The 7 Best High-Interest Checking Accounts for October 2021

When you think of interest-generating bank accounts, your mind likely goes to savings. After all, that’s your reward for building an emergency fund or socking away money for a future expense, right? A regular, end-of-month deposit into your savings account, courtesy of your bank.

The good news: You can also earn interest with select checking accounts.

What is a High-Interest Checking Account?

A high-interest, or high-yield, checking account offers a higher interest rate (annual percentage yield, or APY) on your money. Unlike a traditional checking account, you may have to keep a minimum balance in the account at all times and meet other requirements — for instance, pay a monthly fee or schedule a recurring direct deposit — to earn the higher interest rate.

High-interest checking accounts are a great way to earn more for your money.

The 7 Best High-Interest Checking Accounts

Here’s an overview of high-yield checking accounts, what you need to know when choosing one and the top checking accounts available in the market today.

Here are the seven best high-interest checking accounts where you can save your money and make a little more at the same time.

1. SoFi

One of the highest interest rates we’ve found for an online checking account is from SoFi Money. This checking account earns you 0.25% APY for the year.

Minimum opening deposit: None.

APY: 0.25%.

Monthly maintenance fees: None.

Free debit card: Yes.

Requirements to earn the higher rate: Make deposits of at least $500 monthly (all other accounts will earn 0.01% APY).

SoFi Money takes a number of steps to make the transition to online banking easy:

  • Through a partnership with Allpoint, account holders won’t pay fees at 55,000 ATMs worldwide.
  • Overdraft protection — SoFi Money members who meet certain criteria and accidentally spend more than they have in their account will be covered up to $50 with no fees.
  • SoFi’s website and mobile apps have detailed FAQs, and they make it simple and easy for you to find any information you want.

Read our full SoFi Money review.

2. NBKC Everything Checking Account

The NBKC Everything Account offers 0.15% interest on all balances and has no minimum balance requirement. It also features $0 overdraft charges. So, if you have a bad habit of overextending your money, you won’t get dinged.

Minimum opening deposit: None.

APY: 0.15%.

Monthly maintenance fees: None.

Free debit card: Yes.

Requirements to earn the higher rate: None — you can start earning 0.15% APY on any amount in your account.

The NBKC Everything Checking Account offers other perks, too:

  • Access to over 37,000 ATMs. Plus, the bank will reimburse you up to $12 monthly to refund those pesky, out-of-network ATM fees.
  • 24/7 mobile banking.
  • The ability to set up auto-pay for recurring bills.
  • No overdraft or foreign transaction fees.

One other thing to note: NBKC is an online bank, though you can visit a physical branch if you live in Kansas City, Missouri.

3. MemoryBank

You may not have heard of MemoryBank. Or maybe you did and you just forgot. (Get it?)

Anyhoo, MemoryBank’s EarnMore Checking Account is another option for a high-interest checking account with 0.02% APY.

Minimum opening deposit: $50.

APY: 0.02% on balances up to $250K.

Monthly maintenance fees: None.

Free debit card: Yes.

Requirements to earn the higher rate: Keep between 1 cent and $249,999.99 in your account.

MemoryBank is a good choice for those of us who like the perks of online banking, but also want to know that we can get personal service when we need it. For instance, you get:

  • Live support by phone, email or online chat. This can be a great benefit when you just need to ask a quick question, but don’t want to get stuck on an automated phone system for an hour.
  • Access to over 90,000 surcharge-free ATMs — just look for the Allpoint, MoneyPass, Presto or SUM logo on the machine.

Another bonus? Use the MemoryBank app to find and activate cash-back offers.

The 0.02% APY is currently lower than the average rate for high-yield accounts, but for a fee-free account with live support, lots of available ATMs and other rewards, it’s not a bad option.

*As of Sept. 16, 2021, MemoryBank is not currently accepting applications for new accounts.

4. Capital One 360

The real beauty of the Capital One 360 Checking Account is the pure ease of its online banking setup. Both the website and the app are remarkably intuitive. Plus, you won’t have any minimum balance or fees to deal with.

The base APY right now for the Capital One 360 is 0.10%, which is a respectable 3x the national average.

Minimum opening deposit: None.

APY: 0.10%.

Monthly maintenance fees: None.

Free debit card: Yes.

Requirements to earn the higher rate: Keep your balance below $49,999.99 (though right now, you can earn 0.10% on higher balances, too).

Other perks:

  • Members have access to over 70,000 fee-free ATMs.
  • 24/7 mobile banking.
  • There are multiple options to choose from for overdraft protection.

If you’re looking for a bank with a lot of clout in the industry and both in-person and online banking options, the Capital One 360 checking account could be a solid option for you.

5. Charles Schwab

OK, when you think of Charles Schwab, you probably don’t think about checking accounts — but, that could change.

Its High Yield Investor Checking is a free account that earns 0.03% APY on your balance.

Minimum opening deposit: None.

APY: 0.03%.

Monthly maintenance fees: None.

Free debit card: Yes.

Requirements to earn the higher rate: Just a minimum balance of 1 cent.

Here are some other details about the account:

  • You get unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide. That’s pretty cool if you travel a lot.
  • There are no minimum balance requirements to earn the 0.03% APY.

There is one catch: It’s available only as a linked account with a Schwab One brokerage account. However, there are lots of pluses with the brokerage account when you open it with High Yield Investor checking, such as no minimum balance or trade requirements.

6. Ally Interest Checking Account

As the name suggests, you’ll earn interest with the Ally Interest Checking Account. For balances under $15,000, you’ll earn 0.10%. But, if you tend to have $15,000 or more on hand, you can earn 0.25%, about eight times the national average for checking accounts that pay interest.

Minimum opening deposit: None.

APY: 0.10% (for a daily balance of less than $15K) and 0.25% (for a daily minimum balance of $15K).

Monthly maintenance fees: None.

Free debit card: Yes.

Requirements to earn the higher rate: No requirements; just keep your balance in check to receive the higher APY.

Ally’s Interest Checking really makes its mark with the other perks. The account has:

  • Over 40,000 fee-free ATMs, and up to $10 in reimbursement fees for out-of-network usage.
  • No overdraft fees. (As of June 2021, Ally Bank has eliminated them on all accounts for all customers.
  • Easy online access.
  • Super-transparent fees. For example, there’s no gray area over what an outgoing domestic wire will run you ($20).

Overall, Ally is an online-only bank with a pretty good high-yield checking account.

Read our full Ally bank review.

7. Axos Rewards Checking

Axos Bank is another option to consider. The online-only banking institution offers the highest APY on the list, by far, with its Rewards Checking account. It’s yours — if you’re organized and have regular monthly deposits.

Minimum opening deposit: $50.

APY: 1.00% (0.40% + 0.30% + 0.10% + 0.10% + 0.10%).

Monthly maintenance fees: None.

Free debit card: Yes.

Requirements to earn the higher rate: Receive $1.5K or more monthly deposits (0.40%), use your Axos debit card for 10 (minimum of $3) transactions (0.30%), maintain at least $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Account (0.10%), have a daily balance of $2,500 per month in an Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account (0.10%) and use your Rewards Checking account to make an Axos consumer loan payment in full each month (0.10%).

The account also offers:

  • Unlimited domestic ATM-fee reimbursements.
  • No minimum monthly balance requirements.
  • Access to 24/7 chat with a virtual financial assistant.

If you can fulfil the high-APY requirements, this rewards checking account could be a great choice for you.

With the banks and financial institutions on this list, you can also open a savings account (some offer high-yield savings accounts as well) and other banking products.

Read our full Axos Bank review.

Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.

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Why You Should Consider High-Yield Checking Accounts

We’ll be honest — with today’s interest rates, you won’t be raking in the dough like in years past. The national average for interest checking accounts is a not-so-hot 0.03% annual percentage yield (APY), according to the FDIC.

However, if you can earn something versus nothing for keeping your money in a checking account, we think it’s worth exploring. Any secure account where you can safely store and grow your money is a win in our book.

Who Can Get a High-Yield Checking Account?

The short answer? Anyone 18 years old and up. To open any account in the U.S., you typically need the following:

  • Be age 18 and older
  • A U.S. citizen
  • Your social security number
  • A government-issued ID

Certain accounts might suit different individuals better. For instance, a super-organized person who can meet some banks’ regular requirements to earn a higher interest rate might fare better with one type of account than someone who’s more of a “set it and forget it” type who will be fine with a lower rate and fewer requirements.

Regardless, anyone can benefit from a high-interest checking account.

How Banks Offer Higher Interest Rates

Banks offer attractive rates to incentivize people to open accounts with and keep their money with them. Some companies are able to offer even higher rates than their competitors. For example, online-only banks typically have an edge here. They have less overhead than their brick-and-mortar counterparts and can pass these savings (in the form of higher interest rates) on to consumers.

What to Look for When Opening a High-Interest Checking Account

You want to have a lay of the land before you sign on the (digital) dotted line for a new bank account. Here are some key items you want to review before going with a high-interest checking account:

  • The APY
  • Minimum to open the account
  • Monthly maintenance fee
  • ATM fee
  • Minimum deposit requirement
  • Direct deposit requirement
  • Daily balance requirement
  • Number of debit card transactions you need to hit

Rates can change, so make sure you review your account offerings compared to others on the market from time to time to ensure you have the best setup for you.

How to Choose a High-Interest Checking Account

If you’re thinking about moving to a high-interest checking account, take a few things into consideration.

  • Look for accounts that won’t negate those interest earnings by charging you fees. However, if you carry a high balance, it may be worth paying a small monthly fee to get a better interest rate. Do the math.
  • Keep an eye on minimum balance requirements. We focused on accounts that don’t require a minimum balance, but if you know that you’ll consistently have at least $1,000 in your account at all times, you may want to shop around a bit more. There may be a great deal out there.
  • Look at the requirements. Maybe you don’t use your debit card that much or you don’t want to have a direct deposit. Choose an account that fits with the way you like to use your account.
  • Keep ATMs in mind if you use them. It’s 2021, and you shouldn’t have to pay those fees. There are too many banks that are willing to cover those for you.
  • Look for accounts with a mobile app. If you do a lot of banking on your phone, make sure the bank you choose has a solid banking app. Once you find the checking account that checks all the right boxes for you and how you like to use your account, sign up and start earning money on your money already.
  • Think outside the box. If your primary bank doesn’t offer a high-yield checking account (or the rates or monthly fees are a no-go), see what else is available. Consider all your options for opening a checking account — whether it’s a brick-and-mortar bank, credit union, digital-only service or other institution altogether, it quite literally pays to open an account with a bank that will reward you for having an account with them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About High-Interest Checking Accounts

Here, we’ve gathered popular questions about high-interest checking accounts.

1. What Bank has the Highest Interest Rate on Checking Accounts?

APY rates vary at different credit unions, banks and financial institutions (they can vary by location, too). Right now, Axos Bank at 1.00% APY, offers one of the highest rates on the market.

With that said, make sure an account meets other needs you may have instead of solely chasing a high APY. If you need to match requirements unattainable for you to hit that number, for instance, the higher APY won’t matter if you won’t reliably be able to earn it.

2. Where Can You Open a High-Interest Checking Account?

Many traditional brick-and-mortar and digital-only banks, financial institutions and credit unions offer high-interest checking accounts to members. Our list of the seven best high-interest checking accounts should get you started. Those financial institutions include Axos, Ally, Charles Schwab, Capital One, MemoryBank, SoFi and NBKC.

3. How Much Interest Will I Get on $1,000 a Year in a Savings Account?

Before you do any calculations, you’ll need some key information. For instance, in addition to that $1K, will you be adding any other money throughout that year? How often will your APY compound (daily, yearly, another timeframe)? And, of course, what is your account APY?

Once you have those answers, here’s the calculation: APY=(1+r/n)^n-1. “R” is the interest rate and “N” is the number of compounding periods in one year.

In this example, let’s say you open an account with a 0.25% APY and interest compounds daily. If you don’t contribute another dollar to the account, your $1,000 will turn into an end-of-year balance of $1,002.50. Yes, interest rates are pretty low at the moment. But it still pays to funnel your money into a secure, interest-bearing account.

There are also several free APY calculators on the web that you can use to figure out interest rates specific to your account situation.

How We Picked the 7 Best Checking Accounts That Pay Interest

Our methodology for this list is simple: According to the FDIC, the average interest rate for interest-bearing checking accounts is currently 0.03%. So, we looked for accounts that came in around that range or, ideally, were higher. (Note: APR fluctuates over time, so a lower rate now could rise in the future.)

Beyond the interest rate, we looked at what else the account brings to the table. We gave preference to ones that don’t have maintenance fees or require minimum balances and that offer ATM fee reimbursement.

Contributor Kathleen Garvin (@itskgarvin) is a personal finance writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and former editor and marketer at The Penny Hoarder. She owns a content-writing business and her work has appeared in U.S. News, and Well Kept Wallet.


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