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12 Best Checking Accounts of May 2024

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Our pick for

Checking Accounts

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at SoFi Bank, N.A., Member FDIC
/5
APY
With $0 min. balance for APY
Bonus
Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.
Monthly fee
Overdraft star rating

Why We Like It

SoFi’s Checking and Savings account earns a 0.50% APY (variable and subject to change) on the balance in its checking portion.

Customers who set up direct deposit or who deposit at least $5,000 every 30 days into their account can also earn 4.60% APY on balances held in the savings portion of the account. Without direct deposit, savings would earn 1.20% APY.

There’s no minimum direct deposit amount to earn interest or to get your paycheck up to two days early, but you’ll need a minimum monthly direct deposit of $1,000 to qualify for overdraft coverage and protection.

SoFi is part of the Allpoint network, so customers can access more than 55,000 ATMs for cash withdrawals.

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC
/5
APY
With $0 min. balance for APY
Bonus
Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.
Monthly fee
Overdraft star rating

Why We Like It

Rewards Checking has no minimum balance required to open an account, and no monthly maintenance, overdraft or nonsufficient-funds fees. The account also has an annual percentage yield as high as 3.30% on up to $50,000, depending on your account activity. To earn interest, you need at least $1,500 in monthly direct deposits. That earns you 0.40%. To earn the maximum APY, you have to make 10 debit card purchases — with a minimum of $3 per transaction — or sign up for the Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager tool (earns 0.30%). You also need to have an average daily balance of $2,500 in a managed investment portfolio (earns 0.99%), have an average daily balance of $2,500 in a self-directed portfolio (earns 0.99%) and make a monthly Axos consumer loan payment from Rewards Checking (earns 0.60%).

New customers can qualify for a $300 bonus by having $5,000 or more in direct deposits and maintaining a minimum balance of $7,000 in the first seven months that the new account is open.

In addition, Axos Bank offers unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements on several of its checking accounts, including this one.

at Discover® Bank, Member FDIC
/5
APY
N/A
Bonus
N/A
Monthly fee
$0
Overdraft star rating
4.5/5

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

at nbkc bank, Member FDIC
/5
APY
N/A
Bonus
N/A
Monthly fee
$0
Overdraft star rating
4.5/5

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

at Discover® Bank, Member FDIC
/5
APY
N/A
Bonus
N/A
Monthly fee
$0
Overdraft star rating
4.5/5

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

/5
APY
N/A
Bonus
N/A
Monthly fee
$0
Overdraft star rating
4.5/5

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

/5
APY
N/A
Bonus
N/A
Monthly fee
$0
Overdraft star rating
4.5/5

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Frequently asked questions

What's the best checking account for me?
When choosing a new checking account, take a close look at fees, branch and ATM accessibility, and interest rate. Also consider perks such as early access to direct deposits. People who do online banking should select an institution that offers a good website along with a mobile app that lets them deposit checks remotely.
As a rule, it’s a good idea to avoid checking accounts that charge — and don’t allow you to waive — fees. The rule remains true whether choosing a teen checking account, a college bank account or any checking account.
» Looking for somewhere to stash your savings? Check out NerdWallet's picks for best savings accounts
Should I have more than one checking account?
Usually there won’t be many downsides to keeping multiple checking accounts open as long as you are able to meet the requirements of those accounts to avoid fees.
The number of checking accounts you should have is based on your personal situation. If you’re single, for example, you may be fine with just one checking account. If you’re married, you may want to have a personal account and a joint account that you share with your spouse. There are also a number of accounts that offer bonuses and promotions for opening an account, so if you’re able to juggle the requirements, you could make some extra cash by opening multiple accounts. You also may want to consider opening multiple checking accounts at different institutions for different uses, such as keeping an account at a provider that works well for international travel if you go out of the country a lot, or keeping a checking account open with the bank that handles your mortgage for faster payment transfers.
Usually there won’t be many downsides to keeping multiple checking accounts open as long as you are able to meet the requirements of those accounts to avoid fees.
Last updated on May 6, 2024

Methodology

We took a close look at over 90 financial institutions and financial service providers, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on assets and membership; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage yields, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.

Frequently asked questions

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

Why We Like It

Discover® Cashback Checking lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month (see website for details). The account also has no monthly fee, no monthly balance requirement and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; if you try to initiate a transaction that will result in an overdraft, Discover will pull that money from a designated funding account if you’ve enabled overdraft protection. If you haven’t enabled it, Discover will decline the transaction and you won’t be charged a fee.

Discover’s mobile banking apps have high customer ratings, which is helpful because the bank only has one physical branch, in Delaware.

Methodology

Chanelle Bessette

Chanelle Bessette is a personal finance writer at NerdWallet covering banking. She specializes in checking and cash management accounts. Read more