The 7 Best High-Interest Checking Accounts of 2019
You'll earn money faster at these banks, we promise
If you visit many banks today, you’ll find you have to meet a laundry list of requirements to avoid fees. But some banks stand out from the crowd and offer you interest, not fees, for keeping your money at the bank and using its checking account.
High-interest checking accounts sometimes come with strings attached, but the best high-interest checking accounts come from banks with few requirements to get the best rates. Many come from online-only banks. Let’s take a look at the best high interest checking accounts so you know you are making the right choice.
Note: This list focuses on the account’s overall features, not just the highest interest rate. For that list please visit our best high-interest savings accounts list.
Best Overall: Ally Bank Interest Checking
Ally Bank continually hits our lists for top checking and savings accounts, and for good reason. Ally offers a wide range of important features, almost no fees, and generally good customer service. That is a trifecta for banking customers.
Ally currently offers 0.10 percent APY on balances below $15,000 and 0.60 percent APY on balances over $15,000. The account offers free Allpoint ATMs and up to $10 per statement cycle in fee rebates from other ATMs. With mobile deposit, fast Zelle transfers, and industry-leading mobile and online banking, Ally works well for nearly anyone who wants an interest checking account.
The only big caution here, like all online banks, is that you can’t deposit cash. If you have a job where you are paid in tips or cash, like a restaurant server, bartender or valet, no online bank is going to be a good option. But if you get paid via direct deposit and rarely use cash, Ally Bank Interest Checking is a good choice.
Best for Investors: Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking
At the best banks, ATM fees have gone out of style. But even if your bank does not charge ATM fees, you might get hit with a fee for using another bank’s ATM. Schwab Bank reimburses those fees with no limit at any ATM in the world. It doesn’t matter if you are in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London or Singapore. Anywhere in the world you can use an ATM without worrying about fees.
For Schwab customers, this account is a no-brainer. It links to your investment and high-yield savings accounts with one login, and you get all of the perks of an online-only bank with the added benefit of support at local Schwab branches when needed. (Note: they don’t take cash deposits and you need an existing Schwab brokerage account to open a checking account.)
This account doesn’t have many extra bells and whistles beyond the regularly improved online and mobile banking experiences. But you don’t need bells and whistles when you have an account with no fees, competitive interest rates and good customer service. Whether or not you love to travel, this account just works.
Want to learn more? Check out our full review of Charles Schwab.
Best Credit Union: Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking
Credit unions are like banks’ not-for-profit little brothers. Many credit unions are local only and focus on people who live or work in a specific region. But some credit unions are available nationwide, and because they don’t want to squeeze a profit out of you, they may offer better terms.
One such credit union is Consumers Credit Union. Free Rewards Checking offers rates up to 5.09 percent APY as of this writing. That’s huge. But it is not easy to qualify for that enormous rate. This account has specific account balance and activity requirements to earn interest.
The base interest rate is 3.09 percent APY for accounts with balances up to $10,000. To get that interest rate, you need to use your debit card at least 12 times per month, have a direct deposit or bill pay, use online banking at least monthly and get electronic statements. There are additional requirements at the $15,000 tier for 4.09 percent APY and $20,000 tier for 5.09 percent APY.
If you are willing to use this account as your primary account and can meet those activity requirements, you’ll earn a great interest rate on your balance.
Best Low Balance Requirement: Signature Federal Credit Union Choice Checking
Choice Checking from Signature Federal Credit Union is another account that pays a big interest rate on your checking balance. And, unlike some others on this list, you don’t need to deposit five-figures to get the best rate.
Choice Checking offers three percent APY on balances up to $15,000 and 0.10 percent APY on balances of $15,001 and above. That means the sweet spot is under $15,000 deposited. You should probably put balances that big in a high-yield savings account anyway.
Getting this high rate does come with some strings attached. You’ll have to make 10 monthly debit card purchases, direct deposit $1,000+ every month and get your statements electronically. If you use this as your primary account, those requirements are not difficult to reach.
Before signing up for a high-interest checking account that has debit card requirements, consider your current spending strategy to decide if it is worthwhile. If you earn big rewards from a credit card, it might not be worth your while to earn a little more interest on checking. Do the math to decide what makes the most sense before applying for a new account.
Best for Big Balances with No Strings Attached: Memory Bank EarnMore Checking
Memory Bank is not as well known as some of the other online-only banks on this list, but it is worth knowing. EarnMore checking offers 1.60 percent APY on balances up to $250,000. No activity requirements or strings attached. Memory Bank is a division of Republic Bank & Trust Company.
This card comes with the standard features of an online checking account. You’ll get access to a network of fee-free ATMs, online and mobile banking and no monthly fees. In fact, there are not many fees at all outside of overdrafts, stop payments and returned items.
The account is simple, but simple doesn’t mean bad. One thing to note is that not all applicants are approved for this top-tier account. But if you apply and get turned down, you will likely be offered access to a lower tier free checking account or checking for those with a negative history in credit or banking.
Best for Millennials: NBKC Bank #nogotcha checking
When you open up the website for NBKC Bank, you don’t see a typical banking landing page. Built on the motto: “Live Boldly. Bank Simply,” this account comes with no minimum balance, no monthly fees, and no activity requirement to earn 1.01 percent APY as of this writing.
This account offers free Moneypass ATMs and up to $12 per month in other bank ATM fee refunds. You can open an account with a $5 opening balance, and it includes online and mobile banking like you would expect anywhere else.
The account gives you free checks, low-cost domestic wire transfers and a bold interest rate to go along with it.