Many large banks across America, including Capital One, Charles Schwab, Ally and FNBO Bank, offer free checking accounts for consumers. However, consumers should beware. Just because a financial institution offers free checking accounts, it doesn’t mean you won’t encounter fees while you use your account.

Apply for an account at any one of these banks online, and when you sign up, you can enjoy the following benefits. Read the terms of service before you agree to use any financial establishment, and make sure you know the risks involved with the account.

The Capital One 360 checking account is completely free. There are no monthly fees for having the account, no fees associated with using your debit card and no foreign transaction fees when using any Allpoint ATM. This account has no overdraft fees and offers a reward points program. You only need $1 to open the account.

Charles Schwab Bank also offers free checking to customers. With this account, you run the risk of encountering a $25 fee if you bounce a check, but you don’t have to pay a surcharge when you use any ATM. You only need to have $1 to open the account, and you can access your account online at any time. You can also earn interest on money in the account, and you only need $50 to open a checking account.

FNBO Bank has a free checking account option, but there is a higher risk of being charged fees in other areas. The bank charges a $3 fee if you use an ATM that doesn’t belong to this bank. You are also be charged $33 every time you overdraw your checking account.

Ally Bank is another free checking option, and you don’t need to have any money to open an account. There is no fee for using your debit card, and you earn interest on the money in your account. Ally charges no fees no matter what ATM you use when you need to take out cash with your card, and it even pays the fees assessed by other banks for using their ATMs.

Local credit unions also often offer free checking accounts and low prices on other consumer finance instruments. Because they are non-profit organizations, credit unions are able to pay higher interest rates while charging lower rates for consumer loans.

If you want a free checking account, be sure to weigh the risks of potential fees in the future and to read the fine print as you consider various banking institutions. Most banks offer online banking, along with a mobile application that allows you to check your balance, transfer money and more from your smart device.

  1. Can a checking account go negative?

    Find out about negative checking account balances and the ramifications. There is a price to pay, but smart consumers can ... Read Answer >>
  2. What Are the Pros and Cons of Online Checking Accounts?

    Learn about the ways an online checking account can save you time and money, but understand the drawbacks before signing ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the differences between preference shares and bonds?

    Learn what information banks keep on file for their customers, and understand how this information can be used to deny an ... Read Answer >>
  4. How ATM Fee Reimbursement Works (ALLY, EVER)

    Learn how ATM fee reimbursement works, identify some of the banks that offer it and understand the typical limitations that ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Cut Your Bank Fees

    Find out how to get the bank to pay you for using their services, not the other way around.
  2. Personal Finance

    5 Bank Fees You May Not Know About

    Banking regulations have recently changed and fees are following suit.
  3. Small Business

    Best Checking Accounts For Small Businesses

    What you need to know to choose the best checking account for your small business – and where to look.
  4. Financial Advisor

    Is A Premium Checking Account Worth It?

    Premium checking accounts give you free checking and other perks in return for keeping a certain balance in the bank. Is that the best use of your money?
  5. Personal Finance

    Bank Account Tips For Young People

    If you’re just getting started with managing your own bank account, these tips will show you how to do it right.
  6. Personal Finance

    Top Checking Accounts With No Overdraft Fees

    Choosing the right checking account could save you hundreds of dollars in fees every year.
  7. Personal Finance

    Forget Your Bank Account - Use Your Credit Card

    What if you used your credit card as a bank account? Believe it or not, this strange strategy could actually work.
  8. Managing Wealth

    Checking Account Reviews: Chase Premium Platinum

    Which perks and services come with Premier Platinum and is it worth the cost to you?
  9. Managing Wealth

    Don't Get Ripped Off at the ATM

    As our dependence on automated teller machines rises, so do those nasty little charges for using them. Here are some tips on bypassing fees.
  10. Personal Finance

    4 Ways to Ditch Bank Overdraft Fees

    At $35 a pop, overdraft fees can mount up quickly. Here are 4 different strategies for avoiding them.
  1. Bounced Check

    A bounced check is slang for a check that cannot be processed ...
  2. Savings Account

    A savings account is a deposit account held at a bank or other ...
  3. Bank Fees

    Bank fees are nominal fees for a variety of account set-up and ...
  4. Available Balance

    The available balance is the balance in checking or on-demand ...
  5. Automated Teller Machine - ATM

    An automated teller machine is an electronic banking outlet for ...
  6. Certified Check

    A certified check is a type of check for which the issuing bank ...
Trading Center