When opening a checking account, there are a few requirements you’ll need to meet. You typically have to be 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident. You’ll need to submit personal information like your full name, address, email, and phone number. You also typically need a Social Security number and will need to submit a government-issued ID for verification. Some accounts require a minimum deposit to open them, too.

Are online banks better than traditional banks?

Traditional banks offer more in-person banking locations and sometimes more services, but they also generally charge monthly maintenance fees. Online banks offer lower fees, better interest rates, and a better mobile banking experience in most cases. If you prefer in-person banking or have a specific banking need, traditional banks might be your only option. If you don't mind doing all your banking digitally, then online banks will serve your needs.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.