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Axos Essential Checking: Get Paid Earlier With No Monthly Fees (October 2021)

Free checking with express direct deposits and no monthly fees, overdraft fees or non-sufficient fund fees.

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Finding an online checking account with no monthly fee is easy, but getting one with no account fees at all? That’s where Axos Bank Essential Checking comes in. The online-only bank makes banking more accessible, regardless of how much cash you have on hand. Moreover, Axos won’t even charge you some of the fees that other top online banks still maintain.

If you’re looking for a mostly fee-free checking experience, here’s what you need to know about the bank’s basic checking account.

Axos Bank Essential Checking

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Monthly Fees: None
Minimum Opening Balance: None
Features:
No overdraft fees
Early direct deposit
Unlimited ATM withdrawals
No minimum balance requirement
FDIC insured

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Features

Axos Bank was one of the first digital banks in the world, and it offers an impressive array of banking products for consumers and small business owners — the Essential Checking account is just one of them.

The biggest draw to the account is the complete lack of account fees. Many banks require you to jump through hoops to get your monthly fee for account maintenance waived. What’s more, banks in the U.S. charged more than $30 billion in overdraft fees in 2020 alone.

So the idea of never having to worry about any of that is incredibly appealing. You even don’t have to worry about paying an ATM fee.

Here’s a breakdown of the account features that stand out the most.

No Monthly Fees

What makes the Axos Essential Checking account stand out is that you don’t ever have to worry about account fees. That includes:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Overdraft fees
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees
  • No bill pay fee

Keep in mind, though, that having no account fees doesn’t necessarily mean no costs at all. For example, there’s no fee for your first order of checks, but you will need to pay for shipping and handling, and subsequent check orders aren’t free. Also, if you perform certain actions like make international purchases or request a debit card replacement, there may be a fee involved.

Direct Deposit Express

Direct Deposit Express skips the routine hold period of your direct deposit paycheck, so you can access your funds up to two days earlier.

ATM Access

You also don’t have to worry about using in-network ATMs to avoid withdrawal fees because Axos offers unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

While there are many other banks and credit unions that won’t charge you a monthly fee, a lot of them still hold onto fees for overdrafts, NSFs and out-of-network ATM withdrawals.

No Minimum Deposit or Balance

The bank doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open this account. There’s also no minimum balance that you need to maintain in order to keep the account active or avoid a monthly service fee.

Online-only Banking

As an all-digital bank, Axos provides everything you need to do your banking through your desktop browser or mobile app. This is a plus for tech-savvy consumers, but if you prefer in-person service or you deal a lot with cash, it may not be the best option for you.

While you technically can send cash deposits to the bank via mail, it’s generally not a good idea, and Axos Bank discourages it.

Axos Essential Checking Benefits and Tools

The primary reason to consider the Axos Essential Checking account is its lack of fees. However, the bank also provides some other nice perks that can make it worth your while.

Direct Deposit ExpressIf you receive your paycheck via direct deposit, Axos Bank can get your cash into your account up to two days early, automatically.
Switch KitIf you decide to open an account, this checklist will let you know everything you need to do to make a smooth transition from your current bank account.
Mobile BankingYou can download the Axos Bank mobile app on an iPhone or Android device, and use it to manage your account wherever you go.
Other Financial ProductsAxos isn’t quite as full-service as big banks like Chase and Bank of America. But in addition to its Axos Essential Checking account, it also offers an impressive set of other checking and savings accounts, mortgage, auto and personal loans and even investment management options.
Exclusive Visa Offers and PerksGet special offers and benefits through your Visa debit card to enhance your banking experience.

Customer Service

Axos Bank has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It’s also been accredited by the consumer protection organization. That said, the bank’s profile on the BBB website has an average customer satisfaction rating of just 1.08 out of 5 stars as of May 2021.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s all bad — people are generally more likely to write a review if they’ve had a terrible experience than if they’ve had a good experience. So take some time to read through customer service reviews to determine whether the bank is right for you.

And if you have any questions, you can contact customer service at 844-999-2967.

FDIC Insurance

Axos Bank is a member of the FDIC, which means that your deposits are insured in the event that the bank fails. Coverage is worth up to $250,000 per bank, per depositor, per ownership category.

With Member FDIC banks, if you have a checking and savings account, both are insured up to $250,000 combined. But if you have a joint checking account and a savings account in your name only, both are insured up to $250,000 for a total of $500,000 because the accounts have two different ownership categories.

Other Financial Products

While we’ve summarized some of the other products and services that Axos Bank offers, here’s a quick outline of the other products you may consider using.

Axos Bank CashBack Checking

Axos CashBack Checking account offers up to 1% cash back on all of your transactions that are signature-based, which means you don’t enter your PIN to complete the transaction. Account holders can earn up to $2,000 per month, which is an extremely high limit — you’d have to spend $200,000 per month to max that out. However, you’ll need to maintain an average daily balance of at least $1,500. Otherwise, you’ll get just 0.5% back. This account also offers no monthly fee and unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

With Axos Rewards Checking account, you can earn up to 1.00% APY on your balance — an interest-bearing checking account is a rarity in general, so getting a high-interest one may be worth your while. The amount you earn depends on how much you have direct deposited into the account each month and how often you use your debit card. The account requires just a $50 minimum deposit to open, and it also offers unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements. You can read our full review here.

Axos Bank Essential Savings

With Axos Essential Checking account, you’ll get the same no-fee benefits with many of the same features. Instead of interest, though, you’ll get your direct deposits up to two days in advance. Read our full review of Essential Checking.

Axos Bank High-Yield Savings

Savings accounts are an excellent place to store your emergency fund and other short-term savings, but the average savings account interest rate in the U.S. is typically nothing consumers get excited about. That’s what makes the 0.61% APY offered by Axos High-Yield Savings so special. Read our full review of this savings account.

Axos Bank High-Yield Money Market

If you want a hybrid of checking and savings, a money market account could be a good fit. With Axos High-Yield Money Market, you’ll get a 0.25% APY, no matter what your balance is — some money market and high-yield savings account will give you tiered rates instead of a flat rate like this. You’ll also get check-writing privileges and a debit card as you would with a checking account. But because of the savings component, withdrawals and transfers are limited to six per month. You’ll need a minimum deposit of $1,000 to open the account.

Axos Bank First Checking

Axos First Checking is designed specifically for teenagers between 13 and 17. It offers a 0.25% APY, and account holders can get up to $12 in domestic ATM fees reimbursed every month. The account also has some controls that limit your child’s access to the cash in the account to help curb overspending.

Slickdeals Bonus

Like the above Rewards Checking offer, Slickdeals is offering a $50 bonus to people who sign up for a new First Checking account, dispensed via Slickdeals Rewards Points. This offer features a $0 Opening Deposit requirement, but to receive the bonus you’ll still need to complete a few things:

To ensure you receive the bonus, take time to review the additional steps and fine print listed for the Rewards Checking offer, as it also applies to the First Checking offer.

Axos Bank Golden Checking

If you’re 55 or older, this account is tailored for you. Axos Golden Checking account is an interest-bearing account that offers a 0.20% APY, as well as up to $8 in domestic ATM fee reimbursements monthly. You’ll also get free personal checks, which may be more appealing to older consumers who prefer that method of payment. There’s a minimum deposit of $50 to open this account.

Slickdeals Bonus

Similar to the above checking offers, Slickdeals is offering a $75 bonus to people who sign up for a new Golden Checking account with $50 or more in funding. As is the case with the other bonuses, this money is dispensed via Slickdeals Rewards Points. Unlike the other two offers, you will need to meet the minimum funding requirement in order to qualify for the bonus.

Additionally, complete the following:

To ensure you receive the bonus, be sure to review the additional steps and fine print listed for the Rewards Checking offer, as it also applies to the Golden Checking offer.

Axos Bank Review

Axos Bank, Member FDIC, was formerly Bank of the Internet USA (BofI), one of the first digital banks in the world when it was founded in 1999. The bank has no physical branches but provides all of your banking needs online and through its mobile app.

Because the FDIC-insured bank saves money on the overhead costs associated with brick-and-mortar branches, it can provide higher bank account interest rates to its customers.

How to Apply for the Essential Checking Account

If you’ve decided it’s right for you, like many online banks, you can apply for the checking account through the bank’s website. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, and you must be at least 18 years old to get an account on your own — teens ages 13 to 17 can open an account but must have a joint account holder who is 18 or older.

You’ll need to share your Social Security number, a valid ID (U.S. drivers license or state ID), a valid physical U.S. address and other personal information to get started.

You’ll create a username and password at the beginning of the process, so you can access your application later if needed. According to Axos Bank, this process takes just 15 minutes.

The Bottom Line: Is Axos Bank Essential Checking Right for Me?

Online banks like Axos are appealing because they tend to offer lower fees than checking accounts from traditional banks. The reason for this is because they don’t generally have brick-and-mortar branches, so the lower overhead costs can be returned to the customers in the form of better features.

But the biggest drawback of online banks is the lack of physical branches. If you want to get in-person service or use cash frequently, Axos Bank may not be the right fit.

However, if you love the idea of skipping a monthly maintenance fee, an overdraft fee and even ATM fees, this account should be on your radar.

While the account doesn’t offer an APY, you can get a solid interest rate through the bank’s high-yield savings and money market accounts. Alternatively, you can apply for the Axos Bank Rewards Checking account, which offers an even higher APY — just make sure you read the requirements first to ensure you can get that every month.

As with any other financial product, it’s important to take your time and research all of your options to make sure you find the best fit for you.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Ben Luthi
Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer and credit card expert. He has a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and worked in financial planning, banking and auto finance before writing full-time for NerdWallet and Student Loan Hero. Ben is now a full-time freelance writer and enjoys traveling and spending time with his two kids. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Money, Success and Slickdeals.