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  • Written By
    Jennifer Schell

    Jennifer Schell

    Financial Writer

    Jennifer Schell is a professional writer focused on demystifying annuities and other financial topics including banking, financial advising and insurance. She is proud to be a member of the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) as well as the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).

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  • Edited By
    Lamia Chowdhury
    Lamia Chowdhury

    Lamia Chowdhury

    Financial Editor

    Lamia Chowdhury is a financial editor at Annuity.org. Lamia carries an extensive skillset in the content marketing field, and her work as a copywriter spans industries as diverse as finance, health care, travel and restaurants.

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  • Financially Reviewed By
    Timothy Li, MBA
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    Timothy Li, MBA

    Business Finance Manager

    Timothy Li, MBA, has dedicated his career to increasing profitability for his clients, including Fortune 500 companies. Timothy currently serves as a business finance manager where he researches ways to increase profitability within the supply chain, logistics and sales departments.

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  • Updated: August 14, 2023
  • 11 min read time
  • This page features 7 Cited Research Articles
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How to Cite Annuity.org's Article

APA Schell, J. (2023, August 14). Best Checking Accounts of 2023. Annuity.org. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://dev.annuity.org/personal-finance/banking/best-checking-accounts/

MLA Schell, Jennifer. "Best Checking Accounts of 2023." Annuity.org, 14 Aug 2023, https://dev.annuity.org/personal-finance/banking/best-checking-accounts/.

Chicago Schell, Jennifer. "Best Checking Accounts of 2023." Annuity.org. Last modified August 14, 2023. https://dev.annuity.org/personal-finance/banking/best-checking-accounts/.

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Our Criteria

We evaluated checking accounts from banks and credit unions that are available in all 50 states, ultimately only featuring those that fit our strict criteria. To be included on this list, providers must be:

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One of the top 25 banks or top 10 credit unions in the country in terms of consolidated assets in 2022, according to data from the Federal Reserve and National Credit Union Administration.

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Backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (for banks) or the National Credit Union Administration (for credit unions).

Understanding Our Methodology

To choose the best checking accounts of 2023, Annuity.org’s independent editorial team carefully considered offerings from the top banks and credit unions in the country.

Annuity.org uses a strict and fact-based methodology to determine which companies qualify for our rankings. To be considered, a bank or credit union must offer checking accounts in all 50 states and be backed by either the FDIC or the NCUA.

We also considered other factors, including the checking account’s minimum balances, minimum deposits, fees associated with the account and whether the account earns interest.

Learn more about our broader Editorial Guidelines.

Many institutions offer incentives to opening a checking account, such as earning interest, overdraft protection, and more. Be aware of the limitations of some institutions, such as limited ATM access and complicated membership requirements.

Editor’s Choice: Best Overall

Great for: An online account with lots of convenient features

Bank Details

With over 10 million customers, Ally is one of the nation’s largest online-only banks.

Checking account features:

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Access to over 43,000 ATMs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Competitive APY
  • No monthly maintenance fee or overdraft fees
  • Overdraft protection
  • Early direct deposit available
  • Spending buckets to help organize your budget within your account
  • Access to over 43,000 ATMs

Cons

  • Online only – no physical branches
  • No way to deposit cash

Our Take

The Ally Online Checking Account takes our top spot as the best checking account for a couple of reasons. Ally’s interactive tools and features make online banking easy and convenient. You can create “spending buckets” to manage your personal finances right in the Ally app. The mobile app also allows for mobile check depositing and sending money through Zelle®.

Plus, Ally’s checking account charges no monthly services fees and no overdraft fees. The bank’s CoverdraftSM service sets it apart from competitors; if enrolled in CoverdraftSM, you can have overdrafts up to $100 covered by Ally at no charge.

However, they’re an online-only bank, meaning they have no physical branches, which could be a drawback for those who prefer in-person banking.

Best Credit Union

Great for: competitive interest rates and ATM access

Credit Union Details

Alliant Credit Union has no physical branches but does have one of the largest fee-free ATM networks in the country.

Checking account features:

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Access to over 80,000 ATMs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No monthly maintenance fee or overdraft fees
  • Mobile check deposit available
  • Access to over 80,000 ATMs
  • ATM fee rebates up to $20 a month

Cons

  • Online only – no physical branches
  • Complicated membership requirements

Our Take

Despite being an online credit union, Alliant makes using an ATM extremely convenient. Checking account owners can deposit and withdraw funds at over 80,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide. And if you access to an ATM that does charge you a fee, Alliant pays rebates on ATM fees up to $20 a month.

There’s no minimum balance required to open an Alliant checking account, and the credit union charges no monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees. With the Alliant app, customers can deposit checks, receive account alerts and activate their debit card.

Best for No Fees

Great for: no fees and a convenient mobile app

Bank Details

Capital One offers physical branches in a few states, but most of its consumer banking business is online.

Checking account features:

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Access to over 70,000 ATMs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Multiple overdraft protection options
  • Mobile banking app with Zelle®, bill pay, check deposit, debit card locking and spending alerts
  • Early direct deposit available
  • Access to over 70,000 ATMs

Cons

  • Limited number of physical branches
  • Cash deposits are only accepted through Capital One ATMs, not partner networks

Our Take

Those looking for a convenient, fee-free checking account at a bank with physical branches might prefer Capital One’s 360 Checking Account. The account has no minimum balance requirement and charges no fees for monthly service or overdrafts.

Capital One gives customers the choice of a few different overdraft protection options, including auto-decline, no-fee overdrafts and even free automatic transfers from a linked savings account to cover overdrafts.

A Capital One checking account comes with access to over 70,000 ATMs along with in-person banking at a few physical branches throughout the country. With the Capital One mobile app, customers can deposit checks, pay bills, send money with Zelle®, set spending alerts and even lock their debit card if it gets lost or stolen.

Best for International Banking

Great for: Access to physical branches and ATMs worldwide

Bank Details

HSBC Bank originated as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Today, it’s an international bank with branches around the world.

Checking account features:

  • $50 maintenance fee
  • Access to over 55,000 ATMs worldwide

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Branches and ATMs available worldwide
  • Foreign transaction fee waived for Premier customers
  • Up to five ATM rebates per month in the U.S.
  • Low minimum balance ($5)
  • Mobile check deposit and bill pay

Cons

  • High minimum balance requirements
  • $50 maintenance fee

Our Take

A Premier checking account from HSBC provides several beneficial features for frequent international travelers. HSBC Premier customers can access their checking account at thousands of branches and ATMs all over the world. The 3% foreign transaction fee that most international ATMs charge is waived for HSBC Premier customers.

A Premier checking account might not be suitable for those who keep a smaller balance on their checking account. HSBC charges a $50 monthly maintenance fee for checking accounts that can only be waived by maintaining a minimum balance of $75,000 in the account or having at least $5,000 of direct deposits each month.

Best for Overdraft Protection

Great for: robust overdraft protection features

Bank Details

Huntington Bank serves its customers at over 1,000 full-service branches throughout the country.

Checking account features:

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Access to over 1,600 ATMs nationwide

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • 24-hour grace period for overdrafts
  • Overdraft $50 “Safe Zone”: you won’t be charged a fee if you overdraw your account by $50 or less
  • No minimum balance or minimum deposit
  • Mobile banking app with bill pay, money transfers and Zelle®

Cons

  • No interest
  • Limited ATM network
  • $15 overdraft fee

Our Take

Huntington Bank offers the best overdraft protection of any other checking accounts we evaluated. The bank’s overdraft features include a 24-hour grace period, during which any overdraft fees will be waived if you can deposit enough funds to cover the overdraft.

Huntington also offers the unique $50 overdraft “Safe Zone.” This feature means you won’t be charged any overdraft fees if your balance for the day is overdrawn by $50 or less.

Huntington’s Asterisk-Free Checking Account could be a good choice if you value the features it offers, like no minimum deposit or balance requirements, early direct deposit, mobile banking and no monthly maintenance fees.

Other Checking Accounts We Considered

Checking Account Description
Chase Total Checking® Chase’s checking account comes with some nice features like debit card locking, free credit score access and a convenient mobile app, but the $34 overdraft fee and $1,500 minimum balance requirement were its biggest drawbacks.
Bank of America Advantage Banking This checking account can be customized with three different settings but requires a $100 opening deposit and $1,500 minimum balance.
Citibank Access Account The Access account doesn’t come with checks like most checking accounts do, but Citibank customers can still access their money through the mobile app or at one of over 65,000 fee-free ATMs.
Wells Fargo Prime Checking With a Wells Fargo Prime Checking account, customers can earn 0.05% interest and get discounts on Wells Fargo loans. However, the account comes with a $25 monthly service fee that’s difficult to waive.
BMO Harris Smart Advantage™ Account This checking account has no monthly maintenance fee but charges a $15 overdraft fee. BMO Harris’ ATM network also isn’t as vast as other banks’.
Navy Federal Credit Union Free Checking Account This fee-free checking account earns a modest 0.05% APY, but Navy Federal membership is only available to active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union Checking Account PenFed also offers a fee-free checking account with no minimum balance and access to a vast ATM network. The biggest drawback is that this account earns no interest.

How To Choose the Best Checking Account in 2023

To choose the best checking account for your needs, you must first determine what those needs are. Different accounts come with different features and perks, so you must think about what your priorities are when it comes to banking.

You might want the convenience of in-person banking or prefer the valuable features of an online-only bank. Choosing a brick-and-mortar bank or an online one can be a good first step to narrowing down your choices.

After that, consider checking the fine print of a few of the checking accounts you’re looking at. Look for things like monthly service fees, overdraft fees or overdraft protection and whether the account earns any interest. Only you can determine what features are most important to you.

You can find checking accounts tailored to a variety of customer profiles. Those who worry about overdrawing their account might prefer an account with no overdraft fees and free overdraft protection. Another customer might prefer to have a checking account that gives them free money management tools. Still, others might prioritize a checking account with a vast ATM network they can access without fees.

How To Open a Checking Account

The first step to opening a checking account is to choose which bank or credit union you want to open the account with, as described in the previous section. The institution you choose will affect what options you have for opening your checking account.

Most large banks will allow you to open a checking account online or in person at a physical branch. If you choose an account at an online-only bank, you’ll have to open your account online.

No matter how you apply for your account, the bank will require you to provide some identifying documentation. This could include your driver’s license, passport, Social Security card or birth certificate.

Lastly, if your bank requires a minimum deposit amount to open an account, make sure you have those funds available to transfer or deposit into the account.

Frequently Asked Questions About Checking Accounts

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you open a checking account if you don’t have a good credit score?

Some banks may consider your credit score when opening a checking account, but not all banks will pull your credit history during the application process. You can always ask the bank if they will check your credit before you open the account.

Do checking accounts offer ATM access?

Some banks offer fee-free ATM access, though ATM networks for online banks may be smaller than those of brick-and-mortar.

How do online checking accounts compare to traditional checking accounts?

An online checking account may offer fewer services and less ATM access than a traditional bank account, but online checking accounts often have fewer fees and may have a higher APY.

Are there any limitations or restrictions with online checking accounts?

With some online checking accounts, depositing cash in your account can be difficult because there are no physical branches to go to.

Still have questions?

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making financial decisions.
Last Modified: August 14, 2023

7 Cited Research Articles

Annuity.org writers adhere to strict sourcing guidelines and use only credible sources of information, including authoritative financial publications, academic organizations, peer-reviewed journals, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts. You can read more about our commitment to accuracy, fairness and transparency in our editorial guidelines.

  1. Luthi, B. (2023, March 24). How To Choose a Bank Account. Retrieved from https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-to-choose-a-bank-account/
  2. Huntington Bank. (2023, March 23). What Do You Need To Open a Bank Account? Retrieved from https://www.huntington.com/learn/checking-basics/what-do-i-need-to-open-a-bank-account
  3. Alliant Credit Union. (n.d.). High-Yield Checking Account. Retrieved from https://www.alliantcreditunion.org/bank/high-yield-checking-account
  4. Ally Bank. (n.d.). Online Checking Account. Retrieved from https://www.ally.com/bank/interest-checking-account/
  5. Capital One. (n.d.). Capital One 360 Checking Account. Retrieved from https://www.capitalone.com/bank/checking-accounts/online-checking-account/
  6. HSBC Bank. (n.d.). HSBC Checking. Retrieved from https://www.us.hsbc.com/checking-accounts/
  7. Huntington Bank. (n.d.). Asterisk-Free Checking Account. Retrieved from https://www.huntington.com/Personal/checking/asterisk-free-checking