Who Has The Best Free Online Checking Account?


I’m fed up with my local bank. They close at 6pm, I usually work til 6pm.

So I’m looking for an online checking account that I could use as my wife and I’s primary checking account. I’d prefer to have something with no fees and some sort of mobile deposit option. Here’s the options I’ve researched so far…

Online Checking Account Options


My Thoughts

  • Ally – No ATM fees is awesome. Rate is decent. No overdraft fee with a linked savings account, nice.
  • BankSimple – Looks really sweet, already signed up for waiting list
  • Citibank – Pass
  • E*Trade – Pass
  • Everbank – No ATMs where I live. $8.95 fee unless
  • ING Direct Electric Checking – Lots of ATM’s but no refunds on non-partner ATMs is a bummer
  • Nationwide Bank – 3K to avoid $10 fee. No thanks.
  • PerkStreet – Way too many restrictions for me. Doesn’t seem worth the hassle.
  • USAA – Great customer service, nice mobile options for iPhone/Android
  • Schwabb – Billpay restrictions no cool.

Any recommendations?

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  • http://lovepowerandfairytaleendings.blogspot.com/ Jeffe Kennedy

    I’ve been using USAA for about a year and just love it. The only downside is they sometimes hold back a portion of transfers between non-USAA accounts for a few days. They reimburse ATM fees quickly and I’ve never exceeded the 10/month limit. Terrific banking solution.

  • Dan L.

    Ally. No ATM fees IS awesome and they are refunded rapidly. Moreover, they have a pretty decent yield on their savings account. They are also very quick to get on online chat with you should you have any questions. Big fan, been using them for about a year now.

  • Mike S.

    What restrictions do you refer to with PerkStreet? I’ve been with them for some time now and love the 2% cash back. (I think they’re offering 5% cash back to new sign-ups for a limited time). Free billpay. Free checks. Free postage paid deposit envelopes. Their ATM network isn’t extensive but there are two in my town I can use without being charged fees. I also love how I can deposit cash via Moneygram at any Walmart (without any fees!). How many other online banks offer that service? How many others offer 2% cash back on debit card purchases? I expect to stay with PerkStreet for a long time.

    I’ve had a USAA checking account for a while too and have to say they’re great as well. Refunds on ATM fees, interest on checking, and great service. Needless to say, on the few occasions I need cash, I use my USAA ATM card.

  • Rob

    Fidelity MySmart Cash Account. Had it for a few years, love it. Almost all ATM fees are refunded, free bill pay, free checkwriting.

  • Paul

    Schwab: Is unlimited ATM refunds. Bill pay is also free. What restrictions are you talking about?

  • imho

    I’ve had accounts with USAA for 10 years, and they are good. However I have been moving my money to Alliant Credit Union. Interest at 1.35%, online deposits, free billpay, etc. I cannot see any downside. To qualify to join Alliant I became a member of my local PTA, which was $5 for a great cause. No, I don’t work for them, I am just a very happy customer. They also have a terrific HSA for anyone who needs to transfer an HSA from an employer. My HSA pays 2.35%, which is nothing short of awesome. Highly recommend Alliant CU, the one in Chicago (I think there are several CU’s with that name).

  • http://www.lifeandmyfinances.com LifeAndMyFinances

    Good list. My wife and I will most likely be switching banks soon, so this is valuable information to have!

  • http://jugglingmama.com jenna conover

    I am looking for a free checking ! Thanks for the tips. I know you are very busy but would you be available to interview? I would like to write an article about you on my blog?
    let me know!
    -Jenna

  • imbojay

    schwab has unlimited atm fee refunds and no restriction to Bill pay..

  • Andrew

    Been using Schwab for years and have unlimited atm and no charge for bill pay, not sure where you got your data on them from.

  • JWS

    Perkstreet sounds great, but it really is a pain in the butt to deposit cash where we are. Every Moneygram Express center we go to insists on charging us $10.00 for the transaction. Also, we can only withdraw $400 per day from an ATM.

  • Courtney

    Don’t waste your time with PerkStreet. I can assure you from first-hand experience that they’re not worth the hassle. Also, it’s 2% cash back with a minimum balance of $5,000. Anything less and you’re only earning 1% cash back, redeemable only in gift card form. I stumbled across your post while searching for alternatives, so I’m appreciating the feedback others have posted.

  • http://www.michaelwheatfill.com Michael Wheatfill

    I recently signed up for Ally and am loving it so far. The sign up process is easy. No ATM fees and reimbursements on any ATM fees charged by other institutions is awesome. Free checks is another huge plus if anyone uses those anymore…

    The only thing I’m waiting for is photo check deposits. I believe they are piloting this with some customers now and am anticipating them rolling out to the rest of us.