Best Checking Accounts – December 2020

Keeping your money in the right checking account is essential. The best ones have decent returns, fewer fees, and minimal restrictions. If you’re thinking about switching banks or just want to try somewhere new, Bankrate’s list of the best checking accounts for December 2020 will help you get started.

Best APY

Heritage Bank eCentive Checking Account

If you open a Heritage Bank eCentive checking account, you can earn up to 1.29% APY on balances up to $25,000. To qualify, you need to make at least ten separate debit purchases and one direct deposit every month. Additionally, you must also sign up for eStatements.

You don’t have to worry about service fees or minimum balance requirements, though there is a $100 opening deposit. You can check your bank account online or with the Heritage Bank eCentive mobile banking app. The app’s Popmoney feature also lets you send money to other people from your phone. Heritage Bank eCentive will reimburse up to $25 for ATM fees each month as well. 

Best For No Fees

Simple Individual Checking

With a Simple’Individual Checking account, you can earn 0.60% APY and pay absolutely no fees. Simple only charges for checks, and even then, it’s $5 for 25. With Simple’s mobile app, you can make deposits and transfers, connect other bank accounts, and block a lost or stolen card. It also offers helpful budgeting tools to monitor your spending and meet financial goals. Simple will deposit the money you want to save for this goal in another account that offers 0.60% APY. 

Runner-Up For No/Few Fees

nbkc bank Everything Account

The nbkc bank Everything Account is another good option if you prioritize checking accounts with little to no extra charges. You only need $5 to open an account and a balance of 0.01 cents to start earning interest. 

You can link other accounts, set up online bill pay, and make mobile check deposits with the nbkc bank mobile app. And with 34,000 MoneyPass ATMs throughout the US, you don’t have to worry about getting hit with pesky ATM fees. But if you do, nbkc bank will refund up t o$12 each month.

Best Introductory APY

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge Checking

New accounts are eligible for 0.40% APY for the first year, then 0.12% on balance tiers after that. TIAA keeps its APY competitive by maintaining rates in the top 5% of banks. You don’t have to pay monthly fees or hold a certain balance. 

TIAA Bank also offers rewards for debit card users, such as extended warranties on qualifying purchases, 60-day price protection with refunds for price differences up to $250, and $250 for buyer’s remorse or dissatisfaction within 90 days if you can’t return the purchase.

With the mobile banking app, you can check your accounts, pay your bills, send money to others with Zelle, and make money transfers. You’ll also get access to 80,000 in-network ATMs around the country and refunds if you have an average daily balance of $5,000. If you don’t maintain this balance, you can still receive $15 back each month.

Best Cashback Offer

Discover Cashback Debit

While the Discover Cashback Debit account doesn’t offer returns like others on this list, it does offer something you don’t see from many checking accounts: rewards.

Discover is popular for its cashback credit card programs, so it makes sense it would offer similar perks to debit card users. When you use your Discover Cashback Debit card, you can earn 1% back on the first $3,000 you spend every month — about a $30 value.

Discover will automatically transfer your cashback into a Discover Online Savings account, which comes with an excellent APY. You don’t need to maintain a minimum balance or make a deposit to open a Discover checking account, but you must make a deposit within 45 days after opening, or Discover will close it.

This account also has no fees, including overdrafts, returned checks, insufficient funds, stop payment orders, ordering new checks, or rushed delivery for new debit cards. You can contact customer service at any time and get access to over 60,000 in-network ATMs. 

The Discover mobile banking app has all the features you need for convenient online banking, including mobile deposits and debit card freezes.


  • Bankrate. “Best Checking Accounts for December 2020.” Bankrate, 2 Dec. 2020,


Ian Schindler