Best checking accounts of 2022

By comparing dozens of banks across the country, including brick-and-mortar banks, online banks, neobanks, apps, and credit unions, we found the top checking accounts to help you maximize your money.

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The checking account is the workhorse bank account for most Americans; money flows in and out regularly for direct deposits, online bank transfers, bill payments, check and debit card purchases payments. You might not spend a lot of time thinking about your checking account — even though you probably use it almost daily — but now is the time to think about how your checking account can work better for you. There are checking account options that offer high interest rates, sign-up bonuses, and even cash back on debit card purchases. Many of this year’s best banks are also doing away with monthly minimum and overdraft fees. 

Our Picks

Best cashback checking account

Discover Cashback Debit account

4.6

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Discover Cashback Debit account logo

The Discover Cashback Debit account is an innovative offering that provides 1% cashback on purchases instead of interest on your funds. Discover proves that it’s more than a credit card company with this account, which boasts no monthly fees. The lack of fees and great customer service also helped Discover rank as our best overall bank of 2022.

Full review

Best checking account with interests

Capital One 360 Checking

4.4

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Capital One 360 Checking logo

With no monthly fees, no minimum to open, and 0.1% APY on balances, Capital One 360 Checking is a great checking account if you want your money to turn interest. Capital One’s accounts are primarily available online — there are only physical branches in a handful of states — but its website and app are highly rated.

Full review

Ally Interest Checking

4.4

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Ally Interest Checking logo

An online-only bank, Ally sets its checking account apart with 0.1% APY, no monthly fees, and no account minimums. Ally offers free use of some 43,000 ATMs nationwide and will provide a small reimbursement per month for using out-of-network ATMs.

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Best traditional checking account

Chase Total Checking

3.8

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Chase Total Checking logo

Out of the “big four” banks, the Chase Total Checking account is most impressive. It does carry a $12 monthly fee, but you can get it waived if you deposit at least $500 per month or maintain certain minimum monthly balances. Chase also has thousands of branches across the country. Chase regularly offers signing bonuses as well as other perks depending on your account balances.

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Best mobile checking account

Varo Bank Account

4.4

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Varo Bank Account logo

Varo has distinguished itself amongst online-only banks due to its easy-to-navigate app and services like early paycheck depositing. Varo’s checking accounts have no monthly fees, no minimums, and no foreign transaction fees. Varo allows you to use 55,000 fee-free AllPoint ATMs and you can deposit cash at any retail location that uses Green Dot Reload@theRegister (though you may pay a deposit fee).

Full review

Best green checking account

Aspiration Spend & Save Account

4.2

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Aspiration Spend & Save Account logo

An online-only bank, Aspiration brands itself as a more ethical banking experience, and its checking account has no monthly fees. You can also earn a 3% APY if you spend a certain amount each month on your debit card. One notable green program from Aspiration is “Planet Protection,” which buys carbon offsets based on gas purchases you make with your debit card.

Full review

Best credit union checking account

Alliant High-Rate Checking

3.8

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Alliant High-Rate Checking logo

If you prefer a credit union experience, the Alliant High-Rate Checking account offers 0.25% APY on balances if you elect to receive electronic statements and make at least one electronic deposit per month. Alliant doesn’t charge monthly fees or require minimum balances. You have access to 80,000+ fee-free ATMs and you can get up to $20 per month back if you pay ATM fees. There are some membership requirements if you want to become an Alliant customer, but worst case you have to pay a $5 fee to become a member.

Full review

Best checking account for investors

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking

3.6

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking logo

Charles Schwab’s high-yield checking account has 0.03% APY and is notable for having no monthly fees or balance minimums. The account is also good for travelers since it features ATM reimbursements for ATMs worldwide and the debit card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

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Best checking account for teens

Greenlight

4

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Greenlight logo

Greenlight’s account was built specifically as a tool for teaching financial literacy to youngsters. While there’s a $4.99 monthly fee, account holders have access to features that allow them to set goals and understand their spending, all with parent monitoring enabled. Greenlight offers additional features, like access to a kid-friendly investing platform and cashback on debit purchases, but you must pay a higher monthly fee.

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How to choose the best checking account for you

It is easy to take a checking account for granted, but you should put some research and forethought into choosing your checking account since you’ll probably use it almost every day. Here are some points to consider before your first deposit.

1. Consider what you need

Start by considering how you’ll use a checking account and what features you’ll need. For example, if you plan to use your debit card for most of your purchases, you may want a checking account with a cash back debit card. How often will you need access to your money and is an online account enough for you? If you plan to keep a lot of money in your account, perhaps look for an interest-bearing checking account. If nothing else, you may want to consider a checking account with a sign-up bonus or other introductory offer.

2. Think about fees

Fees will eat away your savings, so make sure you understand all of an account’s potential fees. Many accounts carry monthly fees, but often these fees are waived if you maintain a specified minimum balance or take advantage of a direct deposit program. Also investigate the different overdraft fees for the accounts you’re considering — some banks even offer overdraft protection. Always read the fine print, even for a checking account.

3. Physical branches or online only?

Many differences between checking accounts come down to preference — do you want to be able to go into a brick-and-mortar branch, or is doing all your banking online and via app fine with you? Online checking accounts often have higher interest rates than traditional checking accounts, and there might be certain perks or bonuses offered for an online-only checking account.

4. How can you get cash?

ATM availability is one of the most important elements of a checking account. With a big bank with thousands of branches, you can easily access cash for free at a branch. With an online-only account, it may not be as simple, though many digital-first accounts either partner with an ATM network or offer reimbursement to make it easier to get cash around the country.

5. Do you want a checking account with a mission?

Some checking accounts now offer features to give your banking a more ethical edge, like paying for carbon offsets every time you purchase gas. Many people prefer banking at credit unions, too, which are typically more localized and are nonprofit cooperatives.

Checking accounts vs. savings accounts

Checking accounts and savings accounts are the two most common types of bank accounts. If you use a bank, you probably have one or both types of accounts. One of the major differences between checking and savings accounts is that a checking account is meant for making regular deposits and withdrawals of money, while a savings account is better designed for depositing money that will stay untouched most of the time.

Who should get a checking account

A checking account may be the right choice if you plan to make six or more transactions per month. These transactions could include direct deposit of paychecks, depositing checks, debit card purchases, electronic bill pay, and transferring money to others (like through Venmo). A checking account is generally a good option if you need to make regular payments because they usually offer a linked debit card and let you write personal checks. The best checking accounts, liek the ones listed above, also allow you to earn interest or cash back from your debit card.

Who should get a savings account

As the name suggests, savings accounts are meant for the money you want to put aside and save. You usually earn interest on your money in a savings account, but the caveat is that financial institutions usually expect you to keep money parked in a savings account and not spend it for long periods. It’s actually common for banks to charge fees if you make more than six transfers into or out of a savings account each month. When looking for a savings account, look for accounts without fees. Some banks charge a monthly fee just for having an account and other banks charge a fee if your monthly balance is too low.

For help finding the right account, start with our list of this year’s best savings accounts.

Methodology

To determine the best checking accounts in 2022, Policygenius analyzed data from nearly 50 major U.S. banks, credit unions, apps, and financial institutions. We created a scoring rubric and scored institutions across five metrics: cash incentives, perks offered, number of applicable fees, mobile app satisfaction, and the availability of customer support. Scores for each metric were given on a scale of 1 to 5, and each institution’s five scores were then averaged into a single rating. Below are the detailed breakdowns of each scoring matrix.

Cash incentives

We rated banks based on how many cash incentives they offered with their checking accounts. Incentives we considered included interest, cash back, sign-up bonus offers, among others.

Rating

Available cash incentives

1

0 incentives

3

1 incentive

5

2+ incentives

Checking account perks

Checking accounts were scored based on the number of available perks, such as early deposit of paychecks, interbank pay services like Zelle, and shopping deals, among others.

Rating

Available perks

1

0 perks

3

1 perk

5

2+ perks

Fees

We consulted fee schedules as well as terms and conditions from each financial institution to create a score based on how many of the following types of fees the institution charges on their checking accounts: monthly maintenance fee, overdraft fee, insufficient funds fee, debit card replacement fee, account closure fee, and stop payment order fee.

Rating

Applicable fees

1

4+ fees

2

3 fees

3

2 fees

4

1 fee

5

No fees

Mobile app satisfaction

Mobile apps are an increasingly important way that people manage their checking accounts, so we consulted the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study and the Google Play app store for customer ratings.

Rating

J.D. Power Score

App store score

1

Less than 840

Less than 3.0

2

840-849

3.0-3.4

3

850-859

3.5-3.9

4

860-869

4.0-4.4

5

870+

4.5+

Customer support

Different people prefer different support options at different times, so we created a score based on how many customer support channels each institution offers. Channels we included were telephone, email, online chat, mobile app, online forum, online learning center, and physical branches.

Rating

Support Channels

1

1 option

2

2 options

3

3 options

4

4 options

5

5 options