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Best checking accounts for May 2023

Best available rates across different account types for Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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Banks with the best checking accounts for May 2023

Annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of May 31, 2023. Bankrate's editorial team updates this information regularly, typically biweekly. APYs may have changed since they were last updated and may vary by region for some products.

Heritage Bank eCentive checking account

Heritage Bank Logo
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5


Heritage Bank is based in Spicer, Minnesota, and is known for its eCentive Checking Account. The eCentive checking account offers a competitive yield on balances up to $100,000. But you’ll need to earn that competitive APY by receiving electronic statements, having an automated payment or direct deposit each month and making at least $500 worth of monthly debit card purchases.

Invest Rate
2.02% APY
$100 minimum balance to open

NBKC Bank Everything Account

NBKC Bank Logo
Rating: 3.9 stars out of 5


NBKC Bank is known for offering a competitive checking yield on all balances. It also doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit on its Everything Account. The account has ATM access and is a part of the MoneyPass network. That means customers have access to more than 37,000 fee-free ATMs.

Invest Rate
1.50% APY
$0 minimum balance to open

Navy Federal Credit Union Logo
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5


Serving millions of military members and their families, Navy Federal Credit Union is the world’s largest credit union. It’s a good fit for anyone looking for a credit union who qualifies to be a member. It has around 350 branches worldwide, and Navy Federal’s Active Duty Checking account holders can have as much as $20 per statement cycle of ATM fees reimbursed.

Invest Rate
0.35%-0.45% APY
$0 minimum balance to open

Ally Bank Interest Checking account

Ally Bank logo
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5


Ally Bank launched in 2009 as a one-stop shop for online-only banking customers from coast to coast. It is known as an online bank that has nearly every type of account and offers a competitive yield. Ally Bank’s interest checking offers interest on all balances. You’ll need a $15,000 balance to earn the bank’s top checking yield.

Invest Rate
0.10%-0.25% APY
$0 minimum balance to open

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking

TIAA Bank Logo
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5


TIAA Bank is known for offering competitive yields on accounts and has branches in Florida. Its Yield Pledge Checking account offers the same APY on every balance. The Yield Pledge Checking account doesn’t have a monthly fee, and it reimburses up to $15 worth of ATM fees per month for everyone and provides unlimited fee reimbursement for those with at least $5,000 in the account. You only need $100 to open this account.

Invest Rate
0.25% APY
$100 minimum balance to open

LendingClub Bank Rewards Checking

LendingClub Logo
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5


LendingClub Bank is an FDIC-insured online bank known for its Rewards Checking account that earns cash back and interest and also offers ATM fee reimbursement. On the savings side, LendingClub has competitive yields on its savings account and CDs. The bank acquired Radius Bank in February 2021.

It's a solid option for consumers looking for an online bank that offers competitive yields, low fees and ample ATM access.

Invest Rate
0.10%-0.15% APY
$25 minimum balance to open

Capital One 360 Checking

Capital One Logo
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5


Capital One Bank is ideal for consumers looking for a full-service bank with a wide network of no-fee ATMs and access to branches in select states. It offers most of the accounts that people need. The 360 Checking Account has early direct deposit available, the ability to deposit cash at any CVS store, it earns a little interest and it doesn’t have a monthly service fee.

Invest Rate
0.10% APY
$0 minimum balance to open

Chase Bank Total Checking and College Checking (pay no interest); Premier Plus Checking and Sapphire Checking

Chase Bank Logo
Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5


With a massive branch network and breadth of product offerings, Chase is often viewed as the country's signature banking institution. Chase is an option to consider if you live near its branches and ATMs. Chase’s checking and savings yields are generally very low. Chase is known for having checking account bonuses for new customers, and electronic deposits of at least $500 per month can waive the monthly service fee on the Total Checking account.

Invest Rate
0%-0.01% APY
Minimum balance varies by location

In the news

The first bank failures since 2020 are a wake-up call for consumers. While failures of this size are unusual, they do occasionally happen. Here’s how you can stay protected: 

  • Make sure your money is deposited at an FDIC bank
  • Avoid having uninsured excess deposits. Confirm your money is within FDIC limits by going to the FDIC’s Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator (EDIE) or calling the FDIC. 

How to choose a checking account

Many people receive their income into a checking account which can be used for spending and paying bills. In some cases, checking accounts can also be a good option for your savings goals. 

Either way, a checking account is a necessity for managing your finances. Follow the steps below when choosing and setting up a checking account:

  1. Shop around. Some checking accounts have large ATM networks, reimburse ATM fees, and/or pay interest. Most offer debit cards and check writing. You’ll want to research banks and credit unions to compare accounts. When doing so, make sure the minimum opening deposit is in line with how much you have available and check if there are ongoing minimum balance requirements and monthly maintenance fees. Generally, savings account and money market account rates are higher than checking account yields, but there are some exceptions.
  2. Open the checking account and deposit the funds into it.
  3. Consider setting up a direct deposit to have your income automatically deposited into the checking account. 

What is a checking account and how does it work?

A checking account is a financial tool that offers everyday access to your money. These accounts typically come with personal checks and a debit card. In recent years banks have expanded their checking account services to include online and mobile banking. With checking accounts, there's no limit to how often you can access your money. Unlike savings accounts, you can withdraw, transfer, write checks and make debit card charges as often as you'd like.

To clear checks and transfer funds, banks use the Federal Reserve's automated clearing house service, or ACH, a nationwide network operated by the two national ACH operators — the Reserve Banks and the Electronic Payments Network. Checking accounts are typically easy to set up with a small deposit. If they earn interest at all, it tends to be less than savings and money market accounts. However, checking accounts offer the same level of safety. Like savings and money market accounts, checking accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) or by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, depending on whether your account is at a bank or credit union.

Why should you open a checking account?

Because of their accessibility and safety, checking accounts make for a good financial hub — a versatile account that can be used to pay bills, make purchases and receive deposits. Checking accounts can simplify your financial life. For example, you can set up your checking account to receive automatic deposits from your employer and make automatic withdrawals to pay your bills. Mobile apps enable you to make payments, transfer money and review your transaction history whether you’re sitting comfortably at home or on the go.

What to look for in a checking account

Types of checking accounts

Checking accounts come in several varieties, including versions geared to specific populations, such as seniors, teens, business owners or those who have checkered banking histories. Some offer perks, such as cash back for using debit cards or interest paid on the account balance. Regardless of your financial situation or needs, Bankrate can help you find the best type of checking account for you.

Regular checking accounts at an FDIC-insured bank offer you a safe place to put your money, as long as your balances are within FDIC limits and guidelines. Interest checking accounts are a great way to earn some interest on your checking balance. But in most cases, a savings account or money market account might offer a higher yield on your entire balance.

Online checking accounts might offer a way to earn a higher yield than most traditional checking accounts. Online banks are safe and protected if they’re FDIC insured.


Some banks will pay you hundreds of dollars to get you to open a checking account, but these bonuses usually come with strings attached. For instance, Chase will pay $200 to new customers who open a Chase Total Checking account by July 19, 2023, but they must set up direct deposit of a paycheck, pension or Social Security benefit and keep the account open for at least six months. Bankrate can help you find the best bank account sign-up bonuses.


Some banks will offer cash-back rewards. These rewards may be limited to a certain amount of cash back per month.

Interest on a rewards checking account may only apply to certain balances. After that yields may decrease significantly.

No fees

Bankrate's 2022 checking account and ATM fee study found that 46 percent of non-interest-bearing accounts are free and don't charge monthly service fees. The majority of noninterest accounts will waive fees under certain conditions, such as direct deposit. Challenger banks, a term used to denote upstart banks like Chime and Current, also offer no-fee accounts.

Requirements to open a checking account

Checking accounts typically have some general requirements, and you’ll need to meet them in order to open an account.

  • Identification: Most banks and credit unions require two forms of identification to open an account — a Social Security card, passport, state ID or driver's license.
  • Minimum deposit: The minimum deposit to open a checking account is typically around $25 or more, although there are some accounts that allow for less.
  • Address: You'll need to provide proof of address when opening an account. Utility bills, lease agreements and insurance cards can work well for this.
  • Age: It's typically difficult to get a checking account under age 18. That said, opening a joint account or a custodial account can be an option for minors.

What to know about minimums and fees

It's important to be aware of minimums and fees when opening a checking account. Here's an explanation of the different types of minimum requirements and fees you may face:

  • Minimum balance to open: Otherwise known as an opening deposit, this is the minimum amount of money required to open a checking account. This minimum is often $25 or more. However, some accounts require no minimum to open.
  • Minimum balance to avoid fees: Many checking accounts require that you keep a minimum balance in the account in order to avoid the monthly maintenance fee. This minimum requirement can range anywhere from $250 to more than $1,500. Often, as long as you maintain the monthly minimum, the bank will often waive the fee.
  • Monthly fees: Checking accounts frequently charge a monthly fee for "maintenance." These fees can add up to $100 or more per year. In order to get the fee waived, you may need to meet the bank's minimum balance requirement, enroll in direct deposit or even open a savings account.
  • ATM fees: Banks normally charge for using your checking account's debit card at non-network ATMs to withdraw money. These fees generally range anywhere from $2 to $5 (or more at international ATMs). But there are some banks that don't charge for non-network ATM use, and some will even reimburse you for non-network ATM fees.


How to avoid fees and why it matters

Bank fees are costly. Even though Bankrate’s 2022 checking account and ATM fee study found that the average overdraft fee decreased from $33.58 in 2021 to $29.80 in 2022, it’s still expensive to pay these fees. 

Luckily, some banks have eliminated or cut overdraft fees

A Bankrate survey published in January 2022 found that millennials and Generation Z have faced the brunt of these increasing costs, paying more than three times as much in bank fees than older generations. 

In monthly checking account fees alone, the survey showed millennials paid $16 and Gen Zers paid $19, on average, versus $4 for Gen Xers and $2 for baby boomers. The disparity caused by bank fees most significantly affects working class people and people of color. 

For many millennials and Gen Zers, tracking money and investing in the right savings account may not seem like a priority, especially given that they are increasingly overwhelmed by work, student debt and the ongoing pandemic. Unfortunately, these overlapping struggles also put younger generations at the most risk of conceding to higher bank fees or being less careful with their money. The cost of high monthly checking account fees can amount to over $400 a year, money that otherwise could have gone into emergency savings or investments.

Bypassing bank fees can be highly rewarding for both short- and long-term goals. When it comes to overdraft fees, it’s crucial to prevent your account from being overdrawn. Some steps to take for preventing an overdraft fee include:

  • Budgeting to be conscious of how much you’re spending
  • Keeping track of your available balance regularly
  • Opting in for alerts for when your balance is at risk of an overdraft 

But perhaps the best way to curb overdraft fees is by switching to a bank that doesn’t charge them at all. Some banks, such as Capital One and Ally Bank, have eliminated overdraft fees. 

Switching to a bank with lower or no fees is especially worthwhile for younger workers to get a head start on saving. Monthly maintenance fees — which hit younger consumers hardest — in particular, are easily avoidable. Many online banks charge no monthly fees and also feature low minimum balance requirements, another key consideration for younger workers in entry-level jobs or working in the gig economy with inconsistent income. When considering a new account or bank to switch to, Bankrate’s list of best banks can help guide you toward one that suits your needs and saves you money.

Pros and cons of checking accounts

Checking accounts can be a good place for your money. But in some cases, there are better alternatives. 

Here are some pros and cons that comes with having a checking account: 


  • It’s an easy way to pay bills and make everyday purchases. 
  • Many employers and service providers offer direct deposit that goes directly into your checking account.
  • Your money is protected in an FDIC-insured bank as long as your balances are within FDIC limits and guidelines. 
  • You can generally write checks or access your money from an ATM.
  • A checking account will allow you to send and receive money through Venmo or Zelle.


  •  Checking accounts can accumulate fees. These can include fees for not meeting minimum balance requirements or ATM fees. 
  • In some cases, longer-term money in a checking account might be better off in a savings account, money market account or a CD so that it can earn a higher yield. Though some checking accounts offer a competitive yield, many don’t. And those that do offer a competitive yield may only offer that high APY up to a certain balance and you might have to have a direct deposit and/or debit card purchases to qualify. Or the APY could be significantly lower. 

Checking vs. savings accounts

Both checking and savings accounts can be found at banks, credit unions and community banks. The relatively recent adoption of online and mobile banking allows seamless transfers from one account to another. But checking and savings accounts differ in important ways.

How does a checking account differ from a savings account?

  Checking Account Savings Account
Purpose Checking accounts are for everyday use: paying bills, buying groceries, debit card transactions. Savings accounts are for stashing cash for emergencies, large purchases and longer-term goals.
Accessibility Offer unlimited withdrawals. Are limited to six withdrawals per month. There are some exceptions.
Flexibility Offer several methods for spending the money, including debit cards, paper checks, mobile apps and third-party payment services, such as Zelle. They are less flexible. Many accounts don't come with check-writing. Some do come with an ATM card, but not all of them.
Earnings Often do not pay interest and if they do, the yield is paltry. Are more likely to be interest-bearing and the yields are better

Checking account FAQs

Checking account research methodology

Bankrate's editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is fact-checked to ensure accuracy. Our editorial and research teams analyzed more than 100 widely available financial institutions, made up of the biggest banks and credit unions, as well as a number of popular online banks.

To find the best checking accounts, Bankrate's editorial team analyzed various factors, such as fees, minimum balance requirements and annual percentage yield (APY) offered. All of the checking accounts listed are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) at banks or by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) at National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) credit unions.

Account minimums, monthly service fees and ATM charges are some important things to consider when choosing a checking account. It's easy to find a checking account that doesn't charge fees and has minimal balance requirements. Many online banks offer them, and they are a good fit for many consumers.

Choosing a bank or credit union that's backed by the federal government will ensure your money is safe. Be sure to follow FDIC and NCUA limits and guidelines.

Bankrate's editorial team chose the criteria, developed a scoring system to determine the best checking accounts, and used its knowledge of financial services and banking experience to choose the best ways to rate them.

Bankrate's experience on financial advice and reporting

At Bankrate, we regularly survey approximately 4,800 banks and credit unions in all 50 states to provide you with one of the most comprehensive comparisons of interest rates. All of the checking accounts below are insured by the FDIC at banks or the NCUA at credit unions. When selecting the best checking account for you, look for the highest yield while also considering introductory rates, minimum balances and accessibility.

We strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy. The top banks listed below are based on factors such as APY, minimum balance requirements and broad availability.

Banks we monitor

These financial institutions are featured in our checking account rate research: Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, Amerant Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Axos Bank, Bank 5 Connect, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Barclays, Bask Bank, BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union), Bethpage Federal Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Bread Financial (formerly Comenity Direct), BrioDirect, Capital One Bank, Chase Bank, CIBC USA, CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens, Citizens Bank (Rhode Island), Credit One Bank, Comerica Bank, Customers Bank, Delta Community Credit Union, Discover Bank, Emigrant Direct, Fifth Third Bank, First Citizens Bank, First Internet Bank, First Technology Federal Credit Union, FNBO Direct, Golden 1 Credit Union, Heritage Bank NA, Huntington National Bank, Investors Bank, Investors eAccess, KeyBank, LegacyTexas Bank, Limelight Bank, Live Oak Bank, Morgan Stanley Private Bank, M&T Bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, MySavingsDirect, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC Bank, PenFed Credit Union, PNC Bank, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Quontic Bank, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, State Employees' Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union, Synchrony Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, Truist Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank (California), U.S. Bank, USAA Bank, Vio Bank, VyStar Credit Union, Wells Fargo and Zions Bank.