The 10 Best Free Checking Accounts of 2024

By having no fees certain banks offer free checking accounts. Luckily many banks are offering totally free checking accounts nowadays. You can take advantage of free services and no interest rates. Who said banking had to cost you more money?

There are a lot of banks out there and a lot of them will not charge you any fees. They have large ATM footprints, powerful apps, and reward systems. Below is a roundup of the best free checking accounts out there.

Table of Contents
  1. U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking
  2. Bank of America – Cash Bonus Offer
  3. KeyBank Checking Account — $200
  4. Chase Total Checking® – $300
  5. Discover® Cashback Debit – up to $360
  6. Consumers Credit Union – up to 5.00% APY
  7. Axos Bank
  8. Ally Bank Checking
  9. LendingClub Bank
  10. NBKC Bank

U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking

U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking is the main checking account product from U.S. Bank, an FDIC insured national bank (#6548) with 2,300+ locations in 28 states. It has a minimum initial deposit of $25 and has all the features I’ve come to expect from a checking account – mobile check deposit, automated bill pay, Zelle, and even overdraft protection and fee forgiveness.

They also sometimes offer a new account bonus – see the U.S. Bank new account bonuses for more details.

There is a $6.95 monthly maintenance fee that you can get waived if you meet one of these conditions:

  • have an average account balance of $1,500 or more
  • have an open qualifying U.S. Bank consumer credit card, or,
  • Combined monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more

Member FDIC.

👉 Learn more about this offer

Bank of America – Cash Bonus Offer

Bank of America is my main checking account because of its geographic footprint and abundance of branches and ATMs. When it comes to a checking account, ease of use, easy to waive fees, and footprint are some of my key factors.

Also, Bank of America has a $200 Bonus Offer for new customers and to get it you have to open a new checking account online through a Bank of America promotional page and satisfy a few requirements.

Three Bank of America Banking accounts qualify for this bonus:

  • Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking® – $25 minimum opening deposit and $4.95 monthly maintenance fee. See the offer page for ways to waive the monthly fee.
  • Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking® – $100 minimum opening deposit and $12 monthly maintenance fee. See the offer page for ways to waive the monthly fee.
  • Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking® –  $100 minimum opening deposit and $25 monthly maintenance fee. See the offer page for ways to waive the monthly fee.

Open the account and Set up and receive qualifying direct deposits totaling $2,000 or more into that account within 90 days of account opening to get your bonus.

Don’t forget, the Bank of America promotional offer code is TWT200CIS. If you click through the links on this site, the code will be entered automatically for you.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC

👉 Learn more about this offer

(Offer expires 5/31/2024)

KeyBank Checking Account — $200

This is their publicly available offer – get $200 for opening either a Key Smart Checking® or a Key Select Checking® account with the minimum opening deposit of $10 or $50, respectively, plus one qualified direct deposit of at least $500 within the first 60 days of account opening.

Offer code: ADSA0324

Your $200 cash bonus will be deposited into your account within 90 days of meeting requirements. Account must not be closed or restricted during the time of promotional period.

(Only available in AK, CO, CT, ID, IN, MA, ME, MI, NY, OH, OR, PA, UT, VT, and WA.)

Why we like it: $200 is a nice little bonus. With Key Smart Checking®, there is no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance. It doesn’t bear interest but you get access to 40,000+ Key and Allpoint ATMs. With Key Select CheckingSM, you get an interest bearing account with a waivable $25 monthly fee and a $100 annual cash bonus if you meet certain criteria.

👉 Learn more about this KeyBank offer

(Offer expires 7/19/2024)

Chase Total Checking® – $300

Chase Total Checking will give you $300 if you open a new account and set up and receive direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days. If you do all this, you’ll get $300 in 15 business days.

There is a $12 monthly service fee that gets waived if you have a monthly direct deposit of at least $500 or keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 OR have $5,000+ in any combination of Chase savings, checking, and other accounts. Whew!

Why we like it: $300. The account doesn’t offer interest, which is common from a major bank, but it does give you $300 and they have a massive geographic footprint.

Available online nationwide. For branch locations, visit

👉 Learn more about Chase Total Checking

Discover® Cashback Debit – up to $360

Discover Bank Logo

Discover® Bank has a great checking account that offers cashback debit – you can get 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases each and every month (see website for details). Add that up and it’s $360 in cash back per year just to use your debit card, a reward that is extremely rare on this type of account.

This is on top of Discover’s history of being a very affordable, low-fee bank. There is no monthly maintenance fee, 60,000+ no-fee ATMs, no fees for ATM use at other ATMs (though other banks may still charge a fee), free standard checks, free online bill pay, and free debit card replacement.

Why we like it: The debit card pays you 1% cashback. Debit cards rarely give you cashback and this account gives you 1% on up to $3,000 each month – an annual total of $360 – and it’s automatically deposited into your Discover® savings account.

Member FDIC.

👉 Learn more about Discover Cashback Debit

Consumers Credit Union – up to 5.00% APY

Are you looking for a high interest rate on a rewards checking account?

Consumers Credit Union is offering a free Rewards Checking Account that promises up to 5.00% APY, one of the highest in the nation. There is no bonus to open it, which is why we list it after other banks, and there’s a cap on how much of your balance earns this higher rate.

The interest rate you earn, like with many rewards checking accounts, depends on which conditions you meet:

  • Earn 3.00% APY on balances up to $10,000 when you receive eDocuments, make 12+ debit card purchases each month, and get direct deposits, Mobile Check Deposits or ACH Credits totaling $500+ monthly
  • Earn 3.00% APY on balances up to $10,000 when you meet the requirements to get 3.00% APY PLUS spend $500 or more in CCU Visa Credit Card purchases each month; no minimum number of transactions.
  • Earn 3.00% APY on balances up to $10,000 when you meet the requirements to get 4.00% APY PLUS spend $1,000 or more in CCU Visa Credit Card purchases each month; no minimum number of transactions.

👉 Learn more about Consumers Credit Union

Axos Bank

Axos Bank

Axos Bank is a rewards checking account that offers an interest rate as high as 3.30% APY if you meet some of the reward checking account requirements.

From time to time, Axos Bank offers a new account bonus so check before you open an account.

The current promotion is an $300 cash bonus when you open an Axos Bank Rewards Checking account with the promotion code AXOS300. Then, fund your account within 30 days of opening. Then, receive qualifying direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 each calendar month during the first seven calendar months your account is open plus maintain a minimum average daily balance of $7,000. The bonus is paid out $50 a month for each month in which you satisfy the direct deposit and average daily balance conditions..

The rewards program (for higher interest) is tiered, which means you get a higher interest rate when you meet these conditions:

To earn the full interest rate of 3.30% APY (as of 3/1/2023), you must do all of the following.

  • direct deposits (not including intra-bank transfers from another account) totaling $1,500 or more each month will earn 0.40%. A qualifying direct deposit is required for the remaining interest rate qualifications to apply. (and to unlock the next tiers, you must have direct deposit set up first)
  • debit card spending or Personal Finance Manager – Ten (10) point-of-sale transactions per month using your Rewards Checking Visa® Debit Card for normal everyday purchases with a minimum of $3 per transaction, or enrolling in Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager (PFM) will earn 0.30%;
  • Managed Portfolios – maintaining an average daily balance of at least $2,500 a month in an Axos Managed Portfolio Invest account will earn 1.00%;
  • self-directed trading – maintaining an average daily balance of at least $2,500 per month in an Axos Self Directed Trading Invest account will earn 1.00%;
  • Loan Payments – and making a monthly payment to an open Axos Bank consumer loan (commercial and business loans excluded) via transfer from your Rewards Checking account will earn a maximum of 0.60%.

There is no minimum balance, no maintenance or service fees, as well as unlimited ATM reimbursements when you use another bank’s ATM. There is a fully-featured mobile app with mobile deposit, bill pay, etc.

Why we like it: Rewards checking accounts, like those powered by Kasasa banking, are great because they offer higher interest rates often for things you’re already doing. If you are making 15 transactions a month and get $1,500+ in direct deposits, why not take the higher interest? (unlimited ATM fee reimbursement is nice too!)

👉 Learn more about Axos Rewards Checking

Ally Bank Checking

Ally Bank Logo

I use Ally Bank. I’ve been using them for years because they’re one of the best online banks out there. Ally Bank has an entire suite of deposit products that are best in class, with high interest rates and low fees.

The checking account has no maintenance fees and no minimum balance. You get free ATM access via the Allpoint ATM network but if you find yourself using another bank’s ATM, Ally will reimburse you $10 in ATM fees every statement cycle (this is the fee the other banks charge, Ally doesn’t charge you). Finally, there is a fully-featured mobile app with mobile check deposit. If you prefer to deposit via mail, you can do that too.

Why we like it: It’s everything you want in a checking account PLUS it pays you interest. The rate is far higher than any brick and mortar bank out of the water and almost every other online bank too. It’s also part of Ally Bank’s other deposit products, like certificates of deposit and savings accounts, which are also best in class as well.

👉 Learn more about Ally Bank

(here’s a full review of Ally Bank)

LendingClub Bank

LendingClub Bank, formerly Radius Bank, is a Boston, MA-based bank founded in 1987 and offers fantastic rewards on their checking account. With the Radius Bank Rewards Checking account, you can earn unlimited 1% cashback on signature-based “credit” transactions on their debit card plus a high rate of interest. The interest rate is 0.75% APY on balances from $2500 to $99,999.99 and 1.00% APY on balances above $100,000.

You can also pair this with their savings account, which yields 1.15% APY on balances of $25,000 and up and 0.75% APY on balances $2,500 to $24,999.99. It’s a solid combination when you consider the rewards on the debit card have no limit.

You get free ATMs worldwide and just need $100 to open an account, but otherwise has no account minimums. There is no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance.

For a complete look at them, check out our Radius Bank review.

Why we like it: Unlimited 1% cash back rewards on an account that can bear interest (if your balance is over $2,500) is a good combination to have.

👉 Learn more about Radius Bank Rewards Checking


nbkc bank logo

While not a household name, NBKC Bank is making a name for itself with a personal account that offers a on all balances. It’s an online-only bank, the interest rate is one of the best on this list (without strings), and it has no minimum or maintenance fee. There is also a fully-featured mobile app with mobile deposit, a must nowadays.

They leverage the 32,000+ MoneyPass ATMs so you can use them for free but they will also reimburse you $12 for ATM fees other banks charge you when you use their ATMs. All in all, it’s a solid online bank with a decent interest rate.

Why we like it: It’s a good interest rate. As of this writing, Ally Bank’s checking account only offers 0.25% APY. in interest plus all the other perks, it’s a solid choice.

👉 Learn more about NBKC Bank

(read our review of NBKC Bank for more details)

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

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He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

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Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Dave says

    Liberty First Credit Union, Lincoln, NE Kasasa checking acct. 4% interest up to $40K balance, .15% over $40k, THE very best in the country !

  2. Jon Vawter says

    All of the above 8 financial institutions are “banks”; please include or have a separate article on “credit unions” which include those paying 3% to 7% on their checking accounts balances; yes, each have their requirements like 10 to 15 debit/credit transactions, a direct deposit of $100+ each month and/or other requirements.
    Consumers deserve a better alternative.

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