Best Free Checking Accounts 2021

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Updated on Monday, January 11, 2021

While they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, many banks and credit unions offer nearly free checking accounts — whether it’s by having no monthly maintenance fee or no minimum deposit requirement, which makes them free to sign up for. Having a fee-free checking account is essential to maximizing your money.

To determine which checking accounts made the cut, we combed through our library of checking account roundups and selected accounts that met the requirements for each category. Below, we detail the best accounts with no minimum deposit, no monthly fees and no minimum balance, as well as the best free online checking accounts, for those who prefer to bank online.

Why trust us: At MagnifyMoney, it’s our mission to inform our readers about the best financial opportunities out there. Our insights have been cited by top financial publications including Marketwatch, CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. We ensure our list is updated every month as new banks are added to our database, and we update information as banks change their terms.

Checking accounts with no minimum deposit

One of the many versions of “free” that consumers look for in a checking account is whether the account is free to open — meaning there’s no required minimum deposit. For these consumers, rest assured there are a number of checking accounts with no minimum opening deposit required. Our choices also require no minimum balance. The table below features our top picks in this category.

Keep in mind that while these checking accounts may be “free” to open, they may charge monthly service fees to maintain. And though these accounts were not required to offer an APY, interest offered was considered an added bonus in our evaluation of accounts.

T-Mobile Money

Checking Account - Qualifying

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on T-Mobile MONEY’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: Up to 4.00%
  • Requirements to earn APY: To earn the full 4.00% APY, you will need to 1) be enrolled in a qualifying T-Mobile postpaid wireless plan, 2) be registered for perks with your T-Mobile ID and 3) have at least $200 deposited per month into your account.
T-Mobile Money is a free checking account with no minimum opening deposit required. You can earn up to 4.00% APY on balances up to $3,000 as long as you meet a few simple requirements, which are outlined above. Other perks of this account include receiving direct deposits up to two days in advance and no overdraft fees.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on T-Mobile MONEY’s secure website

Member FDIC

Empower Interest Checking

Checking Account

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on Empower’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee: $8
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: 0.05%
  • Requirements to earn APY: None
Empower Interest Checking is a feature-rich checking account that rewards 0.05% APY on all funds, and doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open. This account is free for the first 30 days, but after that, it will cost you $8 per month (note that there’s no option to waive this fee). Empower Interest Checking also features perks such as up to three ATM fee reimbursements per month, cash advances and no overdraft fees.

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on Empower’s secure website

Member FDIC

Capital One 360 Checking

360 Checking

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on Capital One’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: 0.10%
  • Requirements to earn APY: None
Capital One offers a standout checking account with its 360 Checking product, which doesn’t require any opening deposits, charges no monthly service fees and has no minimum balance requirements. It also doles out 0.10% APY on all balances. While you will face a fee in some cases — such as those for wire transfers or stop payments — when it comes to checking accounts, this is pretty much as close to free as you can get.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Member FDIC

Axos Bank Essential Checking

Essential Checking

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on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee $0
  • Minimum opening deposit $0
  • Minimum balance $0
  • APY None
  • Requirements to earn APY N/A
If you’re looking for a no-frills checking account, Axos Bank’s Essential Checking account could be a good fit for you. While this account doesn’t earn interest, it also doesn’t require any minimum opening deposit and has no balance requirements, no monthly service fee and no overdraft fees. For the cherry on top, Essential Checking also includes unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Checking accounts with no monthly fees

For many consumers, the most valuable type of “free” checking account is one that doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees. That’s because, in many cases, that means you are saving more money over the long-term.

The table below outlines the best checking accounts with no monthly maintenance fees. To make the cut, these accounts had to charge $0 per month in monthly maintenance fees or monthly service charges. Offering an APY on funds was not a requirement, but it was considered as an added bonus when developing this list.

Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking

Rewards Checking - Tier A

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on Consumers Credit Union (IL)’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee $0
  • Minimum opening deposit $5
  • Minimum balance $0
  • APY Up to 4.09%
  • Requirements to earn APY To earn the full 4.09% APY, you must 1) Make at least 12 debit card purchases per month, 2) Have direct deposits, mobile check deposits or ACH transfers of at least $500 monthly, 3) Receive eDocuments and 4) Spend $1,000 or more per month in CCU Visa credit card purchases.
The Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking account doles out a very high APY and generous benefits — such as unlimited ATM fee reimbursements — for no monthly maintenance fee. You will have to jump through a few hoops to score the 4.09% APY and the the unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, but even if you don’t meet all the monthly requirements, you can still earn interest ranging from 2.09% APY to 3.09% APY on balances up to $10,000. Consumers Credit Union is open to anyone who joins and makes a one-time membership payment to the Consumers Cooperative Association.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Consumers Credit Union (IL)’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union Vertical Checking

Vertical Checking (Qualifying)

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on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee $0
  • Minimum opening deposit $25
  • Minimum balance $0
  • APY 3.30%
  • Requirements to earn APY To earn the 3.30% APY, you will need to 1) Make a minimum of 15 debit card purchases per month, 2) Receive at least one direct deposit per month, 3) Log in to online or mobile banking at least once per month and 4) Be signed up for electronic statements.
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s Vertical Checking account is one of the most competitive free checking accounts out there, as it offers a high APY and up to $15 in ATM fee reimbursements per month — all without charging a monthly maintenance fee. Membership to Evansville Teachers Credit Union is open to anyone who makes a $5 donation to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Rewards Checking - 5 Qualifications

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on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee $0
  • Minimum opening deposit $50
  • Minimum balance $0
  • APY 1.00%
  • Requirements to earn APY To earn the full 1.00% APY, you must 1) Receive monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more and 2) Use your Axos Visa debit card at least 15 times per month (minimum of $3 per transaction).
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is a great option for those who don’t want to pay monthly maintenance fees or meet minimum balance requirements — although you will have to provide a $50 deposit to open an account. In addition to offering a competitive APY, this account also features unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements and no overdraft fees.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Radius Bank Rewards Checking

Rewards Checking

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on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee $0
  • Minimum opening deposit $100
  • Minimum balance $0
  • APY 0.10% on balances of $2,500 to $99,999.99; 0.15% on balances of $100,000 and up
  • Requirements to earn APY None
Radius Bank’s Rewards Checking account is a standout account in terms of fees and rewards. It doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees, provides a solid APY on certain balances, offers cash back when certain requirements are met and gives unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. However, there is a $100 minimum opening deposit required for this account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Free online checking accounts

Online-only banks offer a slew of benefits that many brick-and-mortar banks simply can’t compete with. Because online banks don’t have as many overhead operating costs, they’re able to offer their customers lower fees and higher interest rates.

The checking accounts below are available at online-only banks and offer the best of both worlds — they don’t require a minimum opening deposit and they don’t charge any monthly service fees. In order to be considered for this list, the checking account must be offered by an online-only bank, without any monthly service fee charges or minimum opening deposit requirements. While offering an APY on funds was not required, it was considered an added bonus when determining this list.

Ally Bank Interest Checking

Interest Checking Account

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee $0
  • Minimum opening deposit $0
  • Minimum balance $0
  • APY 0.10% on balances less than $15,000; 0.25% on balances of at least $15,000
  • Requirements to earn APY None
Ally Bank’s Interest Checking account is a competitive account that charges no monthly service fee and also doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open. In addition, there are no strings attached to the account’s 0.10% to 0.25% APY, and it offers up to $10 per month in ATM fee reimbursements, making it a solid choice for consumers looking to save on fees.

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on Ally Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Discover Bank Cashback Debit

Discover Cashback Debit

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: None
  • Requirements to earn APY: N/A
Online-only bank Discover’s Cashback Debit checking account touts minimal fees — there are no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum opening deposit requirements, no minimum balance requirements and no insufficient funds fees. And while this account doesn’t offer interest, it does offer 1% cash back on up to $3,000 of your debit card purchases per month.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Simple Online Checking

Checking Account + Protected Goals Account*

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on Simple’s secure website

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: None
  • Requirements to earn APY: N/A
Simple’s Online Checking account is a solid, standard checking account that features no minimum opening deposit, no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirement. While it doesn’t offer an APY on money in its checking account, if you transfer your money over to the connected Protected Goals account, you can earn up to 0.50% APY — this could be a good idea, as you’ll receive unlimited free transfers between the two accounts. Since Simple is not an actual bank but a fintech company, its banking services are provided through its partner bank, BBVA USA.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Simple’s secure website

Chime Spending Account

Highlights:

  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • APY: None
  • Requirements to earn APY: N/A
Online-only bank Chime’s Spending Account serves as a standout checking product, as it requires no opening deposit, charges no monthly maintenance fees and has no minimum balance requirements. While this account doesn’t offer interest, it is rich in features — including fee-free overdraft protection, early direct deposit and an automatic savings tool, in which it will automatically round up your purchases and deposit the difference in your linked Chime Savings account, where it earns 0.50% APY.