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Top 5 Best Banks for Checking Accounts – August 2019

Written by Banks Editorial Team

Updated October 2, 2023​

3 min. read​

You may wonder what are the best banks for checking accounts when you think about your financial needs. Banks that offer the best checking accounts over-deliver in two main categories: flexibility and income. Flexibility (sometimes also referred to as liquidity) is the ease with which you can access your money and usually comes in the form of the ability to write checks or use a debit card linked to your account. And income (sometimes referred to as rate of return) comes from interest that you earn on the money in your account.

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Best Banks for Checking Accounts

Traditional banks haven’t typically offered high yields on their checking accounts in recent years, but in an effort to attract customers, many online banks are changing that. Some let you earn as much as 2.00% APY or higher, which would net you $200 or more over the course of a year if you maintain a minimum balance of at least $10,000.

Other benefits you’ll find from top interest-bearing checking accounts include:

  • Minimal or no monthly fees.
  • No fees for using ATMs and/or reimbursement of ATM fees assessed by other banks.
  • Easy-to-use mobile apps that let you quickly see your balance and transfer money between accounts.

Top 5 Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts

Following are five interest-bearing checking accounts that we here at are big fans of.

1. The Aspiration Spend & Save Account

Aspiration is an online-only financial institution that focuses on efficiency. They have a unique proposition: pay them what you think their service is worth. That can be $0, but Aspiration is betting that you’ll give them some payment for this level of trust. And you can change your payment terms at any time. You can also earn cash back for making purchases in certain categories, including specific “businesses with a conscience,” and get a few other perks like smartphone insurance if you pay your monthly bill via your Aspiration debit card. Option number for best banks for checking accounts.

  • Current Interest Rate: Up to 2.00% APY.
  • Minimum Balance Required: None.
  • Fees: No monthly fees, though you can pay up to $10/month if you believe Aspiration’s services are worth it. There are also no ATM fees and unlimited reimbursement of other banks’ ATM fees.
  • Ease of Use: Excellent. Aspiration doesn’t maintain physical branches, so all your banking is done via their mobile app. In addition to the regular services you’d expect, like remote check deposit, you can also make bill payments via the app.
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2. Simple Checking Account + Protected Goals Account

Portland, Oregon-based Simple has created a free checking account that’s designed to be used primarily from your smartphone with a Visa debit card. You can earn interest on funds that are moved to a special “Protected Goals” account. There’s no easy way to deposit cash and the account doesn’t offer a lot of extras, but moving money between your regular account and your Protected Goals savings account takes just seconds. Probably a reason why is one of the best banks for checking accounts.

  • Current Interest Rate: Up to 2.02% APY.
  • Minimum Balance Required: None.
  • Fees: No monthly fees and no fees at more than 40,000 ATMs.
  • Ease of Use: Excellent. Simple has some useful saving and budgeting tools, and you can quickly move money between your main account and your Protected Goals account that earns interest.

3. One American Bank Kasasa Cash Account

One American has physical branches, but only in the Sioux Falls, S.D., area. Otherwise, they function as an online bank and have a high-yield checking account that you can qualify for if you perform certain monthly tasks like using your debit card and logging into your online banking account. This account is great for people who won’t be able to maintain a high balance but still want to earn interest.

  • Current Interest Rate: Up to 3.50% APY on balances under $10,000 and 0.25% APY on balances of $10,000 and more.
  • Minimum Balance Required: None. Requires a $50 minimum deposit to open an account.
  • Fees: No monthly fees. Refunds of up to $25 in ATM fees per month.
  • Ease of Use: Good. Online banking includes bill pay options and you receive free statements via e-mail every month.

4. Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking Account

If you can keep track of all the requirements that Consumers Credit Union has in order to earn the maximum interest rate, this account pays more than you’ll find anywhere. Make sure you’ll be able to use your debit card as both a debit and a credit card each month to meet the monthly minimums without a struggle. For the high payment, this made to to our list of best banks for checking accounts.

  • Current Interest Rate: Up to 5.09% APY on balances under $10,000, if you spend at least $1,000/month on a CCU credit card, use your debit card at least 12 times a month, have at least one monthly direct deposit of $500 or more and agree to receive e-statements. You’ll earn up to 3.09% APY without the credit card spend. If your balance is over $10,000, you’ll earn 0.20% APY up to $25,000.
  • Minimum Balance Required: None.
  • Fees: No monthly fees.
  • Ease of Use: Good. Use the mobile app to transfer funds, pay bills, review your statements and conduct routine banking.
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5. First Tech Federal Credit Union Dividend Rewards Checking Account

With nearly 6,000 branches in the western U.S., First Tech is a good solution for people who live near a branch and want to have both physical and online banking. Like with many other credit union accounts, you must meet certain requirements to get the top rate. Money Magazine ranks First Tech as the No. 1 financial institution in California and Oregon, and others also review their customer service highly.

  • Current Interest Rate: Up to 2.00% APY. You must use your debit card at least 12 times a month, have one direct deposit and agree to receive e-statements.
  • Minimum Balance Required: None.
  • Fees: No monthly fees. Get reimbursed for some of your monthly ATM fees.
  • Ease of Use: Excellent, and backed by well-reviewed customer service personnel.

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