5 Best Rewards Checking Accounts

Rewards checking accounts provide opportunities to grow your funds through interest or cashback, but some have more benefits than others.

After thorough research, I’ve compiled a list of five of the best rewards checking accounts in 2022.  Let’s cut right to the chase. These two bank accounts show the highest level of promise and accessibility

Best Overall
Quontic Bank logo
Editor's Rating    5/5

Quontic is my pick for the best overall choice due to its high potential cashback rate, low account minimum, and banking flexibility. In just minutes anyone can open an account for $100.  Then, they can net as much as 1.5% cashback on each debit purchase. 

Best Interest Rates
Axos Bank logo
Editor's Rating    4.5/5

Axos Bank provides a highly accessible checking solution. You can take advantage of fewer fees and up to 1.25% APY for just a fifty-dollar deposit. It is a great company when it comes to providing high interest rate checking accounts.

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In our high-speed, ever-changing society, people are looking for low-commitment bank solutions where they can grow their investments.

Unlike a savings account, which bars you from tapping into your money for a duration, a checking-style setup lets you use your money freely.

But do you have to compromise on high-interest rates, high annual percentage yield (APY), and high security? Thanks to modern rewards checking accounts, anyone can reap those benefits without copious hidden and monthly fees. 

What should you look for in a rewards checking account? Benefits like cashback and high yield are alluring, but they aren’t everything.

I think monetary benefits aren’t worth it without trust, security, ease of deposit, and ATM accessibility.  Thankfully, there are a handful of high-promise options in 2022 that do not compromise safety. 

The more you invest in a rewards checking account, the higher your returns. Let’s talk about how to choose the right offer for you and the five best options currently available. 

The Best Rewards Checking of 2022

Comparison of the Best Rewards Checking Banks

#1

Quontic Bank is a digital bank known for leading rates and technology.

#2
Axos Bank logo

Our Partner

Axos Bank is an online bank that offers rewards on checking, no ATM fees on domestic purchases, and high-yield savings accounts.

#3
Upgrade logo

Our Partner

Upgrade is a fintech company offering affordable loans and credit management to users through a simple, online application process. 

#4
SoFi logo

Our Partner

Open a bank account online and start to manage your money easily. Choose SoFi Banking and access checking, savings, retirement, and more.

#5
CIT Bank logo

Our Partner

CIT Bank is an online bank that offers no monthly fee checking accounts, high yield savings accounts, CD's, and money marketing accounts.

Methodology

We narrowed the best rewards checking accounts for 2022 down to five choices. I carefully researched the most popular options based on fees, investment minimums, risk, trust, authority, and third-party reviews. 

Let’s have a look at the five best picks, getting to know each company.

Detailed Reviews of Rewards Checking Accounts

Now, let’s discuss the five banking companies offering the best rewards accounts. We will learn about their history, leadership, and what third-party sources say about them. 

After that, we will dive into the specifics of the checking accounts. I will list every pro and con as well as any other stipulations you need to know before opening an account.

1. Quontic Cash Rewards Checking - Best Overall

Quontic stands out as a fully digital bank that began as a community institution in 2009. Today, it is the only CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) in the US that is entirely online. 

The advantage is cutting down on processing fees that physical banks often charge.  Quontic offers both checking and savings accounts spanning CDs, cryptocurrency, and more.

The bank provides high-interest checking solutions that competitors don’t. However, Quontic’s cash rewards checking takes the number one spot on this list.

Just like it sounds, Quontic’s cash rewards checking is a cashback account. With just a $100 minimum investment, you can enjoy 1.5% cashback on qualifying purchases with some limitations.

For example, peer-to-peer purchases and ATM-processed transactions do not apply.  One of Quontic’s biggest selling points is its relative lack of fees.

The digital bank does not incur monthly fees on any accounts unless they are dormant.  There is also no overdraft penalty, and ATM use is completely free.

Quontic ATMs are available at Kroger, Safeway, and other accessible public locations.  Lastly, Quontic is incredibly safe. Every eligible account is FDIC insured, and you can freeze your debit card online at any time to protect yourself from threats.

Pros

  • Safe, trustworthy, and accessible
  • No monthly or unexpected fees
  • A generous amount of cashback on various everyday purchases

Cons

  • No interest or APY increase
  • Must wait for statement cycles to get your cashback

2. Axos Bank Rewards Checking - Best Interest Rates

In 2000, Bank of Internet USA opened, which later became Axos Bank. The company’s mission statement was to create a 24-hour accessible digital lending service. 

After 20 years of serving across the globe, Axos has expanded its scope across several banking services.  Since Axos focuses on being a digital bank, it lacks certain fundamentals in dealing with customers.

One aspect that makes Axos a great online bank is its many checking and savings options. Across both personal and business sectors, there are many solutions for your finances. 

For our analysis, we’re looking at Axos’s bank rewards checking accounts. Opening this account is cheaper than ever, starting at only $50.

Once it’s open, you can potentially earn up to 1.25% APY provided that you meet certain criteria.  The keyword is “potentially,” as increasing your maximum APY with Axos requires certain balances in several accounts.

You need minimum monthly purchases and deposits which can be difficult to keep track of unless you’re committed. Let’s talk about the benefits.

Like with Quontic, Axos eliminates monthly and overdraft fees. In addition, their accounts are highly secure, protected by encryption, two-factor authentication, antivirus, and constant monitoring. 

Pros

  • High 1.25% potential percentage yield
  • Fewer fees than many competitors
  • Only $50 to open an account

Cons

  • ATM reimbursement only for US customers
  • High APY requires meeting minimum monthly deposits and balances in several investment accounts

3. Upgrade Rewards Checking - Best Cash Back Rates

Upgrade is a fairly recent digital-only bank chain that began in 2016. The bank began as a credit and loan institution but now manages online checking in addition. 

Upgrade does not have savings accounts and their rewards checking functions like a credit loan.  Let’s talk about the Upgrade Rewards Checking credit card plan.

Since it is a credit card plan, you take out a loan when your application is accepted. As a result, there is no minimum deposit fee like with debit card plans.

Whatever you spend, you must pay back with interest.  Here’s how the cashback on this account works. Up to $500 yearly, you receive 2% of your everyday purchases each statement cycle.

After that threshold, the percentage drops to 1% for the remainder of the year.  Everyday purchases include gas, convenience goods, and groceries.

Upgrade charges no annual, monthly, ATM, transfer, or overdraft fees. The bank will reimburse you for third-party ATM usage, though this does have its limitations. 

Lastly, everything in your rewards cashback checking account is FDIC insured up to $250,000, which matches the security quality of industry competitors.

Pros

  • Extremely high user ratings
  • Quick, timely operation
  • A generous 2% cashback initially followed by 1% for what remains
  • Cashback applies to a variety of convenient everyday services

Cons

  • Credit only
  • Only reimburses third-party ATM usage based on your balance

4. SoFi Checking and Savings - Best Sign-up Bonus

Sofi Bank started in 2011 as Social Finance Inc. Beginning as a community moneylender, the bank recently opened checking and savings options for its clients. 

Today, it has over 3.5 million users who have collectively received over $50 billion in loans.  Sofi is a one-stop-shop for loans, insurance, and banking needs.

In this way, it has the potential to be a convenient business source for all kinds of clients.  Sofi’s Checking and Savings accounts offer a competitive 1.25% maximum APY, although this percentage caps at 0.70% without direct deposit. 

However, with this offer, you apply for both a savings and checking account at once. Sofi does not currently offer these as separate services. 

Many rewards account features depend on your direct deposit amounts, including the signup bonus. With a deposit of at least $5,000, anyone who signs up with Sofi can earn $300.

This is a finite promotion that expires at the end of May 2022.  Sofi has eliminated many prominent fees, including dormant and minimum balance fees.

However, the bank’s overdraft coverage will only pay for $50 each statement cycle, so you may still experience overdraft fees. 

Pros

  • High potential $300 signup bonus
  • Competitive 1.25% maximum APY
  • Convenient bank for additional needs like loans and insurance

Cons

  • Benefits depend on minimum direct deposits
  • Direct deposit needed for the majority of benefits

5. CIT Bank eChecking - Best for No Monthly Fees

CIT is a division of First Citizens bank, which began over a century ago in 1898. It is one of the oldest American banks, growing continually through agreements such as the CIT merger in 2022

Today, CIT specializes in CDs, personal checking, and business financing needs.  Let’s talk about CIT’s eChecking account plan. Anyone can get started for only $100 and earn 0.10% APY with no minimum balance.

Balances exceeding $25,000 earn 0.25% APY. While this isn’t a massive amount, CIT lets users accumulate some safe wealth passively. 

There are no fees on deposits, withdrawals, or ATM usage. CIT will reimburse up to $30 of third-party ATM fees per month for all clients. There are no monthly, overdraft, or incoming wire transfer taxes.

Only in rare cases like overnight business will CIT incur processing fees.  Like the other banks on this list, your money is FDIC insured for up to $250,000.

In addition, you can pause your debit card at any time on the CIT mobile app. All in all, CIT is a very safe, slow-growing bank rewards checking solution without hidden fees.

Pros

  • A long history of serving domestic customers
  • Minimal fees and generous ATM reimbursements per month
  • Safety through insurance and personal handling

Cons

  • Low APY percentage, no opportunity to grow beyond 0.25%
  • Some fees still apply for balances under $25,000

Before we wrap up, let’s address some basic questions about rewards checking accounts. After that, I will end with a quick summary and answer some more targeted frequently asked questions.

What is a Rewards Checking Account?

A rewards checking account is any checking account that comes with interest or benefits like cashback. Typically, only savings incur interest with increasing yield.

A rewards account will grant the owner privileges for depositing and spending invested money.  There are pros and cons to rewards checking accounts.

For instance, they usually have more hidden fees, fine print, and conditions to abide by. Furthermore, interest usually caps at low amounts for checking arrangements as opposed to savings accounts. 

How Does a CashBack Checking Account Work?

Cashback accounts are one of many forms reward accounts can take. With cashback, you earn a percentage of some purchases back if you use the bank debit card. 

Most cashback accounts have limits on which purchases qualify as well as several other exclusions. In addition, they only bestow the qualifying amount during account statement cycles.

As such, the account holder often has little control over how and when to use it.

Next Steps

We’ve learned plenty about different kinds of rewards checking accounts and looked at five worthy candidates. However, they each have different amounts, terms, limits, and benefits to consider.

I urge you to visit each bank’s website to learn more about checking rewards. 

Rewards Checking FAQ's

Finally, here are some frequently asked questions about bank rewards checking accounts.

What is APY?

APY stands for annual percentage yield. It is the interest rate with compounding that a bank account accrues over one year. For checking accounts like these, the standard is around 1% APY, whereas savings systems have rates as high as over 5%.

APY rates usually scale. Many rewards checking accounts start with a low yield and can take as many as five years to reach a maximum APY.

How much can I earn with a checking account?

Rewards checking accounts can help you accumulate some slight interest, although not as much as savings accounts. You can expect to earn as much as $500 per year through APY with the banks represented on this list.

What checking accounts do rich people use?

Many banks have checking account setups designed for high-income individuals and millionaires. Some examples include Morgan Stanley CashPlus and Citigold Private Client, having minimum balance requirements of at least several hundred thousand dollars.

Where can I put my money to earn the most interest?

A savings or certificate of deposit (CD) account can accumulate plenty of interest. It is the most accessible option for most people.

In such arrangements, you usually cannot spend your money until a designated date, during which it increases at rates as high as 10%. 

Quontic Bank

Quontic is the adaptive digital bank that empowers its customers financially while embracing their diverse circumstances.

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