The Best Checking Accounts

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A pillar of your personal finances

A checking account is one of the pillars of your personal finances. It’s how you make payments for everything you need in your everyday life, after all. But one of the downsides to keeping your money in a checking account is that they generally offer very low interest rates. High rates are not the only thing to consider, though: Are there any hidden fees that will actually make it more expensive to keep your cash there? Are there any minimum balance requirements or other hidden stipulations? How will you ever decide?

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union

Vertical Checking (Qualifying)



Min to earn APY



on Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union's secure site

Business Checking Accounts



Min to earn APY

Partner Colorado Credit Union

Business High Interest Checking



Min to earn APY



on Partner Colorado Credit Union's secure site

How we chose the best checking accounts

We’ve sorted through more than 3,500 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured banks and National Credit Union Administration-insured credit unions across the nation to help you decide just which bank has the best checking account for you. Since checking accounts are dealt with on a day-to-day basis, we’ve established different criteria for each type of checking account you may consider opening.

Online checking accounts

To come up with our list of the best online checking account rates, we sifted through thousands of nationally available online checking accounts listed on DepositAccounts, a subsidiary of LendingTree. We sorted out institutions that carry a health rating of below a B. Finally, we selected the two checking accounts with the highest rates available and no minimum balance requirements.

Rewards checking accounts

We narrowed the rewards checking accounts listed on DepositAccounts by the following criteria: each bank or credit union must carry a health rating of a B or above. Credit unions must also not have overly restrictive membership requirements. From there, we selected the top two checking accounts that offered the maximum amount of rewards with a $100 deposit.

Free checking accounts

We started again with the banks and credit unions listed on DepositAccounts, then narrowed the list as follows: We set the account balance between $0 and $10,000, and assumed that users would use ATMs from other banks four times per month, on average. We filtered out institutions with a health grade below a B, and excluded any credit unions with overly restrictive memberships. Finally, we weeded out any checking accounts that charge third-party ATM fees or monthly service fees, or that require you to keep a minimum balance.

Business checking accounts

Using data from DepositAccounts’ Business Checking Accounts section, we narrowed down the list as follows: We weeded out any institutions that had a health rating of below a B, or had a minimum balance requirement of more than $0. Finally, we excluded any credit unions with overly restrictive membership requirements.

Disclaimer on checking accounts

Checking accounts aren’t meant to be investment tools because they carry such low rates. Over time, if you leave all your cash in a low-yield checking account, inflation will actually eat away at your money’s value. The average checking account earns a measly 0.158% APY, while inflation chugs along at around a hefty 2% per year.

So every year, the money held in your checking account is worth less than the year before. That’s why most experts recommend keeping as little cash in checking as possible, while parking your long-term money in other, higher-earning accounts.

One way to lessen this slow decay of your money is to choose a checking account that offers comparatively high interest rates.

High rates are not the only thing to consider, though: Hidden fees will actually make it more expensive to keep your cash there. So, look closely at the fees banks require you to pay by reading through their disclosures carefully.