Your choice of checking account can make or break your finances, whether you’re using it to get your paychecks from your employer through direct deposits, everyday checking, paying off bills, or just a safe place to stash your savings.
In 2021, there are countless checking accounts to choose from. Some have a monthly charge, some come with additional benefits, and some just offer the most basic functions.
A great checking account won’t have any hidden charges and will meet all your banking needs – offering online banking, great customer services, earning you interest on your cash and account benefits.
Today we’re going to explore some of the best checking accounts available in 2021, including their pros, cons, and fees.
Best Checking Accounts for 2021
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Aspiration – Best sign up bonus of $150
With so many checking accounts available, it can be difficult to decide which checking account is best for you. Thankfully, the Aspiration Spend & Save account is a versatile account that provides a positive impact on our planet and reduces your carbon footprint. And unlike a traditional checking account, the Aspiration account maintains separate checking and savings balances.
Want Free Money?
- Aspiration: Want to get spotted a $150 for free? Simply sign up for Aspiration, and the free banking app will give you cash for free, you just relax while it gives you $150 just for opening a new debit card. There’s no catch. This bank account is legit and only takes two minutes to sign up for an account.
If you’re hoping to save and spend, then this might just be the account for you. Not only is it easy and convenient to deposit and withdraw cash with an Aspiration bank account, but you can actually earn up to 10% cash back on debit card purchases and up to 1.00% APY on savings. It’s usually the more expensive, premium accounts that offer this, but with this account, you can get it all for free.
Charges and fees can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying your hardest to save. If you’re looking to avoid bank fees, you’ll be delighted to hear that you’ll get zero check deposit fees, zero overdraft fees, zero debit card fees and zero inactive and dormant account fees. Plus, if you sign up for a new account you can get a $150 welcome bonus when you spend $1,000 within 60 days of opening an account.
- Great customer service
- Best sign up offer of $150
- Large ATM network (55,000)
- 10% of every dollar paid to Aspiration goes to charities that help struggling Americans to build a better life
- Digital debit card available while waiting for the physical card to arrive in the mail
- No physical branches
- Only available to US residents
- Requires a minimum deposit of at least $10 to open an account
Related: Aspiration Spend & Save Review: Earn Rewards, Help the Planet
Radius Bank Rewards Checking: Best rewards checking account
Radius Bank offers 1+% cash back, ATM fee rebates and no monthly or hidden fees with it’s Rewards Checking. It’s a full service bank available at your fingertips with the beautifully made app where you can deposit checks, view real-time transactions, pay bill and transfer funds, manage your budget and track spending, and improve your financial health.
But what I love is that if you use a Radius Bank promo code during the application process and you can score an easy $50 cash bonus. To receive the $50.00 reward simply open a Radius personal or business checking account using this link and entering promo code “sbzcj9” — you must submit an application.
Keep your account active with at least $500 in it and you’ll see the $50 reward in your Radius account within 90 days. Super easy. You can open an account online in under 3 minutes with as little as $100.
Current: Best checking account to get paid today
At Current, they deliver paychecks up to two days faster than traditional banks when you sign up for direct deposit. Overdrive gives qualified premium members up to $100 in free overdrafts with no fees. Plus you can earn 15x points when you swipe your card at participating merchants, which can be redeemed for cash in your Current account.
Current is one of the best checking account for those who want:
- Get paid up to 2 days faster
- Free overdraft up to $100 with Overdrive
- 55,000 fee-free ATMs worldwide
- No minimum balance or hidden fees
There are no minimum amount of money required to open or maintain an account and Current does not charge any hidden fees. You’ll likely love it, it’s easy to use, and super easy to sign up.
BBVA Online Checking: Best overall checking account
With BBVA Online Checking, your yearly savings really add up since there’s no monthly service charge. There is a $3 monthly paper statement fee that can be avoided by replacing your paper statements with online statements.
I like that the BBVA Online Checking account offers:
- Award-winning mobile banking app
- Cash back rewards
- Complimentary online banking and mobile banking, plus mobile deposit and bill pay
- Low $25 minimum opening deposit
- Transaction alerts
You can apply online with a low minimum opening deposit ($25).
CIT Bank: Best fee-free checking account
CIT Bank’s products are perfect for preparing for unexpected emergencies, growing funds for a down-payment on a dream home, saving up for a loved one’s future, or anything in between. CIT Bank has recently started a new online Checking Account that earns up to 0.25% APY. However, if you have a balance less than $25,000 you will earn an 0.10% APY.
Easy account management through the mobile app, including depositing checks and transferring funds. You’ll need a minimum of $100 to open. But if you do open an account, you can use any ATM with an eChecking debit card without paying any CIT fees and receive up to $30 per month to offset other bank’s ATM charges. Plus, you can make online payments from eChecking with Zelle, Bill Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay. And no opening or monthly fees.
- No ATM fees
- No monthly fees
- Online and mobile banking is easy and convenient
Chime: Best for helpful savings options
Hidden fees can be a nightmare – especially when they creep up on you the week before payday! Luckily, Chime offers an account that boasts no hidden fees and a zero-interest overdraft! There’s not really much more you can ask for when browsing for checking accounts.
This is one of the more modern accounts available – in 2021, not many people actually do in-branch banking, so moving with the times, Chime doesn’t actually have any branches or ATM’s of their own.
It’s surprisingly quick and easy to sign up, and unlike many other current accounts, you can have a starting balance of zero.
It’s refreshing to see a bank that profits with you instead of profiting off you. For every transaction made on a Chime debit card, Chime earns a small amount from Visa, which is paid by the merchant – not by yourself or the account holder.
- No hidden fees and charges
- Helpful automatic saving options
- You can access your direct deposits sooner than competitors
- Some of the banking services are limited (no branches or group ATM’s)
Simple: Best for customer service + user friendly mobile app
Note: BBVA has acquired Simple and all Simple checking accounts will be transferred to BBVA Online Checking Accounts.
If you’re on the market for a simple account that offers easy money management features, quick and easy ways to bank, and a great customer service support system, then you’re sure to love the Simple checking account.
This is a great bank if you’re looking to manage your savings, but unfortunately, to get a meaningful interest rate, you’ll need around $2,000 in the account.
The bank account allows you to set up automated savings, which is extremely useful for those more forgetful customers. You can set your regular payments into certain categories, such as bills and luxuries – and it automatically sorts your expenses for you.
The Simple system puts any spare change aside for you, so you can save without even noticing! If you need to spend more than you have (accounting for bills and other scheduled expenses), then the money gets pulled from your goals – quick, easy, and hassle-free!
- The app is efficient and easy to use
- Great for budgeting – can set goals
- No minimum to open an account
- No monthly fees or charges
Heritage: Best for all around banking experience
In 2021, there are bank accounts that pretty much offer everything, which can be more harmful than helpful. Sometimes, you just want a basic, no-frills account that can hold your money for you.
The checking accounts that Heritage offers are just that – simple accounts that will enable you to do your banking with ease.
Unfortunately, the most basic checking account that Heritage offers (The Base Checking Account) have a monthly fee of $7, which can be waived with a minimum balance of $100.
With this account, you can earn money as you spend money. You’ll receive $0.10 for each signature transaction made with your VISA debit card, thanks to the Heritage Bank a Dime a Time Rewards Program.
- No monthly service charge
- Variety of accounts to choose from
- Unlimited checks
- Interest rates could be better
- $100 minimum opening balance for a standard checking account
Is Online Banking Safe?
Is online banking safe and secure? A ton of people believe that it isn’t — you may have heard from a friend or family member that their card was skimmed or robbed at an ATM or you may have experienced it yourself.
But the short answer is yes. Banks that are online-only are safe, given that they have FDIC insurance. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is an independent federal agency insuring deposits in U.S. banks and thrifts in the event of bank failures. So if you are a member of an online bank that has FDIC insurance, your money is insured up to $250,000.
So even in the event that a hacker steals your money, you will be safeguarded. Your online bank has to reimburse you for your losses if reported within 60 days. This is a reason why many people track their finances on a weekly basis by using free money management tools like Mint and Personal Capital.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be aware of the risks associated with online banking.