Free Checking Account in NYC: 10+ Places to Get One

Checking accounts are the most frequently used bank accounts for most people. Fortunately, free checking accounts are readily available. Banks use them as loss leaders. Basically, they give you a free checking account as a way to gain your trust. They hope you will keep using them for all of your banking needs. This means that when you get a mortgage, you may look to your trusty old bank. Once a bank gets your mortgage, then they start making good money off of you. Also, many people overdraft on their checking accounts. So, banks also make money from overdraft fees.

Finding banks that offer free checking accounts in cities with high costs of living (like New York City) is slightly more difficult since many people rent forever. Thus, a bank cannot assume all of its checking account customers will eventually get a mortgage. As a result, they require you to pay a monthly service fee (somewhere in the $10 to $15 range) and keep a minimum balance in your account to ensure they can still make money off of you in the event you turn out to be a renter for life. But, fear not! They do exist. Below we have listed some of the banks in NYC, borough-wide, which offer free checking accounts.

Here’s where to get a free checking account in NYC:

Bronx

  • New York Community Bank (My Community Free Checking)
  • Capital One Bank (360 Checking Account)
  • Dime Savings Bank (Perfectly Free Checking)
  • Provident Bank (Provident Smart Checking and Provident Basic Checking)
  • Trustco Bank (Home Town Checking)
  • Chase Bank (Chase Total Checking)

Brooklyn

  • Capital One Bank (360 Checking Account)
  • Dime Savings Bank (Perfectly Free Checking)
  • Provident Bank (Provident Smart Checking and Provident Basic Checking)
  • USAA Federal Savings Bank (Secure Checking and Secure Checking Plus)
  • New York Community Bank (My Community Free Checking)
  • Trustco Bank (Home Town Checking)
  • Chase Bank (Chase Total Checking)

Manhattan

  • Provident Bank (Provident Smart Checking and Provident Basic Checking)
  • Capital One Bank (360 Checking Account)
  • New York Community Bank (My Community Free Checking)
  • USAA Federal Savings Bank (Secure Checking and Secure Checking Plus)
  • Chase Bank (Chase Total Checking)

Queens

  • Capital One Bank (360 Checking Account)
  • New York Community Bank (My Community Free Checking)
  • USAA Federal Savings Bank (Secure Checking and Secure Checking Plus)
  • Chase Bank (Chase Total Checking)

Staten Island

  • New York Community Bank (My Community Free Checking)
  • USAA Federal Savings Bank (Secure Checking and Secure Checking Plus)
  • Capital One Bank (360 Checking Account)
  • Trustco Bank (Home Town Checking)
  • Chase Bank (Chase Total Checking)

And that’s where to get a free checking account in NYC. It is worth mentioning here, that even if some banks don’t offer free checking accounts to common adult users, for students and senior citizens, they have made it free. Remember to check for banks like Citibank, which usually charge monthly fees on checking accounts, but after fulfilling initial requirements, the account becomes free of any charge. For instance, the monthly fee might be $5 but after you set up direct deposit, the account is free.

If you are comfortable doing online-only banking, there are some banks that offer not only free checking accounts but also a competitive interest rate on these accounts and no minimum balance requirement. Check out the following banks:

  • Ally Bank (Interest Checking Account)
  • Axos Bank (Essential Checking Account [paid partner link])
  • Charles Schwab Bank (High Yield Investor Checking Account)

Suggested article: How Much Can You Overdraft? The Answer for Each Major Bank and Where to Open a Checking Account Online with No Deposit.

How to Open One

There are actually two ways you can proceed: 1) visit a nearby branch to submit your application, or 2) submit your application online. Note: Usually you must visit a branch if you have bad credit history or issues with identity verification.

You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen to be able to open any type of bank account in the U.S. Minors can open such an account only jointly with an adult. You must provide your full contact details on the application form.

Typically, you will need to provide the following details:

  • Your social security number
  • Your driver’s license number and its date of expiration or state ID number
  • Employer’s name and contact details if you are employed

Most banks require a deposit upon the opening of a new account, so you will also need a check, debit card, or credit card to fund this. For online banks, the whole application process can be completed in a couple of minutes.

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