We are going to focus on online banking solutions in this article because there are some amazing values and services with nationwide ATM accessibility, free checking, very low minimum balance requirements, and tenants can open an account with as little as $1. Tenants can check their balance at an ATM machine anytime by doing a balance inquiry. So they essentially do not need internet access to use the account.
If a tenant wants more in depth information or to use online billpay options, every library in this country has free internet access and most people know a friend or family member that has internet access.
These are our top picks based on free ATM services, low overdraft fees, no monthly fees, and ease of making deposits.
USAA Free Checking Account – The United Services Automobile Association is based out of San Antonio, TX. They serve active duty military, veterans, and their families. Free checking accounts from USAA Bank have no monthly fees and no minimum balance. You can pay bills online, get free checks, and deposit checks for free from any UPS Store nationwide. The account also includes free direct deposit. ATM use is free up to a point – USAA Bank refunds up to $15 in other banks’ ATM usage fees each month and does not charge a fee for the first 10 ATM withdrawals. Subsequent transactions will be charged $2.00 each. Everyday purchases and ATMs are denied if you do not have sufficient funds to avoid overdraft charges. Gas, travel and entertainment are allowed and incur an overdraft fee of $29 which will be reduced to $25 on July 1. They also have a free overdraft protection plan if you link your account to a credit card or another bank account.
Ally Interest Checking – This company was formed in 2009 by GMAC or General Motors Acceptance Corporation. They pay interest on your balance and have no minimum deposit to open an account, no monthly maintenance fees, free online banking and bill pay, a free debit card, no ATM fees at any ATM machine nationwide, free balance alerts, and free standard checks. Overdraft fee is $9. You can deposit funds by Direct Deposit, they provide postage paid deposit envelopes, or you can scan the image of your endorsed check.
This is a good pick with one drawback compared to our top picks.
ING DIRECT Electric Orange Checking Account – They offer great service with no monthly fee, no overdraft charges, they simply charge interest on the amount overdrawn, no minimums, free online bill pay service, a free debit card, free ATM use within their huge network, send checks online for free or you can order a physical checkbook. They encourage use of direct deposit for funding your account. The only drawback we found on this checking account is they only accept funds from another personal checking account to open a checking account.