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13 Best High-Yield Checking Accounts That Pay You Interest – Rates for 2021


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Prevailing interest rates — most importantly, the federal funds rate set by the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States — have been low by historical standards since the global financial crisis of the late 2000s.

Borrowers are the natural beneficiaries of low interest rates, so perennially low rates are welcome news for homebuyers and other borrowers eager for cheap financing. They’re not so great, however, for deposit account holders seeking reasonable returns on cash parked with their bank or credit union of choice.

Virtually all financial institutions tie deposit account yields to prevailing benchmark rates, so declines in key interest rate benchmarks show up in deposit account yields in short order.

But it’s not quite a race to the bottom. An impressive number of online banks offer relatively high yields on savings accounts, money market accounts, and even checking accounts.

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.

Because actual yields and account terms are subject to change at the institutions’ discretion, often without warning, check this list frequently and use each institution’s account disclosures to confirm specific details.

1. Citi Elevate Checking

Earn Up to 0.25% APY, Depending on Balance

Citibank Logo

Citi’s Elevate Checking is an online checking account available in many states. Clocking in at 20 times the national checking average, its yield is the star of the show.

Other key features include no minimum to open, no monthly fees with a qualifying minimum balance, unlimited waived and reimbursed ATM fees, and a robust suite of online banking tools (including person-to-person (P2P) payments and mobile check deposits) that empower you to manage your money on the go.

And don’t miss the handy Spending Insights tool, which provides granular detail on your spending patterns.

  • Yield: 0.05% annual percentage yield (APY) on balances up to $9,999; 0.10% APY on balances from $10,000 to $24,999; and 0.25% APY on balances above $25,000.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit. To waive the $15 monthly maintenance fee, you need to maintain an average monthly balance of $5,000.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Enjoy unlimited ATM fee waivers and reimbursements worldwide.
  • Mobile Features: Citibank has a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: See account disclosures for more details about fees on this account.

2. Varo Bank Account

Earn Up to 3.00% APY on Balances Up to $5,000 With Qualifying Activities

Varo Bank Logo

The Varo Bank Account has one of the highest savings account yields on the market for customers able to meet the requirements to earn 3.00% APY* on balances up to $5,000 in a Varo Savings Account linked to the Varo Bank Account.

Varo’s nonexistent account minimums are worth celebrating in their own right, but it’s the early direct deposit option that really shines. If your employer or government benefits provider files to the Federal Reserve to start the direct deposit process, you could receive your funds up to two days early.^

  • Annual Percentage Yield: The Varo Bank Account does not pay interest. However, when you open one and then open a Varo Savings Account, you can earn up to 3.00% APY* on your savings account balance. To earn 3.00% APY, you must meet all of the following requirements each qualifying period**: Make at least five qualifying Varo Bank Visa® Debit Card purchases and receive qualifying total direct deposits of $1,000 or more. Additionally, you will need to meet these daily balance requirements at close of business during the calendar month: Do not exceed a daily savings balance of $5,000 for the entire calendar month and keep your bank and savings account balances greater than or equal to $0.00. Otherwise, you earn 0.20% APY* on your Varo Savings Account balance.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit or ongoing balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: There’s currently no account opening bonus.
  • Mobile Features: Varo has a fully functional mobile app and a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Varo has no minimum balance, funds transfer, foreign transaction, or monthly maintenance fees. Varo charges an out-of-network ATM Withdrawal Fee of $2.50 per withdrawal.

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* Varo APY is accurate as of April 12, 2021. This rate is variable and may change. No minimum balance required to open an account. Balance in the savings account must be at least $0.01 to earn interest.

**The qualifying period begins the first calendar day of the month and ends at close of business on the last business day of the month.

^ Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the payer’s submission of deposits. Varo generally posts such deposits on the day they’re received, which may be up to two days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.

Bank Account Services provided by Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Visa® Debit Card is issued by Varo Bank, N.A. pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

3. Wealthfront Cash Account

Earn Up to 0.10% APY on All Balances

Wealthfront Logo

Wealthfront pairs a low-cost investment management solution with an excellent high-yield checking account, the Cash Account.

The Wealthfront Cash Account has a virtually nonexistent minimum opening deposit, high yields on all balances, no account fees, and a great lineup of value-added features, including Self-Driving Money™.

Self-Driving Money™ is a powerful money management automation tool that effortlessly allocates deposits among near-term expenses, variable-term savings goals, and longer-term investment objectives, all while making sure your emergency fund is topped up and you’ve got enough left over to enjoy life.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $1. There’s no ongoing maintenance fee.
  • Yield: Currently 0.10% APY on all balances.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit, enjoy seamless mobile check deposit for one-off deposits and recurring payments, and put your money to work in the market within minutes when you use your Cash Account to invest in a Wealthfront Investment Account. Plus, get FDIC insurance on balances up to $1 million (standard coverage tops out at $250,000), free in-network ATM access, and the ability to pay friends with apps like Cash App, Venmo, PayPal, and others.
  • Possible Fees: Wealthfront doesn’t charge any account fees or overdraft fees. See disclosures for a complete accounting of possible fees.

See our Wealthfront review for more information.

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4. Go2bank

Go2bank Logo

Earn Up to 7% Cash Back When You Buy eGift Cards in the App1; 1% APY2 paid quarterly on Savings Up to $5,000

With an impressive yield on savings (1% APY on savings up to $5,000) and up to 7% cash back on eligible electronic gift card purchases in the app, Go2bank is a user-friendly online bank account to watch.

Go2bank’s benefits are too numerous to name here. Highlights include:

  • Up to $200 in overdraft protection with opt-in and eligible direct deposit. (Overdrafts paid at Go2bank’s discretion and terms and conditions apply.)
  • Get paid up to two days early with ASAP Direct DepositTM 3.
  • Deposit cash at participating retail stores (fees and deposit limits may apply).

Plus, avoid the $5 monthly fee with eligible direct deposit.

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: Go2bank doesn’t have minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance requirements.
  • Yield: Earn 1% APY1 on savings up to $5,000.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Get paid up to two days early with ASAP Direct DepositTM 3 and earn as much as 7% cash back on eGift Card purchases made in the app (3% cash back on Amazon gift card purchases)
  • Possible Fees: Avoid the $5 monthly fee with eligible direct deposit. A $15 fee may apply to each overdraft transaction not repaid within 24 hours of authorization of the first transaction that overdrafts the account. See other simple fees at

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1Active GO2bank account required to receive an eGift Card. eGift Card merchants subject to change

2GO2bank, Member FDIC. Interest paid quarterly on the average daily balance of savings during the quarter up to a $5,000 balance and if the account is in good standing. 1% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of January 2021. APY may change before or after you open an account. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.05% is determined by the FDIC as of 12/14/20. Visit to learn more. Fees on your primary deposit account may reduce earnings on your savings account.

3Direct deposit early availability depends on timing of payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period. The name and Social Security number on file with your employer or benefits provider must match your GO2bank account exactly or we will decline your deposit.

5. Signature Federal Credit Union High-Yield Checking

Earn Up to 1.50% APY With Qualifying Activities

Signature Federal Logo

Signature Federal Credit Union might not be as well-known as banking giants like Citi and Chase, but its high-yield checking account is definitely worth going out on a limb for.

Meet the qualifying activity requirements each month, and you can earn 1.50% APY on balances up to $20,000, many times higher than the national checking account average.

Perks like free checks only increase the account’s appeal.

  • Yield: Earn 1.50% APY on balances up to $20,000 in statement cycles during which you do the following: receive a total of $1,000 in direct deposits, complete at least 10 debit card transactions that post during the statement cycle, and enroll (or remain enrolled) in electronic statements. Balances above $20,000 have much lower yields.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no ongoing minimum balance requirement, but you must make a token share deposit to open your first account.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Get one free book of standard checks each year.
  • Mobile Features: Signature Federal Credit Union has a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Outgoing wires, cashier’s checks.

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6. FNBO Direct Online Checking Account

Earn Up to 0.15% APY, Depending on Balance

fnbo direct logo

The FNBO Direct online checking account is a straightforward product that pays an attractive yield on all balances above $0.01 and boasts a negligible minimum opening deposit ($1).

Despite its no-frills appearance, this account has a nice mobile platform that lets you send money directly to friends and family at no charge.

FNBO does have some drawbacks: no reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees and hefty daily overdraft fees.

  • Yield: This account yields 0.15% APY on all balances above $0.01, up to $1 million.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $1 and a minimum balance of $0.01 required to earn APY.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: FNBO Direct doesn’t charge its own ATM withdrawal fees (at more than 55,000 ATMs in North America). However, it never reimburses ATM withdrawal fees charged by other banks.
  • Mobile Features: Pay bills and send money for free using FNBO’s secure app. You can opt in to text alerts for account updates as well.
  • Possible Fees: Outgoing wires, cashier’s checks.

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7. LendingClub Bank Rewards Checking

lending club logo

Earn 1% Cash Back and Up to 0.15% APY

The Rewards Checking account from LendingClub Bank offers an unlimited 1% cash-back reward on online and signature-based debit card transactions — essentially, a yield on every dollar you spend — and offers traditional interest yields up to 0.15% APY for high-balance accounts.

There’s a bit of a catch, though: a minimum account balance of $2,500 or at least $2,500 in qualifying direct deposits each month to qualify for cash back.

On the bright side, Rewards Checking has no hidden fees and, like some competitors, offers the opportunity to receive direct deposits up to two days early.

  • Yield: Earn 0.10% APY on the entire balance when your balance is between $2,500 and $99,999. Earn 0.15% APY on the entire balance when your balance is above $100,000.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $100, but there’s no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Earn unlimited 1% cash back on online and signature-based debit card transactions (select “credit” at the point of sale) in statement cycles when you do at least one of the following: receive total monthly direct deposits into your account from a qualifying source of income (generally, an employer or government benefits provider) of $2,500 or more or maintain an average balance of $2,500 or more in your Rewards Checking account.
  • Mobile Features: LendingClub Bank has a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: See LendingClub Bank’s account agreements for details about possible account fees.

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8. M1 Spend

Earn 1% APY and 1% Cash Back With M1 Plus

M1 Finance Logo

M1 Spend is a free cash management account from M1 Finance, a digital banking, investing, and lending platform.

With a debit card that’s accepted by millions of merchants worldwide and zero account minimums, it’s a fine substitute for a traditional checking account, especially if you don’t need lots of bells and whistles.

M1 Spend is free to use, with no monthly maintenance fees — though a $125 annual payment gets you an upgrade to M1 Plus, which earns 1% APY on all M1 Spend balances, 1% cash back on debit card purchases, and up to four ATM fee reimbursements each month.

  • Yield: Upgrade to M1 Plus to earn 1% APY on all account balances and 1% cash back on all debit card purchases.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum opening deposit and no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: Earn a bonus worth up to $3,500 when you transfer an existing investment account to your new M1 Finance (M1 Invest) account.
  • Rewards and Incentives: M1 Plus members get four ATM fee reimbursements per month — three more than standard M1 members.
  • Mobile Features: M1 Finance has a fully functional mobile app and a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Third-party ATM fees subject to ATM owner’s discretion.

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9. Quontic High Interest Checking

Up to 1.01% APY on Eligible Balances With Qualifying Activities


Quontic High Interest Checking has a tiered yield structure that’s very attractive for account holders able to meet the relatively low qualifying activity bar: making 10 or more qualifying debit card point-of-sale transactions valued at $10 or more within the statement cycle. Do this and you’ll earn up to 1.01% APY on balances below $100,000.

  • Yield: Quontic High Interest Checking has a three-tiered yield structure that allows you to earn interest based on your balance in any statement cycle during which you make at least 10 debit card point-of-sale transactions worth $10 or more. You’ll earn 1.01% APY on balances up to $150,000 and 0.35% APY on balances between $100,000.01 and $1,000,000. In statement cycles where you don’t meet the transaction requirement, you’ll earn 0.01% APY.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening deposit is $100. There’s no monthly service fee.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Pay no ATM fees when you use your debit card at ATMs in the AllPoint®, MoneyPass®, and SUM® networks or at Citibank® ATMs located in Target, Speedway, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Safeway, Winn Dixie, or Circle K.
  • Mobile Features: Enjoy seamless mobile check deposits, online bill pay, P2P transfers, receipt tracking, and more with the Quontic mobile app.
  • Possible Fees: See terms and conditions for details about possible account fees.

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10. Ally Bank Interest Checking

ally bank logo

Ally Bank’s Interest Checking account has a two-tiered yield structure that rewards high-dollar depositors with impressive rates and entices leaner applicants with no minimums of any kind.

All third-party ATM fees qualify for reimbursement, without exception. And Ally Bank doesn’t charge overdraft fees, ever. While you’re at it, check out Ally’s lineup of savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts too.

  • Yield: Ally Interest Checking yields 0.10% APY on daily balances less than $15,000 and 0.25% APY on balances greater than $15,000.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum deposit or ongoing daily balance minimum.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Ally Bank never charges ATM fees and provides unlimited reimbursements for all third-party ATM fees or surcharges at the end of each month.
  • Mobile Features: This Android- and iOS-compatible account features mobile check deposit (Ally eCheck Deposit), ATM finder, P2P payments, online bill pay, and internal and external transfers using the Zelle money transfer app.
  • Possible Fees: Stop payment, outgoing wires, and international transactions.

Learn More

11. Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Earn Up to 1.00% APY With Qualifying Activities

Axos Bank Logo

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account promises yields up to 1.00% on balances up to $50,000 for customers able to complete certain qualifying activities each statement cycle. Meet all qualifying activity requirements to maximize your earning potential.

  • Yield: Rewards Checking accounts come with no automatic yield. To earn interest on deposits up to $50,000, you’ll need to receive monthly direct deposits totaling $1,500 or more. This earns you 0.40% APY on balances up to $50,000 and qualifies you to earn interest at even higher rates. Earn an additional 0.30% APY when you use your Axos Visa® Debit Card for a total of 10 transactions per month (minimum $3 per transaction) or sign up for Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager (PFM) in online banking. Earn an additional .10% APY when you maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 per month in an Axos Self Directed Trading Invest Account. Earn a final 0.10% APY (for a grand total of 1.00% APY on the first $50,000 in account balances) when you use your Rewards Checking account to make your full monthly Axos consumer loan payment.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum account opening deposit is $50. After that, there’s no minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Axos Bank offers unlimited reimbursements for all U.S. ATM fees and 50 checks free at account opening (upon request).
  • Mobile Features: Axos Bank has a mobile-friendly website.
  • Possible Fees: Debit card replacement, cashier’s checks, stop payment.

See our Axos Bank review for more information.

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12. Nationwide Advantage Checking

Earn Up to 0.90% APY With Qualifying Activities

nationwide bank

Nationwide Advantage Checking has much in common with Axos Bank Rewards Checking, albeit with a slightly less generous upper yield tier.

Complete qualifying direct deposits and transaction requirements in any given month to earn 0.90% APY (variable with prevailing rates), and enjoy no monthly maintenance fees and expansive ATM network access even if you don’t.

  • Yield: The default yield on this account is 0%, but you can earn up to 0.90% APY each month with qualifying activities. First, you’ll earn 0.45% for the month when you receive direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more (not including intra-bank transfers). Second, you’ll earn 0.45% for the month when you complete at least 10 point-of-sale transactions of $3 or more using your debit card. Meet both requirements in the same month to earn 0.90% interest for that period.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum account opening deposit is $50. There’s no ongoing minimum daily balance requirement.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Nationwide Advantage Checking comes with fee-free access to more than 80,000 ATMs.
  • Mobile Features: Mobile features include check deposits, bill pay, P2P transfers, and more.
  • Possible Fees: This account has no monthly maintenance fees or NSF transaction fees.

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13. Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account

Earn Up to 0.20% APY

Bank5 Connect Logo

The Bank5 Connect high-interest checking account pairs an attractive yield with a reasonable minimum balance requirement, boasts a generous ATM fee reimbursement policy, and has a mobile-friendly website that’s easy to use on Android and iOS phones.

Throw in free personal checks, free bank checks, and a rewards-bearing debit card, and you’ve got a potent online banking package.

  • Yield: The yield is 0.20% APY on account balances greater than $100.
  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: The minimum opening balance is $10, but there’s no ongoing daily minimum balance requirement. You do need to keep a daily balance of at least $100 to earn interest.
  • Account Opening Bonus: None.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Bank5 Connect reimburses third-party ATM surcharges up to a total of $15 per month. Your first five-book order of personal checks, all cashier’s checks, and all wire transfers are free.
  • Mobile Features: The account is Android- and iOS-compatible and boasts free mobile check deposit and bill pay.
  • Possible Fees: Returned deposit, stop payment, and paper statements carry fees.

Learn More

Final Word

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.


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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.