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Best Free Checking Accounts for March 2024

To find the best free checking account option for you, assess your personal situation.

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Printable Blank Calendar Templates – Wiki Calendar

“If you’re in need of a checking account, don’t be too quick to open the first one you find,” said Anand Talwar, head of deposits and president of Ally Invest Group at Ally Financial. “Think about what’s most important to you, like how you deposit and spend money, ATM access, and no fees.”

Talwar also recommended looking for accounts with no minimum opening deposits and no monthly maintenance fees, as well as FDIC insurance protection.

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Printable July Calendar Templates With Holidays

Also consider costs, requirements and banking accessibility, features and security. 


Printable July  Calendar Templates With Holidays
Printable July Calendar Templates With Holidays

Look for free checking accounts that charge the fewest fees possible for the types of transactions you expect to do. For example, if you travel internationally, look for an account that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. And if you expect to use out-of-network ATMs, try to find a checking account that provides reimbursement for ATM operators’ fees.

Another thing to keep in mind is that with online checking accounts from an online bank, you’ll likely have limited options for depositing cash for free. The cost for this service can vary depending on which third-party company (such as a retailer) is providing it.

Account Requirements

Make sure you’re eligible for the free checking account you want. This includes meeting any age, residency and identification requirements. And if you have limited funds to initially deposit, find an account without a minimum opening deposit.

You should also check for minimum balance or direct deposit requirements. Not meeting these can affect whether the bank keeps the account open or whether you can access certain account features, including higher interest rates and higher rates for cash back on your debit card. Some banks even restrict mobile check deposits if you don’t meet thresholds for monthly direct deposits.

Banking Accessibility

Both the type of checking account and financial institution matter for accessibility. With a brick-and-mortar bank, you’ll have ATMs plus the flexibility for in-branch transactions during operating hours. If you choose an online bank, convenient ATM access is even more crucial, along with nearby options for making cash deposits.

Checking Account Features

Since there are many free checking options, think about whether you need certain services or rewards options to narrow your choices down. For example, you might prefer a solid mobile banking experience with budgeting tools, Zelle and mobile check deposits.

If you prefer incentives, look for a checking account with a competitive interest rate, a sign-up bonus and a cash-back debit card. Also consider basic features such as overdraft protection, online bill pay and a physical checkbook.

You can also look to bundle your checking and savings accounts. If you’re interested, read our picks for the best savings accounts.

Safety and Online Security

Finding accounts through insured financial institutions is important for safeguarding your money in case your institution fails. Check for Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) coverage for banks and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) coverage for credit unions.

Find out if the financial institutions you’re considering take steps to protect accounts online. This means they encrypt your information, require multiple steps to log in and alert you to any suspicious transactions or login attempts.