Credit Card Andy

Teaching the Basics of Personal Finance

The Checking Account Part 3: Comparing Checking Accounts

Here’s a look at some of the other bank accounts I considered before choosing Schwab as my primary checking account.

In my search, was a handy resource. It has up-to-date information on banks’ interest rates.

Here are the results of banks in Manhattan, NY sorted by APY (the interest rate you receive).

Bankrate Search ResultsLink

If you’re interested in brick & mortar banks, you can see the attributes of accounts at Bank of America, HSBC, Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo.

I was not thrilled with those banks had to offer, so I looked into internet banks such as ING Direct and Charles Schwab Bank.

My list of internet banks included Ally, ING Direct, Schwab, and USAA.

I was looking for a respectable interest rate, no monthly fees, no balance requirements, and convenience.


Ally offers one of the highest interest rates at 0.40% APY, but Schwab has them beat with their ATM fee reimbursements. Ally will reimburse any fees from ATM’s nationwide, but Schwab will reimburse any fees from ATM’s worldwide. I also value the ability to deposit checks via smartphone, whereas Ally you need a scanner in order to deposit checks from your home.

ING Direct

ING Direct has over 35,000 free ATM’s, but Schwab still has them beat with their offer.


USAA offers 10 free reimbursements a month on ATM fees. They also offer a lower interest rate than Schwab. You also need some sort of U.S. military affiliation to take advantage of all of the bank’s benefits such as mobile deposit via smartphone.


Ultimately, I picked the bank that would give me the least hassle. I wanted to be able to deposit checks easily from my phone. I didn’t want to have to count how many withdrawals I made that month or how I could withdraw money cheaply when abroad.

It’s all a tradeoff. For example, if you want the higher interest rate and don’t plan on being outside the country much, then Ally might be a better choice for you.

Second Opinions

The website FindTheBest claims it makes “unbiased, data-driven comparisons” and is “stripped of any marketing influence”. Here is their comparison of checking accounts.


They seem to like Schwab as well.

Others have blogged comparing some of these popular internet banks. Here are some I came across.

FatWallet Forums

Alternatively, if you search for Bank XX vs. Bank YY, you’ll find a plethora of comparison reviews that will help you make your decision.