If you live in the market area of Capital One Bank, new customers can get a good checking account deal. They're guaranteeing a promotional rate (1.00% APY for most areas) for balances up to $100,000 for the first 12 months. Details of this promotion are listed at the Capital One High Yield checking page. Note, it will only show if your zip code is in their market area.
This 1.00% APY promotion appears to be offered in all of Capital One market areas which includes Washington DC, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Virginia. Some areas have lower rates (only 0.75% in Louisiana).
One thing that's a little sneaky is that they call this a free checking account with no monthly service fee. However, a minimum $5,000 combined balance is required to maintain the account. If this balance isn't maintained, your account may be converted or closed. In April Capital One angered several customers who had their checking accounts converted.
Even though it's not really a free checking account, it has some nice features like ATM fee refunds (up to $15 per month) and free checks.
Capital One Outside Their Market Area
If you live outside Capital One's market area, Capital One's banking webpage will direct you to ING DIRECT. So ING DIRECT is now the only option for new customers who want an internet account from Capital One. It has been over a year since Capital One's acquisition of ING DIRECT was first announced, and it has been over 6 month since the acquisition was completed.
ING DIRECT doesn't have any checking account rate promotion, but it does have a new-account bonus in which you can earn $50. To qualify for this bonus, open the Electric Orange checking and make a total of 3 debit card purchases or Person2Person Payments (or any combo of the two) within 45 days of account opening.
For those with large balances, the Electric Orange account remains a good deal with a 0.90% APY for balances of at least $100K and 0.85% APY for balances between $50K and $100K. The rate is low for balances under $50K (0.20% APY). Rates are accurate as of 8/27/2012.