These online banks, credit unions and traditional banks all offer free checking accounts

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It’s getting harder to find a free checking account these days, but there are still some options out there among financial institutions. Thankfully there are online banks, credit unions and even traditional banks that offer free checking accounts.

In this article, we’re going to lay out the places where you can find free checking at online banks, credit unions and traditional banks.

Where to get free checking

The thing with “free” checking accounts is that many financial institutions have put up some hoops to jump through in order to get it. But we’re going to wade through all of that to show you the best options for free checking.

Your overall best options for free checking without hassles are with online banks. Here are some of the top ones for free checking accounts:

These online banks offer free checking accounts

Ally

Account name: Interest Checking Account

Requirement: No minimum balance required

Fees: No monthly fees

ATMs: 43,000+ Allpoint ATMs. You can use any Allpoint ATM in the country for free and be reimbursed up to $10 for fees charged at other banks’ ATMs. The reimbursement is good once per statement cycle.

Axos Bank

Account name: Essential Checking

Requirement: No minimum balance required

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Fees: No monthly fees

ATMs: Unlimited domestic fee reimbursements

Simple

Account name: Fee-Free Banking

Requirement: None

Fees: No monthly fees, no overdraft fees and no ATM fees

ATMs: Simple Bank has no ATMs but a partnership with STAR opens 55,000 locations to customers. No fees, although the ATM company may charge you.

Radius

Account name: Free Interest Checking Account

Requirements: No minimum balance requirement after $100.00 to open

ATMs: Free ATMs worldwide

Free USAA Classic Banking

Account names: Two checking accounts: USAA Cashback Rewards Checking and USAA Classic Checking

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Requirement: No minimum balance requirement after $100 to open account.

ATMs: Free ATM use at more than 60,000 USAA-preferred locations.

USAA Bank does not charge a fee for the first 10 ATM withdrawals, but there is a $2 fee for each subsequent withdrawal except when made at a USAA Bank-owned ATM. USAA Bank also refunds up to $15 in other banks’ ATM usage fees for transactions at ATMs around the country.

First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) Direct

Account name: Online Checking Account

Requirement: $1 minimum deposit to open

Fees: No monthly service fees

ATMs: No fees from more than 2 million ATM locations (other banks and ATM operators’ may apply surcharges).

E*TRADE Bank

Account name: E*TRADE Checking

Requirement: A $100 minimum deposit is required to open a new account

Fees: The $15 monthly fee is waived if customers maintain a minimum average monthly balance of $5,000 or set up a direct deposit of $200 or more per month, or keep at least $50,000 in combined E*TRADE Bank deposits.

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ATMs: Unlimited ATM fee refunds across the U.S. (The ATM owner may impose a fee).

Discover Bank

Account name: Discover Bank Cashback Debit

Requirement: No minimum balance requirement

Fees: No monthly fee

ATMs: Access to more than 60,000 no-fee ATMs around the U.S.

Discover Bank Cashback Debit also features First Fee Forgiveness, which credits your account once a calendar year for insufficient fund fees. Cashback Debit also offers no-fee check reorders.


Another option for free checking is with credit unions. Here are some of the top credit unions that offer free checking accounts:

Credit Unions that offer free checking accounts

Alliant

Account name: High-Rate Checking

Requirement: No minimum balance requirements

Fees: No monthly service fee

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ATMs: More than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs,  Out-of-network ATM fee rebates up to $20/month.

Alliant will rebate ATM fees up to $20 per month per membership account when you use your Alliant Visa Debit Card to make a deposit, withdrawal, transfer or balance inquiry.

Delta Community Credit Union

Account name: Personal Checking Account

Requirement: No minimum balance required

Fees: No monthly fees

ATMs: The credit union affiliated with Delta Airlines has 29 branches around Georgia.

First Tech Credit Union

Account name: First Tech offers three checking accounts: Dividend Rewards Checking, Carefree Checking and HSA Checking.

Requirement: $1 minimum to open account

Fees: No monthly fees. Only the Dividend Rewards Checking account has unlimited ATM fee rebates.

ATMs: Customers have free access to more than 30,000 co-op ATMs.

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Digital Federal Credit Union

Account name: Two types: Free Checking Account and Dividend Checking

Requirement: No minimum balance required for Free Checking Account, but Dividend Checking mandates at least a $2,500 daily balance.

Fees: No monthly maintenance fees for Free Checking, but Dividend requires $10 monthly fee if daily balance falls below $2,500.

ATMs: More than 6,800 co-op shared branch locations as part of the AllPoint Network.


Your third (and least attractive) option for free checking is with brick-and-mortar, or traditional, banks.

Money expert Clark Howard is not a fan of these banks, in part because of all of the hoops — think minimum deposit, minimum balance and direct deposit requirements — you have to jump through to get “free” checking.

Still, if you insist on doing business with a big name that has multiple branches, here are some options:

Brick-and-mortar (traditional) banks that offer free checking

Capital One Bank

Account name: 360 Checking

Requirement: No minimum balance required

Fees: No monthly fees

ATMs: 39,000 fee-free ATMs in the Allpoint network and using Capital One-branded machines. You won’t be reimbursed if you use out-of-network ATMs.

Chase Bank

Account name: Chase Total Checking

Requirement: A daily balance of $1,500 or more.

Fees: $12 monthly service fee. The fee can be avoided if you have $500 direct deposits or a daily balance of $1,500.

ATMs: $2.50 fee for using non-Chase ATMs. Fees from the ATM owner still apply as well. Access to 16,000 ATMs at 5,000+ branches.

Citibank

Account name: Citibank Basic Checking

Requirement: No minimum balance required

Fees: $12 monthly service fee can be waived if customers make one qualifying direct deposit per statement period and one qualifying bill payment per statement period or maintain a $1,500+ combined average monthly balance in eligible linked accounts.

ATMs: More than 60,000 fee-free ATMs around the U.S.

Fifth Third Bank

Account name: Fifth Third Free Checking

Requirement: No minimum deposit to open your account and no minimum balance required

Fees: No monthly service charge. A $5 monthly fee will be accessed if account goes dormant for 12 months.

ATMs: Access to 50,000 fee-free partner ATMs. Partner networks include  Allpoint, Presto! and 7-Eleven ATMs. $2.50 fee for non-partner ATMs.

KeyBank

Account name: KeyBank Hassle-Free Account

Requirement: Minimum opening deposit of $10, but after that no minimum balance requirement.

Fees: No monthly maintenance service charge

ATMs: 1,200+ branches, 1,500+ ATMs

KeyBank, which has nearly 1,200 branches in 27 states, has the additional perk of having no overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees.

NBKC Bank

Account name: Personal Checking Account

Requirement: $5 required to open, but after that no minimum balance requirement

Fees: No monthly fees

ATMs: Free use of the 32,000+ MoneyPass ATMs in the U.S. Up to $12 monthly refunds for ATM fees from other banks.


Finally, it is worth noting that you may find free checking options at your local community bank, particularly if you live in a smaller city or town. As long as these accounts are truly free, they are certainly viable alternatives to the options listed above.

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