Best Checking Accounts for 2019

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Looking for a checking account with no fees or low fees and a low minimum deposit? The folks at Smartasset.com reviewed 20 checking accounts to determine which ones were the best and rated them by their fees, minimum deposit amounts, interest rates and customer service. The checking accounts below came back as rating high in these categories and are highlighted below.

Best Overall Checking Account: Capital One 360 Checking

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Minimum balance: None
  • 39,000 free ATMs
  • 0.20 – 1.00% APY

The Capital One 360 checking account is the best overall checking account. The 360 account is the only one we looked at with no fees, no minimums, branch access, cash-friendliness, a suite of banking products and a high-yield interest rate. 

You can open a Capital One account with $0. There are also no monthly fees. Your first checkbook is even free. Capital One also grants you access to a network of 39,000 free ATMs, as well as 840 branches where you can withdraw and deposit cash for free. Capital One’s highly rated mobile app also makes it easy to check your balances and transfer money wherever you may be. 

Where the Capital One 360 account goes above and beyond is that you can also earn interest on the money in your account. For balances under $50,000, you get a 0.20% APY, while balances over $50,000 get 0.75% and those over $100,000 get 1.00%, which is higher than even some savings accounts. Also, linking your savings account to your checking account can help prevent overdrafts as well.

Best Checking Account Bonus: Chase Total Checking

  • Minimum deposit: $25
  • $200 Bonus for opening account
  • Monthly fees: $12 if balance under $1,500
  • 16,000 ATMs
  • No interest earned on checking

If you are new to Chase, you can qualify for a $200 bonus by opening a Total Checking account, depositing at least $25 and making a direct deposit from a qualified entity within 60 days. It is the highest bonus available for checking accounts. 

If you have less than $33,000 to deposit, the Chase bonus actually means earning more over a 3-year period than you would at Capital One. Remember though, Chase checking has no interest, so you won’t earn anything beyond the bonus.

Chase checking is also a great option if you want a traditional banking experience. Chase has 5,100 branches in 28 states and the District of Columbia and a network of more than 16,000 ATMs. Total Checking makes it easy to access your money and move it around without paying hefty fees. There is a $12 monthly fee which you can waive if you keep $1,500 in your account every month or deposit at least $500.This may be harder for college students and young professionals. If you cannot meet those requirements, we wouldn’t recommend going with Chase.  

For those who can meet the minimum, Chase customer service is also stellar. Problems are usually resolved quickly and without issue. Chase’s mobile app is also highly regarded. It is currently rated 4.5 stars from over 48,000 reviews on the Apple App Store. Such a great app helps make it easy to manage your funds.    

Best Checking Account for College Students: Ally Bank Interest Checking

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • $10 allowance for out of network ATMs
  • Monthly fees: none
  • No physical locations
  • 0.10% APY on accounts under $15,000

College students usually have low balances and busy lives, so they need an account that can match those circumstances. The Ally Bank Interest Checking, while not exactly made for students, according to our research is best for them. With an Ally Checking account, students can keep $0 in the account without worrying about fees. They can also link an Ally savings account with their checking account to prevent any overdrafts. 

Ally will also reimburse you up to $10 per month for out-of-network ATM usage. This can be crucial on certain campuses where there may only be one type of ATM available to the students. Your account also comes with a small incentive to save your money, as all accounts under $15,000 have a 0.10% APY. 

Finally, the entirely online/mobile platform should be a plus for college students. The bank’s app makes it easy for students to track their funds and monitor their spending. The app currently is rated 4+ stars on the Apple App store with more than 2,000 reviews. Ally is also great for students with parents out of the country as the account lets you accept incoming international wire transfers at no extra charge.

Best High-Yield Checking Account: Axos Rewards Checking Account

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Domestic ATM fee reimbursement
  • Monthly fees: none
  • No physical locations
  • 1.25% APY on accounts under $15,000

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is your best bet if your goal is to grow money. The account comes with the potential to earn upwards of a 1.25% APY if you meet three qualifications. The first is to have at least $1,000 in direct deposits every month. You’ll earn an additional 0.4166% if you complete at least 10 debit transactions per month and another 0.4166% for 15 debit transactions per month, bringing you to the top 1.25% APY.

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account reimburses you for every domestic ATM fee you incur. The account also has one of the best overall fee structures. There are no maintenance or minimum balance thresholds to meet. You also do not need a minimum deposit.

The biggest issue with the Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is that it’s not as easy to make cash deposits. The bank itself claims this account is best for debit card users who fund their account through direct deposits. Axos does not have any branches, so your only option for depositing cash is through Green Dot® Reload @ the Register, which you can find at participating convenience stores like Duane Reade. We found that shouldn’t be an issue for those living in cities, but it could be for those in areas where there are far fewer participating locations. Going with Capital One or Chase is likely the better option for people in suburbs where there are many branches for those banks, but not many Green Dot® locations.

Best Checking Account for Small Business: Chase Total Business Checking

  • Minimum deposit: $25
  • $5,000 worth of free cash deposits and 100 free transactions per month.
  • Monthly fees: $12 if under $1,500 account balance
  • 5,100 nationwide branches
  • No interest earned

We determined Chase Total Business checking is the best because of how easy it is to find a Chase branch or ATM. Chase, like most business checking accounts, offers $5,000 worth of free cash deposits, a small account fee that can be waived with a certain balance and 100 free transactions per month. Like other banks, Chase also has premium business checking accounts that can scale with the size of your business. 

What distinguishes Chase as the best is that it has more than 5,100 branches across the country. Chase offers the most coverage, which is vital for businesses that manage cash transactions. BBVA Compass, who we consider to be the second best small business checking account only has about 700 branches localized to a handful of states. We recommend Chase as the best for small business, but if you live in an area where BBVA Compass ends up being the most convenient, they will also be a great option.

Whether it’s small business checking, lending or services you’re in search of, our list of the best banks for small business will surely help you find what you need.


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