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The 6 Best Free Checking Accounts in 2015

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

ATM

Some bank customers don’t even know checking accounts used to be free. I remember visiting my local bank branch, requesting a new account, and receiving a fee-free checking account. However, it seems those days are gone. Today, checking accounts come with a variety of fees. Some banks charge fees to speak with a teller, fees for low balances, fees to use an out-of-network ATM, fees to cash a check, or fees for writing too many checks. Stop the madness!

Fortunately, the rise of the digital age created more competition between banks. Online banks are competing against each other and traditional brick-and-mortar banks by offering superior products. Thanks to these digital competitors, the truly free checking account exists again. The following accounts provide you with the opportunity to never be hit with a monthly fee, overdraft fee or ATM fee again.

1. Bank of Internet USA

bank-of-internet-usa (1)Need to withdraw cash? Visit any ATM with a Bank of Internet USA account and have all US ATM fees reimbursed. Bank of Internet USA never charges an overdraft fee, and there are no monthly fees.

BofI offers two different checking accounts: the Rewards checking account and the Cash Back checking account. Both accounts request a minimum opening deposit of $100, but after that there is no minimum balance required.

The primary difference between the two accounts is the interest payments versus cash back. The Rewards checking account offers daily compounding interest of up to 1.25%. To earn this rate on your balance of $150,000 or less you need:

Direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more

Use your Rewards Checking Visa debit card 15 times or more on purchases of $3 or higher in a month.

The Cash Back checking account offers cash back of 0.50% for signature-based transactions. Those are debit card purchases without using a pin number. You can earn up to $1,000 per month on these signature-based transactions.

Remember, we don’t advise regularly using your debit card for purchases because it makes you more susceptible to fraud. Credit cards offer better fraud protection and better cash back value. If your debit card becomes compromised, crooks having direct access to your money and can drain your bank account.

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2. Fidelity Cash Management Account

fidelityFidelity Cash Management Account reimburses all ATM fees the same day, has no monthly fees, and no overdraft fees. The FDIC insurance covers up to $1,250,000, which is 5 times larger than the standard bank account. Get free checks and check writing, mobile deposits and bill pay, all with no minimum balance. And because this account can be linked to your Fidelity investing account, you can easily move money between your Fidelity accounts.

The downside? There is no option for a line of credit to protect from an overdraft. Instead, you’ll need to link a savings or brokerage account to sweep funds if you go overdraft and want all items to clear. Without a linked account, purchases that would cause an overdraft are simply declined.

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3. Ally Interest Checking

allyAlly Interest Checking Account reimburses all ATMs in the U.S., offers free overdraft transfers from savings to checking and you get a high 0.60% rate on balances higher than $15,000. If that’s not enough to get excited about, the account also offers free checks and free cashier’s checks. On the downside, there is a $9 fee if you overdraft without a linked savings account. However, the bank charges overdraft fee only once per day and there are no extended overdraft charges.

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4. Simple

simpleSimple offers a simple account with no overdraft or monthly fees. Stay in the Allpoint network for ATM withdrawals otherwise you will pay the other bank ATM fee. How do you know if the ATM is in the network? Use the Simple ATM finder and type in your location or allow the map to find one near you. I found 5 ATMs within a 5-mile radius of where I live.

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5. EverBank Yield Pledge

everbankEverBank offers a promise to keep your yield in the top 5% of competitive accounts. Earn 0.93% APY in the first year and a bonus for the first 6 months. The ongoing interest rate is nothing to get too excited about, but if you find that you want a higher rate, you can simply move to one of the other accounts listed above or use this tool to find the best high yield savings account.

Everbank only reimburses ATM fees if you keep a minimum of $5,000 in your checking account and each overdraft fee costs $30 with no daily cap.

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6. Moven

movenMoven also offered a reimbursement of ATM fees but only when using ATMs within the Star network. Doing a quick search, I found 8 options within a 5-mile radius of my zip code. There is no monthly fee, or overdraft fee because any transactions that exceed your available balance will be declined.

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Find the Right Account For You

Take a moment to calculate how much you could earn using the free checking account comparison tool. Enter your zip code and how much you have to save and find the right account for you.

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LaTisha Styles
LaTisha Styles |

LaTisha Styles is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email LaTisha at LaTisha@magnifymoney.com

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