Online bank accounts for free can be a good fit for people that prefer digital banking and who don’t need to visit a physical bank branch.
Digital banking offers customer-friendly access to finance and money management tools and is probably why 82 percent of Millennials, ages 18 to 24, use mobile-only banking according to a PWC Survey.
People tend to like free online bank accounts not only for no-fee checking accounts but also for higher savings rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
The money saved by not having to operate branch locations is passed onto the customer which means banks can offer online free checking along with savings accounts.
Our 5 Favorite Online Bank Accounts For Free
1. CIT Bank – eChecking Account
The CIT e-Checking Account lets you earn interest with no monthly fees. Earn 0.25% APY with $25,000 minimum balance or 0.10% APY on balances under $25,000. Minimum of $100 to open your account. You can transfer funds with electronic transfer, mail-in check, or wire.
e-Checking Account Features
- CIT Bank does not charge ATM fees.
- Get up to $30 in other bank’s ATM fees reimbursed per month.
- Transfer, pay and purchase via mobile with Zelle®, Bill Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.
- Deposit checks and make unlimited withdrawal and disbursements with the CIT Bank mobile app.
- 24/7 account access online and mobile, plus an automated telephone system.
2. Quontic Bank High-Interest Checking
With the High Interest Checking account you can make deposits, write checks, utilize electronic bill pay, and transfer money. There are no monthly fees or overdraft fees. Get free high-interest checking and earn 1.01% APY on daily balances up to $100,000 when you make at least 10 qualifying debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per payment cycle.
High Interest Checking Account Features
- $100 minimum opening deposit required.
- Earn 1.01% APY on daily balances up to $100,000 when you make at least 10 qualifying debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per payment cycle.
- You won’t have to pay ATM fees when you use your Quontic Debit Card at any participating AllPoint® Network ATMs, MoneyPass® Network ATMs, SUM® program ATMs, or Citibank® ATMs located in Target, Speedway, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Safeway, Winn Dixie, and Circle K.
- Sign up for Online Banking, Mobile Banking with features like remote check deposit, bill pay, account transfers.
- FDIC-insured deposits up to $250,000 per depositor.
3. LendingClub Banking – Rewards Checking
The Rewards Checking Account is designed for customers that like to earn cashback rewards and interest on deposits. Additional features include unlimited ATM fee reimbursements and monthly free checking. LendingClub banking will rebate other bank’s ATMs fees each month for withdrawals. Accounts can be managed totally online with digital and banking technology.
LendingClub banking offers full-service banking with various financial products that include savings accounts, CDs, credit cards, personal and mortgage loans plus insurance products.
LendingClub Rewards Checking Features:
- $100 minimum opening deposit.
- No Monthly or Hidden Fees.
- Up to 1.5% Cash Back.
- Early Direct Deposit by up to two days.
- Free Bill Pay and eStatements.
- Free ATMs Worldwide – Get unlimited ATM fee rebates.
4. Chime – Spending Account
The Chime Spending Account offers a simple checking and savings account for free. Chime is a mobile-only bank backed by Bancorp Bank that is FDIC-insured, so it’s a safe place to keep your checking and savings accounts.
The good thing about Chime is that there are no monthly fees or overdraft fees. Plus, the Chime Savings account earns 0.50% APY on all balances. You’ll find more financial products in the Chime review that may be beneficial to your finances.
Chime Spending Account Features
- No monthly fees. No deposit is required.
- No overdraft fees plus Chime’s SpotMe feature will spot you up to $200* on debit card purchases with no overdraft fees.
- No minimum balance requirements.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- 38,000+ fee-free MoneyPass® & Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs.
- Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit ².
5. Axos Rewards Checking
With the Axos Rewards Checking account, you can earn up to 1.25% APY* while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management. You don’t have to worry about overdraft or non-sufficient fees with this account plus get mobile banking and nationwide ATM access with no maintenance fees.
To earn the 1.25% on balances of you must have a direct deposit of at least $1,000, 10 debit card transactions of at least $3 and 5 additional account transactions per month. You’ll find more financial products in the Axos Bank review that you may find beneficial to grow your finances.
Axos Rewards Checking Account Features
- Up to 1.25% APY
- Zero monthly maintenance fees
- Zero overdraft or NSF fees
- Zero minimum monthly balance reqs
- Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
- Online debit card management
- Zero Minimum Balance Requirement
- Only $50 to open an account
Why Banks Charge a Monthly Service Fee
Despite free checking being wildly popular, the reason most banks charge a monthly fee is simple ⏤ Banks are for-profit businesses with the goal of making money. Monthly services fees at major banks can range from $5 to $25.
But to be fair, profit is not the sole reason for monthly services fees.
It may seem problematic that you may have to pay in order to use your own money, but banks need to cover operating expenses such as personnel costs and utilities.
Online-only banks don’t have to worry about costs associated with running local bank branches, but there are still operating costs involved.
Banks may offer customers ways to avoid monthly services fees like:
- Combining a checking and savings account like at CIT Bank where not only free checking is offered but a Combo Checking/Savings earns customers 0.50% APY.
- Maintaining a minimum balance in your account.
- Setting up a monthly direct deposit to waive the monthly fee.
- Discount on a monthly service fee to switch to online statements instead of getting monthly paper statements.
- If you have other qualifying products, services, or accounts from the same bank, such as a home mortgage, personal loan, or even a credit card.
Free checking can save you money
The money that you save on not paying a monthly service fee can add up to a nice chunk of change. Take a look at the monthly service fee at five major banks.
|Checking Account Fees at 5 Major Banks||Monthly Fee|
|Chase Total Checking®||$12|
|Citibank Basic Banking Account||$12|
|Bank of America Advantage Plus||$12|
|Wells Fargo Everyday Checking||$10|
|U.S. Bank Easy Checking||$8.95|
Once you’ve opened a free checking account, it’s important to manage it in the best way possible by avoiding unnecessary costs like overdraft fees. This ensures you’re getting the most out of what free checking has to offer. Overdraft fees can knock out a checking account balance unless you have some type of overdraft protection or a feature like SpotMe from Chime banking that will cover overdrafts up to $200 free of charge.