Average Checking Account Interest Rates

Average Checking Account Interest Rates

Interest-bearing checking rates average 0.03% APY as of March 2022, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

As a general rule of thumb, interest-bearing checking accounts should be looked at in two groups: traditional brick-and-mortar banks and online-only banks, whose lower operating costs often allow them to provide better rates on checking accounts. That being said, the specific checking account rate you'll get at each bank can change depending on several factors, such as minimum balance requirements, account type and monthly activity.

Average checking account rates at brick-and-mortar banks

Since 2009, the FDIC has published the average interest rates for different types of deposit accounts. The average for interest checking accounts at the $2,500 balance level has dropped fairly consistently since data collection began — with the exception of the years 2018 and 2019, when rates were climbing.

Checking account rates at the biggest U.S. banks

Bank
Account
Checking APY
Minimum balance to waive monthly fee
Chase BankChase Premier Plus Checking0.01%$15,000
Bank of AmericaAdvantage Plus0.01%-0.02%$10,000
Wells Fargo BankPortfolio by Wells Fargo0.01%$20,000
CitibankCitigold Interest Checking0.01%No fee
U.S. BankPlatinum Checking0.01%$25,000

Rates are accurate as of March 2022

For a more useful view of checking account interest rates, we looked at standard banks and online banks in separate groups, then took the APY of each bank's most affordable interest checking account. The banks featured above include the top five biggest brick-and-mortar banks as determined by assets under management. We've also included the minimum balance required to earn the rates and avoid maintenance fees, which can easily wipe out interest earned. Note that the APYs featured above may vary based on your location.

As you can see from the table above, for the most part, traditional banks offer very low interest rates regardless of your checking account balance.

A number of other banks grant small rate increases if you open a premium account, but the gain is rarely worth the higher minimums you will need to meet in order to avoid maintenance fees.

Average online checking account rates

Online banks don't have any physical locations for you to visit, but they provide FDIC-insured checking account services that you can access online or with your smartphone. They tend to spend far less in operating costs than standard banks, which in turn allows them to provide better interest rates to consumers and do away with a lot of the usual account fees.

The banks featured below include five notable online-only banks. We've also included the minimum balance required to earn the rates and to avoid any maintenance fees, which can easily wipe out your monthly interest earnings. Note that the APYs for the online checking accounts featured below may be different depending on your location.

Checking account rates at online banks

Bank
Checking APY
Minimum balance to waive monthly fee
Charles Schwab Bank0.25%None
Ally Bank0.10% - 0.25%None
Discover BankNone, 1% cash backNone
USAA Bank0.01% on balances of $1,000 or moreNone
CIT Bank0.25% - 0.25%None

Rates are accurate as of March 2022

Online rates tend to vary more widely than rates at brick-and-mortar banks, so it shouldn't come as a surprise if you find additional online banks with significantly different APYs. It's also important to consider the additional activity requirements for earning the full APY on certain checking accounts.

Common requirements include meeting a monthly direct deposit minimum and using your debit card for a certain number of transactions. Failing to meet these requirements can drastically lower your interest rate for the month, so it's important to consider whether a given account will fit into your usual habits.

How to shop for checking account rates

Looking at annual percentage yield (APY) is one of the most useful ways to compare different checking account rates. Most banks will list both the interest rate and the APY for their accounts, but only APY offers an apples-to-apples comparison of offers at competing banks.

This is because APY accounts for the effect of compounding interest, which doesn't work the same way at every institution. Many online banks, for example, compound your balance daily and pay out that interest monthly, while other banks compound on a monthly or quarterly basis. APY is a convenient yardstick for measuring accounts that compound at different intervals.

In general, shopping for checking account rates online will show you that the highest rates almost always belong to online-only banks. However, this doesn't always mean that online banks are automatically the best choice for you. Earning interest on your checking balance is definitely an advantage, but it makes little sense to get an account that doesn't provide easy access to your money in the ways that you prefer. Online accounts that earn more also tend to offer less in-person service, so think carefully before you decide to switch accounts based on a higher APY.