Free Banking for Veterans

Free Banking for Veterans

Everyone needs a good bank, but it is essential for veterans and current military members. Military personnel have unique needs, so it’s necessary to have a financial institution that understands and caters to those needs.

Amongst several potential perks, military members should look for free banking in a financial institution. You have worked hard for your money, and it shouldn’t cost you anything to store and access it!

What is the best bank for veterans? Continue reading for our list.

Free Banking: Why Do Veterans Need a Checking Account?

A checking account is vital for effectively managing your money, especially given the unique challenges military members face. With relocation, unexpected deployments, and paying bills overseas a reality for many, it’s necessary to have a checking account that you can utilize and access from anywhere without hassle.

Therefore, it is advantageous to have a checking account that offers military life benefits, rewards military personnel for their service, and provides the flexibility necessary for financial management.

Best Free Banking Options for Veterans

Which banks offer free checking for veterans? We have the best free military checking accounts for veterans and active military members listed below.

Related Article: What is the DOD Savings Deposit Program?

PenFed Access America Checking

PenFed is a credit union with an excellent reputation for being a great partner to military members, Department of Defense employees, and their families. With its great perks and few requirements, Access America Checking tops our best military checking accounts list.

Upon establishing direct deposit or maintaining a minimum balance of $500, the monthly service fee will be waived after the first 90 days. Additionally, you will earn one of the highest interest rates on a checking account! Furthermore, PenFed offers various services, including PenFed student loan refinancing.

Minimum opening deposit  $25
Minimum Balance Requirement  $0 (if requirement met)
Monthly Fee $0 (if requirement met)
Interest Up to 0.35% APY
ATM Access 85,000 ATMs
Availability Online Nationwide
Promotions None

USAA Classic Checking

USAA offers several financial products and is specifically military-focused. They don’t charge a monthly fee for their checking accounts. Accounts can be opened with only $25, and there is no minimum balance requirement.

In addition, USAA has a nationwide network of over 60,000 ATMs. It can be reimbursed for non-USAA ATM charges up to $15 a month.

Managing your finances on the go is easy with USAA’s mobile app. However, withdrawals outside the United States are subject to a 1% foreign transaction fee. However, you can avoid overdraft fees if you have a USAA credit card or savings account linked to your checking account.

USAA Classic Checking
Minimum opening deposit $25
Minimum balance requirement $0
Monthly Fee $0
Interest 0% APY
ATM access Up to $15/mo Reimbursement
Availability Nationwide
Promotions None

Navy Federal Credit Union Free Active Duty Checking

The Navy Federal Credit Union is one of the best financial institutions with a long history of serving military members. They offer excellent accounts and no fees. Their business checking accounts also make our list of the best for service members and their families who also want to start their own businesses.

There is no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee. Direct deposit is available one business day earlier for military pay, and military deposits are required for this product. The account comes with free personalized checks for life. Additionally, Navy Federal offers student loans, auto loans, CDs, and credit cards.

Navy Federal Credit Union Free Active Duty Checking®
Min Opening Deposit $0
Min Balance Requirement $0
Monthly Fee $0
Interest 0.03% APY
ATM Access Up to $20/mo Reimbursement
Availability Nationwide
Promotions None

Chase Premier Plus Checking

Chase branch is almost everywhere, and luckily, Chase is also a good option for free banking.

You receive several benefits from Chase when you add a direct deposit of military base pay to your checking account. Safe deposit boxes 3″ by 5″ or smaller do not have an annual rental charge. You’ll also pay no fee for the first four non-Chase ATM transactions. There is no Chase foreign transaction currency adjustment fee, although there may be owner/network fees.

Chase also offers a wide range of financial products as a full-service bank.

Chase Premier Plus Checking
Min Opening Deposit $0 (for military members)
Min Balance Requirement $0 (for military members)
Monthly Fee $0 (for military members)
Interest 0.01% APY
ATM Access 16,000 ATMs nationwide
Availability Online nationwide, except HI, AK, and PR
Promotions $300 Bonus

US Bank

Bank of the United States is one of the most prominent corporate supporters of military families and veterans in the United States.

The U.S. Bank Foundation provides grants to assist military service members and veterans with workforce education, job placement, and financial literacy. During and after your military career, U.S. bank is committed to helping you achieve your financial goals.

It offers students a free checking account and a no-fee Student Checking account. A $25 opening deposit is required for the free checking account from a U.S. bank.

Free checking accounts with U.S. Bank do not pay interest. Even if you don’t incur them, the free checking account does come with some fees.

You can waive the monthly fee for three fee-free checking accounts offered by U.S. Bank if you meet specific requirements. There are three types of accounts: Easy Checking, Gold Checking, and Platinum Checking.

You may need to meet specific requirements for the three accounts to waive the maintenance fees of $6.95, $14.95, and $24.95 for each account.

The conditions might include:

  • Maintaining a daily balance.
  • Making a minimum monthly deposit.
  • Reaching a specific age.
  • Having another bank account.

U.S. Bank’s free and fee-waivable checking accounts include a debit card and free online banking. The bank’s mobile banking service supports many mobile devices. It lets customers check their accounts on the go or deposit checks for free. U.S. Bank may send you statements that include images of canceled checks if you have an account with the bank.

U.S. Checking
Min Opening Deposit $25
Min Balance Requirement $0 (for military members)
Monthly Fee $4.95 (for military members)
Interest 0% APY
ATM Access 16,000 ATMs nationwide
Availability Online nationwide, except HI, AK, and PR
Overdraft na

Capital One

Customers with smaller bank balances who are fee-conscious can choose Capital One’s no-fee, no-minimum checking accounts. Most banks’ services include avoiding fees or making transactions, such as debit card purchases. Despite their modest rates, Capital One’s free checking accounts do pay interest, an option, not all banks can offer.

Related:What Is Online Banking, and Is It Right for Veterans?

A significant advantage of Capital One Bank is that it offers both online and traditional banking services. In addition to the no-fee, no-minimum, interest-bearing accounts that are the hallmark of online banks, those in select areas can also visit a Capital One Cafe.

Capital One Checking 

Account Name Details
360 Checking      APY: 0.1%

        Minimum to open: $0

        Monthly fee: $0

        Monthly fee waiver: N/A

MONEY       APY: 0.1%

        Minimum to open: $0

      Monthly fee: $0

        Monthly fee waiver: N/A

Chime

All Chime Bank’s services are available within its mobile app, available for both Apple and Android smartphones. You can use Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. Chime has about 55,000 fee-free ATMs connected to the MoneyPass® and Visa Plus Alliance ATM networks.

There are no multiple accounts available at Chime, such as money market accounts (MMAs), certificates of deposit (CDs), savings accounts, or even checking accounts. As a Chime customer, you’ll receive a Visa debit card and a Spending Account modeled on checking accounts. There is also the option of adding a savings account, which comes with automatic savings. It is also possible for Chime to process customers’ paychecks two days ahead of time. You can receive your paycheck the moment it is paid by your employer, thanks to Early Direct Deposit.

Chime Checking

Monthly account fee $0
Minimum Balance Requirement $0
Overdraft fee $0
Card Replacement Fee $0
Foreign Transaction Fee $0
Out of Network ATM Fee $2.50

Ally

Ally Bank is a famous online bank that offers solid rates and reliable customer service.

Ally offers a savings account interest rate of 0.50%, higher than the national average of 0.06%. The interest is compounded daily, which allows you to generate more income than accounts that compound monthly.

Due to regulation changes, the federal government has temporarily waived excessive transaction fees for customers who make more than six withdrawals or transfers per cycle.

Ally offers a wide range of interest-bearing accounts with minimal fees, as well as over 43,000 ATMs nationwide.

There are several ways to deposit checks, including mobile deposit, direct deposit, wire transfer, and mailing a check. A customer can deposit up to $50,000 per day and $250,000 per month using Ally’s mobile deposit feature.

Ally Checking

Monthly fee $0
Opening deposit $0
Minimum account balance $0
Online or in person Online
APY 0.10% for $15,000< 0.25% for ≥ $15,000
ATM Access Yes; reimburses up to $10/month for out-of-network fees
Overdraft Protection Transfer money from savings or money market account
Customer service 24/7 live chat or phone access

How to Choose the Best Free Banking Option

Choosing the right bank for you is dependent on your personal preferences and banking habits. When you select a financial institution, checking account options and free banking aren’t the only things to consider.

Fees

Even though a bank may offer free checking, you should still check for other charges. Account assistance fees (using in-branch services, speaking with a representative) are examples of fees you should avoid, like monthly fees, per-check fees, and per-transaction fees.

Benefits for Veterans

There are certain perks, such as low-interest rates and more lenient loan requirements based on the financial institution you choose.

A military checking account can help military members manage their finances and assist them in their service.

Veterans can receive interest-bearing checking accounts at some credit unions, such as Navy Federal (NFCU), which offers monthly fee waivers for military budgets. Others may provide refunds for ATM usage within their network. Others may waive monthly minimum balances or account opening fees.

Many other banks also offer military communities more competitive interest rates on lines of credit, auto loans, and home loans. Some banks (whether military-focused or not) provide credit cards with frequent flyer miles and other benefits to those in uniform.

Ease of Deposits and Withdrawals

Making Deposits and withdrawals can be made easier for veterans by many banks. In addition, they can assist veterans with depositing or withdrawing their pay into their bank accounts electronically so that the funds are immediately available to them.

Minimum Deposit Amount

In most cases, this minimal amount is the total amount of all your bank accounts, which includes accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit. You will have to pay a monthly service fee if your balance falls below the required minimum. Over the past year, interest-bearing account service fees have increased by nearly 5.5 percent. Checking accounts with interest earns an average maintenance fee of $16.35 a month.

There are only a few banks that offer free interest-bearing checking accounts. You might be able to get your interest-bearing checking account fee waived if you have a longstanding good relationship with your bank.

Check if the Bank Is Part of the VBBP

Banks and credit unions participating in the VBBP had to meet several requirements, including:

  • Veterans who deposit their monthly VA benefits into their accounts are eligible for free checking accounts, as well as free access to ATM networks.
  • They are helping any Veteran become qualified to open a banking account.
  • Another objective of the program is to simplify banking choices for eligible Veterans and their families by helping them select the right bank and services.

The banks that serve veterans offer products and services tailored to their specific needs.

VBBP also provides fraud protection. Using the program, which vets each participating bank, veterans can trust that they select a reputable financial institution.

Free Banking for Veterans—The Final Word

Managing finances can be complicated for military members due to their unique circumstances, so online bank accounts are a necessity. Military members face challenges that include relocation, unexpected deployments, paying bills, and accessing funds overseas. For many, there is an emphasis on checking accounts that are tailored to military life benefits for members and provide flexibility to make financial management more effortless.

This list also includes a few free checking accounts that would also work well.

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