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The Best Checking Accounts for January 2021

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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The best checking accounts can provide a competitive interest rate, ATM fee reimbursements and even cashback rewards. If your current account doesn’t offer any of these features, it may be time to switch.

Check out our best checking account picks for April 2020 and click on the links to read about why we picked each bank.

Summary of the Best Checking Accounts for January 2021

Best Overall Checking Account

Ally Bank Interest Checking

Ally Bank Review

Best High-Yield Checking Account

Consumer Credit Union Rewards Checking

Consumer Credit Union Review

Best Free Checking Account

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank Review

Best No-Fee Checking Account

Discover Cashback Debit

Discover Bank Review

Best Checking Account Bonus

HSBC Premier Checking

HSBC Premier Review

Best Rewards Checking Account

Radius Bank Rewards Checking

Radius Bank Review

Best No-ATM Fee Checking Account

TD Bank Beyond Checking

TD Bank Review

Best Business Checking Account

Axos Bank Business Interest Checking

Axos Bank Review

Best Checking Account for Students

Chase College Checking

Chase Bank Review

Best Joint Checking Account

PNC Virtual Wallet Checking Account

PNC Virtual Wallet Review

Why Trust Us?

At MagnifyMoney, it is 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.

Our dedicated team of financial experts spent dozens of hours grading each checking account on its features, including fees, minimum balance requirements, ATM and branch network availability, APYs and customer satisfaction. We distilled our picks from a list that included hundreds of banks, credit unions and online institutions nationwide.

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.

Please note: While this list is up-to-date as of this writing, many banks have cut back on or even halted their hours temporarily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to protect their customers and employees. Many banks continue to offer standard services online and over the phone as well as through automated ATMs.

Best Checking Accounts of April 2020

Best Overall Checking Account – Simple


  • Free access to 40,000 Allpoint ATMs
  • No overdraft fees
  • Access to tools that allow you to automate your budgeting and savings
  • APY: 0.50% on balances in Protected Goals
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Through a partnership with BBVA, Simple offers a great checking account with attractive budgeting features and a competitive APY. This account is great for those looking for a traditional checking account without unnecessary fees and stocked with benefits like interest and free ATM access.

What to watch out for: While you can earn a decent APY on the funds in your Protected Goals account, Simple doles out a dismal 0.01% APY on funds that are not in your Protected Goals account, a sub-account designed for money you set aside for savings. It’s also worth noting that fees may apply to ATMs outside of its Allpoint ATM network, and there is a Visa fee of up to 1% if the card is used internationally.

Best High Yield Checking Account – Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking


  • Access to over 30,000 ATMs
  • Most lucrative rates require minimum direct deposits or spend on CCU Visa credit card
  • APY: up to 2.09%
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: The Consumers Credit Union has routinely offered sky-high rates, even in a plummeting rate environment, earning this account the title of Best High-Yield Checking account.

While this is a tiered rate account, the lower tiers — which can be earned with fewer requirements — still offer attractive rates that are well above those offered by other banks and credit unions.

What to watch out for: While balances between $10,000 and $25,000 — regardless of your tier — earn an APY of 0.20%, it’s worth noting that balances over $25,000 earn an APY of just 0.10%.

Additionally, if you don’t meet the monthly activity requirements, you’ll earn an APY of just 0.01% and won’t receive ATM refunds. The account also has an overdraft fee of $30.

Best Free Checking Account – Axos Bank Rewards Checking


  • No overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • APY: up to 1.25%
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: We have crowned the Axos Bank Rewards Checking account as the Best Free Checking account not only for its attractive features, but for its consistency, too.

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account has consistently offered competitive APYs — even as earning rates drop at other banks. This account also offers all of the bells and whistles that the best standard checking accounts have been known to include, like ATM fee reimbursements and no overdraft fees.

What to watch out for: The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is a tiered, interest-earning variable rate account. So, in order to earn the 1.25% APY, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Receive monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more
  • Use your debit card for a total of 15 transactions per month minimum of $3 per transaction)

If you don’t meet those requirements, you will receive a reduced APY from what is advertised. There is also a $50 minimum balance required to open this account.

Best No-Fee Checking Account – BBVA Free Checking

Online Checking


on BBVA’s secure website

Member FDIC


  • Free ATM access at BBVA ATMs
  • For $5 per month, you can receive up to four rebates per statement cycle for ATM fees charged by other banks, as well as no BBVA fees at non-BBVA ATMs
  • APY: None
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: If you’re looking for a basic checking account that gets the job with no fees or frills, the BBVA Free Checking account is a product worth exploring.

This checking account provides you with the basic checking necessities, with no monthly fees. Additionally, it gives you the ability to customize your account further for additional charges. For example, an extra fee of $2 a month will give you unlimited cashier’s checks.

What to watch out for: With the BBVA Free Checking account, there is a $25 minimum balance required to open an account and a potential overdraft fee of $38.

Best Checking Account Bonus – Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Everyday Checking


on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website


  • Access to over 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs
  • Features budgeting, cash flow and spending tools
  • $10 monthly service is waived if you meet any one of their requirements
  • APY: None
  • Maintenance Fee: $10
  • Current Promotions: $400 bonus with $4,000 in direct deposits

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Wells Fargo’s Everyday Checking account is currently offering an attractive bonus offer, expiring July 31, 2020. Upon opening a new Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account and depositing a minimum of $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of opening, you’ll receive a $400 bonus.

This offer is only available to new Wells Fargo checking and savings customers in Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Seattle. You also must not have received a bonus for opening a Wells Fargo consumer checking or savings account within the past 12 months.

What to watch out for: This account requires a $25 initial deposit to open. You should also be aware of the not-so-obvious fees associated with this account, which include a $2.50 fee for cash withdrawals at non-Wells Fargo ATMs in the U.S ($5 outside of the U.S.) and a $35 overdraft fee.

Best Rewards Checking Account – Discover Cashback Debit


  • 1% cash back on up to $3,000 of debit card purchases per month
  • No insufficient funds fee
  • Access to over 60,000 no-fee ATMs
  • APY: None
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: The Discover Cashback Debit checking account is a standout account, with no fees and access to over 60,000 ATMs.

What really earns this account the title of Best Rewards Checking account, though, is the fact that it offers 1% cash back on all debit card purchases, up to $3,000 per month. This is a unique perk among checking accounts, and if you prefer cash back to earning interest, this could be the account for you.

What to watch out for: There aren’t too many surprises with this account, just be aware that fees for non-Discover ATMs may apply.

Best No-ATM Fee Checking Account – TD Bank Beyond Checking


  • No fees at TD Bank ATMs, and reimbursed fees for out-of-network ATMs for accounts that maintain a daily balance of at least $2,500
  • No required minimum opening deposit
  • Overdraft fees reimbursement offered up to two times per year
  • APY: Up to 0.01%
  • Maintenance Fee: $25
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: TD Bank’s Beyond Checking account is a great option for those who prioritize fee-free access to ATMs.

With this account, not only do you receive fee-free ATM access to TD Bank’s network of ATMS, but if you maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $2,500, TD Bank will reimburse you for any fees incurred at out-of-network ATMs. As the cherry on top, this account also doles out a little bit of interest.

What to watch out for: Be aware that the 0.05% APY is available only to accounts with a minimum daily balance of $50,000. Accounts with balances between $10,000 and $49,999 receive an APY of just 0.03%, while balances under $10,000 receive an APY of just 0.01%. There is also a $35 overdraft fee associated with this account.

Best Business Checking Account – Axos Bank Business Interest Checking

Business Interest Checking


on Axos Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC


  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursement
  • Up to 50 free transaction items per month
  • Monthly service fee can be waived if you maintain an average, daily minimum balance of $5,000
  • APY: Up to 0.81%
  • Maintenance Fee: $10
  • Current Promotions: New business owners eligible for a $50 Welcome Bonus

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Axos Bank’s Business Interest Checking account stands out among other business checking account products for a myriad of reasons, most notably its surprisingly low fees.

Additionally, Axos Bank throws in a number of freebies with its Business Interest Checking account, from ATM fee reimbursements to free checks, making it our pick for the Best Business Checking Account.

What to watch out for:Transactions are $0.50 each after the first 50, and there is a $100 minimum opening deposit required for this account.

Best Checking Account for Students – Chase College Checking

Chase College Checking


on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC


  • $6 monthly service fee waived for up to five years if you are 17 to 24 years old, have proof of student status and are enrolled in college, or if you meet any one of Chase’s monthly requirements
  • No monthly service fee on a Chase Savings account linked to this account for overdraft protection
  • APY: None
  • Maintenance Fee: $6
  • Current Promotions: $100 bonus for new Chase customers with qualifying activities

Read the full review

Why we picked it: The Chase College Checking account is a great option for students, as it waives its monthly service fee for those between the ages of 17 and 24 who have proof of a student status, for up to five years while in college.

With widespread ATM access, the ability to pay friends with QuickPay or Zelle and a robust mobile app, this account checks all the boxes for college students.

What to watch out for: For this account, you’ll need to show proof of student status. Also, there’s a $2.50 non-Chase ATM fee and $34 overdraft fee associated with this account.

Best Joint Checking Account – Ally Bank Interest Checking


  • Free access to Allpoint ATMs and up to $10 in ATM fee reimbursements per statement cycle
  • No required minimum opening deposit
  • 0.10% APY on balances less than $15,000; 0.25% APY on accounts with a minimum daily balance of $15,000
  • APY: Up to 0.25%
  • Maintenance Fee: $0
  • Current Promotions: N/A

Read the full review

Why we picked it: Ally Bank’s Interest Checking account features minimal fees, variable interest and added perks like up to $10 in ATM fee reimbursements every month.

All of Ally Bank’s banking products support joint ownership, and you are allowed up to four owners on the account without any additional fees, making this an easy pick for our Best Joint Checking account.

What to watch out for: There’s not much to watch out for with this account, just be aware of the $25 overdraft fee.

Other Honorable Mentions

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking: This account from investment firm Charles Schwab offers a few attractive perks like unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, no monthly fees or minimums and no foreign transaction fees. However, the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account falls flat with its paltry 0% APY, which can’t quite compete with the Best High Yield Checking Account, the Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking account, which earns up to 2.09% APY.

Aspiration Spend and Save: The Aspiration Spend and Save cash management account is one of the most fee-friendly accounts out there, even allowing you to pay a monthly fee in an amount that you think is fair. Aspiration comes with the added bonus of access to over 55,000 ATMs, cash back rewards — especially at conscience-minded businesses — and up to up to 0.00% APY. The interest rate applies only to your Save balance, however, which makes for a more disjointed money management process.

Betterment Everyday: Another cash management account, the Betterment Everyday maximizes your FDIC insurance up to $1 million and provides unlimited transfers in and out of your account. It also earns interest at 0.40% APY. However, without a debit card, the Betterment Everyday account leaves a gap for those looking for a traditional free checking account.

Chase Premier Checking: A step up from Chase’s basic checking account, the Chase Premier Checking account earns interest (although at a paltry 0.01% APY) and waives select fees, including on the first four non-Chase ATM transactions per month. However, its features don’t quite justify the $25 monthly service fee, which you can only waive by meeting certain requirements.

PNC Performance Checking: PNC Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend is unique in that it comes with a checking account and two savings accounts. The Performance Spend checking account comes with handy budgeting tools. You can only access 9,000 PNC-branded ATMs and the account charges $15 per month, which is why we ended up picking its rival for the Best No-ATM Fee Checking Account.

Chime: The mobile-first Chime account is great for individuals who have trouble with traditional checking accounts. It allows you to receive direct deposit up to a couple days early, grow savings automatically and even overdraw your account for free if you meet certain eligibility requirements. Chime also provides free access to over 38,000 ATMs, which you can access with the account’s linked debit card. Despite all these perks, Chime doesn’t earn any interest on account balances.

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking: Despite TIAA Bank’s Yield Pledge promise, which ensures their rate will always remain among the top 5% of competitive accounts, the Yield Pledge Checking account earns a pretty low 0.12% APY, with even lower rates for smaller balances. Luckily, there is no monthly service fee, nor fees for out-of-network ATM usage. Plus, you can get reimbursed for ATM surcharges. This made it a strong contender for our Best Overall Checking Account.

Varo Money: Pioneering fintech company Varo offers a pretty much fee-free, checking-like cash management account, where customers who meet certain requirements can overdraft up to $50 at no cost. Varo also can get you your paycheck up to two days early with direct deposit, offers fee-free access at over 55,000 Allpoint® ATMs and provides a free Varo Visa® Debit Card, which you can lock in the app at any time. Though all of these perks are nice, the checking account doesn’t earn interest; you’ll have to open the Varo Savings Account for that.

Capital One 360 Checking: The Capital One 360 Checking account is easily accessible via its debit card, mobile and online. There’s no fee or minimum balance to worry about. You also get access to over 39,000 Capital One or Allpoint ATMs for free. However, it can’t quite keep up with its competitors with its low 0.10% APY.

Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking: Bank5 Connect’s High-Interest Checking account isn’t always so high-yield, as it earns 0.20% APY. Still, the account is relatively customer friendly as it doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees and offers free access to thousands of ATMs nationwide in addition to up to $15 in surcharge reimbursements.

How we chose the best checking accounts

We took a look at hundreds of financial institutions and reviews. We considered the following factors:

  1. Checking account rates: We heavily weighted the APYs offered by each institution on their checking accounts, paying attention to both high interest rates and consistent rates. Higher and more consistently competitive interest rates were prioritized over others, respectively.
  2. Minimum deposit and balance requirements: We also controlled for accessibility by looking at minimum deposit and balance requirements, prioritizing banks and accounts that have low requirements or none at all.
  3. Bank account fees: The best bank accounts are the ones that don’t cut into your hard-earned money. We favored checking accounts that don’t charge monthly service fees or ATM fees, as well as those that offer ATM-fee reimbursements.
  4. Special offers: As an added bonus to their checking accounts, some institutions offer cash bonus offers for new customers or even cash-back rewards for debit card usage. We made sure to include these special accounts and offers so you can get more from your account.
  5. Specialized accounts: Checking accounts aren’t one-size-fits-all — nor should they be. We looked for specialized accounts that have specific features made for certain groups, like students to joint account holders.

What are the best banks for checking accounts?

In summary, these are our picks for the best checking accounts:

What should I look for in a checking account?

When shopping for a checking account, keep in mind that their main purpose is to provide a convenient and safe place to stash the cash you use for your daily spending. With that in mind, factors such as safety, ease of use and minimal costs should be top-of-mind. When looking for checking accounts, that means finding accounts with zero fees, a wide ATM network, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance and overdraft protection. Accounts with these features, alongside earned interest or rewards, are your best bet.

Understand what you want from a checking account

A great first step to finding the right checking account is first understanding what you want from a checking account. Of course, you’ll want an account that’s easily accessible. But only you can decide whether that means prioritizing brick-and-mortar branches, mobile app access or worldwide ATMs. As debit cards are a big part of accessibility, also make sure you’re getting a debit card that’s protected.

Figure out what kind of fees — if any — you want to pay for your checking account. No fee checking accounts exist, and they’re some of the best checking accounts on the market.

If you’re a senior citizen, a student or perhaps a couple looking for joint account ownership, these are things to consider when making your checking account wishlist. There are several specialized accounts out there that offer special deals and features for members of these groups.

Then determine whether you want your checking account to earn interest or other rewards. Often these rewards only add to the checking account experience, rewarding you for owning the account rather than you paying to own it. Rewards on some accounts may also offset any fees you face.

If you don’t know where to start, it helps to check out high-yield checking accounts first. These accounts are most often free, easily accessible, provided by reputable institutions and, as an added bonus, can earn you money.

Also consider that perhaps it’s not a checking account you need at all, but rather a prepaid debit card account. You deposit money into prepaid cards as you would with a checking account, but you cannot use more than what’s in the account. This allows you to avoid overdrafting your account and paying the exorbitant fees that often come with that. Just watch out: prepaid debit cards are also known for their multiple fees for reloading the card, monthly service, ATM usage and more.

Find an account with few or zero fees

There are many checking accounts that charge little to no fees. Online banks, in particular, offer checking accounts with zero fees, as they are able to save on the operational costs that burden brick-and-mortar banks. Some checking accounts even offer unlimited ATM-reimbursements or a monthly allowance for reimbursable ATM surcharges.

Since many checking accounts offer little to no interest, it’s even more critical to opt for an account with minimal fees. Common checking account fees include:

  • Maintenance fees
  • Minimum balance fees
  • ATM fees
  • Overdraft fees

Even if you’re using a high-yield checking account, why pay your bank fees for access to your own cash? It’s a good idea to check for bank fees when shopping for a checking account. If your checking account has any monthly balance or spending requirements, make sure you stay within those limits to avoid any unnecessary fees.

Check for widespread ATM access

There’s nothing worse than needing cash in a pinch and not having any way to get some. Then even when you find an ATM, it’s out of your bank’s network so to add insult to injury, you’re charged a fee (or two) for using the ATM.

Avoid this situation by finding a checking account that offers widespread ATM access. Often, this isn’t even brick-and-mortar banks which may offer free access to a few thousand branded ATMs across the country. Online banks tend to go above and beyond, offering free access to tens of thousands of ATMs, often worldwide, through ATM networks like AllPoint and MoneyPass.

Look for FDIC Insurance

You want to make sure your money is protected no matter what. FDIC insurance — and National Credit Union Administration insurance for credit unions — insures your money up to legal limits, which for an individual’s checking account would amount to $250,000. This means that up to $250,000 in your checking account will be recovered if your bank or credit union fails.

In the event of institution failure, you’ll either get a check for the amount that was in your checking account, or set up with a new account for the same amount at another insured institution.

Look for Overdraft Protection

Overdraft protection is a crucial feature, especially if you’re often at risk of overextending your funds. This feature works in a few different ways, depending on the institution and the account. Often, a bank’s overdraft protection will link your checking and savings accounts, drawing on your savings account when you overdraft from your checking account. Other iterations may simply not allow you to overdraft the account at all.

Typically, you have to enroll in overdraft protection. Some accounts charge an extra fee for overdraft protection, but many of the best no-fee checking accounts offer this feature for free.

Look for a checking account that pairs with a high-yield savings account

You might want to pair your checking account with a high-yield savings account if you’d like to maintain your day-to-day spending but stash away a portion of your cash to earn a higher rate of return in longer-term savings.
This is also a great option for those who don’t want to be tempted with the ability to easily spend their savings on everyday needs.

If this is what you’re looking for, start by finding a checking account that fits your daily spending needs, is easily accessible and FDIC-insured. You can then track your spending and set up regular deposits into a separate, high-yield savings account for any excess cash you don’t spend. Keep in mind that not all savings accounts are created the same, and it’s worth shopping around for the best rates when it comes to your savings account.

If you want your money to do more for you with less maintenance, online checking is the way to go.

FAQs: What should I know about checking accounts?

A checking account is a bank account for your day-to-day spending needs. They typically come with a debit card, which allows you to make purchases and provides quick and easy access to cash, making it a safer option than carrying cash. Many checking accounts are also offered with paper checks.

Unlike savings accounts, checking accounts typically have no transaction limits, making them the most liquid option for your money aside from holding large amounts of cash. Checking accounts are also FDIC-insured which adds peace of mind.

Checking accounts are used for your everyday spending needs and generally don’t carry interest (however high-interest checking accounts do exist); by contrast, savings accounts usually carry higher interest rates and are meant for you to save money over the long-run.

Keep in mind that savings accounts will typically restrict access to your cash to around six withdrawals per month while checking accounts allow you almost unrestricted access to any cash you hold in the account.

It’s a good idea to maintain a free or no-fee checking account for day-to-day use. Generally speaking, the best checking accounts allow unfettered access to cash and carry no monthly fees, ATM-fees, or other account surcharges.

It’s generally better to keep just enough in your checking account to cover your daily needs, meet any minimum balance requirements and avoid any possible overdraft charges.

Despite their everyday usefulness, checking accounts aren’t the best places to stash your cash long-term. Savings accounts usually offer higher interest rates, making them a better place to store cash.

There are many free checking account options out there. Some options — especially those offered by online banks — are free accounts that even offer extra features like interest and rewards. Keep in mind that many banks will still feature things like inactivity fees, minimum balance requirements or paper statement charges for their “free checking” accounts.

If you’re paying monthly maintenance fees, minimum balances fees or even third-party ATM fees, it’s worth it to do some research, as there are other accounts out there that will give you more bang for your buck and won’t nickel and dime you for it either. Shop around to find the best free checking account for you.

Yes, many checking accounts earn interest, although the amount offered is typically far less than rates offered by savings accounts or money market accounts.

If you’re looking for the best high-yield checking account, many smaller banks and credit unions offer Kasasa checking accounts, which are essentially free checking accounts that offer higher interest rates, so long as you meet a few monthly requirements.

Checking account interest is taxed if you earned $10 or more in interest in a year. For all your interest-earning deposit accounts, your bank should send you a copy of Form 1099-INT, which they will also send to the IRS. This form will help you report the interest income on your tax return. If you don’t receive this form from your institution, but still earned $10 or more in interest, you will still have to report the interest on your taxes.

If you were lucky enough to earn $1,500 or more in interest, you will have to detail the sources of that income on Schedule B of Form 1040.

Almost every checking account offered by major banking institutions is insured by the FDIC, which provides an account holder with up to $250,000 in federal deposit insurance in the event the underlying bank runs into trouble.

As with any other deposit account, it’s easy to find out whether your checking account has FDIC coverage. You can check to see if your financial institution has FDIC insurance by looking for the “Member FDIC” tag that often appears at the bottom of the bank’s marketing materials.

FDIC insurance covers deposits in checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs and money market accounts, up to $250,000 per ownership category per person within a single financial institution. Credit unions receive deposit insurance from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), up to $250,000 per owner, per insured credit union, per account category.

One checking account should suffice for most shoppers. However, there may be instances where you’d want to open multiple checking accounts to help keep your finances organized or separated for different purposes.

For example, many small business owners have their own business checking account to segregate their professional finances from their personal finances.

Some parents may even want to open separate student checking accounts to help teach their kids or budding college students financial responsibility and keep track of their finances.

Keep in mind that you can also open joint checking accounts, which make it easier for couples and those who share their lives to also share finances and track spending. With a joint account, two or more people share ownership, and can deposit and withdraw funds from the same checking account.

Every checking account will feature a routing number and an account number. These two numbers are associated with your bank account and serve as unique identifiers for your account.

The routing number associated with your checking account is a nine-digit string of numbers that identifies the institution that manages your checking account.

Your bank account number identifies your personal account and is the unique identifier that your bank uses to direct cash or wire transfers, track your balance, and rout payments as needed.

If you were rejected after trying to open a checking account, it’s probably because you have a rocky past with previous accounts. When you apply for new bank accounts, most institutions run your information through ChexSystems, which keeps a record of your banking history when institutions report it. This means any history of overdrafts, negative account balances, account closures and the like will be available for ChexSystems users to see.
If you were rejected from opening a new checking account, take a look at your ChexSystems report. It may help to figure out what bad marks on there you may be able to change. There may even be errors on the report that you can dispute and have removed.

A second-chance checking account is a type of checking account available to those who might not otherwise qualify for a traditional checking account due to their credit or ChexSystems history.

It may be worth exploring a second-chance checking account if your banking history might have been blemished by closing an account with a negative balance or outstanding fees.

Typically, second-chance checking accounts have lower spending limits, fewer features and may charge monthly maintenance fees. However they exist mainly to assist people who are determined to get their financial lives back on track. Once you’ve had the chance to rebuild your credit history, you may be able to trade back up for a standard checking account.

Deposit accounts, including checking and savings accounts, are not included in your credit report, since you’re not borrowing money from these kinds of accounts. So the way you use your checking account or even when you close a checking account doesn’t affect your credit.

If you overdraft your checking account and don’t pay back what you owe to your institution, however, that can land in your credit report if the institution sends it to collections. That’s because it’s become more about your debt, which is reported in credit reports, than simply your checking account.

Overdraft protection works a lot like it sounds: it protects you when you overdraft your account. Often, overdraft protection links your checking account to a savings account. Any time you overdraft your checking account, funds are automatically pulled from the savings account to cover the purchase.

Other institutions may offer overdraft protection that simply doesn’t allow you to overdraft the account. This prevents the transaction from going through, but also prevents you from facing an overdraft fee and recovering the extra cost.

Depending on the type of overdraft protection and the institution, overdraft protection can come at an extra fee, or it could be free.


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Banking, Best of, College Students and Recent Grads, Eliminating Fees

Editor’s Choice: Best Student Checking Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Written By

Reviewed By

We know that checking accounts aren’t one-size-fits-all, especially for students. To make your search easier, we found the best checking accounts for students in various categories, so you can find an account with the features that are most important to you — including ATM access, overdraft protection, rewards, international student access, widespread branch access and accounts for parents. We also chose a top student account overall, which offers the best of each category.

To find these top student accounts, MagnifyMoney experts looked at dozens of student checking accounts and regular accounts. We weighed an account’s monthly fee structure, ATM access, overdraft protections and general accessibility. For further peace of mind, we ensured each bank below provides deposit insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

This page is updated regularly to provide the most recent information.

Best student checking accounts

We rounded up the best student checking accounts based on a range of banking needs, whether it’s easy access to ATMs, cashback rewards or overdraft protection you’re after.

What to look for in a student checking account

A student checking account needs to fit a student’s lifestyle. An account with low balance requirements and little to no fees is ideal, but today’s students also need the ease of banking on-the-go, making it all the more important that mobile apps and online features are offered.

Here are a few things to look for when finding the best student checking account for you:

  • Fees: Look for an account with little to no fees. A free checking account is best — that way you don’t have to worry about any charges, and can focus more on money management.
  • ATM access: Even in today’s tech-first world, we all need cash sometimes. Look for an account with widespread — and ideally — free ATM access. Even better, check whether a bank offers reimbursement for third-party ATM charges.
  • Mobile app: Most banks nowadays offer a mobile app, but look for the features offered on the app, like mobile check deposit, and take a look at its rating on app stores.
  • Overdraft protection: Look for free overdraft protection, which will cover you in case you try to pull more money from your account than you have. This will keep your money in your pocket, instead of adding to your bank’s revenue.

The above factors are all important in making your choice, but there are a couple extras that could make or break your decision. Free checks could be a handy feature, for example, while the offer of a cash bonus or ongoing rewards is also worth considering when making your choice.

Best student checking account overall

Capital One 360 Checking Account

  • $0 monthly fee
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Earns interest
  • Mobile app with mobile deposit
  • Locations in six states and D.C.

Read the full review

Students need a low-cost and accessible checking account. The Capital One 360 Checking Account is just that — a free, online checking account that you can easily access on the bank’s mobile app, as well as at branches and ATMs. Plus, since this is a regular account, you can keep this account without having to change a thing once you’re no longer a student, unlike student checking accounts that revert to a regular account with a monthly fee.

The Capital One 360 Checking Account doesn’t have a minimum deposit requirement, which means you can open the account with any amount. There’s also no minimum balance required to keep the account open or to earn interest. All balances earn a modest 0.10% APY.

The account comes with a contactless debit Mastercard that you can use to make free withdrawals at any ATM, including Capital One’s ATMs and those in the Allpoint network. However, you may face a third-party surcharge for using an ATM that is not in those networks — note that Capital One locations are limited to the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Virginia.

Capital One also offers free overdraft protection options, including:

  • Auto-Decline: This prevents transactions that would overdraw your account from going through. It not only prevents you from overspending, but also allows you to avoid an overdraft fee.
  • Free Savings Transfer: This covers your purchases by transferring money from your savings or money market account.
  • Next Day Grace: When you opt in, this gives you a full business day to replace the overdraft amount before the bank charges the $35 overdraft fee.

This account can be opened jointly.

Best student checking account for ATM access

Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

  • Widespread free ATM access
  • ATM fee rebates
  • No monthly fee
  • Earns interest on all balances
  • No cash deposits

Read the full review

Even without branches, Ally Bank offers notably widespread access to ATMs. You can use your Interest Checking Account debit card to withdraw cash from over 40,000 Allpoint ATMs in the U.S. at no cost. If you use an out-of-network ATM and are charged a fee, Ally Bank will reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle.

A downside of this account is that you cannot deposit cash. Still, the Ally Interest Checking Account is easily accessible both online and on mobile apps, which allow for Ally eCheck Deposit. You can even transfer money via Ally Skill™ on an Amazon Alexa device.

The Interest Checking Account is free to own. Overdraft protection is offered at no cost by linking the checking account to an Ally Bank savings or money market account. In addition, there are no fees for incoming wire transfers and official or cashier’s checks. Ally Bank is upfront about the fees you might face, like those for returned deposit items, overdraft items and outgoing domestic wire transfers.

Avoid these fees, and your money can earn interest uninterrupted: Accounts with a balance of less than $15,000 earn 0.10% APY, while accounts with a balance of $15,000 or higher earn 0.25% APY.

Best student checking account for overdraft protection

 Business Advantage Checking  Copy


on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking

  • Prevents overdrafts and overdraft fees
  • Monthly fee waived for students
  • Spending and budgeting tools
  • No paper checks
  • Doesn’t earn interest

Read the full review

Bank of America’s Advantage SafeBalance Banking account keeps your balance safe (see what they did there?) by avoiding overdrafts altogether. The account does not offer overdraft protection services; rather, it declines all transactions that would overdraw the account. This allows you to avoid overdraft fees and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees. However, you may still face a fee from the merchant if your payment bounces back.

Select students can get a better deal on the Advantage SafeBalance Banking account by requesting to have the monthly fee waived. Eligible students are those who are under 24 years of age and enrolled in a high school, college, university or vocational program. With the exception of high school students, you may have to provide proof of enrollment. Once you’re no longer an eligible student, you can waive the account’s $4.95 fee by enrolling in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.

This account does not earn interest, nor does it come with paper checks. However, you can still deposit checks into the account via remote check deposit on Bank of America’s Mobile Banking app, at a branch or at an ATM. The bank’s mobile app also includes the ability to lock and unlock your debit card if you lose it, and it provides a digital debit card in the meantime.

For physical access to your cash, Bank of America has locations in 37 states and the District of Columbia. It’s best to stick to Bank of America ATMs, though, because out-of-network ATM transactions will cost $2.50 ($5 when outside of the U.S.), plus any fees charged by the ATM operator.

Parents, you can open this account jointly with your child.

Best student checking account for rewards

Radius Bank Rewards Checking

  • 1% cashback rewards (up to 1.50% for a limited time. Terms & Conditions apply.)
  • Earns interest
  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited ATM rebates
  • Early direct deposit paycheck

Read the full review

The Radius Bank Rewards Checking account may not be a student-specific account, but its double rewards are too good to pass up. For starters, you can earn unlimited 1% cashback on online and signature-based transactions made with the linked Radius debit card. Until Dec. 30, 2020, you can also earn an extra 0.50% cash back on transactions made in certain merchant categories, including pharmacies, medical services, grocery stores, restaurants and more.

In addition to cashback, Rewards Checking account balances of at least $2,500 earn 0.10% APY, while balances of at least $100,000 earn 0.15% APY.

The account’s perks don’t stop there, though. There’s no monthly fee, and you can access any ATM worldwide for free. Radius Bank even offers unlimited rebates on third-party ATM surcharges. Plus, if you set up your paycheck to direct deposit into the account, you can access it up to two days earlier, as Radius Bank will deposit the check as soon as it receives it instead of waiting for the funds to process.

Best student checking account for international students

PNC Bank Virtual Wallet Student

  • International students can open accounts (in branch)
  • Interpretation services & bilingual bankers (in select branches)
  • No monthly fee
  • ATM fee reimbursements
  • Limited geographical reach

Read the full review

International students can take advantage of PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet Student by applying at a PNC branch with a valid passport or permanent resident card and a valid visa or driver’s license — that being said, PNC Bank only has branches in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Still, PNC Bank boasts customer service with interpretation services in over 240 languages, bilingual employees at select branches, ATMs featuring 10 non-English languages and online financial education services for Spanish-speaking customers.

In terms of international access, PNC Bank will reimburse the first two non-PNC Bank ATM transactions per statement period, whether international or domestic. The bank also allows one free incoming domestic or international wire transfer per statement cycle.

Virtual Wallet Student is technically three accounts in one:

  • Spend: A non-interest-bearing checking account for your everyday spending needs
  • Reserve: An interest-bearing checking account at 0.01% APY meant for short-term savings
  • Growth: An interest-bearing student savings account at 0.01% APY meant for longer-term savings

Students can take advantage of this account package for free for six years, at which point the account converts to a regular Virtual Wallet. Students may have to provide proof of enrollment in a qualifying educational institution.

In addition to branch access, account holders can access Virtual Wallet Student online and through PNC Bank’s mobile app. The app allows for mobile check deposit, as long as you have a camera on your device.

Best student checking account for branch access

Chase College Checking


on Chase Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Chase College Checking & Chase High School Checking

  • Branches in 38 states and D.C.
  • No monthly fee (may require qualification)
  • No overdraft protection on High School Checking

Read the full review

With branches in 38 states and the District of Columbia, Chase Bank is among the most physically accessible for customers. This is especially handy for college students, who may be hopping from state to state several times a year. Chase can even help you find a compatible international ATM if you have a Chase Visa® Check card or a Chase ATM card.

The Chase College Checking account is for college students who are 17 to 24 years old and have proof of their student status. The account is free for five years while the student is in college; it’s also free if, per statement cycle, you make a direct deposit into the account or maintain an average daily balance of at least $5,000 (otherwise, there is a $6 monthly fee). You can get overdraft protection by linking a Chase Savings account to your Chase College Checking account, which will also waive the monthly service fee on the savings account.

The Chase High School Checking account is a joint account for students 13 to 17 years old and their parents or guardians, which must be linked to the adult’s qualifying personal checking account. Once the student becomes eligible, they can convert the account to Chase College Checking; otherwise, the Chase High School Checking account will automatically convert to Chase Total Checking once the student turns 19 (the adult co-owner will remain on the account unless removed). Chase High School Checking does not include Chase Standard Overdraft Practice, where, for a fee, the bank may pay for overdraft transactions.

Both student checking accounts come with a debit card. They’re also both easily accessible online and through the Chase mobile app, which includes mobile check deposit. For adults on the Chase High School Checking account, you can set up text and app notifications to stay on top of your teen’s account activity.

Best student checking account for parents

Capital One MONEY

  • Joint ownership between parent and child
  • No monthly fee
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Earns interest

Read the full review

The Capital One MONEY account is a joint account designed for teens and their parents or legal guardians, although kids aged eight and older can be a joint owner on the account. The adult owner of the account must have a personal deposit account with Capital One or a personal checking account at another U.S. bank to link to the MONEY account. Once the minor account owner turns 18, they can choose to open a 360 Checking account.

The MONEY teen checking account is free to own and doesn’t have any minimum balance requirements. The account focuses on teaching teens responsible money management skills through features available on the Capital One mobile app. This includes Spendable and Set Aside categories to help separate funds for spending and saving, and the ability to set up specific savings goals. Plus, the account earns 0.10% APY, showing your teen the value of an interest-bearing account.

For parents, the account provides text alerts and app notifications to help you keep track of your teen’s spending and the account’s balance. Parents can also take money out of the account, view transactions and set up allowances and transfers from their linked account. The account comes with only one debit card, meant for the teen.

There are very few fees associated with the MONEY teen account, and the ones you might run into are rare, such as those for statement copies, expedited card delivery and cashier’s checks.


A student bank account is one specially made for students. Student checking accounts typically offer the benefit of a waived monthly service fee for students (often with proof of school enrollment). Others provide better protections suited for younger users, like free overdraft protection and avoidance of overdraft fees.

Many student checking accounts nowadays also ensure easy mobile and online access, as well as online and/or mobile budgeting and spending features.

Students aren’t limited to student-specific bank accounts. In fact, students can open regular accounts that are often more fee-free than student accounts, as you can see in some of our picks above.

Students can also look into opening a joint account with their parent or guardian. This can help the student to get acclimated to the world of banking, while also offering the parent or guardian the chance to keep an eye on their student’s banking behavior.

  1. Head to the bank’s website or visit a bank branch. Starting the process of opening a new student bank account is usually as simple as clicking the “Open Account” button on the account’s webpage. International students will likely have to visit the bank’s branch to open an account.
  2. Provide personal and contact information. When opening a bank account, you typically will have to give your full name, Social Security number, email address and/or phone number and some sort of government-issued ID. To open a student-specific account, you’ll also likely need to provide proof of enrollment at a qualifying school.International students opening an account may be asked to provide additional documentation and information. For example, our best checking account for international students, PNC Virtual Wallet Student, requires a valid passport or permanent resident card and a valid visa or driver’s license to open an account. As another example, Chase requires non-U.S. students to provide a passport with a photo and either the I-20 form or DS-2019 form, as well as a residential address, proof of student status and expected graduation date when opening an account.
  3. Fund the new account. Depending on the account’s requirements, you may need to fund your new student checking account when you open it or soon after. You can typically fund a new account by linking another bank account and setting up a transfer, depositing a check or depositing cash.
  • More control over your money
  • Avoid monthly fees
  • Converts to regular fee account when no longer a student
  • Better regular accounts available

For students, opening your own bank account is a great opportunity to start managing your money on your own. You’ll learn the ins and outs of having a bank account — like how to make deposits and avoid certain fees — and you’ll become better versed in money management.

When you have your own account, you have more control over your money. Of course, that also means you’re responsible for keeping tabs on your expenses and account balance. This is especially true if you’re the sole account owner, rather than sharing ownership with a parent or guardian.

Certainly a perk of student checking accounts is that they often waive the monthly fee for students. But once you’re no longer a qualifying student, you’ll likely face that fee. It may be better for your peace of mind — and your wallet — to find a checking account that’s free right out of the gate, like our overall pick, the Capital One 360 Checking account.

Another downside to student checking accounts is that there are many regular accounts that provide a better deal. You can see that reflected above where we chose Capital One, Ally Bank and Radius Bank for their stellar accounts, even though they’re not student-specific.

If a bank has partnered with your college, there’s a chance there are some perks available to you as a student. This could mean ATMs on your campus, waived fees or a personalized debit card. Your school may even have its own credit union, which almost ensures your membership eligibility as a student.

However, you’re not tied to an affiliated bank. If you’re unsatisfied with that bank’s offerings, feel free to shop elsewhere for an account. You want to find an account that works best for you, not one that you have to work for.

A high school bank account is more likely to be a joint account, with ownership shared by the high school student and their parent or guardian. For the student, the benefit is that you don’t have to manage an account all by yourself quite yet if you don’t want to. You can learn the ins and outs of banking from the account co-owner, and build up those skills so you’re ready to get your own bank account in the future.

For parents, a joint bank account provides the opportunity to keep an eye on your student’s banking habits and hopefully teach them best banking practices along the way.

  • Little to no fees: Online bank
  • Competitive interest rates: Online bank
  • Online/mobile experience: Case by case
  • Widespread ATM access: Online bank
  • Branch access: Traditional bank

As students often already have tight budgets, they may want to prioritize low or no fees. Traditional banks tend to be heavy on the fees, while online banks are typically much lighter on the fees and tend to be more transparent about those they do charge. Even better, online banks typically offer much more competitive deposit account interest rates.

In terms of access, online banks are limited to their desktop and mobile experiences, which may be less of a drawback for today’s tech-savvy students. Since they’re made to access on the go, you’re almost guaranteed to have a solid online banking experience, likely with added budgeting and savings features, too. That’s not to say traditional banks won’t have an online or mobile presence — big banks especially have the money to put behind these features.

Traditional banks also have the added benefit of physical branches, if you ever need to speak to a banker to complete a transaction. When it comes to ATM access, both traditional and online banks should offer this. However, an online bank may be able to offer a more widespread reach by partnering with a nationwide ATM network, while traditional banks often limit customers to their own branded ATMs.

The choice between a bank or credit union often comes down to personal preference, whether or not you’re a student.

Big banks are more likely to have a physical presence across the country, which could be beneficial for college students who often travel between states and want access to their cash. On the other hand, big banks tend to lowball deposit account interest rate offers and tend to be rife with fees, which is less than ideal for students on a budget.

With a credit union, you must become a member to use its services, which also makes you a shareholder in the institution. Because of this, credit unions can offer a more local feel to banking and are often more community-focused. Still, many credit unions are part of the CO-OP network, which provides nationwide access to credit unions and ATMs across the country. And whereas banks use fees to increase revenue, credit unions put their profits toward lower fees and higher deposit account rates.

Banking terms that students should know

ACH: The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is the system used by financial institutions to transfer money electronically between them. For example, when you receive your direct deposit paycheck or send money from one account to another, those are ACH transfers.

APY: The annual percentage yield (APY) of an account is the rate of interest it earns compounded over a year (we explain compounding below). APY is a big selling point of deposit accounts; you want a higher rate in order to earn more money.

Check clearing: The check clearing process starts when you deposit a check and ends when your bank has received the funds from the bank of the person who wrote the check. Those funds may not be made available to you immediately, however, depending on your bank.

Checking account: A checking account is a transaction account that comes with a debit card and often paper checks. Your checking account is the one you’ll typically send your direct deposit to and pay off your bills from. You can also use the linked debit card, checks and account number to make purchases.

Compound interest: Compound interest is the interest you earn on the interest you’ve already earned. It piles on interest so you can earn more over time. Bank accounts have different frequencies of compounding: Daily, monthly, quarterly or yearly. It’s best to find an account that compounds interest daily; the more frequent the compounding, the more interest you earn.

Credit union: A credit union is a type of financial institution that offers financial services like a bank, but you have to be a member to take advantage of its products. Membership eligibility is often determined by your employer, geographic location, association with other organizations or family connections.

Custodial account: A custodial account is an account managed by one person for the benefit of another, often a parent managing an account for their child. In that situation, the custodial account becomes owned by the minor when they become an adult (the exact age depends on the state).

Direct deposit: Direct deposit is when you have a payment deposited directly into your account, as opposed to being sent a check that you have to then deposit on your own. While it’s most often in relation to your paycheck, other payments can be direct deposited, such as Social Security benefits. You can set up direct deposit by providing the payment sender with the routing and account numbers for the account in which you’d like the funds deposited.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent regulatory agency for banks. It also provides government-backed insurance on bank deposits up to legal amounts. Typically, the amount for an individual’s account without beneficiaries is up to $250,000. If, for example, you had $250,000 in a student bank account and your bank went out of business, the FDIC would either set you up with a new account with $250,000 at another FDIC-insured bank or send you a check for $250,000.

Interest rate: The interest rate is how fast your money will grow in an account. Unlike APY, the simple interest rate does not take compounding or time into account.

Monthly fee: Also known as a monthly maintenance fee or monthly service fee, this charge is merely for owning an account. Traditional banks are more likely than online banks to charge monthly fees, and they typically increase the amount of this fee for more premium accounts. While the rate depends on your bank and account, monthly fees typically range from $5 to $25.

National Credit Union Administration: The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is the FDIC counterpart for credit unions. Similarly, it regulates credit unions and provides deposit insurance up to legal limits ($250,000 for an individual’s account).

Neobank: Neobanks are often not technically banks; instead, they’re typically mobile-first companies heavily focused on the user-experience side that then partners with a chartered bank to provide financial services. Accounts from neobanks are often called cash management accounts, and they’re growing increasingly popular.

Online-only bank: An online-only bank works much like it sounds: It is available only online and does not have any physical branches. Online banks tend to offer a more fee-free experience and more competitive deposit account interest rates. To make up for their lack of a physical presence, online banks often partner with a widespread ATM network (or two) to provide customers with access to their cash.

Overdraft: An overdraft occurs when you try to make a purchase from your deposit account that costs more than what you have in the account and your bank steps in to cover the difference. Overdrafts should be avoided, as they often carry a steep fee — usually around $35. Many accounts offer some form of overdraft protection, which can be free or cost another fee.

Savings account: Unlike a checking account, a savings account is not a transactional account. Instead, it’s meant to hold your money and grow the balance according to its (hopefully high) interest rate. Savings accounts don’t usually come with debit or ATM cards. Per FDIC regulation, Federal law mandates certain types of telephone and electronic withdrawals, including transfers from savings accounts up to 6 per statement cycle, so it’s best to leave your savings account funds alone or keep an eye on your account activity.

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Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account offered by Charles Schwab Bank isn’t your average checking account. It’s an interest-bearing checking account that offers an added benefit for investors by automatically linking to their brokerage account. If you want the convenience of having your idle cash and invested assets all under one roof and are comfortable with not having any brick-and-mortar branches to visit, this product could be for you.

What is the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account?

The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account is an interest-bearing checking account that is linked to your Schwab One brokerage account, making it easy and convenient to invest otherwise idle cash.

When you open your High Yield Investor Checking account, a Schwab One brokerage account will also be opened for you. The accounts will have separate account numbers, but both can be viewed online with a single login. If you’re in the market for just a checking account to stash the cash you use for your everyday spending needs, opening a brokerage account alongside your checking account can seem like an unnecessary step, as the brokerage account’s main function is to trade stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and other financial products.

This product comes with attractive features that many traditional checking accounts offer — including no minimum balance requirements, no monthly service or ATM fees and a variable interest rate — as well as the unique feature of easy transfers to and from your linked brokerage account.

Here’s what you can expect to receive upon opening and funding a Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account:

  • 0.03% APY
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance
  • Free transfers to and from your linked brokerage account
  • Schwab Bank Visa Platinum debit card
  • Complimentary checks, deposit slips, mailing labels and pre-addressed, postage-paid envelopes

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account fees and minimums

The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account features the following fees and minimums:

Monthly service fee


Minimum balance fee


ATM fee

Unlimited ATM fee rebates

Foreign transaction fee


While the Schwab One brokerage account also does not have any minimum balance requirements or monthly maintenance fees, other account fees may apply. For example, trades placed through a broker come with a service charge of $25.

Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account pros and cons


  • Unlimited ATM rebates: Where this account really shines is with its unlimited ATM fee rebates feature. While Schwab does not have its own network of ATMs, it allows its High Yield Investor customers to access any ATM and issues an unlimited number of ATM fee rebates for cash withdrawals — no matter how hefty the ATM fee is. ATM fees for cash withdrawals made worldwide are rebated at the end of the month.
  • Easy to invest idle cash: By having your checking account linked to your brokerage account, it makes it much more convenient to invest any idle cash.
  • Minimal fees: Schwab’s High Yield Investor Checking account boasts minimal fees compared to other checking accounts, specifically ones offered by other big banks.


  • Low interest rate: The account’s 0.03% APY pales in comparison to other high-yield checking accounts, some of which have rates that climb to over 5.00% APY.
  • No brick-and-mortar locations: For consumers who prefer having a physical location to visit, this account might not be for you. With no brick-and-mortar locations for Schwab Bank, your banking will be conducted solely online, which could be cumbersome for people who feel more comfortable depositing checks and cash in person.
  • Hard credit inquiry: When applying for a new account, Schwab Bank makes a hard credit inquiry. For people concerned about the effect this will have on their credit score, this could be a deterrent.

Who is the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account good for?

If you’re just looking for a liquid checking account that you can use for your everyday spending needs, the Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account is likely not for you. There are other checking accounts offering much higher interest rates without requiring you to link a brokerage account in order to open the account. Additionally, if your strategy is to let your extra cash sit in the Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account without initiating regular transfers to your Schwab One brokerage account, your money would grow at a considerably faster rate in a high-yield savings account, money market account or CD.

If you already are an investor and have a Schwab One brokerage account — or are looking for a checking account that provides easy and instant transfers to and from your brokerage account — the Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account is certainly worth exploring. It has many of the same, standout features that the best traditional checking accounts have, while also being one of the few checking accounts out there that provides instant access to your invested assets.