About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Best Internet Checking Accounts That Offer Paper Checks


Best Internet Checking Accounts That Offer Paper Checks

If your bank has added monthly fees to your checking account, you should consider switching to a free reward checking account or an internet checking account. One downside with some internet banks is that you can't write paper checks. Examples of these internet banks include ING Direct, HSBC Advance, FNBO Direct and Incredible Bank. Instead of writings checks, you have to use the bank's online bill pay service. If you need to give someone a check, you can always use the online bill pay, and the bank will mail the check to the person. You may also be able to have the bank mail you the check which you can give to the other person.

This bill pay option may not always be convenient. Being able to write a paper check can sometimes be a lot quicker and easier. In a poll from last year I asked how often do you write paper checks. Out of 67 votes, only 3 said they never write paper checks. Over half said they write at least 2 paper checks per month. So even if people don't write many paper checks, most want to have that capability with their checking account.

Fortunately, there are several internet banks that offer free checking accounts with paper check writing. Many also offer free checks. I've reviewed a few of the most popular ones below. For simplicity, I didn't include other features like interest rates, free ATMs and remote deposits. Below the list, I provide a quick overview of some of these other features.

  • Ally Bank Interest Checking - free checks - no monthly fees
  • USAA Bank Free Checking - free checks - no monthly fees
  • Alliant Credit Union High Rate Checking - free first box of checks - no monthly fees
  • Capital One Interest Online Checking - first order of checks is free - no monthly fees
  • EverBank Interest Checking - first 25 checks are free - no monthly fees unless you have online bill pay (With bill pay, $5K min required to avoid $8.95/month fee)
  • Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking - free checks - no monthly fees (Schwab One brokerage account is required)
  • Fidelity Investments mySmart Cash Account (brokerage account with FDIC coverage) - free checks - no monthly fees (Fidelity account is required)
  • ING Direct's Electric Orange now offers paper checks. See review for details (updated 9/27/2011)

For small balances, the best two for interest rates are Alliant Credit Union and Capital One. Ally Bank and EverBank also offer decent rates, but that requires large balances.

In my opinion, the banks that are the best for free ATM usage is Ally Bank and Charles Schwab Bank. Others also offer free ATMs, but there are more limitations.

For remote deposit capture that allows you to scan checks and deposit them electronically, USAA Bank and EverBank are the leaders in this group. However, to qualify for USAA's Deposit@Home, you must be eligible for USAA property and casualty insurance which means that you must have a military connection.

Related Pages: Ally Bank, Salt Lake City, Alliant Credit Union, Washington, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, Charles Schwab Bank, Reno, EverBank, checking account

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tightwad   |     |   Comment #1
All of my reward checking accounts allow check writing. A few, like Commonwealth and Malvern, even provided your first book free, but I don't know any national available accounts that still do.

Checks are still handy for my rewards accounts because in a pinch I can write a check and deposit it in a local account faster than an ACH and cheaper than a wire transfer. My local credit union doesn't put holds on my out of state checks, so the money is available immediately. That probably isn't always the case for everyone.

Anyway, it's just handy for me to atleast have a few checks for the rewards checking acct's just for the added option.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
USAA's Deposit@Home has a daily limit of $5,000; Alliant's eDepositPlus is $20,000.

freek   |     |   Comment #3
How does Fidelity, for example, have more limitations for ATM withdrawals?
Gaelicwench   |     |   Comment #5
Anonymous #2, USAA requires having their Mastercard CC, too.
MrPapaya   |     |   Comment #6
If you have more than $50,000 invested in ETrade Brokerage/IRA accounts (Combined total of all accounts you have), you might as well open up a checking account. You will get free paper checks, a free RSA security keyfob to protect your account, printed statements mailed to you at no charge, and some other benefits.  Unfortunately, ETrade bank accounts pay almost no interest. Only worth using them for the free checks, etc.
RJM   |     |   Comment #7
My primary checking is still with Presidential which has an embarrasingly low .88% apy and a $1000 minumim balance and require a monthly direct deposit. Im out of checks, they wont send more for free. But, I like and am used to their billpay setup. I guess I hope that when rates go up, they will again have good rates ? But the $1000 minimum is not really a problem for me.

I have an Ally account and free checks with them and a fidelity account and presume that somewhere, I have some of their checks lying around here. Although if my lfe depended on finding them in 2 minutes, my prognosis would not be good.

I really only rarely write checks. Taxes,mostly.
thegooch   |     |   Comment #9
I'm overseas and you have to pay rent by check at the window of a 3rd party payment company. You get charged based on whateve the exchange rate of the day is and write the check for that amount. The xchg rate changes several times a week, so if you catch it at the high mark for the week, you usually save $50-100 . If they'd let americans pay in local currency you could xchng it whenever and save, but they don't. usd only. So for me, writing paper checks is not only necessary, it's profitable.
Thaboss602   |     |   Comment #11
I saw something about remote banking image deposit where if your boss or whoever can email you a check and you can upload it but i can't find anywhere only U.S and Canada does it or allowed to and Alliant doesn't have eDeposit