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Best checking accounts for December 2023

Updated December 05, 2023

Checking accounts are great for money that you need to spend. Checking accounts generally offer checks and have unlimited transactions, but there are exceptions.

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Banks with the best checking accounts for December 2023

Annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of Nov. 24, 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
1.75% APY
$0 minimum balance to open

Navy Federal Credit Union Logo
Rating: 4.1 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 at least a $15,000 balance to earn the bank’s top checking yield.

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

EverBank Yield Pledge Checking

EverBank Logo
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5


EverBank, formerly TIAA Bank, is known for its Yield Pledge accounts which, it says, guarantees high-yielding APYs. TIAA Bank’s Yield Pledge Checking account is one account that offers a competitive yield. You don’t need a minimum opening deposit for this account. It also rewards you for depositing more with tiered yields based on your balance.

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: 4.7 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. Its 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

Savers are still benefiting from the Federal Reserve’s 11 rate increases in this current cycle. The Fed didn’t change rates for the second straight meeting Nov. 1. And it’s unlikely that the Fed will change rates at its last scheduled meeting of the year Dec. 13.

Generally, you’re going to find the most competitive yields at FDIC-insured online banks in savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs.

The current rate environment is great for savers since top savings yields are outpacing inflation, but it also means credit card rates are generally pretty high. According to Bankrate’s Nov. 15 survey, the average credit card rate is at a record high of 20.72 percent.

How to choose the best checking account for you

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, checking accounts allow you to withdraw or transfer money, write checks and make debit card transactions 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, federally insured 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. These versatile accounts 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 at home or on the go.

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.

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 are the most commonly required documents.
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.
You'll need to provide proof of address when opening an account. Utility bills, lease agreements and insurance cards can work well.
It may be difficult to get a checking account under age 18. That said, opening a teen account, a joint account or a custodial account can be an option for minors.

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 interest paid on your balance or cash back for using debit cards. Regardless of your financial situation or needs, Bankrate can help you find the best type of checking account for you.


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 Jan. 24, 2024, 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 2023 checking account and ATM fee study found that 45 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.

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. 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: Some banks that own ATMs impose surcharges on non-customers who use the ATM. Some banks also charge their own customers each time they use an ATM outside of the bank’s network — although some banks don't charge for non-network ATM use, and some will even reimburse you for non-network ATM fees. The average combined total of ATM surcharges and those imposed by one’s own bank for a single transaction is $4.73, according to Bankrate’s latest checking account fee survey.

How to avoid fees and why it matters

Bank fees are costly. Even though Bankrate’s 2023 checking account and ATM fee study found that the average overdraft fee decreased from $29.80 in 2022 to $26.61 in 2023, it’s still expensive to pay these fees.

Luckily, some banks have eliminated, or cut, overdraft fees

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:


  • Checkmark

    It’s an easy way to pay bills and make everyday purchases.

  • Checkmark

    Many employers and service providers offer direct deposit that goes directly into your checking account.

  • Checkmark

    Your money is protected in an FDIC-insured bank as long as your balances are within FDIC limits and guidelines.

  • Checkmark

    You can generally write checks or access your money from an ATM.

  • Checkmark

    A checking account will allow you to send and receive money through Venmo or Zelle.


  • Some checking accounts charge fees for things such as not meeting minimum

  • Though some checking accounts earn a competitive yield, many earn little or no interest.

Checking vs. savings accounts

Both checking and savings accounts can be found at banks, credit unions and community banks. 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 usually paltry. Are more likely to be interest-bearing and the yields are usually better.

Checking account FAQs

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.