8. Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab is an online bank with a free checking account, but only if you open a brokerage account first, which is easy since you don’t have to make any trades or carry a minimum balance. Once you open the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account, there’s no monthly service fee, no currency exchange fee when using ATMs overseas and no minimum balance requirement. Plus, it pays a 0.25% yield.
Schwab will also let you use any ATM at zero charge and offers unlimited ATM fee rebates for the fees other banks charge. Schwab also issues free paper checks to its customers.
7. The Incredible Bank
This Internet bank’s Incredible high-yield checking account currently pays a 1.35% APY. Incredible Bank’s checking account is free unless you request paper statements. There are no ATM fees, and the bank reimburses customers for charges when using other other banks’ ATMs. Like many of the other Internet banks however, you have to mail in checks or make inter-bank transfers if you want to deposit money.
PNC has branches in 15 states and Washington, D.C. and offers a checking account without a minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fee. ATM withdrawals are free at any of PNC’s 6,000-plus ATMs, and the bank reimburses non-PNC ATM fees if you carry a $2,000 average monthly balance.PNC has one downside because PNC branches and ATMs are highly concentrated in the Northeast and East.
5. Alliant Credit Union
They offer high-rate checking, no monthly fees and is part of a large ATM network of over 80,000, of which of you use free of charge. Alliant offers a checking account with no monthly service fee and no minimum balance requirement. You can easily earn a high APY of 1.10% on your checking account if you opt out of paper statements and make at least one monthly electronic deposit.
4. Capital One
All three of Capital One’s checking accounts come free of monthly maintenance fees and minimum balance requirements, but if you live in Virginia, Maryland or D.C., you’ll be charged a monthly fee of $8.95 after the first year of free checking if your balance drops below $1,500.
Capital One has one downside because it charges customers $2 to use non-Capital One ATMs — and it only has about 2,000 ATMS across nine states (Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Virginia). The bank also won’t reimburse any fees the out-of-network ATM charges you.
USAA offers a checking account with no minimum balance requirement, no monthly maintenance fee and issues free paper checks. The bank also allows 10 free ATM withdrawals per month and refunds up to $15 of what other banks charge you for using their ATMs. It has a bank-to-bank transfer service as well, so customers can go to a local bank to access their funds.
2. ING Direct
ING Direct offers a free checking account and no ATM fees. They do not offer paper checks, but you can fill out checks online and the bank will mail them for you for free. Its checking account, Electric Orange, currently yields 0.25% for balances under $50,000 and 1.2% and up for larger balances. ING Direct also offers person-to-person lending through its site or mobile app.
1. Ally Bank
This web-based bank does not charge monthly maintenance fees, does not require you to keep a minimum balance, and allows you to use any ATM for free. Ally’s Interest Checking account, which launched last year, offers a rate of 1.05% APY (annual percentage yield) if you keep a balance of at least $15,000 in your account. If your balance is under $15,000, you still get a rate of 0.5%. Ally also allows you to move money between their bank and others free of charge.
Ally Bank does have one downside when it comes to deposits because you cannot easily deposit checks at a branch or via smartphone, but they provide postage-paid envelopes to mail in your deposits.