This article has been just updated:
Your checking account is your financial hub, allowing you to easily pay bills and make purchases. If you’ve been using a Chase checking account for some time, you might be wondering if it’s still the best checking account in December 2019. To help you answer this question, we’ve researched multiple popular checking accounts and picked 7 best options for you to consider.
Chasing Lower Fees
There are several things Chase customers don’t like about their checking accounts. To start with, Chase is one of the largest card issuers in the United States, and its customer service isn’t exactly personal. The company’s BBB rating is just 1 star, and its Trustpilot score isn’t much better.
Then there are Chase’s monthly fees. If you have a Chase Premier Plus Checking or a Chase Sapphire Checking account, you have to pay $25 every month unless you maintain a balance of over $15,000 or over $75,000 respectively across linked Chase accounts. If you have a Chase Total Checking account, your monthly fee is $12, unless you have $500 or more in monthly direct deposits, $1,500 minimum daily balance, or keep at least $5,000 across Chase accounts.
Overdraft charges are similarly high for all checking accounts except for Chase Sapphire Checking, which doesn’t charge for up to four overdrafts within 12 months.
As you can see, there are quite a few reasons to look for a Chase alternative in December 2019, and making the switch isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think, provided you know how to choose a checking account.
How to Choose a Checking Account
A checking account is a fantastic everyday financial tool that gives you limitless access to your money, allowing you to withdraw, transfer, and receive funds as needed. This is what separates checking accounts from saving accounts, which allow you to earn a good yield on your savings but limit your ability to access your money.
When choosing a checking account, always pay attention to the following:
- Fees: With so many checking accounts to choose from, there’s really no reason to settle for a checking account with high fees. If you’re a Chase customer, you’re most likely already used to high fees, so your situation can only improve.
- Customer support: Sign up bonuses may convince customers to open an account, but excellent customer support is what makes them stay. Indeed, there’s nothing worse than being loyal to a bank for many years, only to discover that your loyalty doesn’t mean anything to them.
- Branch and ATM accessibility: The number of branches and ATMs is extremely important when choosing a checking account, but what matters the most is how accessible they are to you. For example, even though Chase has over 5,100 branches, they are located in only 23 states. If you live in a state where Chase hasn’t established a presence yet, you’re out of luck.
- Online and mobile access: Any bank that hasn’t yet fully embraced the potential of online and mobile banking should be avoided. Having direct control over your transactions from anywhere and at any time is something you won’t be able to live without once you get used to it. Other benefits of online and mobile banking include automated account alerts, paperless statements, the ability to instantly transfer money between accounts, and the ability to conveniently pay bills.
- Reputation: Would you give money to someone you don’t trust? You wouldn’t, of course. Similarly, you should never give money to a bank whose reputation doesn’t precede him, and it doesn’t matter what the bank’s insurance policy is.
Top 7 Best Checking Accounts Dec 2019
Designed for Schwab investors, the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account is our favorite Chase alternative in December 2019 because it offers unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, doesn’t come with account minimums or monthly fees, and gives you 0.15% APY on your account balance. Schwab’s customer service is on a different level compared with Chase, and the company, which is now ranked among the largest banks and brokerage firms in the United States, has been around since 1971, so you know that you can trust it with your money.
Founded in 2013, Chime is a relatively young branchless bank that entirely revolves around online and mobile banking. With a Chime Spending account, you get unlimited cash withdrawals at over 38,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATMs and over 30,000 cashback locations. Locating a suitable ATM is easy thanks to the Chime mobile app, which offers a whole host of useful features to help you manage your finances, including real-time transaction notifications, daily balance alerts, fee-free overdraft, and instant card blocking. If you’re wondering how to deposit money to an account with a branchless bank, the answer is simple: just deposit cash at over 90,000 retail locations with Green Dot.
Just like Chime, Bank5 is an online bank with no monthly fees and paperless statements. It boasts a solid ATM network, higher savings rates than many traditional competitors, and a mobile-friendly platform to help you manage your finances. By making purchases with the Bank5 Connect Visa debit card, you can earn attractive cashback at popular stores and restaurants, which is just one of many ways how you can save money with a Bank5 Connect High Interest Checking account. To earn an annual percentage yield of 0.76%, all you need to do is keep at least $100 in your account.
It pays off to spend a lot of money with a Discover Checking account because you can get 1% cashback on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases. For example, spending $2,000 with your Discover debit card earns you $240 a year, which is not an insignificant sum of money. Since there are absolutely no monthly maintenance fees to worry about, you can make this your secondary checking account and use it together with your Chase account. Discover lets you withdraw money from over 60,000 non-fee ATMs in the US, and you can easily discover how many of them are in your location with its ATM finder.
Capital One is ranked 10th on the list of largest banks in the United States by assets, and its popular checking account offers a great banking experience characterized by high interest rates, low fees, and flexible overdraft options. We especially like the option to deposit checks using a smartphone and the Capital One Mobile app. The app works great both on Android and iOS devices, and lets you securely send money to friends and family using Zelle, report fraud, make auto and home loan payments, redeem rewards for statement credit, and view and export statements, among other things.
The USAA Federal Savings Bank Classic Checking account is great for military families, offering access to several attractive financial products, over 60,000 ATMs, and refunds of up to $15 a month on other banks’ ATM fees. USAA doesn’t charge its customers any monthly maintenance fees, so your funds will remain the same even if you stop using your account for a while. To open a USAA Federal Savings Bank Classic Checking account all you need is US military affiliation and $25 for the initial deposit. Just don’t expect impressive interest rates because you won’t get them, but that’s the case with almost all checking accounts.
Using a smartphone to pay bills is one thing, but making financial transactions with the help of Amazon Alexa is something else entirely. Yes, with the Ally Bank Interest Checking account, you can transfer money with your voice, and do it without monthly maintenance fees. You can also use any Allpoint ATM in the US for free. If you have to withdraw from a non-Allpoint ATM, you can rest assured knowing that Ally (formally GMAC, an acronym for General Motors Acceptance Corporation) will reimburse up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged.
As you can now hopefully see, there are many excellent checking accounts to choose from in December 2019, so there’s no reason to stick with your old Chase account if it doesn’t work for you anymore. At the very least, you can get a second checking account to complement your Chase account since most checking accounts listed in this article have absolutely no monthly maintenance fees.