If you are looking for ways to make extra cash at home on a flexible schedule, then I recommend checking out Branded Surveys.
This honest review of Branded Surveys is going to explain what Branded Surveys is, how Branded Surveys works, and how you can make extra money on Branded Surveys each month.
Now, I do want to start by saying that Branded Surveys will not make you rich. No survey site will do that. But, you can easily earn a little extra money in your spare time from home.
The PayPal cash and Amazon gift cards that you can earn from survey sites can help you to have a little bit extra spending money, but still not have to sacrifice too much of your time. Plus, you can take surveys while you’re watching TV or doing some other task that does not need your full attention.
All you need is an internet connection and a device (phone, laptop, computer, or tablet).
In today’s Branded Surveys review, you are going to learn about one of the most popular survey companies – Branded Surveys.
Branded Surveys has already paid out over $37,793,794.07 to their members.
Plus, it’s free to sign up and only takes a few minutes to get started answering surveys.
This Branded Surveys review is going to answer common questions, such as:
Why does Branded Surveys pay you?
How do I earn points on Branded Surveys?
How much money can you make using Branded Surveys?
What kind of questions are asked in paid online surveys?
Can you make $1,000 each week from surveys?
My Branded Surveys review is going to answer all of those questions, as well as talk about paid online surveys a little more at the end, in case you have any other questions about them.
Get the inside scoop below on this online survey site with this in-depth Branded Surveys review. Learn about the platform’s features, earning potential, and user reviews to decide if it’s the right online survey site for you. Read now to make a smart decision and start earning extra cash and gift cards right away.
You can sign up for Branded Surveys here and receive a free 100 point sign up bonus.
Branded Surveys Review
What is Branded Surveys?
Branded Surveys is one of the most popular online survey platforms and they were started in 2012.
Branded Surveys pays you to take surveys, and they have over 3,000,000 users. You can sign up for free and get paid through cash or redeem your points with over 100 different gift card options.
On Branded Surveys, you can make around $0.50 to $5 for each survey you take (depends on the length of the survey).
Branded Surveys is available to people in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Also, you only have to be 16 years old to answer surveys on Branded Surveys, whereas most other online survey sites ask you to be 18 years old.
You can sign up for Branded Surveys here and receive a free 100 point sign up bonus.
Why does Branded Surveys pay you?
Branded Surveys and other market research companies pay you to answer online surveys because they are collecting research.
Companies hire market research businesses to learn what real customers, like you and me, actually think of their products and business. They can use the survey data that is collected to improve their product and business, or even create a whole new product that better suits the needs of their customers.
What kind of questions are asked in surveys?
Are you wondering what kind of questions you might be asked when you answer paid online survey sites?
Well, the type of questions that you receive can vary depending on the survey, but generally, they ask for your opinions on products or services, your preferences on certain topics, and sometimes even personal information such as do you have a dog or children.
For example, here are some survey questions that you may see:
How often do you go to a restaurant in a month?
How important is the price when considering a particular product or service?
What features do you look for when purchasing a _____?
How often do you use a ______?
What is your annual income?
How do you usually spend your spare time?
Have you recently purchased any new electronics or appliances? If so, what did you buy and why?
Do you usually research a particular product before buying?
How often do you shop for groceries each month?
How many hours per week do you spend watching TV shows or movies?
As you can see, they are easy. It is not rocket science!
These are just a few examples of the kind of questions that you may see when you answer a survey. Some surveys may be more focused on a specific product, whereas others may want to learn more about you.
Many times they simply want to just learn more about you, because this can help them figure out why you need a certain product or service.
How does Branded Surveys work?
The sign-up process is easy for Branded Surveys. Here are the steps:
Sign up for Branded Surveys here and receive a free 100 point sign up bonus. You can create a log in or log in with just your Facebook account.
Then, you will be asked to create your profile. This is so that they know what surveys to best match you with. Here, you will be asked your age, if you have children, what your education level is, and more.
Once you match with a survey, you will receive an invite from Branded Surveys that you can take. You will receive survey notifications in your email inbox or by logging into Branded Surveys and looking at your dashboard to see what surveys are available.
Complete the survey and earn points
After you have enough points, you can redeem your points for payout options such as cash or gift cards.
And that is all!
It is easy.
How to earn points on Branded Surveys
You can earn survey points in four main ways on Branded Surveys. The ways include:
By taking surveys. When you first create your account, you will earn points by simply building your profile. After that, you will earn points by answering real surveys.
Inviting friends can earn you 50 points once your referrals earn a silver badge. You will receive a referral link to share.
Answering the daily poll will earn you 5 points. These polls take less than a minute to answer and are asking you a very easy question.
Branded Surveys also has a leaderboard for whoever gets the most points on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For daily leaderboard winners, you get 50 bonus points. For weekly leaderboard winners, you receive 200 points. For monthly leaderboard winners, you get 300 points.
Unlike other survey platforms, Branded Surveys sole focus is just surveys. They’ll even give you bonuses for answering the most surveys!
How much is 1,000 points on Branded Surveys?
Each point on Branded Surveys is worth $0.01.
1,000 points are equal to $10.
500 Branded Surveys points are equal to $5.
Once you have earned a minimum of 500 points, you can redeem your points for rewards. Or, you can save your points and get a bigger reward.
How fast can you make money on Branded Surveys? How much money can you make using Branded Surveys?
On Branded Surveys, you can make around $0.50 to $5 for each survey you take.
Each survey on Branded Surveys typically takes around 5 to 20 minutes to complete. Before you start a survey, Branded Surveys will tell you the estimated amount of time – so you can see before you begin if you think it is worthwhile. Remember, this is just an estimate and sometimes you may spend more time or less time answering a survey.
How many surveys can you do a day on Branded Surveys?
If you are invited to a survey and start it before it becomes full, then you can do as many surveys as you want on Branded Surveys.
The main Branded Surveys problems are that you may not qualify for a ton of surveys, or you may be disqualified from taking a survey. This can be annoying to some people (this is typically the most common area for Branded Surveys complaints), but survey companies do this for a reason. Survey companies often send shorter surveys to see if you will qualify for a full survey. This is to ensure that you are a good fit for the survey.
Can Branded Surveys be trusted? Is Branded Surveys a scam?
Yes, Branded Surveys can be trusted, and they are not a scam.
You can find other reviews of Branded Surveys at Branded Surveys Trustpilot. There are over 74,000 Branded Surveys reviews there with an average score of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
Also, in case you want to look for even older Branded Surveys reviews, Branded Survey used to be called Mintvine.
The Branded Surveys mobile app is available in the App Store as well as the Google Play Store. Or, survey takers can answer surveys right from their desktop computer or laptop.
This is the Branded Surveys dashboard when you first sign up.
Does Branded Surveys actually pay you?
Yes, Branded Surveys does actually pay you. Branded Surveys payout options including being able to receive payment via bank transfer, which is done via direct deposit within just 1 business day.
Or, you can choose to get paid via PayPal cash.
They also have gift cards to places such as Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Delta Air Lines, Disney, Kroger, Lowe’s, REI, Sephora, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and so many other retailers.
There is also Branded Pay, which is another way to get cash directly to your bank account. You will receive your payment in around 48 hours.
Another option that they have is you can choose to donate your earnings to a charity.
What is the Branded Elite program?
Branded Elite is a special loyalty program offered by Branded Surveys. It is their way of rewarding members for consistently answering their online surveys with the opportunity to earn more points.
Throughout each month, as you take surveys on Branded Surveys, you can get to the Bronze, Silver, and Gold badge levels. You can pass through each level after completing at least 12 surveys each week and you will be awarded bonus points weekly (on top of what you are already earning for taking each survey).
Here is more information on each tier and the extra points you can earn:
For the Bronze level (you reach the Bronze badge once you complete 2+ surveys each month), you will receive a 5% bonus once you complete at least 12 surveys each week.
For the Silver level (you become a Silver member once you complete 10+ surveys each month), you will receive a 10% bonus once you complete at least 12 surveys each week, a 12% bonus once you complete at least 20 surveys each week, and a 14% bonus once you complete at least 30 surveys each week
For Gold members (you reach the Gold tier once you complete 25+ surveys each month), you will receive a 15% bonus once you complete at least 12 surveys each week, a 17% bonus once you complete at least 20 surveys each week, and a 19% bonus once you complete at least 30 surveys each week.
Is Branded Surveys free?
Yes, Branded Surveys is free.
Legit survey sites are always free. I don’t know of any legitimate survey sites that charge you money to sign up. And, they shouldn’t!
Branded Surveys is free – they don’t charge you to sign up, take surveys, or stay a member.
Can you make $1,000 a week from surveys?
If you are looking for a paid survey site to pay you $1,000 a week, you will not find that because it does not exist.
Legit survey sites do not make you any promises to make you rich. They exist to give you some spare spending money in a flexible way, and that is all.
You will most likely earn around $10 or less to answer surveys in your spare time.
How much can you realistically make with surveys?
You will most likely earn less than $100 a month by taking surveys. They don’t take up a lot of your time, and they are not a scam.
If a paid survey site says you can make $1,000 a week, I would be extremely cautious because I have not heard of this yet.
To make the most money by taking online surveys, you will want to sign up for as many survey sites as you can.
Do survey sites actually pay you to take surveys?
Yes, websites do pay you to take online surveys. The paid survey sites below may pay you in gift cards, PayPal cash, and even by check.
Over the years, I have received over 110 gift cards to places such as Amazon, checks in the mail, and PayPal cash for answering online surveys.
There are many other legit survey sites that will pay you as well. I recommend signing up for as many as you can because they all have different surveys that they invite you to, so this can increase the amount of money you can make taking surveys.
Below are some other popular survey sites that I recommend:
American Consumer Opinion
User Interviews – This one pays the most, with many paying over $100 an hour.
What other reviews on survey sites do you have?
If you are looking to learn more about each online survey website, I have in-depth reviews on several of them. You can find them below:
Branded Surveys Review – Is Branded Surveys Legit?
I hope you enjoyed this Branded Surveys review.
If you are looking to earn a little extra money but you do not want to commit to a lot of hours or another job, then answering surveys at home may be an option for you to look into.
Plus, Branded Surveys is available to people in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, for anyone 16 years old and older.
Branded Surveys is a legitimate survey platform that pays you to complete surveys, and that’s their only focus. They have plenty of surveys for you to answer. There are a lot of ways to redeem your points, such as many different gift card options and even straight cash.
So, if you are looking for a survey company to join, then Branded Surveys is a survey site definitely worth considering.
You can sign up for Branded Surveys and receive a free 100 point sign-up bonus here.
Do you take online surveys? What other questions do you want me to answer in my Branded Surveys review?
A credit union is a nonprofit institution that’s owned by its members. Compared to a traditional bank, a credit union tends to offer more personalized service.
You can turn to a credit union for a variety of financial products, like checking and savings accounts, credit cards, car loans, and mortgages. Some regional and federal credit unions also offer wealth management services and other extras.
A typical credit union only accepts members who live in a specific region or work for an eligible employer. For example, they may require that you’re a resident of Atlanta, Georgia or work as a teacher.
The good news is some credit unions require less and make it easy for just about anyone to join. If you’d like to join a credit union but don’t want to worry about the strict membership requirements at most institutions, you’ve come to the right place.
38 Best Credit Unions Anyone Can Join
There are hundreds of credit unions that anyone can join, but we’ve done the heavy lifting and found the best ones for you. The credit unions below, which are overseen by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) may be an option for you, regardless of what you do for a living or where you’re located.
Just keep in mind that you may have to make a donation, join an organization, live in a certain state, or meet some other eligibility requirement. We encourage you to explore this lengthy to list of credit unions anyone can join so you can hone in on the ideal credit union for your unique situation.
1. Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union made its debut in 1935 to serve the employees of United Airlines. It stands out for it high-interest savings and checking accounts with low minimum opening deposits as well as excellent customer service.
You’ll also receive access to more than 80,000 free ATMs across the U.S. and get reimbursed up to $20 in out-of-network ATM charges per month. Since it only has two brick-and-mortar locations, you should feel comfortable with online banking. If you’d like to join Alliant Credit Union, make a $5 donation to Foster Care to Success.
2. Connexus Credit Union
Connexus Credit Union was founded in 1935 and has a widespread presence in Wisconsin as well as more than 54,000 ATMs across the country. It couldn’t be easier to join the credit union as all you have to do is pay a one-time $5 fee to the Connexus Association, which supports financial education through college scholarships.
As a member, you can open one of its three checking options with high APYs and a traditional savings account or one that’s specifically designed for the holidays.
3. Pentagon Federal Credit Union
Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed, was founded in 1935 as a credit union for military and civilian government. Today, this Virginia-based credit union has opened it doors to anyone as long as they open a savings account and deposit a minimum of $5. It offers two savings accounts, including the Regular Savings and Premium Online Savings.
In addition, you can find checking accounts, CDs, and money market accounts. Other products include Coverdell Education Savings Certificates, IRAs, credit cards, mortgages, home equity loans, and student loans. Plus, you can enjoy modern perks like mobile check deposits, online bill pay, and instant transfers.
4. First Tech Federal Credit Union
First Tech Federal Credit Union is headquartered in California. The credit union offers many benefits, such as excellent customer service, many branches throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, online banking, and mobile banking.
It also has the Dividend Rewards Checking Account, which gives you 1.00% APY on balances below $1,000. You don’t have to live in California to join as long as you donate to a nonprofit called the Financial Fitness Association.
5. Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union was established in 1951 as a local credit union. Based in Illinois, it’s one of the largest credit unions in the state with over 100,000 members and more than $1.2 billion in assets.
You can join it, even if you don’t live in Illinois. All you have to do is donate the $5 membership free to an affiliated nonprofit. You can open almost all of its accounts online, except for the checking accounts and IRAs. The credit union also offers a high-yield checking account that offers high interest if you meet certain criteria.
6. Langley Federal Credit Union
Langley Federal Credit Union is based in Virginia and made its inception in 1936. At that time, members of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the predecessor to NASA, chartered the credit union.
Today, Langley offers membership to anyone who pays a fee to support an important cause in Virginia and deposits at least $5 into a savings account. You can choose from a checking account without a monthly fee, a variety of no-fee savings accounts with competitive interest compounds monthly, and Visa Cards with cash back rewards.
7. Lake Michigan Credit Union
Lake Michigan Credit Union made its debut in 1933 by a group of teachers. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it has 51 branches in Michigan and southwest Florida. Since it’s part of the Allpoint ATM network, members can enjoy free access to more than 55,000 free ATM.
To join, donate $5 to the ALS Foundation and deposit $5 into a Member Savings account. Once you do, you can earn perks through the MORE rewards program and redeem them for complimentary checks and free out-of-network ATM transactions.
You may also open the free, no frills Max Checking account. Note that the Member Savings account, which you must open to become a member, requires a minimum daily balance of $300 or you’ll be charged a $5 monthly fee.
8. Lafayette Federal Credit Union
Lafayette Federal Credit Union was founded in 1935 as an alternative to traditional banks. It offers numerous perks, like no minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fees, online banking, mobile deposits, free direct deposit, and special discounts.
You can join it if you live, work, worship, or attend school in Washington D.C. If you live outside the D.C. area, you may still become a member as long as you invest in a lifetime Home Ownership Financial Literacy Council (HOFLC) membership for only $10. This nonprofit focuses on helping consumers navigate the path to homeownership.
9. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union has 26 branch locations across Minnesota. APFCU offers MyPlus Rewards that gives you points if you keep a certain amount of money in your bank account or use its debit or credit card.
To be eligible to join, all you have to do is donate $25 to the Affinity Plus Foundation and open a basic savings account. If you live and work in Minnesota or have a family member in the state, there are other ways to become a member.
10. Chevron Credit Union
Chevron Credit Union has been around since 1935 and has 19 branches that span six states, including California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Utah and Virginia. It operates under two brands: Chevron Federal Credit Union and Spectrum Credit Union.
To become a member, join one of its nonprofit partner organizations, such as the Contra Costa County Historical Society. You’ll also need to deposit $25 into a primary savings account and maintain a $25 minimum balance.
Chevron also offers a second chance checking account called New Solutions for those who need help rebuilding their banking history.
11. Ascend Credit Union
Since its inception in 1951, Ascend Credit Union has offered a variety of products, like checking and savings accounts, a money market account, Christmas Club account, youth accounts, credit cards, and loans.
If you’re interested in these services, join The Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Chapter and you’ll be eligible automatically. Note that there is a one-time fee of $25.
12. Hope Credit Union
Hope Credit Union is a black-owned credit union that was organized in 1995 by the Anderson United Methodist Church in Mississippi. You can join if you pay a $10 membership fee and show a foreign passport, permanent resident card, or Matricula Consular. Plus, you may use an ITIN number instead of a Social Security number.
Hope Credit Union provides a number of personal bank accounts, business banking accounts, and transformational deposits. With its transformational deposits, you can participate in socially responsible investing.
13. Boeing Employees Credit Union
Boeing Employees Credit Union, or BECU, was established in 1935 for Boeing employees and currently caters to more than 1 million members. But despite its name, you don’t have to work at Boeing to join.
Its products and services are available to you if you become a member or donor to the KEXP, which is a nonprofit art organization or the Sea Hawkers Central Council. The most noteworthy benefit of joining is the first-time homebuyer grant in which you can receive $7,500 toward your down payment and closing costs.
14. Hiway Credit Union
Hiway Credit Union made its debut in 1931 to serve employees of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It offers a free checking account with no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements, a free money market account with a $500 minimum deposit, credit cards, and loans.
You can qualify for a Hiway Federal Credit Union membership if you donate to the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation for $10 per year or the Association of the U.S. Army, which costs $40 for two years.
15. GreenState Credit Union
GreenState Credit Union was founded in 1938. It provides its members with personal accounts, business accounts, credit cards, loans insurance, wealth management services, and more.
GreenState was named one of the fastest growing credit unions in 2021. As long as you live or work in the state of Iowa, you can become a member and take advantage of its services without any issues.
16. Cascade Credit Union
Cascade Credit Union made its debut in 1952 to serve employees of the Cascade Division of the Great Northern Railway. Today, it’s open to many people and offers great perks like members-only sweepstakes, competitive rates, online banking tools, financial counseling, and group insurance benefits.
If you’d like to join, simply become a member of the Great Northern & Cascade Railway Association (GNCR) and pay an annual membership cost of $40. The credit union can help you fill out your application online or in-person at a local branch.
17. Wildfire Credit Union
Wildfire Credit Union began in 1937 as Saginaw Telephone Employees Credit Union, its original credit union name. Its first location was in the basement of the home of Hank Kosk, the credit union’s treasurer.
After some office upgrades, the credit union opened the doors to its current location on Bay Road in Saginaw and merged with Flint Telephone Employees Credit Union that same year. Today, Wildfire Credit Union offers several deposit accounts as well as personal banking and business banking services. You can join if you live, work, worship, or attend school in Michigan.
18. Nextmark Credit Union
Nextmark Credit Union made its debut in 1958. Its offerings include personal and business checking, home equity loans, personal loans, credit cards, gift cards, and more.
To join, you must live in a qualifying county in Virginia or make a donation to Herndon Elementary PTA, a Title I school.
19. Technology Credit Union
Technology Credit Union, or Tech CU, was established in 1960. It’s based in Silicon Valley and provides its members with no shortage of benefits. These include competitive rates, online banking, access to fee-free ATMs, free credit score monitoring, conference room space, and easy online appointment booking. To become a member, join Financial Fitness Association for only $8.
20. Veridian Credit Union
Veridian Credit Union was established in 1934. Most of its members are those who live or work in Iowa or certain counties of Nebraska. However, it’s open to anyone who is a registered user of Dwolla, a financial technology company. This means you can join as long as you sign up for a personal account at Dwolla.
You’ll also need to open a savings account and deposit at least $5. If you’re already a member of a credit union or bank but would like to switch to Veridian Credit Union, the switch kit may be helpful.
21. Harborstone Credit Union
Harborstone Credit Union’s roots date back to 1955, when it was known as McChord Federal Credit Union and served airmen on the McChord Air Force Base. In 1996, the credit union expanded its membership to anyone in the state of Washington and changed its name as a result.
As long as you live, work, or worship in Washington, you may join Harborstone Credit Union and enjoy a variety of financial products and digital tools.
22. NASA Federal Credit Union
NASA Federal Credit Union began in 1949 to serve NASA employees. Since then, it’s grown to more than 177,000 members. While the credit union is headquartered in Upper Marlboro, Massachusetts, there are 12 branches in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
Its product lineup includes a simple checking account with no minimum opening deposit, a savings account with a great rate, and several CDs. You can also monitor your credit score and make deposits with the mobile app. If you don’t work for NASA, you can still join. Simply sign up for a one-year membership at the National Space Society (NSS).
Hanscom Federal Credit Union opened in 1953. The credit union has over 20 branches in and around Boston as well as one in McLean, Virginia. It offers fee-free checking accounts, savings accounts with rewards, credit cards, and loans.
To join, you’ll need to support one of its partner organizations, such as the Burlington Players, a volunteer theater group. In addition, you’ll be required to deposit $25 into a free primary savings account.
24. Pen Air Federal Credit Union
Pen Air Federal Credit Union was founded in 1936 to support civil service employees of Naval Air Station Pensacola. It has 16 locations in northwest Florida and southeast Alabama. You may be surprised to learn that you don’t have to be an active duty or retired military member to join.
You’ll be able to take advantage of Pen Air Federal Credit Union if you become a member of the Friends of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and deposit a minimum of $25 into a savings account. As a member, you can enjoy the Pen Air Platinum Mastercard, Share Savings account with the Round It program, and more.
25. State Department Federal Credit Union
State Department Federal Credit Union was founded in 1935. To join, you can become a member of the American Consumer Council for $8. This is a non-profit organization with a focus on consumer education and financial literacy.
The State Department Credit Union offers a long list of products and services, including basic, advantage, and privilege checking, a money market account, share certificate accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), credit cards, and loans.
26. United Nations Federal Credit Union
United Nations Credit Union made its debut in 1947. As long as you join the United Nations Association of the United States of America, you can become a member.
UNFCU has a vast product lineup that includes a checking account, membership savings account, credit cards, debit cards, and loans, like car loans and debt consolidation loans.
Other membership perks include loyalty rewards, credit card rewards, and the member referral program.
27. Premier Members Credit Union
Premier Members Credit Union was established in 1959 for members of the Boulder Valley School District. You’re eligible to join if you make a donation to Impact on Education, a charity in the Boulder Valley School District, and open an online savings account or youth savings account.
As a member, you can expect perks, such as high interest rates on checking accounts, no monthly service fee, no overdraft fees, and free overdraft protection. The credit union also offers an extensive network of branches and ATMs for your convenience.
28. SRI Federal Credit Union
SRI Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Menlo Park, California. It was founded in 1957 and offers membership to anyone who joins the Financial Fitness Association for $8 per year.
The credit union’s account offerings include a checking and savings account, money market account, IRA, health savings account, and youth, teen, and gradate accounts.
29. United States Senate Federal Credit Union
United States Senate Federal Credit Union has been around since 1935. Its mission is to “improve the financial wellness of members throughout all stages and circumstances of life.” Its products are similar to what most credit unions offer.
As a member, you can enjoy access to a number of checking and credit union savings accounts, mortgage loans, personal loans, auto loans, Visa debit cards, and business advisory services. To join, you’ll need to become a member of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society for $65.
30. Wings Financial Credit Union
Wings Financial Credit Union was founded in 1938 by seven employees from Northwest Airlines. To date, it serves more than 320,000 members with more than $7.5 billion in assets. You can join if you donate $5 to the Wings Financial Foundation, even if you don’t work in the aviation industry.
There are no fees on its basic banking accounts, including its checking and savings accounts, a money market account, and CDs. Its high yield savings and checking accounts offer competitive rates to help you grow your money.
31. Skyward Credit Union
Skyward Credit Union was chartered in 1941. It offers a share savings account with competitive rates, an aim higher checking account with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, affordable mortgage and home equity loans.
It also offers online banking, a variety of insurance products, and access to over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Like most credit unions require membership, so does this one. To become a member, join the Kansas Aviation Museum.
32. San Diego County Credit Union
San Diego County Credit Union has been around since 1938 and has over 430,000 credit union members. It’s considered the largest locally owned financial intuition in San Diego.
As a member, you can enjoy a free checking account, secured and unsecured credit cards, a wide range of account options with no service fees, and access to over 30,000 ATMs without ATM fees. To join San Diego County Credit Union, become a member of the Financial Fitness Association.
33. Bellco Credit Union
Bellco Credit Union is a Denver-based credit union that opened its doors in 1936. You can join it even if you don’t live in Colorado as long as you donate at least $10 to the Bellco Foundation, pay a one-time $5 membership fee, and deposit at least $25 in a savings account.
Once you do, you’ll have access to several noteworthy products, like the Boost Interest Checking account, which offers a competitive interest rate, the Premier Money Market Account, and two, no-fee credit cards.
34. Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Bethpage Federal Credit Union was founded in 1941 and currently has over 30 branches across Long Island and New York City. It has a reputation for competitive rates on it money market accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).
The credit union also offers three checking accounts, a few savings accounts, retirement planning services, IRAs, insurance, and more. You don’t have to live in New York to join if you open a $5 savings account. As a member, you may meet with credit union staff virtually and bank on the go with a handy mobile app.
35. First South Financial Credit Union
First South Financial Credit Union opened its doors in 1957 to serve those on the Millington base. Since then, it has become of the safest financial institutions in the U.S., as stated by independent rating agencies. While the credit union has locations throughout Tennessee and Mississippi, its online banking services make it a suitable option if you live elsewhere.
Like other credit unions, it offers a full suite of checking, savings, CDs, and IRA accounts. To join, become a member of the Courage Thru Cancer Association, which supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
36. Dow Credit Union
Dow Credit Union was founded in 1937 in Midland, Michigan. It provides numerous products, including checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), HSAs, deposit trust accounts, and loans.
Fortunately, you don’t have to work at Dow Chemical to take advantage of them. To join, make a $10 donation to the Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union Endowed Scholarship Fund.
37. Blue Federal Credit Union
Blue Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1951 as Warren Federal Credit Union. If you’re looking for a high-yield checking account, you’ll appreciate its Blue Extreme Checking Account with no minimum opening deposit or monthly service fees.
Other perks include a tiered membership rewards program and round-the-clock customer service. The easiest way to become a member is to donate $5 to the Blue Foundation and open a Membership Share Savings Account with $5.
38. Digital Federal Credit Union
Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU), based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, was established in 1979. Today, it is known for its comprehensive range of financial products that includes checking and savings accounts, auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, and wealth management services.
Perhaps one of DCU’s standout features is its commitment to digital banking, offering robust online and mobile platforms that compete with larger, nationwide banks. This makes DCU a fitting choice for those who prefer online banking, no matter where they live.
Membership is open to those who are a part of participating organizations or live, work, worship, or attend school in eligible communities. If you don’t fit those criteria, you can still join by becoming a member of a participating nonprofit organization, such as Reach Out for Schools, which requires a nominal donation.
See also: Best Nationwide Credit Unions of 2023
Not all credit unions are created equal. Some have strict membership criteria, while others are more flexible. Before you join a credit union (or several credit unions) on this list, be sure to consider numerous factors.
You’ll want to look at eligibility requirements, branch location, monthly maintenance fees, accounts offered, interest rates, mobile banking, digital banking, reputation, and customer service. Best of luck as you explore the best credit unions and search for the perfect credit union.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can civilians join Navy Federal Credit Union?
Yes, civilians can join the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), the largest credit union in the U.S. However, this is limited to immediate family members of service members in all branches of the armed forces. This broad eligibility criteria is one of the reasons why NFCU has grown to be the largest credit union in the country.
Can anyone join American Airlines Credit Union?
No, not anyone can join the American Airlines Credit Union. Membership is limited to those who work in the air transportation industry, including airlines, airports, and related businesses, as well as their family members. While this broadens the scope beyond just American Airlines employees, it still doesn’t include everyone.
The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet, Inc. does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.
The deadline for the U.S. to raise the debt ceiling is looming. If the U.S. defaults, it’s likely to impact many Americans in some capacity. Even if we manage to escape this economic crisis, though, another one is likely on the horizon.
Whether it’s a nationwide recession, worldwide crisis or a personal event, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how to stabilize your finances now so they can be a safety net in your time of need.
How the U.S. debt ceiling crisis could impact your finances
“We’ve never had this type of default before,” says Jean Ross, a senior fellow of economic policy at the Center for American Progress. A lot depends on whether the default period is short term or more protracted.
Things that could happen include:
A decrease in household wealth: This would especially be the case among those who have retirement portfolios and stock holdings. A stock market spiral could impact retirees who are pulling from their retirement funds, as well as workers on the brink of retirement who might now have to reconsider their plans.
Rising interest rates: Rates on credit cards and adjustable-rate mortgages would increase, and with it, the debt load of many Americans — which also could negatively affect their credit scores.
Delayed paychecks: This would impact federal employees and businesses with federal government contracts. Those affected could include everyone from cleaning contractors to graphic designers and people who serve lunch in federal buildings, according to Ross.
A disruption in some federal or state government benefits: Programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, Social Security and veterans benefits could be affected.
How to make your budget resilient
You can’t always control how much time you have to prepare for a financial crisis. The key is to work strategically with the time and resources you have to safeguard your budget as best you can.
Here are some tips for how to brace your budget for a major financial disruption.
1. Make or fine-tune your budget
To prepare for an emergency, isolate your necessary expenses so you know what your bare minimum budget should be. A 50/30/20 budget framework is a good way to start thinking about what’s necessary and what you can cut if needed.
“When it comes to expenses, we usually don’t go back far enough,” says Kia McCallister-Young, the director of America Saves, a nonprofit organization and an initiative of the Consumer Federation of America. Only looking at your last few statements can cause you to leave out annual expenses. McCallister-Young recommends going back a full year and examining all your statements, including those from your bank and other bill pay apps.
If you’re in a crisis now: Make a list of expenses you can cut — things like cable or streaming subscriptions, meal services, eating out and shopping. Contact these providers to cancel immediately.
2. Create or bulk up your emergency fund
Ideally, you should have or be working toward an emergency fund that holds three to six months of necessary expenses. However, “three to six months in expenses is very overwhelming, and for some people unattainable as well, especially if you’re not earning a living wage,” says McCallister-Young.
She recommends starting with an attainable goal and automating your savings, either through direct deposit or through your bank. Even $10 a week is a good starting point. “Saving is a habit, not a destination,” says McCallister-Young.
Storing your emergency fund in a high-yield savings account is a good idea because it’s easy to access and also will be earning interest with each passing month, helping you reach your goal faster.
If you’re in a crisis now: It can feel scary to pull money from your emergency fund, but don’t be afraid. “You don’t have to feel bad about the fact that you are using the savings that you have created,” says McCallister-Young. “It’s supposed to be there to help you.” If you don’t have an emergency fund, though, reach out to your community resources.
3. Research assistance in your area
Knowing where to turn in a financial crisis can be a challenge because you might be feeling panic or shame. McCallister-Young recommends finding a “community of support that can lift you up and can tell you where you should go” in a time of need.
Plugging into these community resources ahead of an emergency can be helpful. Consider joining online neighborhood groups, following the social media pages of local nonprofits and identifying food banks in your area.
If you’re in a crisis now: Start your internet search with211.org for confidential help from experts on everything from finding food to mental health assistance. From there, reach out to your community of support to find local food banks or identify community groups or nonprofits that can help pay your bills.
4. Pay down your debt
One of the ways you can set yourself up to survive a financial crisis is to have as little debt as possible. Big disruptions are likely to make it harder to pay your bills, and accruing interest will only make digging out of your circumstance harder.
To prepare for an emergency, start paying down credit card and other debt now. If it’s a recession you’re worried about, focus on paying down debt with the highest interest rates.
If you’re in a crisis now: Contact lenders to discuss payment options. For example, a lender might be able to put you on a payment plan to spread out costs into more manageable chunks or temporarily lower your interest rate.
5. Bolster your credit score
The best way to protect your credit during a financial disruption is to make on-time payments and keep your credit utilization as low as possible. However, this might be difficult, especially if you’re operating off of a reduced income and need your credit cards to supplement your monthly expenses.
You have some options when it comes to handling your debts, explains Melinda Opperman, chief external affairs officer at Credit.org. If you have time to prepare, “call your lender to ask if they offer a concession like a lower interest rate or a deferred payment,” she says. The only risk, according to Opperman, is that your lender might lower your credit limit, causing your credit utilization ratio to increase. This could harm your score until you are able to pay down the balance.
You also might consider using a balance transfer or 0% APR credit card to take some of the pressure off. Just pay attention to the fine print, especially when it comes to transfer fees and repayment terms, which are typically around 18 months, says Opperman.
If you’re in a crisis now: One way to weather a financial storm is to make on-time payments, but consider only paying the minimum balance, says Opperman. While it will temporarily increase your debt load, especially if you’re used to paying your balance in full each month, paying the minimum for a short time can help you get through a tough time while recording on-time payments, which is a huge factor in calculating your credit score.
The thing to note about your credit score is that it’s not typically directly impacted by a recession or personal financial crisis.
“A credit score doesn’t reflect your income, wealth or current financial situation,” says Opperman. “It’s a measure of how you handle your debts.”
You may have a few different options if you are looking to open a credit card account with an additional person. Being a joint account holder and an authorized user are two different ways that two people can share the same account. However, there are a few important differences that you’ll want to be aware of.
When you add an authorized user to your account, the authorized user can benefit from the good credit and payment history on your account. This can be one strategy to help a trusted friend or family member improve their credit. With a joint credit card account, however, both people apply at the same time and both account holders are legally responsible for all purchases and debt on the account, regardless of which person actually makes the purchase.
Read on to learn more about this topic, including:
• What is a credit card authorized user?
• What is a joint account holder for a credit card?
• What are things to consider before adding an authorized user?
• What are things to consider before opening a joint credit card account?
• How to know whether a joint credit card vs. an authorized user is right for you?
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Earn 3% cash back on up to $12,000 in purchases your first year when you set up direct deposit through SoFi.** After that, earn 2% unlimited cash back on everything.*
What Is a Credit Card Authorized User?
An authorized user on a credit card, sometimes called a supplementary credit card, is an additional user who is added to the account of the primary cardholder. The authorized user gets their own physical card and can make purchases. The authorized user may benefit from the good credit or a positive payment history on the account; it could help them establish or maintain their credit. However, they are not responsible for any of the purchases or debt.
How an Authorized User Impacts Your Credit
There are many factors that affect credit scores, but adding an authorized user to your account is not one of them. If you add an authorized user to your account, your credit will not be checked, and there should be no immediate impact on your credit. You will want to keep in mind, however, that you are responsible for any purchases made by authorized users. So if your authorized user spends more than you anticipate and you have trouble making the full monthly payment, it could impact your credit score.
Things to Consider When Adding an Authorized User to Your Account
Here’s a quick look at some things to consider when adding an authorized user to your account:
You are legally responsible for all purchases made by an authorized user
May help establish or maintain the authorized user’s credit if used responsibly
May impact your credit if not used responsibly
Additional spending can generate additional credit card rewards
Primary cardholder can remove the authorized user from the account at any time
Recommended: How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?
What Is a Joint Credit Card Account Holder?
Unlike adding an authorized user to your account, you will typically obtain a joint credit card by applying for one with another person. With a joint credit card, the credit of both prospective cardholders is evaluated and used to determine eligibility. If approved, both cardholders are equally and separately liable for all of the debts and purchases on the account, regardless of who actually made the purchase.
How a Joint Account Impacts Your Credit
When you apply for a joint account, the credit of both people is reviewed, and then the applicants are possibly approved to receive a card. This will generally show up on each potential account holder’s credit report as a new inquiry, which may temporarily lower each person’s credit score by a few points. Additionally, both joint cardholders are responsible for all of the debt, regardless of who actually uses the credit card. So if one person spends more than expected or has trouble paying the bill on time, it may negatively impact both cardholders’ credit scores.
Things to Consider Before Opening a Joint Credit Card Account
Here’s a quick look at some things to keep in mind before opening a joint credit card account:
Many major issuers do not allow joint accounts
Additional spending by two people can generate higher credit card rewards
Cannot remove one person from the joint account without closing the entire account
When used responsibly, it can help establish or maintain the credit of both cardholders
May get complicated if the relationship between the joint cardholders changes (e.g. divorce)
Joint Credit Card Account Holder vs Authorized User
Consider the differences between these two arrangements:
• A joint credit card account is one where two people jointly open and use the account, with both people equally responsible for all of the debt.
• An authorized user vs. a joint credit card has a key difference: The authorized user is not liable for any purchases they might make — instead the primary cardholder is responsible for all charges.
• Being an authorized user may be one way to help establish your credit if the primary cardholder already has good credit and continues to use the account responsibly.
Recommended: What Is the Minimum Age to Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card?
Choosing the Right Option
A joint credit card account typically only makes sense for two people that are in a committed relationship in which they are already sharing their finances. And you will also want to keep in mind that many major credit card issuers do not offer joint credit card accounts.
An authorized user, on the other hand, can make sense if you want to help bolster the credit of someone who is starting out. By adding them to your account, you may help them establish their credit.
An authorized user and a joint credit card account are different ways that two people can share a credit card account. With a joint credit card account, both people open the account together and are equally and separately liable for all charges on the account. With an authorized user on an account, only the primary cardholder is responsible for the charges. Those differences may help you decide which (if either) arrangement is right for you.
There are other considerations when applying for a credit card, such as whether you get rewards with each purchase. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, you might look at a rewards credit card like the SoFi Credit Card. You can earn cash back rewards on every eligible purchase, which you can then use for travel or to invest, save, or pay down eligible SoFi debt. You can even add authorized users to your SoFi credit card to earn additional rewards.
Swipe and tap the smarter way with SoFi.
Is a joint credit card holder the same as an authorized user?
No, having a joint credit card account is not the same as having an authorized user on your account. With a joint credit card, both account holders are equally and separately liable for all charges on the account, regardless of who actually makes the purchase. With an authorized user account, only the primary cardholder is responsible.
Is it better to be an authorized user or have your own credit card?
When you are an authorized user on a credit card, you can make purchases and may be able to establish your credit, but you’re not responsible for any of the charges. Being an authorized user can make sense especially if you are just starting out. However, it may make sense at some point to work towards having your own credit card account where you don’t have to rely on anyone else.
Can you have 2 names on a credit card?
Generally there won’t be two names on a credit card, even if it is a joint account. In both the case of a joint account and being an authorized user, each person will get their own credit card with their name on it. Depending on the card issuer, the credit card account number may be the same or may be different.
Photo credit: iStock/Igor Alecsander The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, or pay down eligible SoFi debt. Cardholders earn 1% cash back rewards when redeemed for a statement credit.1 1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards. Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances. Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website . SOCC1222080
Iowa is a growing, thriving state with plenty of things to offer residents. With so many choices available, it can be tough to decide on the best bank. Once you’ve made sure your bank of choice is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, there are other factors to look at, including whether you’ll find branches in your area and what fees you’ll be charged. This list can help you decide.
11 Best Banks in Iowa
Before you open a new bank account, take a look around at the best banks in your area. Here are a few to consider.
1. Hills Bank
Hills Bank has branches in the Cedar Rapids, Marion, Iowa City, and Mount Vernon areas, but you can access funds nationwide through thousands of SHAZAM and MoneyPass ATMs. There are three tiers of checking accounts, but Free Checking has no maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements.
No monthly fees
$27 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
No minimum opening deposit
Free at Hills, SHAZAM, and MoneyPass locations
No fee for out-of-network transactions
Up to 0.40% on savings accounts
Up to 4.43% on fixed-rate CDs
In-person banking services available at branches throughout Iowa
Competitive rates on CDs
2. Bank Iowa
Bank Iowa is an Iowa-only bank with branches in five areas, including Iowa City, but there are no branch-based banking services in Cedar Rapids. You’ll find five checking account options, including two with no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance.
No monthly maintenance fees
$35 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
$10 minimum opening deposit
Free access at Bank Iowa ATMs and SHAZAM locations nationwide
$2 for out-of-network withdrawals
Up to 0.19% on savings
Up to 1.28% on money markets
Up to 2.56% on CDs
Checking accounts come with complimentary identity theft services
Competitive rates on personal and home loans
If an online bank can meet all your banking needs, GO2Bank might be the best bank. You can easily manage your funds through the mobile banking app, and you’ll also have access to a nationwide network of ATMs and retailers for deposits and withdrawals. As long as your paycheck is automatically deposited, you’ll pay no monthly maintenance fees, but otherwise, it’s only $5 per statement cycle.
No monthly fee with direct deposit
$15 overdraft fee for every transaction not paid within 24 hours
No minimum balance
No minimum opening deposit
Free access at AllPoint locations nationwide
$3 for out-of-network withdrawals
Up to 4.50% annual percentage yield on savings account
Deposit cash at more than 90,000 retailers nationwide
Earn up to 7% cash back on gift card purchases
4. Regions Bank
If you limit your travel to the southern and Midwestern U.S., Regions Bank might be a contender for your business. This regional bank covers Iowa, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
As long as you have at least one $500 check deposited directly each month, you can get free checking. But banking services like loans and a financial advisor upon request make this bank really stand out.
$8 monthly (waived with qualifying activity)
$50 minimum opening deposit
$1,500 minimum balance or $500 direct deposit to qualify for free checking
$36 overdraft fee
More than 2,000 ATMs
$2.50 per withdrawal at out-of-network ATMs
Up to 0.01% APY on savings
Up to 4.75% on CDs
Wide range of banking products
Wealth management services available
5. Northwest Bank
Based in Spencer, Iowa, Northwest Bank is a family-owned bank with locations in both Iowa and Nebraska. Northwest is considered one of the best banks in Iowa for its quality customer service and great rates on checking. Currently, Northwest Bank is offering a $100 bonus on each new checking account as long as you sign up for new products like e-statements, Zelle, and BillPay.
No monthly fee
$28 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
$10 minimum opening balance
Free at MoneyPass ATMs nationwide
$2 per withdrawal at out-of-network ATMs
0.01% APY on qualifying checking accounts
.001% APY on savings
Up to 2.25% APY on money markets
0.03% on CDs
$100 cash bonus to qualifying new accounts
1.50% cash back on debit card purchases ($8 limit)
Another online and mobile banking option is Chime, which offers all the amenities of bigger banks without the cost. Online banking options include a checking account with autosave features to help you meet your financial goals. Chime’s savings accounts offer 2% APY, which is competitive with what other banks in Iowa are offering.
No monthly fee
No charges for overdrafts
No minimum balance
No minimum opening deposit
Fee-free at Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs
$2.50 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
2% APY on savings accounts
Pay accessible up to two days early
Automatically round up each debit card purchase to build your savings account
7. CIT Bank
Another online banking option is CIT Bank, which has no local branches. CIT’s bank accounts come without monthly charges, including no overdraft fees, but there is a downside. CIT Bank’s ATM network is nonexistent. You’ll be reimbursed up to $30 a month in out-of-network costs, though.
No monthly fee
No charges for overdrafts
$25,000 minimum balance or $100 monthly deposit
$100 minimum opening deposit
Up to $30 in ATM costs refunded per month
Up to 0.46% APY on savings
Up to 1.55% APY on money market
5% APY on CDs
Great rates on CDs
Savings Builder account motivates you to save at least $100 monthly
8. Fidelity Bank & Trust
Fidelity Bank & Trust is a community bank with a hometown feel. It has more than 30 branches in Northeast Iowa, Northwest Illinois, and Southwest Wisconsin. The bank offers robust online and mobile banking options, as well as money management help through its investment services team.
No monthly fee
$30 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
$50 minimum opening balance
Free at Fidelity Bank locations across Northeast Iowa
Free at SHAZAM ATMs nationwide
0.05% APY on qualifying checking accounts
0.05% APY on savings
Up to 0.50% APY on money markets
Up to 4.77% on CDs
myPIC debit card lets you add your photo to your card
Specialized Christmas and children’s savings account options available
9. Bank of America
Even though it’s a large national bank, Bank of America brings some of the benefits you get from a small bank. Customers can enjoy fee-free account types as long as they sign up for Preferred Rewards. But one of the biggest benefits is the nationwide network of branches and ATMs.
$12 monthly fee (waived with qualifications)
$10 overdraft fee
$1,200 minimum balance or qualifying deposits to waive fee
$100 minimum opening balance
Free at Bank of America ATMs nationwide
$2.50 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
0.04% APY on savings (with preferred rewards)
Up to 4.20% on CDs
In-person service at branches and with virtual assistant at ATMs
Preferred Rewards programs offer discounts on accounts and loans
10. Bankers Trust
Based in Des Moines, Bankers Trust has banks in Iowa and Arizona. There are multiple accounts to meet your banking needs, including some checking accounts with tiered interest rates. New customers may be eligible for a $250 bonus by choosing a participating checking account.
No monthly fee with at least 12 debit card transactions
$10-$30 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
$25 minimum opening deposit
Fee-free at Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs
$2 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
Up to 0.60% on checking
Up to 1.45% on savings
Up to 4.55% on CDs
$250 bonus for new BreakFree or Direct Checking account
Education center provides training and information
11. MidwestOne Bank
If customer service is a priority, MidwestOne Bank is one of the best banks in Iowa. This regional bank has 45 branches across Iowa, as well as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Florida. You’ll also find great rates on auto and personal loans with MidwestOne.
No monthly fee
$35 for overdrafts
No minimum daily balance
$100 minimum opening deposit
Fee-free at MoneyPass ATMs
$1 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
Up to 0.75% APY on savings
Up to 1.00% APY on money market
Up to 2.47% APY on CDs
Bank Your Change automatically rounds up debit purchases to put toward savings
Competitive rates on personal loans
The best banks in Iowa offer great customer service and easy access to your funds. To ensure you make the right choice, consider not only these factors, but also the range of financial products, convenience, and technological innovation each bank provides. As you compare different banks, keep in mind your specific financial needs, preferences, and goals, such as low fees, high interest rates, or specialized services.
Once you’ve found the best bank, it’s essential to regularly review your account and stay informed about new offers and changes in rates and amenities. By doing so, you can maximize your financial benefits and adjust your banking relationship as your needs evolve. Ultimately, the best bank for you will consistently deliver on all fronts, helping you achieve financial stability and success in Iowa.
Would you like to open a checking account, but you’re worried that your bad credit and past banking history might get in the way? With these issues, it can be difficult to open a new bank account.
20 Best Bank Accounts for Bad Credit
Regardless of your banking history, there are numerous banks and credit unions that offer bad credit checking accounts, all with unique features and benefits.
Our Top Pick
No minimum opening deposit or monthly service fee
Over 60,000 fee-free1 ATMs
Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit2
No credit check or ChexSystems
With Chime®, a bad credit score is no longer a deal-breaker. They offer an award-winning financial app and debit card with no credit check.
You can open a Chime Checking Account online with no monthly fees. And by that, we mean no overdraft fees, no monthly maintenance fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no minimum balance fees—ever.
Chime also offers a new way to build your credit with the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card7. It’s a secured credit card with no annual fees, no credit checks, and no interest1 charges.
They offer access to over 60,000 MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs. Plus, you can get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit. You can also deposit cash for free at over 8,500 Walgreens.
Chime is definitely the best option on this list.
2. U.S. Bank
$400 sign-up bonus
Monthly service fee can be waived
Over 40,000 fee-free ATMs
$25 minimum opening deposit
U.S. Bank is now offering the Bank Smartly® Checking account, a popular choice that can be applied for online in 26 states throughout the U.S.
If you’re based in any of the following states – AR, AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NM, NV, OH, OR, SD, TN, UT, WA, WI, or WY – you’re eligible to apply.
By opening a Bank Smartly® Checking account and a Standard Savings account, and completing qualifying activities, you have the potential to earn up to $400. Subject to certain terms and limitations. Offer valid through June 20, 2023. Member FDIC.
The account itself provides a variety of benefits, including a complimentary debit card that can be locked or unlocked if ever misplaced or stolen. U.S. Bank ATMs offer free transactions, as do over 40,000 MoneyPass Network ATMs.
Although U.S. Bank uses ChexSystems, it’s typically known to be more accommodating with its regulations than many other banks. Unless there’s a history of fraud or any money owed to U.S. Bank, opening a checking account is a possibility.
The checking account requires just a $25 minimum opening deposit, with a monthly service fee of $6.95. The monthly fee can be waived by maintaining a minimum balance of $1,500, or by having a minimum monthly Direct Deposit of $1,000.
4.50% APY on savings up to $5,000
No minimum opening deposit
Build credit with no annual fees
Overdraft protection up to $200
GO2bank is a neobank developed by Green Dot, is a neobank developed by Green Dot, a well-established fintech known for its prepaid debit cards and banking services.
The bank offers a checking account with savings subaccounts known as vaults, and the best part is that there is no minimum balance required to open an account online.
The savings account offers an attractive 4.50% APY on savings up to $5,000. Additionally, you can deposit cash at any of the 90,000 retail locations or withdraw funds from any of the 19,000 fee-free ATMs.
You can also use the mobile app’s check deposit feature to deposit checks directly into your checking account.
With direct deposit, you can even receive your pay up to 2 days early or your government benefits up to 4 days early. Opt-in for overdraft protection and be eligible for up to $200 in coverage with eligible direct deposits.
Responsible use of the GO2bank Secured Visa Credit Card can also help you build your credit over time.
If you receive a payroll or government benefits direct deposit in the previous monthly statement period, your monthly fee is waived. Otherwise, it is only $5 per month.
$100 bonus after 10 purchases in 60 days
No credit check or ChexSystems
Over 16,000 fee-free ATMs
$4.95 monthly fee
Chase is one of the most popular banks in the U.S. And now, they offer an account called Chase Secure Banking that doesn’t require a credit check, doesn’t use ChexSystems, and doesn’t charge overdraft fees.
Account holders also get access to over 16,000 ATMs, free online bill pay, and free money orders and cashier’s checks.
With 4,700 locations across the country, this is an excellent option for anyone who prefers having access to physical branches.
Opening a Chase Secure Banking account comes with a $100 cash bonus when you use the card for 10 purchases within 60 days.
Account approval is immediate and you’ll receive your debit card within days. There is a small monthly service fee of $4.95; however, there is no minimum deposit to get started.
Earn 4.70% APY on unlimited savings
No minimum balance to open
Get paid up to two days early
Free withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs
mph.bank, created by Liberty Savings Bank, F.S.B. and a Member FDIC, is a banking option that truly stands out for its unique approach. MPH, which stands for ‘Makes People Happy’, is not just a slogan – it’s a philosophy that permeates every aspect of their banking services.
They offer five different bank accounts, but the standout offering is their Future Account. This account lets you earn an impressive 4.70% APY on your savings, with no minimum balance to open and no maximum balance for the rate.
Alongside this, mph.bank offers a Spend account that allows you to receive your paycheck two days earlier.
Accessing your money is easy with mph.bank, as they are part of the Allpoint network, offering you free access to over 55,000 ATMs.
In addition to these features, mph.bank has a host of financial tools available. From planning for your future to managing your finances on one page, mph.bank ensures that you have the necessary resources at your fingertips.
No credit check or ChexSystems
No minimum deposit or maintenance fees
Get paid up to two days faster
Overdraft up to $200 without any overdraft fees
Current is one of the fastest-growing mobile banking solutions in the U.S., with over one million members. However, Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Most importantly, Current does not use ChexSystems or pull your credit.
Some features of the Current mobile app and debit card include fee-free overdraft protection of up to $100, 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs, and no minimum balance or hidden fees.
You can also get paid up to two days sooner with direct deposit and earn up to 15x points, and get cashback.
7. Walmart MoneyCard
No monthly fee with direct deposits of $500 or more
Earn up to 3% cash back on purchases
Overdraft protection covering up to $200 with eligible direct deposits
2% APY on savings
The Walmart MoneyCard is a prepaid debit card that offers a robust alternative to traditional checking accounts.
This card stands out with its cash back rewards program, offering up to 3% cash back when shopping at Walmart.com, 2% at Walmart fuel stations, and 1% at Walmart stores, up to a total of $75 each year.
Users can also enjoy the peace of mind offered by the overdraft protection feature, covering up to $200 for purchase transactions with opt-in and eligible direct deposits.
The ASAP Direct Deposit feature is another great perk, allowing users to receive their pay up to two days earlier and benefits up to four days earlier.
Additionally, with the Walmart MoneyCard, you can earn a 2% APY on savings and have chances to win cash prizes each month. The monthly fee of $5.94 can be waived with a direct deposit of $500 or more in the previous monthly period.
No monthly fee
Earn up to 4.25% APY on savings
Cash withdrawals at more than 55,000 ATMs
Commission-free stock trading
Revolut is a financial app that comes with a prepaid debit card from Visa or Mastercard. However, you don’t need to wait for the physical card to get started. You can use the digital card right away on Apple Pay or Google Pay.
The Revolut debit card gets you fee-free access to over 55,000 ATMs, and no cost out-of-network ATM withdrawals up to $1,200 per month. You’ll also get 10 zero-fee international transfers per month.
This account offers cashback, discounts from top brands, a savings account, and more. Plus, your funds are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000.
* Please note that Revolut is frequently updating its products and features, see the Revolut Terms and Conditions for the latest offerings.
* Revolut is a financial technology company. Banking services provided by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, (Member FDIC).
9. TD Ameritrade
No monthly fee
Unlimited fee refunds for U.S. ATMs
Free TD Bank debit card
Free checks and unlimited check-writing capabilities
TD Ameritrade offers a brokerage account with a comprehensive cash management checking account. As a client, you get unlimited checks. Once you open the brokerage account, you can complete the checking account application online.
A Cash Management account also gives you access to free online bill pay, as well as a free debit card with nationwide rebates on all ATM fees.
In addition, there is no monthly fee if you maintain a $100 minimum daily balance. However, it’s important to note that a TD Ameritrade checking account is not FDIC-insured or bank guaranteed.
No minimum balance
Cash advances up to $250
No maintenance fees
Free ATMs at over 55,000 locations
Albert is an innovative fintech banking platform that presents a powerful alternative to traditional bank accounts.
It sets itself apart with its attractive cashback rewards program attached to its free Mastercard debit card, making it your perfect shopping companion.
Moreover, it offers an around-the-clock personal finance help feature, “Ask a Genius”, ensuring you’re never in the dark about your money matters.
In addition, with Albert, you can have your paycheck up to 2 days early thanks to the direct deposit feature. This takes financial planning to a whole new level by ensuring you’re always ahead.
Albert is also a cost-saving alternative. There are no minimum balance requirements, no monthly maintenance fees, and you enjoy access to more than 55,000 ATMs, fee-free if you’re a Genius subscriber.
Finally, Albert ensures your money’s safety with FDIC protection up to $250,000. This adds an extra layer of security to your funds, allowing you to bank with confidence.
With the SoFi Checking and Savings account, you won’t have to worry about being charged any overdraft fees, minimum balance fees, or monthly fees.
Plus, it offers free access to ATMs at over 55,000 locations within the Allpoint® Network. Similar to Chime and Current, you can get your paycheck up to two days sooner when you set up direct deposit.
You’ll also get a 1% APY on your checking and savings accounts and up to 15% cash back at local establishments with your SoFi debit card.
12. Navy Federal Credit Union
If you are an active-duty or retired member of the military, including the Armed Forces, National Guard, Coast Guard, or Department of Defense, you may be eligible for Navy Federal Credit Union membership.
NFCU doesn’t utilize ChexSystems or EWS. They also offer a free checking account alternative with no monthly service fees for those with qualifying direct deposits.
Additionally, NFCU offers its members convenient access to over 30,000 ATMs situated at both credit unions and retail locations across the United States and Canada through the CO-OP Network.
With the Aspiration Spend & Save account, you get an online checking account and savings account that has the potential to earn up to 5% APY.
Aspiration also offers unlimited cash withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs. The minimum initial deposit is $10. Deposits are FDIC insured and you can get paid up to two days sooner.
The Aspiration debit card is made from recycled plastic. Deposits are 100% fossil fuel-free. And this online bank even gives you the option to plant a tree with every card swipe.
14. Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union
Southwest Financial presents a reliable banking option that prioritizes the financial wellbeing of its members. With no monthly service fees, it offers a cost-effective solution to managing your everyday finances.
Opening an account is easy and requires no minimum deposit. As a member of Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union, you enjoy the convenience of accessing your funds through a shared network of ATMs.
FSNB (formerly Fort Sill National Bank) offers a hassle-free Basic Checking account to its customers, with a $5 minimum deposit requirement.
With the Basic Checking account, you need to maintain a minimum daily balance of $75. Otherwise, you’ll be charged a monthly fee of $5.50.
This account comes with a host of convenient features, including a Visa CheckCard that allows you to make purchases and withdraw cash at ATMs worldwide. Additionally, FSNB offers free online banking services, giving you access to your account from the comfort of your home or office.
16. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo’s Clear Access Banking offers a practical, accessible checking account designed to suit various banking needs. While there is a $5 monthly service fee, this fee is waived for primary account owners aged 13 to 24.
With a minimal opening deposit of just $25, setting up Clear Access Banking is straightforward and affordable. As an account holder, you’ll have the convenience of accessing your funds through Wells Fargo’s extensive network of 13,000 ATMs and 5,300 branches across the country.
17. United Bank
United Bank has locations in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. You can open a bank account with a $50 minimum initial deposit. You do not have to maintain a minimum balance and they don’t charge monthly fees.
You can also upgrade to rewards checking, where you earn cashback rewards on debit card purchases. You also get discounts on movies, theme parks, and prescriptions. The monthly service charge is $10, but you can have it waived if you reach 15 purchase transactions monthly or have a minimum of $500 in regular deposits.
18. Huntington National Bank
Huntington has locations in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Huntington Bank uses ChexSystems, but you can still qualify for a checking account as long as you don’t owe the bank any money. However, applicants with an EWS record may not qualify.
For Huntington’s basic account, there is no minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirement.
Varo is an online-only bank that offers a hassle-free banking experience with no monthly fees. As a Varo customer, you’ll gain access to early direct deposit payments, which means that your funds will typically be available on the same day they’re received.
Varo Bank knows that just because you need second chance banking doesn’t mean you want sub-standard service. The checking account comes with a free Visa debit card, access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs, and free paper check mailing.
20. Regions Bank
You’ll need a minimum opening deposit of $50 to open a Simple Checking Account at Regions Bank. This account doesn’t come with too many bells and whistles. However, it’s a suitable option for anyone with bad credit who wants a basic checking account.
Regions Bank will lower your monthly maintenance fee from $8 to $5 if you sign up for online statements. And you’ll have the option to open a savings account through Regions Bank as well.
What is a bank account for bad credit?
A bank account for bad credit is a type of account designed for people with negative banking records. These people are usually turned away from traditional banks and credit unions because of past instances of bounced checks, overdrawn accounts, or unpaid non-sufficient fund fees.
Fortunately, some financial institutions provide bad credit bank accounts that offer basic banking services such as a debit card, online banking access, and check writing privileges. Direct deposit is also available with some of these bank accounts, which makes it easy to access your income sources.
Bad credit checking accounts are typically easy to open, with minimal fees and most importantly, no credit checks or ChexSystems reports.
How do banks evaluate new account applications?
Opening a bank account can be a straightforward process, but it’s not uncommon for applicants to be turned down or offered limited options. That’s because financial institutions have criteria they use to determine who qualifies for a bank account and what type of account they can offer.
One of the most important factors that banks consider when you apply for a new account is your banking history. To assess this, most banks will check your ChexSystems report, which is a database of your past banking transactions. This report includes information such as any unpaid fees or overdrafts, closed accounts due to fraudulent activity, and other negative marks.
If you have a negative history in ChexSystems, such as unpaid fees or a history of overdrafts, it can be more challenging to open a bank account. In some cases, the bank may decline your application altogether or offer you a limited account that doesn’t allow you to write checks or use a debit card.
Another factor that banks make consider is your credit history. Some banks may pull your credit report from the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, but most don’t.
Your credit report is typically accessed by credit card issuers and lenders to assess your creditworthiness when you apply for loans or credit cards. But for bank accounts, your ChexSystems record is generally more important.
What is ChexSystems?
ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that collects user data from banks and credit unions. One of the things this data is used for is to create consumer reports that financial institutions can use to screen customers.
When attempting to open a new bank account, most financial institutions will pull your ChexSystems report. This report will show your past banking history including overdrafts, bad checks, check fraud, negative balances, or excessive withdrawals.
If you’ve had any of these issues in the past five years, it will likely be on your ChexSystems record. Fortunately, there are several reputable banks that don’t use ChexSystems or check credit to qualify customers. There are also numerous banks that offer second chance checking accounts for people with bad credit.
Can you open a bank account with no credit check?
Opening a no-credit-check bank account is easier than ever, with plenty of reliable banking services to choose from. There are two types of bank accounts for bad credit: banks that don’t use ChexSystems and second chance checking accounts.
Banks that Don’t Use ChexSystems
Some banks simply do not use ChexSystems to evaluate new accounts. These banks offer no-credit-check bank accounts for people with bad credit or a negative banking history.
The good news is that these accounts come with the same features as regular bank accounts offered to everyone else. You can expect to have access to online banking, direct deposit, and a debit card.
Second Chance Checking Account
With a second chance bank account, financial institutions may conduct a credit check or refer to ChexSystems, but they’re willing to give you a second chance regardless of your banking history. Second chance bank accounts usually come with a monthly maintenance fee.
The best second chance checking accounts still have some of the same features as ChexSystems banks and credit unions, such as overdraft protection, online banking, and bill pay. Additionally, it should be possible to upgrade to a standard checking account after demonstrating responsible banking habits.
What to Look for in a Bad Credit Checking Account
If you’re struggling with poor credit history, you might be wondering how to find a checking account that meets your needs while also helping you rebuild your financial reputation. Fortunately, there are several banks that offer checking accounts for bad credit. Here are some key factors to consider:
No Credit Checks
The first thing to look for is a bank or credit union that doesn’t look at your credit report or ChexSystems record when opening a checking account.
Many institutions also offer “second chance” or “fresh start” checking accounts designed specifically for individuals with poor credit or past banking issues. These checking accounts provide an opportunity to rebuild your financial standing, and often offer the option to upgrade to a traditional checking account after a certain period of time.
Low or No Minimum Balance Requirement
When you’re trying to rebuild your credit, every dollar counts. Look for a checking account that doesn’t require you to maintain a specified balance. This way, you won’t be charged fees for falling below a certain balance threshold. This will help you keep more money in your pocket and avoid unnecessary expenses.
Reasonable Account Fees
It’s important to be aware of the fees associated with checking accounts, especially if you have bad credit. Be sure to compare the monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and any other charges associated with the account.
Many online banks offer checking accounts with no monthly fees or waive them if certain conditions are met, such as maintaining a minimum account balance or setting up direct deposit.
Online and Mobile Banking Features
In today’s digital age, having access to online and mobile banking is essential. Look for a checking account that offers a user-friendly mobile app and website, enabling you to manage your money on-the-go. These features should include the ability to check your balance, transfer money, pay bills, and deposit checks remotely.
Account Alerts and Notifications
Opt for a checking account that offers customizable account alerts and notifications. These can help you stay on top of your account activity, track your spending habits, and avoid a potential overdraft fee. You can typically set up alerts for low balance, large transactions, or unusual activity.
Overdraft fees can be a significant burden, especially for people with bad credit. Look for a checking account that offers overdraft protection, which can help you avoid costly overdraft fees. Some banks may offer linked accounts, lines of credit, or small-dollar loans to cover overdrafts.
FDIC or NCUA insurance
Ensure that your checking account is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This insurance protects your cash deposits up to $250,000 per account holder in case the bank or credit union fails.
Opportunities for Financial Education
Finally, look for a financial institution that offers resources and tools to help you improve your financial literacy. This might include budgeting tools, educational articles, or workshops. The more you understand about managing your money, the better your chances of rebuilding your credit and maintaining a healthy financial future.
Having poor credit doesn’t mean you can’t get a bank account. But, it does mean that your selection will be somewhat limited. We also show you how to clear your name and remove yourself from ChexSystems so that you can get a bank account anywhere.
It may take some time to get your name removed. Meanwhile, some of the banks we’ve listed above are just as good, if not better, than any account on the market right now. So, it’s a good idea to start with one of those.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.
1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment ﬁle from the payer. Chime generally make these funds available on the day the payment ﬁle is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
7. To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or beneﬁts payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, veriﬁcation or trial deposits from ﬁnancial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.
Savings may be essential for financial health, but building a savings account is easier said than done. Between regular expenses and well…life in general, it’s often hard to figure out what you can actually afford to save, let alone prioritize planning for the future.
Fortunately, the best money-saving apps on the market today promote saving techniques that work around your regular spending habits – sometimes so smoothly you save money without even noticing.
Overview of the best money-saving apps
Savings account APY
$0 ($5 for round-ups)
$0 ($1 for certain investment accounts)
0.6%/year for investment accounts
$5 for investment accounts
$10 for investment accounts
Best for first time investing – Acorns
Cost – $3 or $5/month.
Options – Saving, investing, and checking accounts, retirement accounts, children’s UTMA/UGMA accounts, cash back extension.
Acorns gets its name from the idea that small “acorns” of spare change can grow into big savings if you give them a little time. As a combo savings/investing app, Acorns makes things simple for the brand new investor and doesn’t require much money to get started.
The $3/month“Personal” plan gets you an Independent Retirement Account (IRA) and an “Acorns Spend” checking account. For $5/month, you can tack on investment accounts for children as well.
If savings are your main goal, the basic account will probably be enough to get you rolling. When you link a credit or debit card to your investment account, Acorns “rounds up” your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference for you once it hits $5 or higher – a popular auto-savings technique. You can add a “multiplier” feature if you want Acorns to double or triple the amount of investment with every transaction.
Learn more about Acorns or read our full review.
Best for flexible savings – Digit
Cost – $5/month (first 30 days are free).
Options – Savings, investment, and retirement accounts.
Savings techniques – Automatic fund transfers, credit card debt reduction.
For $5/month, Digit’s algorithms analyze your spending patterns and cash flow, then make a savings plan tailored to you. When you can spare a little extra, Digit transfers some cash to a linked savings account. When you have just enough to pay the bills, Digit skips the transfer.
This method can work well for people with fluctuating incomes or anyone who has trouble deciding in advance how much to save. If Digit does overdraft your account (which they promise not to), they’ll reimburse fees for up to two overdrafts.
Like most money apps, Digit lets you pick your own savings goals, and if you’re paying down credit card debt, Digit can automatically send the amount you’ve saved to the credit card company on your behalf.
Learn more about Digit or read our full review.
Best for lots of investment options – Stash
Cost – $3 or $9/month.
Options – Savings, investment, and retirement accounts, checking accounts, individual stocks and fractional shares, life insurance.
For people who want to watch their savings grow, Stash offers over 150 ETFs, stocks, and other micro-investment vehicles. You have more control over your portfolio picks with Stash than you do with Acorns – you can design your own portfolio or pick a pre-selected one from Stash. You can even pick ETFs that align with your values.
Savings options are flexible, too: you can choose an amount to put in savings each month, invest your spare change with the “round-up” method, or let Stash’s “Smart Stash” feature figure out what you can afford to save based on your cash flow.
Stash comes with a debit card, something a lot of savings apps offer, and its own unique “stock-back” incentive. Whenever you use the Stash bank card to buy something at a publicly-traded company, Stash gives you a small fractional share of company stock to add to your portfolio.
The app’s cost depends on how many extra features you want. Most everyday savers will be fine with the $3/month Growth plan, which includes a debit card, an investment account, and stock-back perks. You can also add a tax-advantaged retirement plan (a good idea if you haven’t opened a retirement account yet). Serious investors can upgrade to the $9/month “Stash+” for 2x stock-back returns and extra market info.
Learn more about Stash or read our full review.
Disclaimer – Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.
¹For securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares start at $0.05.
²Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. pursuant to a license from VISA U.S.A. Inc. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.” because the article mentions the debit card.
³You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.
⁴Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details.
⁵Stock-Back® is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A, or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.
Best for low fees – Chime®
Cost – No monthly fees.
Options – Savings and checking accounts.
Savings techniques – Round-ups, automatic transfers to savings, paycheck transfers.
Chime is a mobile app that takes advantage of the lower-cost online-only financial app model to pass savings on to customers. They don’t charge a monthly fee, so you keep any money you save.2
Chime’s free checking and savings accounts offer plenty of the features you’ll find at a bank*, like:
A Chime Visa® Debit Card.
Check deposit options.4
Two-day advance on directly deposited paychecks.3
Checking and savings are linked; whenever you make a purchase with your checking account, Chime rounds up to the nearest dollar and adds the difference to savings.^ Or you can have Chime auto-deposit 10% of every paycheck into savings before the rest hits checking.1 Either way, the app does all the work.
Learn more about Chime or read our full review.
* Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. ^ Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account. 1 Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account. 2 There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Chime Savings Account. 3 Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. 4 Mobile Check Deposit eligibility is determined by Chime in its sole discretion and may be granted based on various factors including, but not limited to, a member’s direct deposit enrollment status.
Best for joint savings – Twine
Cost – No fees for saving, 0.6% of invested assets/month for investing.
Twine is ideal for people who are saving for a goal together (though you can use it on your own, too!). It combines savings-app automation with robo-advisor guidance, which can be helpful if you have more than one savings goal.
The basic free Twine savings account earns you a little interest – there’s a 1.05% variable Annual Percentage Yield (APY). They encourage you to earmark accounts for certain financial goals, either “general savings” or specific goals like a vacation or a down payment on a house, and pick a monthly goal deposit amount so you can track your progress. If you’re saving with someone else, you’ll pick a joint goal but open individual accounts.
Investment portfolios are optional if you want to take your savings to the next level. Twine pre-selects diverse portfolios for you, and they only require $5 to get started.
Qapital runs on behavioral economics – their multiple savings strategies use your routines, habits, and everyday purchases to help bulk up your savings.
Here’s how it works: you get a spending account that earns you 0.1% in compounded monthly interest, and a “goals” account to grow your savings. To fund your goals, you can transfer regular, set amounts from a linked bank account to your goals account, or pick one of Qapital’s “rules” or savings tricks.
There’s the “round-up” rule, which lots of apps use. There’s the “trigger” rule which saves a specific amount every time you engage in a certain activity (something simple you do regularly, whether it involves spending money or not).
The “guilty pleasure” rule moves a little cash into savings whenever you indulge in your favorite pricey latte, takeout, etc. The “52-week” rule lets you gradually increase the amount you stash in savings over a year. Qapital has other rules, too, and you’ll probably find one that works for you.
Their pricing is higher than most money-saving apps – a $3/month basic plan has all the savings tools, while the $6/month plan unlocks pre-selected investment portfolios and gives you a Qapital debit card. The $12/month master plan lets you open joint savings with a partner, similar to Twine.
Learn more about Qapital or read our full review.
Why should you use money-saving apps?
You’re just starting to build savings
The idea of building a savings account might be intimidating, but it’s much simpler to stash away 50 cents whenever you buy a cup of coffee or a dollar whenever you refill your gas tank. That’s mostly what these apps do – take the work out of savings one small amount at a time, so your regular budget isn’t disrupted.
Read more: The Pros And Cons of ‘Spare Change’ Investment Apps
You struggle to make savings a habit
If your money management style is on the “spend now, save later” side, it may be unrealistic to overhaul your habits right away and heap everything into savings. That’s not how habits work; they take time to develop.
A free 30-day trial of Digit or Qapital, for instance, could be enough to show you how much the app can grow your savings in a typical month; and after 30 days, you’ll be more used to putting a little cash aside.
You’re curious about small-scale investing
Investing can be a great way to save, but it’s inherently risky, and you don’t want to launch yourself right into an investment account without knowing what you’re doing.
These apps make micro-investing as easy as sticking to an automated savings plan and assessing your risk comfort level. And they let you start with small balances, so you don’t have much to lose.
Read more: 7 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money
Why shouldn’t you use money-saving apps?
You have a savings pattern that works for you
If you’re already saving money on a timeline that fits with your goals and income, a savings app could help you skim a little more off the top of everyday purchases, but it might not be worth the fees.
You already have substantial savings
The savings accounts built into money-saving apps are great tools to get started, but they’re not the highest-yield accounts out there. You’ll earn more money keeping your savings in a bank or investment account that offers a higher APY (Annual Percentage Yield), especially if you have decent credit.
Most important features of money-saving apps
Money-saving apps take the “how much can I afford” guesswork out of savings by putting them on autopilot. You won’t see a huge interruption to your regular cash flow, which is nice – saving money doesn’t have to feel like a penalty or a punishment.
And most apps make the automation flexible; if you’re having a lean month or two, you can temporarily stop withdrawals (or, as with Digit, the app stops them for you).
Most importantly, you’ll get into the savings habit after a while.
Saving for short- and long-term goals
Sometimes it’s easier to save if you have something to look forward to. Money-saving apps keep you motivated by letting you choose your goals and showing you how much your savings have progressed.
“Rounding up” purchases
This auto-savings technique is available on almost every app now. By rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar (or two dollars, or three – some apps let you multiply) you’re saving small, manageable, regular amounts while you spend.
Several apps set you up with a checking account and debit card, though you can usually link an existing checking account as well.
Everyday money management
For elaborate budgeting templates, look for a budgeting app specifically (you can find our recommendations here). But savings apps have plenty of tools to keep your finances in line, especially if you tend to be disorganized and overdraft your accounts by accident. You can observe your spending patterns, set up payment reminders for bills, and get regular balance alerts all through the app.
While investment accounts aren’t available with every savings app, they seem to be becoming more of a standard offering. “Micro-investing” lets you start out with spare change. Once you really get the hang of it, you may choose to switch to a higher-yield investment account elsewhere.
Money-saving apps are a great starting point, but they’re only one aspect of a solid financial management plan.
Think of them as a helpful tool to analyze your spending behavior and nudge you into the next steps, whether that means breaking down a monthly budget or working towards financial freedom.
In the past 5 years there have been a plethora of startups popping up that offer an easy way to invest for the smaller investor.
As I was doing some research to find my top 5 companies to invest with I found a company that will allow you to invest with as little as $5. That company is called Stash Invest.
Stash not only lets you invest with small amounts and buy fractional shares, but also gives you a variety of interesting portfolios and investments that you can purchase. In fact, Stash offers more choices than many investment companies.
Here’s a review of Stash Invest, and a look at how they can help you to jump start your retirement savings.
Stash Invest Background
Stash was founded by Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson as a place for first time investors to invest in a diversified portfolio, without having to have a big bankroll. After receiving all of the regulatory approvals, they launched the iOS app in October 2015. Here are the details from Wikipedia:
Stash was founded in February 2015 by Brandon Krieg and Ed Robinson. Krieg and Robinson had previously worked together at Macquarie Group, an investment banking firm. Stash was launched as an iOS app in October 2015, and was made available on Android in March 2016. Within a year of its launch, Stash had signed up 215,000 users. As of January of 2019 Stash has $530M+ in assets under management. Through January 2019, the app had approximately 3 million users.
So they’re pretty new to the scene having launched in October of 2015, but have quickly added almost 4 million users as of 2019.
Co-founder Brandon Krieg explains the idea behind the company on the company’s about page:
“My co-founder Ed and I left our jobs to start Stash because we believe everyone should have access to financial opportunity. After a combined 30+ years in the business, we saw that Wall Street can be fundamentally unfair to smaller investors as they work to accomplish their goals. Stash will change that. “
Stash should be a pretty attractive option for newer investors, so let’s see what they have to offer.
How Does Stash Work?
Stash is a micro-investing and banking app that is mainly utilized via a mobile phone app for iOS or Android. You can start investing with as little as $5.
Anyone can open an account, you just have to be 18 years old, and live in the United States.
Opening an account with Stash should only take a few minutes, and if you do it now they currently have a bonus offer. You’ll get a $5 account bonus for signing up, which is enough to start investing.
Sign Up For Stash Here – Get A $5 Bonus
To get started, you will need to answer a series of questions and provide your Social Security number, and then link an external bank account.
Based on your level of acceptable risk (conservative, moderate or aggressive) you’ll be given recommendations for portfolios.
Stash Investment Portfolios
Stash’s investments are mainly ETF index funds and they have 250+ETFs and stocks in pre-built investments that you can use to build your portfolio.
When you first open your account, the app will recommend a mix of diversified stocks that suits your level of risk.
In addition to their main 3 portfolios, there are an abundance of other investment options including funds focusing on large blue chip companies, small companies, environmentally friendly investments, technology, health care, banking, entertainment and more.
They talk about “investing in things you believe in”, and if that’s something you’re interested in doing, there are plenty of niche focused investments to partake in.
You can invest in just about anything your heart desires with Stash, just be cognizant of what the “risk level” is for each fund, and what the fund management fees are for the individual ETF funds you’re choosing as they can range from very low cost, to less so.
Stash Online Banking
Stash has an optional online banking account and Visa debit card that you can sign up for with your account. 1.
Some of the features of the account include:
Early payday (Get paid up to 2 days early)
No overdraft fees.
No monthly maintenance fees.
No minimum balance fees.
Access to thousands of fee-free ATMs.
Stock-Back® Rewards for everyday spending.
Setup automatic transfers to keep the account funded.
This account is included in the regular monthly fee, and doesn’t have additional fees.
Stash Stock-Back® Rewards
Stash introduced a cool feature a while back that they call “Stash Stock-Back® Rewards” 2. It’s a rewards program of sorts that works in conjunction with your Stash debit card and your online banking. Instead of getting cash back, however, you’re getting fractional shares of stock where eligible.
Here’s how it works. Make a purchase with your Stash Visa at any of 11 million businesses nationwide, and you’ll get rewards for that purchase in the form of a fractional share of stock for that company (or for a diversified ETF index fund if that company isn’t available).
For example, if you buy something on Amazon with your Stash debit card, you’ll earn AMZN Stock-Back® as a reward.
As soon as you make a purchase using your Stash debit card, you should get a notification of the stock that you’ve earned. You’ll earn 0.125% Stock-Back® rewards on everyday purchases, and up to $5 Stock-Back® rewards at certain merchants. The stock will be added to your taxable brokerage account within your app. 3
Other Features of Stash
Here are some other important features and functionality of the app that are important to know about.
Stash Retire: Stash recently has moved into the retirement investing space and they now offer Traditional and Roth IRA accounts.4 Those accounts have a minimum of $15 to invest.
Smart-Save: Smart-Save functionality studies your spending and income patterns to figure out when you have cash to spare. Then it automatically saves small amounts of extra cash into your Stash account. There, it earns interest, or can be invested.
ASAP Direct Deposit: Get paid up to 2 days early.5
Automated investments: Set up a regular deposit and fund your account on an automated basis.
Fractional shares: You can buy fractional shares – buying a small fractional share of a single stock.
Educational materials: They have a decent array of educational materials available for newer investors in both the app, via email, and on their website.
Tools to forecast: The app has a tool to see the impact your saving and investing might have over time. It gives you insight into how your positive choices are impacting your future.
Security: Stash’s app uses 256-bit bank grade encryption to secure your personal information. Information sent between the app and their servers use SSL encryption, and they don’t store you your bank long information.
SIPC Coverage: Your investments in your account are covered by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) through the clearing agency used by Stash, Apex Clearing Corp. The limit of SIPC protection at any brokerage is $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash.
Stash Service Fees And Minimums
Where the rubber meets the road is just how much you’ll be paying to use Stash. What are the fees and minimums for using the service?
First of all, there is a $5 minimum in order to have an account, and you only need $5 to invest.6 So the service is accessible to just about everyone, especially if you get the $5 bonus mentioned above.
Low Monthly Fees
The service offers three monthly subscription plans. There is the Stash Beginner account for $1/month7 that includes a personal investment account, debit Visa card account access, Stock-Back® rewards program that helps you to earn stock for your normal spending, and free financial education.
The $3/month7 Growth subscription will give you everything in the basic account, but also includes access to retirement accounts.
The $9/month7 plan gives you everything in the above plans but adds in the option of custodial accounts where you can start investing for 2 kids, a metal debit card that also gives you 2x earnings on Stock-Back® rewards, as well as monthly market insights reports.
While $1/month isn’t really that much, the one caveat is that if you have a low balance account and you’re paying $1/month for the service, that fee could be a relatively large percentage of your assets in comparison to some other services. It might be something to consider. Stash becomes more cost effective in my opinion once your account reaches a higher dollar value, and at that point it’s very comparable to other investment sites like Betterment, Wealthfront and others.
Automated Investing With A Low Barrier To Entry
If you’re a newer investor and you don’t have a lot of money to start investing, Stash might be worth your time to get your feet wet. They have a low initial deposit of $5, and from there you can use dollar cost averaging to build your portfolio bit by bit. You can even start a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA and invest for retirement with Stash Growth.
Stash has a wide variety of investment options, and if you’re looking to hold a diversified portfolio, their basic mix portfolios can give you what you’re looking for.
While the fees aren’t the lowest, once the account grows to a reasonable level the fees are very comparable to other players in the space.
Try Stash for free with the currently available $5 account bonus!
Sign Up For Stash Invest Today!
1 Debit Account Services provided by and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. In order for a user to be eligible for a Stash debit account, they must also have opened a taxable brokerage account on Stash. Account opening of the debit account is subject to Green Dot Bank approval.
2 Stash Stock-Back® is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.
3 You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.
4 Stash does not monitor whether a customer is eligible for a particular type of IRA, or a tax deduction, or if a reduced contribution limit applies to a customer. These are based on a customer’s individual circumstances. You should consult with a tax advisor.
5 Early access to your direct deposit depends on deposit verification and when Green Dot Bank gets notice from your employer, and may vary from pay period to pay period.
6 Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details.
7 You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.
Bible Money Matters is a paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser.
In the past decade, we’ve seen a major transformation in the banking sector. As the world continues to digitize, the financial landscape has shifted in response, giving birth to a plethora of online banking services. One such innovation that has garnered widespread adoption is online checking accounts.
As a key financial tool, a checking account serves as a lifeline for day-to-day transactions, paying bills, and generally managing one’s finances. But with online checking accounts, convenience, accessibility, and often better rates and lower fees have made them an attractive alternative to traditional banks.
10 Best Online Checking Accounts
These best online checking accounts offer a range of features, from high annual percentage yield (APY) to robust mobile apps, all designed to meet the varying financial needs of users. Here are our top 10 picks for 2023.
1. Chime Checking Account
Chime, a financial technology company that offers online banking services, is revolutionizing the banking industry with its online checking account that pairs both convenience and value into a single offering.
With Chime, you can access banking services without the constraints of physical branches and enjoy a plethora of services, from direct deposits to earning savings interest and more.
It’s essential to note that Chime isn’t a bank but rather a financial technology company providing banking services through Bancorp Bank, N.A., and Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
No monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance: The Chime Checking Account comes with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, making it a cost-effective option for those looking to maximize their financial resources.
Early direct deposit: With Chime, you can receive your direct deposits up to two days early, providing you with quicker access to your funds compared to many traditional banks.
SpotMe® feature: This innovative feature allows you to overdraw your account up to $200 on debit card purchases without a fee, provided that you have $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits each month. The SpotMe® limit can be increased based on account history, direct deposit amounts and frequency, spending activity, and other factors.
Automated savings features: Chime allows you to save effortlessly with its Round Ups feature. Each time you use your Chime Visa® Debit Card, the transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the difference is transferred to your savings account. The Save When I Get Paid feature lets you set up a recurring transfer of 10% of your direct deposit paycheck of $500 or more from your checking account to your savings account each time you get paid.
Extensive ATM network: With Chime, you get access to over 60,000+ fee-free ATMs nationwide, giving you the flexibility to withdraw cash without worrying about ATM fees.
The Chime Checking Account is a stellar example of how online banks are providing value-packed offerings that rival traditional banks.
The account is particularly beneficial for those who receive direct deposits and don’t need to deposit cash often.
2. Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Axos Bank is an online-based bank that’s shaking up the banking industry with its online Rewards Checking account, a unique blend of convenience and value.
Axos allows you to utilize banking services without the constraints of physical branches and offers numerous benefits, from earning high APY to ATM fee reimbursements and more.
It’s important to note that Axos Bank is a completely online bank without in-person customer service options.
High APY: The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account can earn an APY of up to 3.30% on balances up to $50,000, given certain conditions are met. You can earn this high APY by fulfilling certain requirements. These include maintaining a monthly direct deposit totaling at least $1,500 or making qualifying debit card purchases. Additionally, maintaining certain balances in Axos investment accounts, or making a monthly Axos consumer loan payment using Rewards Checking.
No Overdraft Fees: Rewards Checking doesn’t charge overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees. Transactions are simply declined unless you enroll in one of the bank’s overdraft programs, which include the option to set up free automatic transfers from a savings account to your checking account if your balance goes negative.
ATM Fee Reimbursement: Axos Bank offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from any ATM without worrying about the fees.
Cash Deposits: Axos Bank uses a third-party service, Green Dot, to let customers add cash to their accounts or reload debit cards at retailers such as 7-Eleven and CVS Pharmacy. However, it costs up to $4.95 per deposit. You can also make deposits at some of Axos Bank’s 91,000 in-network ATMs.
Remote Customer Service Options: Axos Bank offers a variety of remote customer service options, including a 24/7 phone line, automated online chat, secure online messaging, and Twitter support.
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is a prime example of how online banks are delivering offerings that compete with traditional banks.
The account is particularly beneficial for those who can meet the requirements to earn the high APY and are comfortable with online-only customer service.
3. Current Account
Current, a pioneering financial technology company, delivers cutting-edge banking solutions with its Current Account.
While not a traditional bank, Current collaborates with Choice Financial Group to provide banking services, assuring member FDIC protections up to $250,000.
Up to 2-day early direct deposit: With Current, customers can receive their paycheck up to two days earlier with direct deposit, offering superior control over their finances.
Fee-free overdraft protection: Current Account users can take advantage of fee-free overdraft protection, a feature that can safeguard against unexpected charges.
Points earned on debit card swipes for cash back: The Current Account provides added incentives for daily spending, as customers can earn points on debit card swipes that can be redeemed for cash back.
Access to over 40,000 fee-free ATMs: Ensuring easy access to cash nationwide, Current provides its users with over 40,000 fee-free ATMs.
Mobile check deposit: The innovative mobile check deposit feature from Current allows for effortless banking directly from a smartphone.
Current doesn’t just stop at basic features, it goes beyond by offering a range of options that simplify and amplify the banking experience.
Free from minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, bank transfer fees, and in-network ATM withdrawal fees, Current is committed to delivering an uncomplicated and seamless banking experience.
The “Current Pay” feature further enhances the user experience by facilitating instant money transfers among friends and family, simplifying payments or reimbursements.
4. SoFi Checking and Savings Account
SoFi, a modern financial platform offering a suite of financial services, is setting new standards in the world of banking with its online bank account that combines remarkable earning potential and considerable convenience.
Remember that SoFi isn’t a traditional bank but a financial technology company that provides banking services in association with a network of participating banks, all of which are FDIC insured.
No account or overdraft fees and no minimum balance: The SoFi Online Bank Account is cost-friendly, with no account fees, overdraft fees, or minimum balance requirements. This makes it an excellent choice for those who want to keep their banking expenses to a minimum.
Potential 2-day early direct deposit: If you set up a direct deposit, SoFi provides the possibility of getting your paycheck up to two days earlier, offering faster access to your money compared to traditional banking establishments.
High-interest earnings: As a SoFi member, you have the opportunity to earn up to 4.20% APY on your savings and Vaults balances, and 1.20% APY on your checking balances. This earning rate is significantly higher than the national average, making your money work harder for you.
No-fee overdraft coverage: SoFi introduces a user-friendly feature covering accidental overspending up to $50 with no fees, given that you have qualifying direct deposits.
Cash back at local establishments: SoFi users can enjoy up to 15% cash back at local establishments when they pay with their SoFi debit card, combining savings with everyday spending.
Increased FDIC insurance: SoFi deposits are insured up to $2M, a feature that provides extra peace of mind when it comes to the security of your funds.
The SoFi Checking and Savings Account is an excellent example of how FinTech firms are providing robust banking solutions that rival and even surpass traditional banks.
The account is particularly attractive to those who frequently use direct deposits and prefer banking digitally, offering superior returns on their balances and protection from various fees.
5. Ally Bank Interest Checking Account
Ally Bank, renowned for its customer-centric digital banking services, provides a comprehensive offering through its Ally Bank Interest Checking Account.
While being an entirely online institution, Ally Bank ensures FDIC insurances up to the maximum allowed by law, bolstering financial security for its customers.
Fee-free banking: Ally Bank champions transparency and affordability with no monthly maintenance or overdraft fees, supporting customers in maximizing their financial resources.
Access to 43,000+ no-fee Allpoint® ATMs: With a network of over 43,000 no-fee Allpoint® ATMs, customers enjoy widespread cash access. Plus, Ally reimburses up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide.
Spending buckets: This innovative feature helps customers manage their money effectively by setting funds aside for ongoing expenses such as rent and groceries, much like digital envelopes. This encourages better spending habits and gives a clearer picture of personal finances.
Up to 2-day early direct deposit: Offering greater financial flexibility, Ally Bank allows customers to receive their paycheck up to two days sooner with early direct deposit.
Overdraft protection: With the Overdraft Transfer Service and CoverDraft℠ service, Ally provides a dual protection mechanism against accidental overspending, adding to its customer-friendly features.
Manage your debit card: Within Ally’s mobile app, customers can lock their card, set notifications, and limit spending, offering enhanced control over their banking.
Remote check deposit: With Ally eCheck DepositSM, depositing checks is as simple as snapping a photo with your smartphone.
Send and receive money: Through Zelle®, customers can send and receive money quickly, securely, and without the need for an extra app.
The Ally Bank Interest Checking Account provides a robust banking experience, packed with unique features that suit the needs of today’s digitally savvy customers.
It combines the convenience of online banking with the benefits of a comprehensive checking account, delivering unparalleled value.
Furthermore, Ally Bank’s commitment to keeping fees minimal, coupled with its transparent approach, ensures customers can bank confidently and efficiently.
6. Consumers Credit Union Serious Interest Checking
Consumers Credit Union, committed to enhancing its members’ financial prosperity, offers an appealing solution with its Serious Interest Checking®, a high yield checking account.
Despite being a credit union, it combines the benefits of a checking account with an attractive interest rate, making banking rewarding for its members.
High-yield earnings: This checking account stands out by offering a whopping 4.00% APY on balances up to $15,000. To qualify for this interest rate, account holders must have 12 posted debit card transactions per month, maintain a $1,000 average daily balance, and establish a minimum recurring monthly direct deposit of $1,000, along with eStatements.
Instant-issue debit card: With the Serious Interest Checking® account, members receive an instant-issue debit card, providing immediate access to their funds.
No debit card usage fees or check deposit fees: In alignment with its member-friendly approach, Consumers Credit Union does not charge fees for debit card usage or for each check deposited.
24-hour online banking and mobile banking app: Offering a seamless digital banking experience, account holders have 24-hour access to online banking and a convenient mobile banking app.
Free online check copies and unlimited check writing: As part of its comprehensive offering, Consumers Credit Union provides free online check copies and allows unlimited check writing, adding to its array of cost-effective features.
Access to 30,000+ fee-free ATMs nationwide: Customers can withdraw cash from over 30,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide, ensuring easy access to their funds.
Competitive interest rates and custom alerts: Apart from competitive interest rates, the account also offers custom alerts for balance and activity, promoting active financial management.
Free eStatements and mobile check deposit: This high yield checking account also features free eStatements and mobile check deposit, further simplifying the banking experience for customers.
The Consumers Credit Union Serious Interest Checking® account blends the convenience of a checking account with the high-yield earnings usually associated with a savings account.
Its feature-rich, value-packed offering makes it a compelling choice for those seeking to elevate their banking experience and maximize their earnings.
7. Quontic High Interest Checking
Quontic Bank, committed to maximizing customer earnings and supporting financial inclusivity, offers a high interest checking account that combines convenience, high-yield potential, and an innovative digital banking experience.
Highly rated by multiple platforms, this account is perfect for those seeking to earn more from their deposits.
Earn up to 1.10% APY: The Quontic High Interest Checking account allows you to earn up to 1.10% APY on all balance tiers. To qualify, make at least 10 qualifying debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle. Failure to meet these requirements results in a 0.01% interest and APY. A minimum opening deposit of $100 is required.
Quontic Pay Ring: In a bid to revolutionize banking, Quontic offers a payment wearable called the Quontic Pay Ring. This innovative feature allows you to make payments effortlessly without needing to carry your debit card.
Access to 90,000+ ATMs nationwide: Enjoy surcharge-free withdrawals at any participating AllPoint® Network ATMs, MoneyPass® Network ATMs, SUM® program ATMs, or Citibank® ATMs located in various retailers across the nation.
Fully mobile & online banking: Quontic offers a dynamic online banking platform and mobile app equipped with features like remote check deposit, bill pay, account transfers, and receipt tracking, providing a seamless banking experience on your terms.
Wide range of pay options: With compatibility for Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Zelle, Quontic ensures you have plenty of options to facilitate your payments.
No monthly or overdraft fees: Quontic is committed to transparency and affordability, promising no hidden monthly or overdraft fees.
Member FDIC and advanced security monitoring: As a FDIC-insured institution, Quontic offers robust security features including the ability to lock and unlock your debit card online and protection against unauthorized transactions.
Banking with a purpose: Quontic stands apart by being a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), striving to bring the dream of homeownership to low-income families, immigrants, people of color, small business owners, and others who are unable to obtain mortgage financing through traditional lenders.
The Quontic High Interest Checking account combines innovative features, high yield potential, and an inclusive mission, making it a compelling choice for socially conscious individuals seeking to earn more on their deposits.
8. Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
Simplicity and high yields are the cornerstone of Alliant Credit Union’s High-Rate Checking account, a solution tailored to meet the needs of modern-day banking customers, whether they’re on-the-go or prefer traditional banking methods.
Recognized by multiple platforms for its service excellence, this account is designed for customers who desire a seamless and rewarding banking experience.
No monthly fee or minimum balance requirement: Alliant Credit Union ensures hassle-free banking with no monthly service fee or monthly minimum balance requirement.
No overdraft fees: Mistakes happen, and Alliant understands this by not charging its customers overdraft fees. However, some standard fees such as stop payment do apply.
Access to 80,000+ fee-free ATMs: Get access to more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs, eliminating the need for ATM hunting. Plus, enjoy up to $20/month in ATM fee rebates for out-of-network ATMs.
Contactless payments and digital wallet compatibility: Pay quickly and securely with your free Visa® contactless debit card or through digital wallets such as Apple Pay™, Samsung Pay™, and Google Pay™, and other payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App.
Mobile banking and remote deposit: Manage your finances anywhere, anytime with the Alliant Mobile Banking app, which also allows you to deposit checks remotely.
Free overdraft protection and courtesy pay: Avoid accidental overdrafts with free overdraft protection, and opt-in for Courtesy Pay to cover checks, electronic payments, and transfers beyond your overdraft protection.
Account alerts and card management: Receive alerts for large transactions or unusual account activity, and manage your debit card on-the-go with options to activate or replace a lost/stolen card via Alliant online or mobile banking.
Federally insured and $0 liability on fraudulent charges: Rest assured knowing your deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA, and enjoy Visa’s $0 fraud liability feature, offering protection against unauthorized charges.
To earn interest on your checking account, simply opt for free eStatements and ensure at least one monthly electronic deposit to your Alliant High-Rate Checking account.
The Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking account offers simplicity, flexibility, and competitive interest rates, making it a smart choice for your everyday banking needs.
9. Schwab Bank Investor Checking
Charles Schwab brings its robust reputation in the investment sector to banking with its Schwab Bank Investor Checking account, designed for those seeking seamless integration of banking and investing.
This account ensures that your financial management is hassle-free and efficient, encouraging more financial freedom and effective investment.
No fees or minimums: Experience the freedom of no maintenance fees or account minimums. This account enables you to focus more on your finances without the worry of hidden charges or minimum balance requirements.
Competitive APY: Enjoy a competitive 0.45% APY on your checking account balance, providing an added benefit of earning interest on your deposited funds.
Unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide: Travel or live abroad without worrying about ATM fees. Charles Schwab offers unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, making accessing your money easier and more affordable.
No foreign transaction fees: Schwab’s account is designed with the international traveler in mind, eliminating foreign transaction fees and making it more convenient and cost-effective for you to use your debit card abroad.
Security and peace of mind: Feel secure with features like card lock/unlock, bank and transaction alerts, and travel notices. These features, combined with the Schwab Security Guarantee, ensure maximum security and control over your financial transactions.
Robust mobile app: Manage all your Schwab banking needs from one place with a feature-rich mobile app. Make deposits, transfer money, and more, with just a few taps on your smartphone.
Mobile payments: Enjoy a secure, convenient, and easy way to pay with your mobile wallet or contactless debit card. This allows for quick and hassle-free transactions, whether you’re shopping online or in-store.
The Schwab Bank Investor Checking account integrates banking and investing, offering convenience, ease, and attractive benefits for the modern user.
Whether you’re an avid traveler or looking for a no-fee, high-yield checking account that also offers excellent digital banking capabilities, this account could be a great fit.
10. Navy Federal Credit Union Free EveryDay Checking
Navy Federal Credit Union’s Free EveryDay Checking is an easy-to-use, accessible banking solution for everyone.
It is ideally suited for those seeking a basic, straightforward account for everyday banking needs, particularly individuals with lower account balances.
No monthly service fee or minimums: This account demands no monthly service fees, no opening deposit requirement, and no minimum balance requirement, offering a flexible, low-maintenance banking experience for all users.
Interest-earning: With a 0.01% APY and Dividend Rate, your balance isn’t just sitting—it’s working for you, accumulating dividends over time.
Free debit card with zero liability protection: Your account includes a Navy Federal Debit Card, which is accepted at millions of locations worldwide and comes with zero liability protection for added security.
Digital banking: Navy Federal’s account offers a wide range of digital banking capabilities. This includes Mobile Deposits and Bill Pay, enabling you to manage your finances on the go, securely, and conveniently.
Checking protection options: Protect your checking account from overdrafts and denied transactions with Navy Federal’s Checking Protection Options, ensuring peace of mind and financial stability.
Additional benefits: The Free EveryDay Checking Account also offers free traditional name-only checks, an easy-to-use online ordering system, and automatic notifications to track account activity.
Highly rated: With a 4.7 out of 5 rating based on 142 reviews, Navy Federal’s checking account is highly rated by its customers for its user-friendly features and excellent service.
In addition to these standard features, Navy Federal Credit Union offers comprehensive digital banking tools like mobile banking apps, bill pay services, and convenient transfer and deposit options.
Plus, all members enjoy access to 24/7 customer service and more than 350 branches worldwide. The Free EveryDay Checking Account is a simple, straightforward, and user-friendly option that makes everyday banking a breeze.
What is an online checking account?
An online checking account operates much like the checking accounts you’re accustomed to at traditional brick and mortar banks, with the primary difference being that it’s mostly or entirely digital. They are provided by online banks, credit unions, and even financial technology companies that are not banks themselves.
Online checking accounts have surged in popularity for a variety of reasons. Their major draw is the convenience and flexibility they offer. With these accounts, you can deposit cash, pay bills, transfer money, make debit card purchases, and even deposit checks digitally using the bank’s mobile app. This means that all your transactions can be completed without visiting a physical branch location.
Additionally, online only banks typically offer higher annual percentage yields (APY) than traditional banks, meaning your money grows faster. The absence of physical branches translates into reduced overhead costs for these financial institutions, enabling them to pass on the savings to customers in the form of higher interest rates and lower fees. These accounts also often have lower minimum balance requirements and monthly maintenance fees compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
Lastly, many online banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), providing the same level of safety for your deposits as traditional banks.
Criteria for Evaluation
Selecting the best online checking accounts was not a task taken lightly. We’ve considered a variety of factors in our analysis to ensure that our picks provide a mix of the most advantageous features for diverse financial needs. Here are the key criteria we used in our evaluation:
Annual percentage yield (APY): We considered the APY offered on the checking accounts. Higher APY means your money grows faster, making it a key feature to look for in an account.
Monthly fees and other costs: Monthly maintenance fees can eat into your savings. We favored accounts with low or no monthly fees. We also looked at other potential costs like overdraft fees, out of network ATM fees, and foreign transaction fees.
ATM access: Easy and wide-ranging access to ATMs is crucial. We considered online banks with large ATM networks and those that offer ATM fee reimbursements.
Customer service: Exceptional customer service is important, especially for an online only bank where in-person assistance is not an option. We assessed the quality of customer service provided by each bank.
Mobile app experience: A great mobile app can make managing your money a breeze. We evaluated the usability, functionality, and reliability of each bank’s mobile app.
Additional features: Other features like early direct deposit, mobile check deposits, cash back rewards, and savings tools can add value to online checking accounts. We considered these additional features in our review.
How to Choose the Right Online Checking Account for You
Choosing the right online checking account is crucial. It can simplify your financial management, enhance your monetary gains, and align with your lifestyle needs. Below are key factors to consider in making an informed decision:
Financial Habits: Evaluate your typical financial behaviors. Do you frequently use ATMs, and will you need access to an extensive, fee-free ATM network? If you regularly maintain a high balance in your checking account, an interest-earning account could be beneficial. Conversely, if you tend to keep a low balance, consider an account with no minimum balance requirement to avoid potential fees.
Goals: What are your financial goals? If you’re aiming to save, consider an account that earns interest. If you’re focused on investing, select an institution that offers seamless integration between checking and investment accounts.
Lifestyle: Assess your lifestyle and daily needs. Do you travel often and need an account that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees? If you prefer digital banking, look for accounts with robust online platforms and mobile apps that allow for easy money management on the go.
Fees: Examine the fee structure carefully. Consider potential monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and ATM fees. Look for accounts offering fee waivers or reimbursements.
Customer Service: Exceptional customer service is crucial, particularly for an online bank. Look for 24/7 customer support, availability of live chat, and timely response to queries.
Security: Ensure that the bank employs stringent security measures to protect your account from fraud or unauthorized transactions. Features like two-factor authentication, alerts for suspicious activity, and FDIC insurance are vital.
In today’s fast-paced, digital age, online checking accounts provide a convenient, accessible, and often more financially rewarding alternative to traditional banking. However, the key to making the most of these benefits is to choose the right account based on your individual needs, lifestyle, and financial goals.
By carefully considering factors like your financial habits, goals, lifestyle, potential fees, customer service, and security measures, you can find an online checking account that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Remember, your checking account is at the heart of your financial life – choose wisely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are online checking accounts safe?
Yes, online checking accounts are safe as long as they’re offered by a reputable bank or credit union that has FDIC or NCUA insurance. This insurance protects your money up to $250,000 per depositor.
Can I deposit cash into an online checking account?
Depositing cash into an online checking account can be more challenging than with a traditional bank. Some online banks have agreements with certain ATM networks or retail outlets where you can deposit cash. You can also deposit cash into a traditional bank account and then transfer it to your online account.
What should I do if I need to write a check?
Many online banks offer free or low-cost checkbooks. However, if you seldom write checks, you may not need a physical checkbook. Instead, you can use the bank’s online bill pay service, which sends a check or electronic payment to the recipient on your behalf.
Do online banks offer customer service?
Yes, most online banks offer robust customer service options, including phone support, live chat, email, and often extensive FAQ sections on their websites. Some even offer 24/7 support.
There are literally thousands of legitimate checking accounts to choose from, and more spring into being all the time as online banks emerge and grow. There’s no way you can evaluate them all.
If you’re under age 25 and don’t care about loading up on potentially generous features, you can safely narrow your search by limiting your choices to basic checking accounts built for young, unfussy people. One account that should still be among those choices is the BMO Harris Smart Money™ Account.
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account has no monthly maintenance fee for users under 25 and relatively few other account fees. It comes with a Mastercard debit card accepted by millions of merchants worldwide. And it could be right for you — but be sure you understand its capabilities and limitations before opening an account.
What Is the BMO Harris Smart Money Account?
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account is a basic checking account designed for younger people and those seeking the peace of mind that comes with fee-free overdraft protection.
Smart Money has no monthly maintenance fee for anyone under 25 and no overdraft fees for anyone. Otherwise, it has the same basic features as BMO Harris’s two other consumer checking accounts — Advantage and Premier — including a vast fee-free ATM network, a robust mobile app, and no ongoing minimum balance requirement.
What Sets the BMO Harris Smart Money Account Apart?
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account stands out from competing checking accounts in a few key ways:
No overdraft fees. Smart Money has no overdraft fees. This is less generous than it sounds because BMO declines most Smart Money transactions that would result in an overdraft. Still, BMO may allow some transactions to go through even if they result in a negative balance. If and when it does, there’s no charge.
No maintenance fee for younger users. Smart Money has no monthly maintenance fee for users under 25. It qualifies as a free checking account for younger folks.
No way for older users to waive the maintenance fee. Smart Money does have a maintenance fee ($5 per month) for users 25 and older. This is low as checking account maintenance fees go. But it’s also unusual (in a bad way) because there’s no way to waive it. Most checking accounts waive maintenance fees if you maintain a minimum balance or incoming direct deposit.
Key Features of the BMO Harris Smart Money Account
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account is a straightforward checking account for people who don’t need many bells and whistles.
Smart Money has no official age restrictions. Kids under age 18 can open an account with a parent as a joint owner, and anyone 18 or older can open an account as the sole owner.
However, Smart Money does make an important distinction between account holders under age 25 and those 25 and older. While there’s no monthly maintenance fee for users under age 25, users 25 and over must pay a $5 monthly maintenance fee. There’s no way to waive this fee, either.
Minimum Deposit & Balance
The minimum deposit to open this account is $25. Once opened, there’s no ongoing minimum balance.
BMO Harris belongs to the Allpoint ATM network, which has more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. These ATMs are relatively evenly distributed across the country, including in many locations where BMO Harris has no physical branches.
Smart Money doesn’t reimburse out-of-network ATM fees, however. Be sure to use Allpoint ATMs to the extent possible.
Possible Account Fees
Smart Money has no maintenance fee for users under 25 and an unwaivable $5 maintenance fee for users 25 and older. It has no overdraft fee for any users, though BMO Harris declines most transactions that would result in a negative balance.
Other possible fees include:
A $2 paper statement fee per month
A $3 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
A $3 fee for each check image if you’re not opted into paperless statements
Smart Money users get access to BMO Harris’s user-friendly mobile app. Notable capabilities include:
No BMO user fees for person-to-person Zelle transfers (though other fees may apply)
Free mobile check deposit
Free budgeting and expense-tracking tools
A single view of all your BMO accounts, including bank accounts and credit cards
Like the account itself, Smart Money’s advantages are straightforward: no maintenance fees for younger users, no ATM fees if you stay in-network, and excellent mobile features, to name a few.
No monthly maintenance fee for younger users. BMO waives the $5 monthly fee for account holders under age 25. That makes Smart Money an appealing choice for college students and recent college graduates.
No overdraft fees. Though it declines most transactions that would result in negative balances, BMO waives overdraft fees and insufficient funds fees for such transactions anyway. If it allows negative-balance transactions to go through at its discretion, it still doesn’t charge an overdraft fee.
Big fee-free ATM network. As part of the Allpoint ATM network, BMO Harris has more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs in the United States. You can find these machines in every corner of the country, including places far from any physical BMO Harris branches.
Excellent mobile features. BMO Harris has a comprehensive, user-friendly mobile app with useful, time-saving features like mobile check deposit and Zelle transfers.
Smart Money’s biggest downsides include an unavoidable monthly fee after age 25, unavoidable ATM fees outside the Allpoint network, and no sign-up bonus for new account holders.
No sign-up bonus. Unlike the BMO Harris Premier Account and the BMO Harris Smart Advantage Checking Account, the BMO Harris Smart Money Account has no sign-up bonus for new account holders. If you’re looking to pad your balance early on, consider one of those instead.
Can’t waive the monthly fee after age 25. Most checking accounts offer a way around their monthly maintenance fees, and sometimes several. Often, maintaining a minimum balance of a few thousand dollars or receiving a recurring direct deposit does the trick. Smart Money is different — in a bad way. There’s no way to waive the $5 monthly fee after you turn $25.
No out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement. Smart Money doesn’t reimburse out-of-network ATM transaction fees. These can really add up, so if you expect to use non-Allpoint ATMs often, consider an account with a more generous reimbursement allowance.
How the BMO Harris Smart Money Account Stacks Up
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account is one of three BMO checking accounts. Before you open yours, see how it compares to the highest-end account in the BMO family: BMO Harris Premier.
BMO Harris Smart Money
BMO Harris Premier
Monthly Maintenance Fee
$5, limited waiver only
$25, but can be waived
Only waived if you’re under 25
Yes, required $10,000+ balance
ATM Fee Reimbursement
Up to $25 per month
Credit Card Benefits
Up to $75 in quarterly spending bonuses
Closing cost and interest rate discounts
Interest on Balances
If you’re a college student or recent college graduate looking for a basic checking account that lets you spend as you please, wherever you please, the BMO Harris Smart Money™ Account makes sense for you.
Just don’t expect Smart Money to be anything more than it claims. With no sign-up bonus or perks beyond fee-free in-network ATM withdrawals, it’s not a lifelong checking account. Better to use it as you work to build your net worth, then trade up to a more generous product — whether with BMO or another bank of your choice.
BMO Harris Smart Money™ Account
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account is a no-frills bank account with few fees and an above-average mobile experience. It’s ideal for people under age 25, who pay no monthly maintenance fee no matter what.
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.