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.

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