Having a checking account is the best option for everyday banking, like paying bills, making purchases and managing your money. But many checking accounts, even at the top banks, charge monthly fees for having a checking account.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of free checking accounts. You can get one from one of the big banks like Chase, Capital One and Wells Fargo, online-only banks, and your local credit unions.

We made our choices for the best free checking accounts by focusing on a few different factors.

For example, most people want accounts that offer free transactions and access to fee-free ATMs. We also focused on accounts that have the potential of earning interest and feature good online banking options, high transaction limits, no or low minimum balance requirements and more.

Free Checking Account FAQs

  • While it may not be easy to find a bank that offers low or no fees for wire transfers, there are some. Some banks that offer low or no fees for wire transfers can include Ally, Fidelity, Capital One 360, Axos, and more. In some cases, the fee you pay may vary based on the kind of account you have, so double check the account terms and fees. Fees may also vary depending on whether it is an incoming, outgoing or international transfer.

  • Many banks allow you to use ATMs within their network of machines for free. In some cases, this can provide you with access to thousands of ATMs free of charge.

    However, if you want free ATM transactions outside of your bank’s network, you may want to consider some online banks, as most of them offer ATM fee reimbursements. In addition, brick-and-mortar banks like Charles Schwab will reimburse your fees at the end of the month, including in some international ATMs.

  • The minimum amount of money needed to open a checking account varies by bank. Some banks offer free checking accounts with no minimum opening deposit, while others only require as little as $25 to open an account. 

  • There are many choices when it comes to low-cost checking accounts, including options from Axos, Discover, nbkc, PenFed and more. Make sure you review all the terms before opening an account, including monthly maintenance fees, required opening deposit, or direct deposit minimums necessary to waive any monthly fees. Check out our roundup above for some of the best free checking accounts.