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Updated on Tuesday, October 12, 2021
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, there are some requirements to earn those top-line annual percentage yield (APY) numbers, 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 October 2021
- Methodology for choosing the best high-yield checking accounts
- Summary of top high-yield checking accounts for October 2021
- Checking accounts: FAQs
9 top high-yield checking accounts in October 2021
La Capitol Federal Credit Union Choice Checking — 4.25% APY
La Capitol is a credit union based in Louisiana, although people from outside the state can become a member if they join 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 post 15 or more non-ATM debit transactions per month or have an average daily balance of at least $1,000. Balances up to $3,000 receive 4.25% APY; balances over $3,000 to $10,000 receive 2.00% APY; balances over $10,000 receive 0.10% APY. 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: $0
- Fees: 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 in the month.
- Customer experience: La Capitol Federal Credit Union offers online and mobile banking for members, as well as 24/7 support. La Capitol participates in the CO-OP Share Branching Network, which provides members with branch and ATM access at some other credit unions. They have a few physical branches in Louisiana.
Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking — 4.09% APY
Consumers Credit Union offers membership to those who can pay a one-time fee of $5 to their sponsor, the Consumers Cooperative Association, and complete a $5 deposit while maintaining that minimum balance in their Membership Share/Savings Account. They’re based in Illinois, and they 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 total $500 in certain kinds of deposits; you can earn 3.09% APY if you complete those requirements and spend at least $500 on a CCU credit card; you can earn 4.09% APY if you spend at least $1,000 on that credit card. 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 located throughout 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 and offers eligibility to Michigan residents and some people in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Those outside those geographic areas can become eligible 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 — APY is not earned if those requirements aren’t met.
- Minimum amount to open: $5
- Fees: There’s a $10 monthly fee if the minimum monthly balance is less than $1,500. You may also incur ATM fees if 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.
T-Mobile Money Checking — 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. The T-Mobile Money Checking account is the only bank account offered by T-Mobile, and it’s a relatively simple account designed to earn interest.
- 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, have registered for perks with your T-Mobile ID and complete at least 10 qualifying purchases with the card linked to your checking account. Balances above $3,000 have a blended APY if meeting these requirements.
- Minimum amount to open: $0
- Fees: There are no monthly or overdraft fees, but there are some fees for out-of-network ATMs and foreign transactions.
- Customer experience: T-Mobile does not offer banking services at their store locations, and all banking services must be conducted online. They offer online and phone support. Deposits can be made with participating merchants like Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.
Evansville 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 thousands of employee groups and nonprofit organizations affiliated with ETFCU, many of which are based in Indiana. Their Vertical Checking account has a much higher threshold for earning the top-line APY relative to the other accounts on this list: You can earn 3.30% APY on balances up to $20,000.
- APY: ETFCU pays 3.30% APY on balances up to $20,000 if you have 15 or more debit purchases per month, receive electronic statements and have at least one direct deposit and one online or mobile banking login per 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 there are some ATM fee reimbursements if the conditions to earn the 3.30% APY are met.
- Customer experience: ETFCU has physical branch locations in Indiana and Kentucky, 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 few decades; membership eligibility 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. 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 eStatements, complete monthly direct deposits of at least $500, have 12 debit card purchases per month of at least $5 and make three bill payments per month of at least $20 each. You’ll earn 3.01% APY on balances up to $15,000; balances over that amount earn 0.01% APY.
- Minimum amount to open: $0
- Fees: No monthly maintenance fees, though there are some types of fees for overdrafts and out-of-network ATM use.
- 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 who are part of the network. That means access to 30,000 fee-free ATMs and 5,000 shared branches nationwide (in addition to Market USA FCU’s three branches). There is online and mobile banking as well.
Security State Bank Interest Reward Checking — 3.00% APY
Security State Bank is headquartered in Kansas, and it provides limited, community-focused banking services — there are only two physical branch locations. Their Interest Reward checking account pays 3.00% APY if certain requirements are met.
- APY:3.00% APY on balances up to and including $10,000; 0.25% APY on balances over $10,000, resulting in a tiered APY. To earn those APY amounts, you must have 11 or more debit transactions per month and elect for eStatements. Otherwise, you’ll earn 0.01% APY on all balances.
- Minimum amount to open: $100
- Fees: No monthly service fees, but there is a $0.50 fee for mobile deposits.
- Customer experience: Security State Bank has a mostly online presence; there’s an online banking platform for members, as well as online chat support. ATM access may be limited.
Lake Michigan Credit Union Max Checking — 3.00% APY
LMCU is based in West Michigan, and it’s become one of the largest credit unions in the country. They have broad-based membership eligibility, so people can join even if they don’t live in Michigan. 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, 10 debit or credit card purchases and four logins to online banking per month. You must also opt for eStatements.
- Minimum amount to open: $0
- Fees: There are no monthly fees, and there are some ATM fee reimbursements for out-of-network ATMs.
- Customer experience: LMCU expanded from Michigan and has some branch locations in Florida. They’re part of the Allpoint ATM sharing network, which features over 55,000 participating ATMs, so you can have member access to ATMs nationwide. There are some online banking resources as well.
INOVA Federal Credit Union Shield Checking — 3.00% APY
INOVA Federal has seven branch locations in California and Indiana, and offers membership avenues to employees of over 500 companies and organizations, as well as family members of current INOVA members.
- APY: You can earn 3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000 as long as you maintain an average daily balance of at least $3,500 and complete at least eight debit transactions per month.
- Minimum amount to open: $10
- Fees: $5 monthly maintenance fee, plus some fees for insufficient funds and overdrafts.
- Customer experience: INOVA has branch locations in Northwest Indiana and Berkeley, Calif. There’s an online banking platform and INOVA is a member of the CO-OP ATM sharing program.
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 top-line 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.
Summary of top high-yield checking accounts for October 2021
Checking accounts: FAQs
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 utilize 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 provide account holders with some interest on their balance. 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 other kinds of accounts the bank offers.
Yes, online banks are secure, as long as they’re insured by the FDIC (likewise, a credit union is secure if they’re insured by the NCUA). That means your deposits are insured up to $250,000 by the U.S. government.