High-yield checking accounts are designed to provide bank customers and credit union members with solid interest rates on the accounts they use for everyday purchases. Typically, to earn those top-line annual percentage yield (APY) numbers, there are some requirements — often a minimum number of debit card purchases per month.
MagnifyMoney has compiled the nine best rewards checking accounts from hundreds of financial institutions tracked by DepositAccounts. Our work has been featured by outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and Business Insider, and our team of financial experts has years of experience covering deposit accounts and other banking topics.
9 top high-yield checking accounts in May 2022
|Institution||Account name||APY||Monthly requirements to earn highest APY
|La Capitol Federal Credit Union||Choice Checking||4.25% APY on balances up to $3,000; 2.00% APY on balances over $3,000 and up to $10,000; 0.10% APY on balances over $10,000||15 non-ATM debit card transactions
|Consumers Credit Union||Rewards Checking||4.09% APY on balances up to $10,000; 0.20% APY on balances from $10,000.01 to $25,000; 0.10% on balances over $25,000||12 debit card purchases; direct deposits of at least $500; $1,000 or more spent in CCU credit card purchases; e-Documents
|Genisys Credit Union||Genius Checking||4.07% APY on balances up to $7,500; 0.05% APY on balances over $7,500||10 debit card purchases of at least $5; eStatements
|Elements Financial||High Yield Interest Checking|
|4.00% APY on balances up to $20,000; 0.10% APY on balances over $20,000||15 qualifying transactions
|T-Mobile||Money||4.00% APY on balances up to and including $3,000; 1.00% APY on balances over $3,000||10 qualifying purchases with card; enrollment in a T-Mobile postpaid wireless plan; T-Mobile ID registered for perks
|Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union||Vertical Checking||3.30% APY on balances up to $20,000||15 debit card purchases; at least one direct deposit and one online or mobile banking log-in; electronic statements
|Market USA Federal Credit Union||VIP Checking Platinum Tier||3.01% APY on first $15,000; 0.01% APY on balances over $15,000||12 debit card purchases of $5 or more; direct deposits of at least $500; 3 bill payments of at least $20 each; e-statements
|EFCU Financial||Rewards Checking||3.01% APY on first $10,000; blended APY on balances over that amount||12 debit card transactions; one ACH transaction; eStatements
|Lake Michigan Credit Union||Max Checking||3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000||10 debit or credit card purchases; at least 1 direct deposit; at least 4 log-ins to online banking; eStatements
La Capitol Federal Credit Union Choice Checking — 4.25% APY
La Capitol is a credit union based in Louisiana, but people from outside the state can become a member by joining the Louisiana Association for Personal Financial Achievement (ACHIEVE). Their Choice Checking account offers the best available checking account APY, at 4.25%
on balances up to $3,000.
- APY: To receive the top-line APY, you must have 15 or more non-ATM debit transactions posted per month. Balances up to $3,000 earn a 4.25% APY; balances over $3,000 and up to $10,000 earn 2.00%; and balances over $10,000 earn 0.10%. If the required debit transactions are not completed, the APY for the entire balance in a statement period is 0.10%.
- Minimum amount to open: $50
- Fees: You’ll be charged $2 per month if you opt for paper statements. If your average daily balance dips below $1,000, you will be charged a low balance fee of $8, but that fee is waived if you complete 15 debit card transactions and they post in that month.
- Customer experience: La Capitol Federal Credit Union offers online and mobile banking for members, as well as 24/7 support. La Capitol has a few physical branches in Louisiana and also participates in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, which provides members with branch and ATM access at some other credit unions.
Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking — 4.09% APY
Consumers Credit Union offers membership to those who pay a one-time fee of $5 to their sponsor, the Consumers Cooperative Association, and deposit — and maintain — $5 in a Membership Share/Savings Account. They’re based in Illinois and offer tiered APY amounts on their Rewards Checking account.
- APY: For balances up to $10,000, you can earn 2.09% APY if you receive eDocuments, make at least 12 debit card purchases per month and have deposits — direct, mobile check or ACH — totaling $500 or more per month; you can earn 3.09% APY if you complete those requirements and spend at least $500 on a CCU credit card per month; you can earn 4.09% APY if you complete the lowest tier’s requirements and spend at least $1,000 on a CCU credit card per month. Balances from $10,000.01 to $25,000 earn 0.20% APY; balances over $25,000 earn 0.10% APY. If you don’t meet activity requirements, the APY is 0.01% on all balances.
- Minimum amount to open: $5
- Fees: None
- Customer experience: Consumers Credit Union has some branches in the north Chicago suburbs, but for members outside the area, there are CO-OP Shared Branch locations and surcharge-free ATMs throughout the country.
Genisys Credit Union Genius Checking — 4.07% APY
Genisys Credit Union has over 200,000 members; Michigan residents and some residents of Minnesota and Pennsylvania are eligible. People outside those geographic areas can join with a donation to one of the charitable foundations partnered with Genisys. Their Genius Checking account pays high interest rates if you elect eStatements and use your Genisys debit card.
- APY: You can earn 4.07% APY on balances up to $7,500 if you enroll in eStatements and use your debit card at least 10 times per month for purchases of at least $5 each. Balances over $7,500 earn 0.05% APY. No APY is earned if those requirements aren’t met.
- Minimum amount to open: $5
- Fees: You will incur an ATM fee of $1.25 per transaction once you exceed the six free transactions per month at non-Genisys CO-OP ATMs.
- Customer experience: Genisys has physical branch locations in Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. They’re a part of the CO-OP family of branches and ATMs, so you can access your money nationwide. Genisys also has online chat support and mobile banking services.
Elements Financial High Interest Checking Special — 4.00% APY
Membership in Elements Financial is wide open. You need to only open a checking or savings account or apply for a loan or credit card and opt to open a savings account on your application. The credit union even funds the account with $5. Elements was founded in 1930 and partners with 150,000 companies to provide credit union benefits to employees.
Their High Interest Checking special is the account we’re highlighting, which doubles their regular checking rate. It’s available for new account holders, for balances up to $20,000, for 12 months from the account opening date. With the account you get unlimited transactions, a Visa debit card, your first 40 checks free, and no monthly service fee if you
- APY: If you are a new account holder, you will earn 4.00% APY on balances up to $20,000 and 0.10% on anything over that threshold if you make 15 qualifying transactions per month, which are defined as debit card purchases, checks, bill payments, ATM withdrawals and ACH withdrawals only. If you fall short of 15, you’ll earn that month. On the first day of the month after your 12 months are up, your account will be converted to their regular high-yield checking rate.
- Minimum amount to open: None
- Fees: There is no monthly fee if you opt for electronic statements, but each overdraft will set you back up to $32 unless you link another Elements account.
- Customer experience: Elements has five brick-and-mortar locations in Indiana but serves all 50 states through the CO-OP shared branch network and Allpoint ATMs.
T-Mobile Money — 4.00% APY
T-Mobile is a large wireless provider that’s expanded into banking services — and anyone can sign up for their checking account. T-Mobile Money, a relatively simple account designed to earn interest, is the only bank account they offer.
- APY: All customers earn 1.00% APY on all balances, but you can earn up to 4.00% APY on balances up to $3,000 if you meet certain conditions. You must enroll in a qualifying T-Mobile wireless plan, register for perks with your T-Mobile ID and make at least 10 qualifying T-Mobile Money card purchases that must post before the last business day of the month. Balances above $3,000 have a blended APY if you meet these requirements.
- Minimum amount to open: $0
- Fees: There are no monthly or overdraft fees, but there are some fees from ATM providers for out-of-network ATMs and from Mastercard for foreign transactions.
- Customer experience: T-Mobile does not offer banking services at their store locations; all banking services must be conducted online or in their app. They offer online and phone support. Deposits can be made with participating merchants like Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, but each store charges a fee. Your other options include cashier’s checks, money orders and electronic transfers.
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union Vertical Checking — 3.30% APY
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union was founded in Indiana and merged with a credit union serving educational groups in Kentucky. Even if you’re not a teacher, you can join ETFCU through one of the employee groups and organizations affiliated with ETFCU, many of which are based in Indiana, or with a $5 donation to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association. Their Vertical Checking account has a much higher threshold for earning, relative to most of the other accounts in this top 10: You can get the 3.30% APY on balances up to $20,000.
- APY: ETFCU pays 3.30% APY on balances up to $20,000 if you make 15 or more debit card purchases per month, receive electronic statements, have at least one direct deposit per month and log in to online or mobile banking once a month. The APY will not be paid if the requirements are not met.
- Minimum amount to open: $25
- Fees: There are no monthly service fees, and partial ATM fee reimbursements are available if you meet the conditions to earn the 3.30% APY.
- Customer experience: ETFCU has physical branch locations in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, but members can use the Alliance One ATM network for surcharge-free ATM use nationwide. There’s also an online banking platform for members.
Market USA Federal Credit Union VIP Checking Platinum Tier — 3.01% APY
Market USA is a credit union that has merged with several other credit unions over the past couple of decades. Membership is open to those who make a $5 donation to the Market USA Cares Foundation, which assists charities in areas where Market USA FCU branches are located; you’ll also need to open a savings account and maintain a $5 balance in that account. They offer several checking account types, but the Platinum Tier of their VIP account offers the best APY.
- APY: To receive the top APY, you must enroll in e-Statements, have monthly direct deposits of at least $500, make 12 debit card purchases of at least $5 per month and pay three bills of at least $20 each per month using their bill pay service. You’ll earn 3.01% APY on balances up to and including $15,000; balances over that amount earn 0.01% APY.
- Minimum amount to open: $0
- Fees: No monthly maintenance fees, though there are some fees for overdrafts and out-of-network ATM use above the 8 free per month.
- Customer experience: Market USA FCU is part of the National Shared Branch network, which provides members from outside the Washington, D.C., area with banking and ATM services from other credit unions in the network. That means access to almost 30,000 fee-free ATMs and 5,000 shared branches nationwide (in addition to Market USA FCU’s three branches, one of which is in South Carolina). They offer online and mobile banking as well.
EFCU Financial Rewards Checking — 3.01% APY
EFCU is a credit union located in southern Louisiana. If you’re located outside the nine qualifying parishes, you can join by donating to the EFCU Financial Foundation or the Louisiana Wildlife Foundation through the bank. EFCU offers personal and business banking services, as well as loans.
- APY: In order to receive 3.01% APY on balances up to and including $10,000, you must make 12 debit card transactions that post and settle during the monthly cycle; have at least one ACH automatic transaction such as a direct deposit or automatic withdrawal post and settle during the cycle; and enroll in eStatements. On balances above $10,000, there is a blended APY.
- Minimum amount to open: $0
- Fees: There are no monthly service fees with EFCU Financial Rewards Checking, but there are some fees for out-of-network ATMs (although EFCU offers partial reimbursements if you meet the requirements to earn the top APY).
- Customer experience: EFCU’s branch locations are all located in Louisiana, but the credit union is part of the CO-OP Shared Branch network, allowing you to find surcharge-free ATMs at partner banks and credit union branches nationwide. If you need banking support or have any questions, you can call a branch or submit a form on EFCU’s website.
Lake Michigan Credit Union Max Checking — 3.00% APY
LMCU is based in west Michigan and has become one of the largest credit unions in the country. They have broad membership eligibility, so you can join even if you don’t live in Michigan (or Florida). The LMCU Max Checking account is designed to provide the highest interest rate on a bank account for LMCU members.
- APY: To earn 3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000, you must have at least one direct deposit, make 10 debit or credit card purchases and log in four times to online banking per month. You must also opt for eStatements.
- Minimum amount to open: $0
- Fees: There are no monthly fees, and they offer partial ATM fee reimbursements for out-of-network ATMs, but a $5 membership is required.
- Customer experience: LMCU expanded from Michigan with some branch locations in Florida. They’re part of the Allpoint ATM sharing network, which features over 55,000 participating ATMs, so you have member access to ATMs nationwide. There are some online banking resources as well.
Frequently asked questions
A checking account is a type of deposit account offered by financial institutions that’s designed for everyday transactions. There are often no limits on deposits, withdrawals and purchases from checking accounts.
Checking accounts offer more liquidity than other types of deposit accounts like savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs). If you need to access money quickly and easily, a checking account is probably your best option.
Yes, you can open a checking account online. Most banks and credit unions allow people to use most or all of their financial services online or over the phone — you don’t need to go to a branch location to open an account.
Many checking accounts do not earn interest, but some high-yield checking or rewards checking accounts do. All of the accounts chosen as best high-yield checking accounts bear interest if you fulfill their requirements.
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a bank account, including whether the account pays interest; if there are any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements; if you need in-person banking services at a physical branch; and what other accounts the bank offers.
Yes, online banks are secure, as long as they’re insured by the FDIC (or the NCUA if it’s a credit union). That means your deposits are insured up to $250,000 by the U.S. government.
Methodology for choosing the best high-yield checking accounts
MagnifyMoney reviewed a list of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)–insured banks and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)–insured credit unions sourced from DepositAccounts to find the best high-yield checking accounts. The accounts selected were sorted by the best APY for a balance of $1,000. To merit consideration, those accounts must be available nationwide, have a minimum opening deposit of $100 or less and have low or easily waived monthly fees.