Updated March 21, 2024

Best Reward Checking Accounts

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Maximize your money with the top 10 reward checking accounts. Dodge buyer's remorse today.

Which checking accounts give the best rewards?
Here are some of the best checking accounts with rewards:

Checking AccountReward
SoFi Checking and SavingsUp to 15% cashback at participating local merchants
GO2bank7% cashback on eGift Card purchases
Discover® Cashback Debit1% cashback on up to $3,000 in purchases each month. See website for details
Upgrade Reward Checking PlusUp to 2% cashback
Consumers Credit Union Rewards CheckingUp to 5% APY
Axos CashBack CheckingUp to 1% cashback
Quontic checking accounts1% cashback
Chase Total CheckingBonus Offers
Aspiration Spend & Save3-5% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases
LendingClub Rewards Checking1% cashback for Eligible Accounts
YottaYotta Boxes and prize draws

Many banks are now offering enticing perks and benefits in their checking accounts.

From cashback incentives to bonus interest rates, spending has never been this rewarding.

Here's a list of the top rewards checking accounts to get you started.

The Best Checking Accounts with Rewards

To find the best rewards checking account for you, make sure to look at the type of rewards they offer, what you can spend on to earn rewards, and how you can maximize the rewards.

Figuring these out early on will help choose an account that will suit your lifestyle the most and maybe maximize your rewards. To start things off, let's look at the all-in-one account from SoFi.

How would you primarily use the rewards from your checking account?

1. Sofi Checking And Savings

SoFi gets you both a checking and a savings account, giving you practically everything you'll need to manage your money.

This package deal provides access to 55,000+ fee-free ATMs, zero fees, and up to 15% cashback at participating local establishments when you pay with your SoFi debit card. This incentive makes it a great place to start supporting local businesses while getting some money back.

What we like about SoFi:
SoFi's Checking and Savings have no minimum balances and monthly fees, allowing you to make the most out of the money in your account.

If you happen to overspend accidentally, SoFi has you covered with free overdraft coverage of up to $50 with qualifying direct deposits.

Because it's also a savings account, it offers a high APY on savings and Vault balances (savings goals) when you set up direct deposits.

Even without a direct deposit setup, you can still earn interest on your SoFi Checking and Savings account. The APY isn't much, but at least it's available.

Downsides:
SoFi is a purely digital bank, which means there aren't any physical locations. If you want to deposit cash, you'll need to do it through third-party retailers and pay any fees they may charge.

What are the cons of a reward checking account?
For many reward checking accounts like SoFi's, you'll still need to set up direct deposits or meet specific criteria to enjoy perks and benefits. Otherwise, you won't have much going on.

2. Go2bank

GO2bank is an online-only bank that provides all its services through a mobile app.

Their all-in-one account is both a checking and a high-yield savings account. It offers a high APY on your savings and up to 7% cashback on all eGift Card purchases.

What we like about GO2bank:
GO2bank offers a great APY and cashback combo. They go hand-in-hand like sprinkles on ice cream, giving people the best possible combo on their checking sundae.

The account also has one of the best direct deposit systems. You can access your payroll funds up to 2 days sooner, and government benefits up to 4 days earlier.[1]

They also offer overdraft protection of up to $200, which is a great backup if you need a little extra cash to cover a purchase. It won't cost you anything as long as you pay it back within 24 hours.

Downsides:
You'll need to have direct deposits to make the most out of GO2bank's account. Without it, you lose a lot of its perks (like overdraft protection and early pay).

Moreover, without a direct deposit setup, you'll need to pay a $5 monthly fee.[2]

What's the most important feature you look for in a checking account?

3. Discover® Cashback Debit

Discover® Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the US, making it an excellent landing spot for those looking for rewards on their checking account.

The Discover® Cashback Debit account offers a 1% cashback on up to $3,000 monthly debit card purchases. This means you can get up to $30 back every month if you hit that cap. See website for details.

What we like about Discover® Bank:
This account has no fees for the most part and offers free overdraft protection (as long as you opt in). This means you won't have any fees eating into your cashback rewards.

Because it's one of the biggest banks in the country, Discover also has one of the highest-rated mobile apps. You can easily cash checks with your phone, find nearby ATMs, and pay your bills.

With Apple Pay and digital wallet integration, you can access plenty of merchants online and increase your security given its biometric login feature.

What is a cashback checking account?
A cashback checking account is an account that allows you to get extra incentives or perks whenever you make qualifying purchases with the account. Thus, you earn a percentage of that purchase back in rewards.

Downsides:
Discover is online-only. And there's no way to deposit cash with Discover.

4. Upgrade Reward Checking Plus

Partnered with Cross River Bank (an FDIC-insured institution), Upgrade is a digital-only fintech company that features different reward programs.

The Upgrade Reward Checking Plus account offers up to 2% cashback on everyday purchases. They also have early access to direct deposits and zero monthly fees.

What we like about Upgrade:
With Reward Checking Plus, Active Accounts can earn 2% cashback on everyday purchases like:

  • Utilities (phone bills from T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and more)
  • Monthly subscriptions (Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, and more)
  • Convenience and drug stores (Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and more)
  • Restaurants (Starbucks, McDonald's, Uber Eats, and more)
  • Gas stations (Shell, Chevron, Speedway, and more)

An Active Account also means reimbursements for all ATM fees.

Don't worry; not having an Active Account won't disqualify you from the rewards. You'll still be able to earn 1% cashback on everyday purchases, even with a non-Active account.

An Active Account is an extension of Upgrade's account that allows you to get more perks from their program. To achieve this status, you need to receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits (from an employer or benefits provider) through Upgrade.

Downsides:
The cashback program has a yearly cap of $500 to earn 2%. Anything beyond will only entitle you to 1%.

Since you also need an Active Account for most of the perks, you might have to settle with a lower cashback reward.

5. Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking

Consumers Credit Union is a Michigan-based credit union that offers many types of accounts, including a variety of savings and checking accounts.

Free Rewards Checking account is tiered. Here's how it works:

Earn 3.00% APY* on balances up to $10,000:

  • Receive eDocuments (enroll and accept the disclosure)
  • Make at least 12 debit card purchases each month.
  • Direct deposits, Mobile Check Deposits or ACH Credits totaling $500 or more monthly

Earn 4.00% APY* on balances up to $10,000:

  • Meet requirements to earn 3.00% APY plus:
  • Spend $500 or more in CCU Visa Credit Card purchases each month; no minimum number of transactions.

Earn 5.00% APY* on balances up to $10,000:

  • Meet requirements to earn 3.00% APY plus:
  • Spend $1000 or more in CCU Visa Credit Card purchases each month; no minimum number of transactions.

For all tiers, balances from $10,000.01 - $25,000.00 earn 0.20% APY and balances $25,000.01 and greater earn 0.10% APY.

Why we like Consumers Credit Union:
Consumers Credit Union offers unlimited reimbursements on all ATM fees, no monthly maintenance fees, and doesn't require a minimum balance.

They also have nearly 30,000 ATMs and over 5,000 shared branches nationwide.

Downsides:
Consumer Credit Union's overdraft fees can get a little high.[3]
If you have a connected account (savings, money market, or home equity line of credit), you'll be charged $10 per overdraft transfer.

Even if you use their Overdraft Protection service, each transaction up to your overdraft limit incurs a Courtesy Pay Fee of $35. You may also be charged additional fees if you overdraw your account beyond the limit.

6. Axos Cashback Checking

Axos is a fully digital bank offering different types of checking accounts.

Their CashBack Checking account gives you an opportunity to earn 1% cashback on any purchase requiring a signature (up to $2,000 in cashback per month).

What we like about Axos:
Axos CashBack Checking account also has unlimited ATM domestic fee reimbursements. You can use any ATM you want without having to worry about out-of-network fees.

Axos also doesn't have monthly service charges, making it possible for you to enjoy your earned rewards in full.

Downsides:
To get 1% cashback, you'll need to maintain a balance of at least $1,500. Anything below will only earn you 0.5% cashback.

7. Quontic Checking Accounts

Quontic is a purely digital bank that offers a great cashback account with a unique way to pay.

Their cashback account is called the Cash Rewards Checking account. If you like cash (because who doesn't?), you can go with the Cash Rewards Checking account. This will give you 1% cashback on all eligible debit card purchases.

What we like about Quontic:
Quontic's Cash Rewards Checking account won't charge you any monthly or overdraft fees, so you can enjoy your rewards without any additional charges.

They also offer a unique product called the Quontic Pay Ring. This is a wearable payment device that allows you to leave your debit card at home and still make contactless payments. You can order this for free if you already have a Quontic checking account.

Downsides:
The main drawback to using Quontic is that it's an online-only bank, meaning you won't be able to deposit cash into the account.

Quontic also has a higher-than-average opening deposit. Before opening an account, make sure you have enough money to meet the initial deposit requirement.

8. Chase Total Checking

As one of the biggest banks in the US, Chase is a fantastic choice when beginning your banking journey.

Although traditional banks like Chase don't usually have rewards on their checking accounts, it often has awesome bonuses.

The Chase Total Checking account lets you waive service fees when you receive $500 in direct deposits each month.

What we like about Chase:
Chase has one of the strongest mobile apps on the market. It has tools to help you save better, create spending rules, and even learn more about banking in general.

With Chase, your money is also highly accessible. They have 15,000+ ATMs and 4,700+ branches nationwide.

Downsides:
The bonus could be your only reward for this account. No cashback bonuses or bonus APYs to strive for. The bonus may also vary depending on the current promo they have (if they have any at all).

Also, if you don't meet the requirements for waiving the monthly fee, you'll need to pay $12 every month.[4]

$12 Monthly Service Fee OR $0 with one of the following, each monthly statement period:
  • Qualifying electronic deposits made into this account totaling $500 or more,
  • OR a balance at the beginning of each day of $1,500 or more in this account,
  • OR an average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying Chase checking, savings, and other balances

9. Aspiration Spend & Save

Aspiration is a socially responsible fintech company that aims to make the world a better place. They do this by offering ethical banking services and investing products.

Their Spend & Save account is a "Pay What Is Fair" plan, meaning you can pay any monthly service fee you want —even $0.

Aspiration also offers a higher-level plan: Aspiration Plus. It'll cost you $7.99/month (or $5.99/month if you pay annually), but it comes with extra perks.[5] They include higher APY, higher cashback, and even free phone protection ($600 in phone insurance when you pay your monthly bill with your Aspiration debit card).

What we like about Aspiration:
Aspiration offers 3-5% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases. This is their catalog of businesses that put "doing the right thing" at the heart of their business.[6]

With the Plant Your Charge initiative, purchases made with your debit card are rounded up to the nearest whole dollar and the rest is used to plant a tree.

There are also additional rewards for reaching tree-planting milestones. Rewards start with $5 for 30 trees planted going all the way up to $200 for 5,000 trees planted.[7]

If your ideals and personal values align with Aspiration, this is the bank for you. They encourage you to shop consciously and reward you for it.

Downsides:
Although the savings APY can be attractive, it only applies to balances of up to $10,000. Anything in excess of this amount won't earn interest.

What is a free rewards checking account?
A free rewards checking account typically does not charge fees for monthly maintenance, overdrafts, or debit transactions.

Note that Aspiration has no physical locations. As such, you cannot fund your account through cash deposit, only by electronic transfer and mobile check deposit.

10. LendingClub Rewards Checking

LendingClub is a digital-only fintech company and marketplace that connects investors and lenders with consumers.

Their Rewards Checking Account offers unlimited 1% cashback on qualified purchases using a debit card tied to an Eligible Account.

What we like about LendingClub:
LendingClub's cashback rewards don't have a maximum amount. As long as you meet the requirements, you can keep earning rewards without ever hitting a cap.

On top of that, they offer unlimited ATM fee rebates. They don't charge any fees of their own and rebate eligible ATM surcharges at the end of each statement cycle.

Downsides:
Your account needs to be deemed "Eligible" to earn the cashback rewards. For some, the requirements might be a little steep.

For your account to be considered Eligible, you'll need to maintain an average balance of at least $1,000 or receive at least $1,000 in qualifying direct deposits (recurring ACH credits like payroll or government benefits).

LendingClub's APY also isn't as competitive as you might hope. To earn a higher APY, you'll need at least $100,000 in your account. And even then, the rates are minimal.

11. Yotta

Yotta is a fintech company that puts a different spin on banking. They have essentially turned their mechanics into a game, giving you a chance to win big money through daily draws and surprise boxes.

If you're concerned about how legit this is, don't worry. They are supported by FDIC-insured Evolve Bank & Trust, a banking provider that specializes in working with fintech companies.

What we like about Yotta:
Yotta encourages banking by giving everyone a chance to win big prizes. Every time you make a debit card purchase, you get a Yotta Box.

A Yotta Box is a box with a pre-assigned amount of cash. You won't know what's in it until it's in your account. It could have as much as 100% cashback on your purchase—or nothing at all.[8]

Yotta also offers daily draws, where you can win a grand prize of up to $1 million. You get tickets for the daily draws based on how much you have in your account.

Depending on how many numbers you match, you can win big money—$2,000, $20,000, or even the grand prize.

Downsides:
As fun as Yotta makes banking, they turn your rewards into a game of chance. Even if they promise that "you can't lose," it's still possible to get $0.

And although Yotta provides app-wide data for the past 30 days (like winners and how much they won), they aren't totally transparent about how they set the amounts in each Yotta Box.

What is a Rewards Checking Account?

A rewards checking account is just like a regular checking account, except it offers extra incentives or perks on top. This may include higher APYs, cashback, and more.

Basically, these types of accounts let you earn rewards when you spend. Many rewards checking accounts will have specific qualifications, so be sure to look at each account and see if the rewards are worth it for you.

  • Rewards when you spend
  • Unique perks with your checking account
  • May have requirements to earn rewards
  • May have limits on perks

How to Choose the Best Rewards Checking Account

Before you open an account, make sure to look at each one closely and see which suits you the most. After all, each person will have different priorities.

Here are some of the factors worth considering:

  • Rewards
    What kind of rewards do you want? Some accounts give you cashback on all purchases, while others are on certain categories only. Knowing this could help you prioritize the most suitable rewards and pick the right account for your needs.

  • Fees & minimum balances
    Be on the lookout for any monthly fees and minimum deposits or balances you can waive. Also, check the fees on overdrafts, ATM withdrawals, and miscellaneous items.

  • Requirement for rewards
    Some rewards will require you to keep a minimum balance to earn them. Make sure they're requirements you can meet to maximize all of the account's rewards.

  • Other banking features
    Remember that it isn't just about the rewards. Look at the features the account offers with both its in-person and mobile banking. Things like early access to direct deposits and 24/7 online banking could make your life a whole lot easier.

How often do you switch checking accounts to take advantage of better offers?

Methodology

To come up with this list, we looked at many checking account options and reviewed what type of rewards they offered.

We chose accounts that offered little to no fees (or at least fees that were easy to waive), because it doesn't make sense for them to eat into your rewards.

Then, we cross-checked all the rewards and chose ones that not only offered the best but also provided solid banking services on top.

Bottom Line

Choosing a checking account that answers your needs as well as rewards you for how you spend your money could go a long way.

Before you even think about opening an account, make sure you've considered all the factors and different bank accounts.

The goal is to be prepared for anything. Once you are, you can begin reaping the rewards.

References

  1. ^ GO2bank. Direct deposit, Retrieved 8/23/23
  2. ^ GO2bank. What is the monthly fee?, Retrieved 8/15/2023
  3. ^ Consumers Credit Union. Prevent purchases from going overboard, Retrieved 11/23/2023
  4. ^ Chase. Chase Total Checking - A Guide To Your Account, Retrieved 8/15/2023
  5. ^ Aspiration. Spend and Save Fees Schedule, Retrieved 8/15/2023
  6. ^ Aspiration, Retrieved 8/23/23
  7. ^ Aspiration. Plant Your Change Disclosure, Retrieved 8/15/2023
  8. ^ Yotta Box, Retrieved 8/23/23

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Best Free Checking Accounts

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