Opening free checking accounts today is not as easy as it used to be.
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Many banks actually require either a deposit to open this account, or a maintenance fee, so they really aren’t completely free.
Plus, most banks require anyone who wants to open a checking account to have a credit score of 600 or higher.
If any of these issues have kept you from opening a checking account in the past, I hope this list of banks could help you open one now.
20 Absolutely Free Checking Accounts
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: No balance or deposit requirements, as well as no monthly account fees.
This totally free checking account was launched specifically for freelancers. While this account doesn’t earn interest, it does a TON more valuable tasks such as automating tax savings and “emergency bucket” fund-building, early payday for qualifying account holders with direct deposit (up to 2 days early), and more.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $0 deposit and balance requirements
Not only does this Capital One free checking account let you open an account for free, but the bank also gives you an account opening bonus of $25 when you deposit $250 or more.
This account works both as a traditional debit card and an efficient mobile banking app (with features like mobile check deposit, ATM finder, bill pay, and text alerts for balances or bills due). Capital One 360 Checking yields 0.20% APY on all balances as well.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $0 deposit, balance requirement, and monthly fees.
If you’re fine with online banking, this mobile-first Betterment checking account comes with awesome rewards through its Betterment Cash Back Rewards, tap-to-pay debit card, mobile check deposit, automatic two-way cash sweep (Two Way Sweep), and seamless transfers between Betterment accounts.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: No maintaining balance and monthly fees required.
Novo is a multi-featured free checking account for businesses. It features free ACH transfers with free/unlimited mailed checks, free mobile check deposits, free incoming wires, and refunds all ATM fees.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fee.
If you’re looking for free checking accounts for business, this account is built to grow businesses. It has no transaction limits and earns 1.00% APY on your entire account balance.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s a minimum opening deposit amount of $1 and a minimum balance of $0.01 required to earn APY.
Android and iPhone compatible mobile banking app with bill pay and direct money transfers to friends/family without charge. It lets you earn 0.25%* Annual Percentage Yield and offers Free Card Fraud Monitoring.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $0 deposit and $0 balance requirement
This checking account from Chase has a $12 monthly fee, which can be waived if you keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more in your account, have monthly direct deposits totaling $500 or more into your account, or keep an average daily balance of $5,000 across qualifying Chase accounts.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $0 deposit requirement with $0 maintaining balance and $0 monthly fee
This absolutely-free checking account has no fee whatsoever, but it earns interest (about 0.40% Annual Percentage Yield) and uses a mobile app for easy cash transactions and free mobile check deposits.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance required.
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This forever-free checking account is pretty impressive. It lets you earn a 2.15% yearly bonus (yield) on account balances up to $5,000 and enjoy 5% yearly cashback on spends up to $500. It serves as a virtual debit card, too!
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: This account has no minimum balance requirements and no monthly fees
Advertised as America’s Most Experienced Digital Banks, Axos Bank offers its own Rewards Checking Account with unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements, and no overdraft or insufficient fund fees.
It also earns up to 1.25% APY. The only downside is you must have a good banking history for approval.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: No minimum balance requirements and no monthly fees
Anyone can open this free checking account for $0 with a $0 minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees.
It earns 0.40% APY interest and can be accessed across 55,000 AllPoint ATMs nationwide. Plus, its debit card and mobile app are well-built for the modern online banking experience.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: No minimum deposit is required to open an account and charges no monthly fees.
This checking account “that gives you more” lets you receive wire transfers and order cashier’s checks FREE. You can also earn rebates of up to $10/month of non-Allpoint ATM fees.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There is a $1 minimum opening deposit is $1 and no ongoing maintenance fee.
This almost-free checking account is a high-interest checking (a high – if variable – yield on all balances).
It is backed with FDIC insurance on balances up to $1 million. If you’re planning to invest, you can quickly do so since this account is a product offered by Wealthfront Brokerage in partnership with Green Dot Bank.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $0 deposit requirement with $0 maintaining balance and $0 monthly fee
One of the most popular free checking accounts, this Discover offering lets you earn up to 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases every month.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $0 account fee with recurring Direct Deposit (otherwise, it’s an $8 monthly fee)
You can get up to $250 Cashback rewards with all NASA Federal Debit Card purchases. There’s also FREE Online BillPay+, yearly fee waiver on insufficient funds with NSF FreePass™, and EarlyAccess™ Payroll.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You must open a regular savings account first (with a minimum of $5), then you no longer have to pay monthly fees or maintain a specific balance amount.
Connexus Credit Union’s Xtraordinary Checking offers a competitive APY (up to 1.75% on balances up to $25,000). It gives customers a free debit card, online bill pay, mobile deposit, and peer-to-peer payments. Plus, it also reimburses up to $25 per month in ATM provider surcharges.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: This requires no Minimum Opening Deposit or Balance Requirements
The annual yield may be a bit low, but this checking account has a solid cashback program (it gives cashback on all your non-pin-based purchases with your debit card) with free online bill payment, free mobile check deposit, and FREE first order of checks. Your account here is FDIC and DIF insured to protect your entire balance.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: With $0 minimum balance, $0 monthly fee, and $0 maintaining balance requirements.
To qualify for the High-Rate Checking Account, members have to opt-out of paper statements and have at least one electronic deposit each month, which can be a mobile, ATM or direct deposit, or a transfer from another financial institution. Plus, 0.25% APY on High-Rate Checking is well above average.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: One-off $100 deposit, but no monthly fees and no ATM fees
If you’re looking for a checking account with high interest (it pays 1.01% APY so long as certain monthly requirements are met) and a good cash rewards program (it pays up to 1.50% cashback on qualifying debit card transactions each statement cycle). You can access more than 90,000 surcharge-free ATMs, but go banking 24/7 on any mobile device.
Second-Chance Free Checking Accounts
Second-chance checking accounts aren’t really the best option, but if you have zero banking history or with bad records, opening one is the best way to re-establish your records financially.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $0 deposit with $5 monthly fee, which can be waived with eligible direct deposit.
Offered by Green Dot, this mobile-first bank is a high-interest savings checking account with no credit check. It has rewards and gives account holders easy access to cash from paychecks to stimulus checks.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: While there is a $25 minimum deposit fee to open, there is no monthly maintenance fee.
This BBVA Free Checking is only available in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas, while the BBVA Online Checking second-chance checking account is available in all states except Alaska and Hawaii.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $10 minimum deposit to open with a $9 monthly fee
This online checking account offers a rewards debit card (with up to 1.5% cashback and no caps) and can be accessed from your mobile and desktop.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $30 minimum to open with $4.95 monthly maintenance
This bank lets you get back into a good banking standing by allowing you to open a checking account, and if you’re able to maintain it for 12 months, you can upgrade to the Radius Rewards Checking account.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: You need a minimum of $25 to open and a $10 monthly maintenance fee, but you can avoid this by making 10 debit card purchases monthly or maintaining a balance of $1500.
There are 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs across the country, plus you can withdraw free of charge. This is available in all 50 states, even if you had a not-so-good banking record in the past.
Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: $0 with no monthly fees
This award-winning mobile banking app advertises itself as friendly to customers, even for second-chance bank accounts. There is no credit check, banking score usage, or ChexSystem. It offers free debit cards and up to $100 in overdraft protection.
Online vs. Traditional Banking
A good checking account is customer-friendly with minimal fees, deposit insurance, and features like online bill payment and mobile deposit. Your money from this account should also be easy to cash.
If you look closely, most banks with free checking accounts with no deposit fee or maintaining fee are online. Probably because online banking has minimal overhead costs than traditional banking. Or maybe these new online banking products were explicitly designed to accommodate those who are having difficulties opening one, so I say, go for it!
And if you want to be proactive with your finances, use free gas cards, learn how to earn free Target gift cards regularly, and if you need to travel, take advantage of these free flights to save a significant amount of cash each year.