We were recently emailed a desired set of criteria for a free checking account by BankVibe.com reader Jenny that we’re sure has been on the minds of many consumers throughout the country. Here’s the email:
“Please inform me on which checking account(s) still provide no maintenance fees on accounts with low balances, no ATM surcharges and/or a large network of surcharge-free ATM’s.”
Below we’ve constructed a list of 5 free checking accounts from either banks or credit unions (with broad acceptance) that meet the qualifications above. We’ve also thrown in a few of our favorites with some additional perks that we’ve reviewed here in the past.
1) ING Checking Account- Now with a $50 Cash Bonus for Signing-Up. The $50 cash bonus will be deposited into your account on day 50 given you make just 3 purchases with the card within 45 days. The “Electronic Orange” checking account by ING Direct is one of our favorite options for not only meeting the criteria we mentioned above but also going above and beyond. They impose no overdraft fees, no monthly maintenance fees or ATM surcharge fees. They have one of the largest free ATM networks of over 35,000 ATM’s across the country – with an ATM never more a than a few miles away (ATM’s can be located on their website or with their mobile app). Plus, depending on your monthly balance amount, you have the possibility of earning a respectable interest rate that is almost always above the national average.
2) Perkstreet’s Cash Back Checking Account – We’ve hyped this account for over a year now. This is a one of a kind cash back checking account that entitles their customers to between 1% and 5% cash back depending on where you spend, along with ZERO fees, 37,000 partner ATM’s (essentially free ATM usage across the country), free checks and no minimum balance requirements. Perkstreet claims that families can earn up to $600 cash back per year with their checking account.
3) USAA Free Checking Account – Here is a straight forward fee-less checking account offer for former or active military personnel as well as their family members. With this account you’ll get free ATM usage nationwide, zero fees regardless of balance, unlimited money transfers to U.S. banks, as well as a number of free online and mobile tools to manage your account and pay your bills. We’ve covered $100 sign-up bonuses associated with this checking account in the past, so you may want to keep your eyes peeled or talk to a representative regarding potential upcoming bonuses.
4) Navy Federal Credit Union “Basic Checking Account” – This is another straight forward checking account for former and current Navy personnel and their family. It features a network of 45,000 free ATM’s, free checks, no monthly service fees or minimum balance requirements, as well as web bill pay and management tools. Navy Federal Credit Union checking account customers are highly loyal to this bank, with 95% of customers recommending the product. See more reviews here. NFCU is also the largest credit union in the United States by both assets and members.
5) Alliant Credit Union Free Checking w/ Interest Rate Option – Another popular credit union checking account comes from Alliant CU based out of Chicago, IL. The easiest way to gain access to this credit union is to become a member of their partner non-profit organization “Foster Care to Success.” Membership requires a $10 donation. After completing this, you’ll be able to sign up for an Alliant checking account. The checking account comes with zero maintenance fees, no minimum balance requirements and 80,000 surcharge free ATM’s throughout the country. You’ll also have an option to earn up to 1.10% APY on your balance by opting for e-statements and setting up one direct deposit.
If you know of another free checking account available throughout the country, please share by leaving a comment.