Free checking accounts will always be more attractive than fee-based checking accounts.
But totally free checking accounts can be hard to find. Many banks require you maintain a minimum balance or sign-up for direct deposit for the privilege of free checking accounts.
It’s becoming increasingly rare to find free checking accounts with no strings attached but it’s worth researching. Checking account fees can range from a few dollars up to $25.
Bottom-line is no one should have to pay to use their hard-earned money. In fact, more banks need to consider paying customers for the privilege of holding customer deposits.
We’ve selected five of the best free checking accounts with Cashback rewards that have no monthly fees, a low opening deposit and nationwide Free ATMs.
5 Free Online Checking Accounts
1. BBVA Online Checking – Best Overall Option
The BBVA Bank has proven to be a dependable online bank with free checking accounts available in all states (except Alaska and Hawaii). Plus, they have accounts designed for regular checking and second chance checking for people with ChexSystems records or bad credit. BBVA Bank is a full-service online bank. The BBVA Online Checking Account has no minimum balance requirements. Enjoy free checking, mobile deposits, bill pay, check writing, Visa debit card, and over 64,000 FREE ATMs nationwide where you can deposit checks and cash.
BBVA Online Checking Details:
- Monthly service charge: None.
- Opening deposit: Open with $25.
- ATM Fees: No ATM withdrawal fees at 64,000 Allpoint® and BBVA ATMs.
- Features and Perks: Online Banking and Mobile Banking, plus Mobile Check Deposit® and Bill Pay.
- Check Writing: Free unlimited check writing.
- Easy Money Transfers: With Popmoney®, all you need is an email address or mobile phone number to send money to anyone in the U.S., regardless of where they bank.
- Cashback Rewards: Earn Cashback rewards for everyday debit card purchases with Simple Cashback.nt transaction alerts on the go with BBVA Mobile Banking App.
2. SoFi Cash Management Account – Best for Interest Earning
The SoFi Money Cash Management Account is offered by SoFi Securities LLC, a FINRA registered broker dealer. With the cash management account you can make deposits, write checks, utilize electronic bill pay and transfer money. There are no monthly fees or overdraft fees. Plus, you earn a competitive 1.10% APY on all deposits. There is no minimum balance requirement to open a SoFi cash management account. Plus, you can earn a $75 cash bonus if you sign up for SoFi Money® and make two direct deposits of at least $500 each.
SoFi Cash Management Account Details:
- Fees: No account fees
- Opening deposit. $0 to open the account but you can earn $50 if you deposit $100 within 14 days of opening the account.
- ATM Fees: Unlimited reimbursed ATM fees.
- Interest Rate: High-yield interest rate of 1.10% APY.
- Checks: Checking writing (just order checkbook after account is open).
- Bill pay: Automated bill pay.
- Transfer cash: Easy P2P payments at no cost.
- Mobile manage: Freeze debit card on-the-go.
- FDIC-insured: Deposits insured up to $1.5MM through the SoFi Money sweep program with partner banks.
3. Axos Bank Essential Checking – Best Old School Option
Axos Bank (formerly Bank of Internet) is the oldest online-only bank in the United States and a pioneer in running a fulll-service bank without physical branches. The Essential Checking Account is a no-fee account with unlimited reimbursement of any domestic ATM fee. Get your paycheck up to two days early with direct deposit express. Axos Bank does pull ChexSystems records and requires average to good credit.
Essental Checking Account Details:
- Opening Deposit: Open with as little as $25.
- Direct Deposit Expres: Get paid up to 2 days early.
- Monthly service fee: None.
- ATM Fees: Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
- Features and Perks: Free Mobile Deposit – Deposit checks anytime, anywhere.
- Overdrafts: No overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees.
- Balance requirements: No minimum monthly balance requirements.
- Cashback: Exclusive Visa Offers & Perks.
4. OneUnited Bank – Best Black Owned Bank
OneUnited Bank has a regular checking account and a second chance checking account. Both accounts feature the same benefits. OneUnited Bank is the first Black Internet Bank with accounts available to people in ALL STATES. Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit. To apply you must first enter your name and email address plus choose the “Debit/Checking” option then click the button “Apply Today.” During the application process you’ll need to choose which checking account is best for your needs.
Checking Account Details:
- Opening deposit: Minimum opening deposit of $100.
- Early Direct Deposit: Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit.
- Mobile Banking: Free Online, Mobile Banking & Free Bill Pay.
- Free ATMs: Obtain Cash, Surcharge Free at Over 30,000 ATMs Nationwide.
- Mobile Deposits: Deposit checks through the mobile app using Mobile Remote Deposit Capture.
- Service Fees: No fee with a monthly direct deposit and 10 card purchase transactions*.
5. Aspiration Spend & Save Account – Best for Budgeting
Aspiration Bank is an online only bank offering a generous interest earning, free checking and savings account. The account is a combination of a checking and savings account. The headline here is the Cashback rewards increases for spending at socially-conscious companies. Plus, Aspiration is committed to equal financial opportunity and giving back to the community by donating 10% of their earnings. Unlimited 0.5% to 1.00% Cashback rewards on every purchase.
Checking Account Details:
- Opening deposit: Minimum opening deposit of $0.
- Cashback: Offers a hybrid cash account with a rare up-to-5% cash back on purchases and a 1.00% APY.
- Mobile Banking: Spending tracker for social impact, and 10% of Aspiration’s earnings go to charity.
- Free ATMs: Reimburses fees for up to five ATM withdrawals per month.
- Service Fees: No monthly fee and no overdraft fees.
Final thoughts on free checking accounts
Fortunately, it’s still possible to find free checking accounts. You just have to know where to look. We’ve made your search somewhat easier. These online banks offer legitimately free, FDIC-insured (up to $250,000 per account) accounts with plenty of Cashback opportunities for things most people regularly purchase.
Having the ability to earn Cashback or other rewards is a nice incentive to open a free checking account online.