An impressive number of online banks offer relatively high yields on savings accounts, money market accounts, and even checking accounts. Yes, even when interest rates are low.
And everyone needs a checking account. Why not choose one with a yield that rivals the best high-yield savings accounts?
Best High-Yield Checking Accounts
Many of these high-yield checking accounts are on our roundups of the best free checking accounts and best checking accounts with monthly maintenance fees. If you hate monthly service fees, know that most banks happily waive those fees when you meet minimum balance or monthly transaction requirements.
Wealthfront Cash Account
The Wealthfront Cash Account earns 4.55% APY on all balances — one of the best cash account yields on the market. It links seamlessly with Wealthfront’s other core product, a low-cost robo-advisor.
Aspiration Spend & Save
Get up to 3.00% APY on the first $10,000 in your account and earn up to 10% back on purchases with select Aspiration partners.
Up to 3.00% APY on the first $10,000
$0 for a standard account, $7.99 for Aspiration Plus
Earn up to 7% cash back when you buy eGift cards in the app. Plus, earn 4.50% APY paid quarterly on savings balances up to $5,000.
$5, waived with direct deposit
Earn 3.30% APY with no minimum balance when you upgrade to M1 Plus. Additional benefits include 1% cash back on debit purchases and up to 10% back on credit card purchases.
$125 per year to earn interest (after year one)
Quontic High Interest Checking
Earn 1.10% APY on eligible balances when you make at least 10 qualifying transactions in a statement period. Plus, enjoy fee-free access to more than 90,000 ATMs across multiple networks in the United States.
Nationwide Advantage Checking
Earn up to 0.90% APY with qualifying activities — $1,000 or more in total direct deposits and at least 10 transactions per month.
Up to 0.90% APY
Methodology: How We Select the Best High-Yield Checking Accounts
We evaluated dozens of checking accounts to build this list. We considered several key variables along the way. The accounts that made the final cut scored well on most or all of them.
Account Yield (Interest Rate)
Remember, these are high-yield checking accounts we’re talking about. Yield is a key selling point for the banks marketing them, which is why it’s the most important factor in our analysis.
Monthly Fee & Waiver Options
The best high-yield checking accounts are either truly free, meaning they don’t charge monthly fees under any circumstances. Unfortunately, truly free checking accounts aren’t as common as they used to be, so we make exceptions for accounts that make it easy to get monthly fees waived with a qualifying direct deposit or clearing a reasonable minimum balance.
Bonuses and Rewards
The best high-yield checking accounts tend to offer sign-up bonuses for new account holders, rewards programs that pay you back for eligible purchases, or both. It’s not a deal-breaker when high-yield checking accounts lack these features, but all else being equal, we prefer that they do.
Balance Requirements & Limits
We believe you shouldn’t have to save up a fortune to benefit from a high-yield checking account. Most of the accounts on this list have no minimum balance or very low minimum balances. A few do have maximum balances to earn interest, but those are high enough not to impact most users.
Cash is less and less common these days, but ATM access is still important for many checking account users. And we believe you shouldn’t have to pay a fee to get your money. This is why, all else being equal, we prefer high-yield checking accounts with big fee-free ATM networks.
Some high-yield checking accounts have geographic restrictions, either because you have to open them in a branch or the banks offering them simply don’t operate in certain states. We exclude accounts with strict geographic restrictions and prefer 50-state coverage when possible.
High-Yield Checking FAQs
Choosing a checking account isn’t as simple as it sounds. You’ll almost certainly have some questions as you get into it, so we’ve preemptively answered some of the most important.
How Much Interest Do High-Yield Checking Accounts Pay?
It depends on the bank’s policy and prevailing interest rates. However, a good rule of thumb is that the best high-yield checking accounts pay interest on par with the top high-yield savings accounts.
Are There Any Requirements to Earn Interest?
Some high-yield checking accounts attach no strings at all to interest payments, but many do. The most common requirements include:
- Setting up and maintaining a qualifying direct deposit
- Meeting a monthly transaction minimum
- Meeting a monthly or daily minimum balance
What’s the Maximum Balance to Earn Interest?
Many high-yield checking accounts pay interest on all balances, which is ideal if you keep a big financial buffer in your checking account. Others cap interest payments though. Usually, the cap is relatively high — $5,000 or more.
How Much Do High-Yield Checking Accounts Cost?
Ideally, nothing. And the best high-yield checking accounts are indeed free checking accounts. For accounts that do charge a monthly maintenance fee, we prefer easy waiver options, such as any direct deposit or a low minimum balance ($500 or below).
Are High-Yield Checking Accounts Actually Savings Accounts?
Sometimes. The line between checking and savings is blurrier these days because many banks and financial technology apps package checking and savings products into the same digital interface. Several of the accounts on this list are package deals.
Like mortgage rates and CD yields, checking account yields rise and fall as benchmark interest rates change.
During periods of economic uncertainty, when benchmark rates tend to be more volatile, these changes can occur with disorienting frequency. The yield you expect on that shiny new online checking account might not be the yield you actually receive.
The silver lining is that competition for new checking account customers remains fierce, especially among online banks and smaller brick-and-mortar institutions without household name status.
That means checking account yields will continue to entice new account holders, wherever interest rates go and irrespective of what happens on the savings account front.