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Bank accounts

Best Checking accounts bonuses

We've listed the sign-up offers below from best to worst, factoring in ease of obtaining bonuses, be sure to understand fully what you're getting into before signing up. There is a glossary of terms at the bottom of the page and we've tried to inc$

Chase Total Checking account

You can get a $300 bonus by opening a Chase Checking account. Open a Chase Total CheckingĀ® account online or in person using the relevant coupon. Fund with at least $25. You must have a direct deposit (see below for what constitutes a direct deposit) On its own website, Chase only advertises a $200 bonus, however follow this link and you'll see the $300 offer on display. If you would like to open the account in-branch (which isn't the preferred way) then my suggestion is to purchase a coupon from eBay (click here).

What are the deposit requirements?

You must have a direct deposit into the account within 60 days. The account must remain open for six months.

When will I get the bonus?

Within 10 business days of completing requirements.

What are the ongoing account fees?

Monthly fee: $12, avoided by having monthly direct deposits of $500 or more, a minimum daily balance of $1,500, or keeping a daily average balance of $5,000 in your Chase Total CheckingĀ® and qualifying linked Chase bank accounts.

Will my credit history show a soft pull or a hard pull?

A soft pull

Chase has indicated that the current deadline for this offer is Nov/11/2018, however they've been known to extend this.

Citi Checking account

You can get a $200, $400 or $600 bonus by opening a Citi Personal Checking account

No direct deposit is required, but a balance of $5,000 (for a $200 bonus) $15,000 (for the $400 bonus) $50,000 (for the $600 bonus) is required for 60 days. You can also get an extra $100 on the $400 bonus when you complete one qualifying direct deposit each month for two consecutive months within 60 days of account opening

Will my credit history show a soft pull or a hard pull?

A soft pull

Best daily use checking accounts

We've tried to compile a list of the best checking accounts for different purposes. We've also trying to distinguish between banks with a physical branch prescence (for example Chase or Wells Fargo) vs "online only" banks (for example Charles Schwab). If you prefer knowing that you can walk into a branch and try and resolve any issues with a real interaction, these banks should take preference. Online only banks will have customer support however this would be through other means such as live chat or email. Depositing checks now provides options (from both physical bank as well as online only) but cash poses a bigger challenge, so if you're doing this on a regular basis you'd best stick to a bank with a physical presence, preferably close to your place of work or home.

Best checking account for no fees overall


The Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account is hands down the best no fees checking account available and although I've marked this as the best online account, Schwab does in fact have around 340 branches around the US. So if you're lucky enough to live near one that offers banking services (not all do), then you've got a great deal here. Even if you're not Charles Schwab offers many convenient ways to bank, including checks, although cash is still a challenge (see below for alternative ways to deposit cash). Their checking account does not charge ATM fees locally in the US (they refund you) and they refund ATM fees incurred at any ATM outside the US. They charge no monthly fee, have no minimum balance requirements, free checks, offer contactless payment, have a free overdraft facility and are FDIC insured, which means balances up to $250,000 are guranteed by the government.

How can I deposit cash in a Charles Schwab account if I'm not near a branch?

While none of these are ideal solutions, you can do the following (1) buy money orders from the Post Office, Walmart or Western Union or get a cashiers check and (2) mail these to Schwab using the postage-free address. Both of these options (MO's and cashiers check) would cost money, although nominal. If you're doing lots of cash deposits, you may want to opt for a bank with physical branches.

What's the catch?

One catch is you'll need to also open a Schwab One Brokerage account, but this is also free. There are also several drawbacks, which may matter to you, listed below: 1) Deposits that are not cashier's checks or government checks can take longer in some cases, particularly in the first 30 days after account opening. Schwab will notify you of the time period when depsiting 2) Charles Schwab only offers a checking account and a savings account, where some people may like to open other accounts with the same bank 3) Mentioned above, you'll need a brokerage account to open a checking account, but there is also no minimum balance 4) Charles Schwab is a hard pull, as you need a checking account and a brokerage account


Banks that have an extensive ATM network and no/less fees are preferable here. There a quite a few that fall into this bucket, so I've listed them. Ultimately the choice boils down to whether they service your area (home or work) and the level of service they offer.

Discover, Ally and Alliant Credit Union (accounts are offered nationally) all offer no monthly fees and vast ATM networks - note that unlike Charles Schwab you'll still need to use an ATM designated fee free for all 3 of these accounts (check the website or when withdrawing it will normally state the fee). All 3's interest rates with their savings accounts are very competitive even with online only banks. Discover is the stand-out offering as their debit card offers 1% cashback on most purchases (some exclusions like money orders or other cash equivalent purchases or even funding other bank accounts do not count)

Honorable mentions

Both Chase and Bank of America have vast ATM networks, however both charge a monthly fee which can be avoided (for example by direct depositing a certain amount or keeping the balance above a certain amount through the month). If you're savvy and need Chase or BOA, then these fees can be avoided fairly easily by depositing your salary for example. Chase wins here as they offer a sign-up bonus.

One other consideration is checking out your local credit unions. They often have competitive offerings as they're trying to attract customers from the big national banks.

Best checking account for no ATM fees

The same winner here as the no fee bank account, which is Charles Schwab if you're OK with online only, or Discover/Ally/Alliant are all good choices if you want ATM fees refunded.

Best checking account for overseas spending

Here we have 2 choices, (1) which is the best bank account for overseas cash withdrawls and the other for overseas spending i.e purchases.

For cash withdrawals, we add a new contender into the mix: the Capital One 360 checking account offers free ATM withdrawls from Allpoint ATM's (located in the US and worldwide). However, the physical branch presence is limited, so unless there is a reason to get the 360 checking account, Charles Schwab is still the best for overseas cash withdrawals, as you don't have to worry about which ATM you're using. Discover is second choice here, as they offer a good US based account (with cashback) and also fee free ATM withdrawals from Allpoint and Moneypass ATM's, located worldwide.

Now onto the topic of overseas purchases. Again, the Charles Schwab debit card (did we mention that we really like the Charles Schwab checking account?) offers fee free purchases on the provided debit card. None of the other checking accounts offer fee free overseas purchases, so it's not wise to use these, as they'll charge at least 1% of the purchase price when using those. The other option when purchasing overseas is to use a fee free credit card, which we cover in another section.

Best checking account for savers

There are no checking accounts mentioned previously that offer anything near a reasonable rate of return (or Annual Percentage Rate, APR) on balances. For better returns, both Simple and Axos offer the most competitive rates, although both of these are online banks. Both of these offer many of the same no fee privileges that Charles Schwab offers, however the big differentiator is that Schwab still offers a refund on ATM fees, while Simple has fee free withdrawals on its 40,000 ATM's and while Axos offers no fee US ATM's, both overseas withdrawals and spending are no fee free.

Bottom line here is if you have excess cash, you're far better off moving that cash into a specialist savings account than keeping it in a checking account - we cover the best savings accounts elsewhere.

Best checking account for cashback

From a checking account perspective, Discover wins here are they're the only checking account offering cashback. Credit cards offer far greater rewards, which are covered elsewhere.

Best checking account for purchase protection

Purchase protection offers reimbursement for items purchased that may break or get stolen. There are currenty no checking accounts/debit cards which offer this feature and are strictly limited to credit cards, which are covered elsewhere.

Best checking account for overdraft

If you find yourself going into overdraft often, it's wise to try and avoid fees, as overdraft fees can run into many hundreds of dollars, some charging you per instance (even if on the same day!) you use you debit card when you don't have funds available.

With this in mind, Axos and Simple (online only, mentioned above) simply declines the transaction if you can't cover the cost. They also won't charge you for doing this. Both Charles Schwab and the Capital One 360 checking account both offer a novel approach in that if you go into overdraft, they'll first take funds from your linked saving account (assuming you have one) and won't charge for this. Capital One also has a one day grace period, so if you transfer in an amount the following day which covers the overdraft, they also won't charge you. Bottom line here is if you go into overdraft oten, it's best to have an account where this can't happen, such as the Simple or Axos account.