Our editorial team is independent and objective. To help support our review work, and to continue our ability to provide this content for free to our readers, we receive compensation from the companies that advertise on the Bankiful site. This site does not include all companies or products available within the market.

We also include links to advertisers’ offers in some of our articles; these “affiliate links” may generate income for our site when you click on them. The compensation we receive from advertisers does not influence the recommendations or advice our editorial team provides in our articles or otherwise impact any of the editorial content.

While we work hard to provide accurate and up to date information that we think you will find relevant, Bankiful does not and cannot guarantee that any information provided is complete and makes no representations or warranties in connection thereto, nor to the accuracy or applicability thereof. Here is a list of our partners who offer products that we have affiliate links for.

Best Nationwide Online Checking Accounts that are Free

Review the best monthly free checking accounts with top-rated mobile apps and financial products.

Online banks are an excellent source for checking accounts that are free. With more people looking for ways to save during this time of runaway inflation, a free checking account is a good place to start.

One of the primary ways banks make money is by charging fees. Some common fees include monthly service charges, ATM fees, overdraft fees, and foreign transaction fees.

Online banks can offer lower or no fees than traditional banks because they don't have to maintain the costs of running branch locations.

If you're looking for the best online checking accounts that are free plus have added perks, review the below options.

Best Free Online Checking Accounts of 2024

1. SoFi Checking & Savings Account

Best for up to $325 Bonus
Social Finance (SoFi Bank) has a range of offerings from bank accounts, loans, credit cards to investment products. SoFi is one of few banks that offers FDIC-insurance up to $2 million dollars.
The SoFi Rewards Checking Account offers up to 15% cash back on common everyday expenses at participating local retailers like grocery stores, monthly subscriptions, and restaurants.
When you sign up for a SoFi online bank account, you will receive both a checking and savings account. Members with direct deposit can earn 4.60% APY on their savings balances, and 1.20% APY on their checking balances
$10 Opening Deposit
No monthly maintenance fees
Mobile App to deposit checks, transfer money, pay bills, and monitor account activity
Access 55,000 Free ATMs in the Allpoint network
Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit
FDIC insured up to $2M

2. Axos Bank® Rewards Checking

Best for Unlimited ATM Reimbursements
Axos Bank got its start in 2000 as the Bank of the Internet USA offering a basic checking account. Today Axos Bank offers full-service banking products including checking, savings, personal loans, auto loans, HELOCs, and investing products.
Axos Bank offers unlimited domestic ATM reimbursement fees. You don't have to worry about finding a fee-free ATM near you. Axos financial products are available online in ALL States. New accounts get a $100 Welcome – Use Promo Code “RC100”.
$50 Opening Deposit
No monthly maintenance fees
No need to keep a minimum balance to avoid fees
No overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees
Deposits are FDIC insured

3. Consumers Credit Union

Best for Membership Across the U.S.
Consumers Credit Union, headquartered in Illinois, operates as a credit union that extends membership opportunities to individuals regardless of their residence or workplace.
Customers can choose from an array of financial products and services, like checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), personal and auto loans, mortgage options, small business banking and investment.
$5 Opening Deposit
Unlimited reimbursement for any and all ATM fees**
Over 30,000 ATMs & over 5,000 shared branches
Online & mobile banking plus bill pay
Get paid as much as two days early with early direct deposit**
No monthly maintenance fees, for anything
Deposits are FDIC insured

4. Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus

Best for Cash Back Rewards
Upgrade® is a financial technology company, not a bank. Rewards Checking Plus services provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Upgrade provides a range of financial services including checking accounts, credit cards and personal loans,
Their Rewards Checking Plus account earns 2% cash back on specific types of purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
$0 Opening Deposit
No monthly fees
Up to 2% cash back on purchases1
Get paid up to 2 days early2
Add Performance Savings to earn up to 5.07% APY3
Deposits are FDIC insured

5. Quontic Bank High Interest Checking

Best for High-Interest Checking
Quontic Bank began as a community bank over a decade ago and has evolved into a fully digital national bank.
With an innovative approach to banking, Quontic offers some of the most groundbreaking products like the tap-to-pay mobile payment ring and is a crypto-friendly bank. Customers are able to link the ring to Quontic’s high-interest checking which can earn up to 1.10% APY.
Open with a $100 minimum deposit.
No maintenance fees
Quontic customers have access to over 90,000 fee-free ATMs
Mobile & Online Banking
Earn up to 1.10% APY on the portion of the daily balances up to $150,000.
Deposits are FDIC insured

Benefits of Online Checking Accounts

  • Online checking accounts provide full access to checking account features which eliminates the need to visit branch locations. You can access your account 24/7 from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Online checking accounts often have no to lower fees compared to traditional banks. This can save you money in the long run.
  • Online banks typically offer higher interest rates on their checking accounts compared to traditional banks allowing you to maximize your savings.
  • Most online banks offer state-of-the-art mobile apps that allow you to manage your account from your smartphone or tablet. This is a great way to manage your account, transfer funds, categorize transactions, receive real-time alerts, gain insights into your spending habits and pay bills on the go.

Drawbacks of Online Checking Accounts

  • No in-person guidance or problem resolution
  • Wait time when you need an official bank check, cashier's check or money order.
  • May cost a fee to make cash deposits at bank-partner locations.

Bottom Line

Banks typically make money in three ways: net interest margin, interchange fees, and banking fees. The average monthly service charge for non-interest-bearing accounts averaged $5.61, according to Bankrate. If you want to earn interest on your checking account, you'll shell out around $15 per month.

When you open a free checking account you can avoid monthly service fees but there are other fees to watch out for like:

  • ATM Fees
  • Insufficient Fund Fees
  • Overdraft Fees

Avoid ATM Fees: When you use an ATM that's not part of your bank's network or affiliated network on average you could pay $4.35 per transaction. But, most online banks offer limited monthly ATM fee reimbursements for ATM owner’s fees if you do need to go out-of-network for cash.

Avoid Insufficient Fund Fees: An insufficient funds or returned-item fee could be as high as $38. When you make a purchase or other transaction that is more than the amount in your checking or savings account, and you haven’t opted into an overdraft program, the bank may decline the charge or return it unpaid.

Avoid Overdraft Fees: Overdraft coverage or protection allows purchases to go through, for a fee, even if you don’t have enough funds in your checking account. To avoid overdraft fees, consider signing up for overdraft protection via automatic transfers from your savings to your checking account when your balance is low.

Upgrade Disclaimers

1 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.
2 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.
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 5.07% 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.

Learn how to earn more & save smarter

Get free tutorials, expert tips, news, and resources delivered to your inbox weekly.

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.

Best online savings rates

The national savings rate is 0.47% APY. This online bank pays way more.

CIT Bank

Platinum Savings
5.05% APY
Minimum $5,000 balance
No maintenance fees
Mobile & Online Banking
Deposits are FDIC insured


5.21% APY
Minimum $1,000 balance
No maintenance fees
Mobile & Online Banking
Deposits are FDIC insured

Quontic Bank

4.50% APY
Minimum $100 balance
No maintenance fees
Mobile & Online Banking
Deposits are FDIC insured
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide the most relevant and current information. However, the information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be personal financial advice.

© 2024 Bankiful.com All rights reserved.