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10 Best Online Bank Accounts For Free – March 2024

Check out 10 Online Free Bank Accounts that offer full service banking.
online-bank-accounts-for-free
online-bank-accounts-for-free

Online bank accounts for free offer the convenience of digital banking without the need to visit a physical bank branch and often have higher savings rates than traditional banks.

10 Best Online Bank Accounts For Free

Here are the best free online checking accounts available online in every state though some fees, like out-of-network ATM fees, may be unavoidable.

A closer look at the best free banks

When you open an online bank account for free you don't have to worry about monthly maintenance fees that many banks charge but you will have to meet the minimum opening deposit requirement, if any.

1. CIT Bank ⏤ Best for High Interest Savings

Overall, CIT Bank's Savings Connect Account is a solid choice for those who want to a 4.65% APY high return on their investment with no monthly maintenance fees and convenient online and mobile banking services.

CIT Bank's eChecking account earns 0.25% APY with a $25,000 minimum balance and 0.10% APY on balances under $25,000. If you choose to open both accounts, customers can transfer funds between their linked eChecking account and Savings Connect Account at any time and get access to funds in their savings account with a debit card.

  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance or overdraft fees
  • CIT Bank does not charge ATM fees. Get up to $30 in other bank’s ATM fees reimbursed per month
  • Deposit checks and make unlimited withdrawal and disbursements with the CIT Bank mobile app.

»See Full CIT Bank Review

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2. First Citizens Bank

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First Citizens Bank was originally founded as the Bank of Smithfield in 1898. Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, First Citizens Bank has branches in 21 states. They offer a wide range of financial services to individuals, businesses, and organizations including checking, savings, trust services, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services, insurance, and more. The Free Checking account has many features including the following:

  • $50 Minimum opening deposit
  • Pay your bills from any device, transfer funds to other accounts and send money with Zelle®
  • Manage and monitor your funds with free online banking tools
  • Link your debit card to digital wallets like Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay®
  • Choose the right level of overdraft protection coverage for your account.
APPLY NOW

3. Quontic Bank ⏤ Best for High Interest Checking

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With the Quontic High-Interest Checking account, you can earn 1.10% APY on all balance tiers when you make at least 10 qualifying debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle.

Earn 4.05% APY with the Quontic Bank's High Yield Savings. Quontic is a digital community bank with headquarters in New York City. Customers don't have to worry about overdraft or monthly service fees.

  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance or overdraft fees
  • Access to over 90,000 surcharge free ATMs across the nation
  • Quontic Pay Ring gives you access to debit card payment transactions without having to carry your debit card.

»See Full Quontic Bank review

APPLY NOW

4. Live Oak Bank ⏤ Best for Savings Account

The Live Oak Bank Savings offers competitive interest rates, no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, and an easy connection to your other bank accounts.

  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • Customers earn 4.00% APY on their savings balances
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Dedicated customer service and onboarding support
APPLY NOW

» Highest Rates for Savings:  Our top picks for high-yield savings accounts 

5. OneUnited Bank ⏤ Best for $1,000 No-Credit Check Cash Advance

OneUnited Bank's Online Checking Account is available to people in ALL STATES. Customers can add cash to the OneUnited Bank Debit Card at over 90,000 locations across the country through a partnership with Green Dot®. To get started go to the “Get the Card” button, enter your name, email address and cell phone number. Choose the Black Wall Street Checking account option along with the opening deposit, then complete your identification details (name, address, SSN, and employer).

  • $0 Monthly fees
  • $25 Minimum Deposit
  • Obtain cash, surcharge free at over 100,000+ ATMs
  • Get paid up to two days earlier with direct deposit
  • Cash advance feature called “CashPlease” that offers a short-term loan up to $1,000 without a credit check

»See Full OneUnited Bank Review

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6. Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus – Best for Cash Back Rewards

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The Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus is best for debit card spending. Customers get up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with a monthly $1,000 direct deposit 1 plus many features including the following:

  • $0 Minimum Opening Deposit.
  • Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases2.
  • Optional savings account that earns 5.21% APY3.
  • Customers with direct deposit can get paid up to two days early4.
  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees5, and get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account.
  • FDIC-Insured Up to $250,000.
APPLY NOW

Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Checking and savings accounts provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.


7. Go2bank ⏤ Best for $200 Overdraft Protection

Go2bank provides a range of financial services, including a checking account, savings account, and debit card. Go2bank also offers various features like early access to paychecks, cashback rewards on certain purchases, and the ability to deposit checks remotely using your mobile device.

  • No monthly fees with eligible direct deposit, otherwise $5 per month¹
  • No hidden fees²
  • Overdraft protection up to $200, with opt-in and eligible directs³
  • $0 Minimum opening deposit $0
  • Get your pay up to 2 days early with direct deposit⁶
  • Free nationwide ATM network⁷
APPLY NOW


8. Albert Banking ⏤ Best for $250 No-Fee Cash Advance

With Albert, there is no minimum deposit requirement to open an account. The Albert Genius feature analyzes your income and spending to find extra dollars to save automatically. You also have the option to set your own automatic savings schedule. All funds are insured up to $250,000 through federally backed FDIC protection.

  • $0 Monthly fees
  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Earn cashback on gas, groceries, delivery, and more.
  • Receive pay up to two days earlier with direct deposit
  • Albert will spot you up to $250 so you can make ends meet. There are no late fees, interest, or credit check for the cash advance.
APPLY NOW
Albert is not a bank. Banking services provided by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC

9. Acorns Checking ⏤ Automatically saves & invests

Acorns Checking provides a checking account with no minimum balance requirement or overdraft fees. Customers get access to 55,000+ fee-free ATMs. Acorns lets you round up your purchases on a linked credit or debit card, then sweep the change into a computer-managed investment portfolio.

  • Monthly fees: $3 per month for an individual account or $5 for families
  • $10 Minimum opening deposit
  • The Acorns marketplace gives customers a small percentage cashback on purchases made at hundreds of major retailers, including Walmart
  • Receive pay up to two days earlier with direct deposit
  • Acorns banking customers get a heavy metal laser engraved Acorns Visa™ debit card
  • The Acorns feature called Smart Deposit allows you to automatically transfer a percentage of your deposits to other accounts like Invest. Acorns Invest puts your money into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on your risk tolerance and financial goals. Customers can choose to contribute as little as $5 at a time to invest.
APPLY NOW
Acorns is not a bank. Acorns Visa™ debit cards are issued by Lincoln Savings Bank or nbkc bank, Members FDIC for Acorns Checking account holders

10. Novo Business Checking ⏤ Free ACHs, mailed checks, and incoming wires

Novo offers digital banking for businesses that integrates with additional business tools. Novo's free business checking account offers no monthly fees and unlimited refunds for ATM charges. Customers get immediate access to their funds with The Novo Virtual Card.

  • Streamlined financial processes that connect to thousands of business apps
  • $0 Minimum opening deposit
  • Human-powered customer service
  • Thousands of dollars in exclusive perks
  • Free transfers, mailed checks, and incoming wires
APPLY NOW
Novo is a fintech, not a bank. Deposit account services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings, F. A.; Member FDIC. FDIC Insurance through Middlesex Federal Savings and virtual cards provided by Patriot Bank, N.A.; pursuant to Mastercard International.

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.


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:

  • 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.

Second chance banks often charge a monthly fee for customers because these accounts are designed for customers who may have had difficulty managing their finances in the past. As a result, the bank may view these accounts as riskier than traditional checking accounts and may require a fee to offset some of the additional costs and risks associated with these accounts.

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-fee-comparison

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 Albert Banking that offers a no credit check loan up to $250 as long as you have direct deposit set up.

Upgrade Disclaimers

1 Active Accounts with a monthly direct deposit of $1000 are eligible for additional benefits on Rewards Checking Plus such as additional cash back rewards, ATM fee reimbursement, and more. See the Active Account page for more information.

2 Rewards Checking Plus customers who set-up monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more earn 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card purchases. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers earn 1% cash back on all eligible debit card purchases for the remainder of the year. Rewards Checking Plus accounts with less than $1,000 in monthly direct deposits 60 days after account opening will earn 1% cash back on common everyday expenses and 0.50% cash back on all other eligible debit card purchases. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

3 The 1.5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for the Performance Savings account is effective as of June 1, 2023. The APY for the Performance Savings account is variable and may change at any time. Active Accounts qualify for 5.21% APY with monthly $1000 direct deposit. The APY for Active Accounts is effective as of September 1, 2023, is variable, and may change at any time. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Performance Savings Deposit Account Agreement and Truth in Savings Disclosure. To earn APY, you must open and fund a Performance Savings account. Rewards Checking Plus accounts do not earn APY.

4 Early direct deposit requires set up of recurring electronic direct deposit from your employer, payroll, or benefits provider and is limited to direct deposits under $5000. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing in which we receive notice of impending direct deposit, which is generally up to two days before the scheduled deposit date.

5 There are no overdraft fees or annual fees associated with Rewards Checking Plus accounts. Rewards Checking Plus charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. For Active Accounts, Upgrade will rebate ATM fees charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month on a Rewards Checking Plus account, the account must be an Active Account in the prior calendar month. See the Active Account page for more information. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for 60 days after account opening regardless of account user status. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Checking Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.


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