The Best Checking Accounts in Alabama for 2024

If you're in Alabama see which local banks offer the best checking accounts. Find the best rewards, lowest fees, and accounts that earn high interest rate.
mm
Written by Shannon Lee
Financial Expert
mm
Managing Editor
twitter facebook
Dusk in Huntsville, Alabama, with a view of the downtown area

When choosing a checking account in Alabama, there is no shortage of options. Those include local banks and credit unions, as well as online banks. Let’s look at the wide variety of checking accounts in Alabama and how they work.

Compare Alabama Checking Accounts with Online Checking Accounts

Online banks and traditional brick-and-mortar banks each have their unique perks, reflecting how banking has changed with time and what customers prefer. Let’s break down five key differences between them.

The Best Checking Accounts in Alabama for 2024

Though most banks have branches in Birmingham, there are many other local banking options in smaller cities throughout the state. Here are some of the largest banks with the best checking accounts in Alabama.

Regions Bank

Headquartered in Birmingham, Regions Bank is a massive player in the financial space. Because Regions is so large, you can enjoy the benefits of banking with an online bank while having branches right there in your local area.

Checking accounts available include the LifeGreen Checking, which has a few nice perks and a monthly fee you can waive; the most common way is through a direct deposit of $500 or more each month. The LifeGreen Preferred Checking bears interest and requires a $5,000 minimum balance to avoid fees. The Regions Now Checking is for those who have complex financial needs. There is no way to waive this $5 fee.

Navy Federal Credit Union

With five large military bases in the state, it makes sense that Navy Federal Credit Union has a strong presence in Alabama. The credit union offers five checking account options, from those specifically for military members to those meant for students or those who want to earn a good interest rate on their money.

All accounts come with strong financial protection, access to over 30,000 ATMs across North America, and free checks, as well as robust digital access – that comes in quite handy for service members who are deployed across the world.

Valley Bank

Valley Bank offers 10 branches in Alabama and one of the best checking options in the state. There are five checking options; the most popular is the All Access Rewards Checking, which you can open with as little as $100.

There is no monthly maintenance charge; in fact, this account can allow you to earn $20 per month for the first year, resulting in a $240 bonus. Other options, such as Interest Checking Plus, allow for earning interest. Other checking accounts at this bank also offer incentives, so study them carefully before choosing the one for you.

Find the Best Checking Accounts in Alabama

Dozens of Alabama banks offer checking accounts, and there’s fierce competition among them to offer the best perks and the lowest fees. Use the list below to find a checking account that fits your financial goals.

Pros & Cons of Alabama Local Banks

Local banks bring the hometown community feel but might be lacking in ease of use; on the other hand, you can likely get more financial services from a place where you can bank in person. Here’s more about local banks.

Pros

  • Local banks often have at least one or two branches in your area, allowing you to bank in person.
  • Most local banks will offer full services, from checking and savings accounts to mortgages and personal loans.
  • Local banks tend to have a strong ATM network in the area.
  • It’s possible to get to know the bankers well over the years of loyalty to the bank.

Cons

  • You might not find the same high-yield interest rates at local banks as you do at online banks.
  • Some local banks don’t have a strong mobile presence or a modern website.
  • Some local banks have a limited ATM network; if you travel a great deal, this might not work for you.

What to Look for When Choosing a Checking Account in Alabama

When it’s time to choose a checking account in Alabama, there are a few points to ponder. Think about these before you open an account:

Monthly Fees

Though many banks are removing fees altogether, some of them still charge monthly or maintenance fees. If a bank does charge a fee, look into ways to waive it – there should be several options, such as signing up for direct deposit or maintaining a certain minimum balance. If there is no way to waive the fees, carefully consider if this bank is worth it for you.

Other Fees

Many banks will charge clear fees for certain activities, such as obtaining a paper statement or receiving a wire transfer. The banks should be entirely transparent about these fees. If you find that these fees don’t apply to you (for instance, if you never get wire transfers), that particular bank might be a good bet for you.

ATM and Branch Access

Accessing your money should be as easy as possible. Look for a bank that has local branches or, at the very least, local ATMs and access to a large ATM network to avoid fees for withdrawing cash. A local branch will matter to those who want to bank in person, but those who are comfortable with banking solely online will be content with an online bank that offers ATM access and a strong mobile app.

Interest Rates or Bonuses

If you are looking for a high-yield checking account, you can find them in Alabama – but keep in mind that if your account is interest-bearing, you might have more fees to contend with. However, you can actually make money by opening accounts at some banks, thanks to bonuses that are offered now and then. These promotional bonuses are often easy to obtain; they might require depositing a certain amount or keeping the account open and in good standing for a specified period of time.

Mobile Banking

Whether you are with an online bank or working with a small credit union, the financial institution should always have an online presence. This allows you to move your money around at your discretion and doesn’t require you to wait until you can get to a branch or ATM. The banks that really stand out for the best checking accounts should also have a strong mobile app, so you can do anything from scan checks for deposits to handle transfers right from your smartphone.

Online Checking for Alabama Residents

Scrolling through bank reviews gives you the basics of what you need to know, all in one convenient place. Let’s take a look at some of the most common online banks available to Alabama residents.

Axos Bank

Axos offers several checking accounts, including Essential Checking for early direct deposit, Rewards Checking for high account balances that earn interest, and Cashback Checking for frequent debit card use that earns up to 1% cash back.

All accounts offer unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursement, so you can use your debit card at any ATM in the U.S. and get any resulting fees refunded. All of these accounts charge $0 in monthly maintenance fees, while Essential and Rewards Checking accounts also offer $0 overdraft charges and no monthly balance requirements.

Axos also offers First Checking for those ages 13-17 and Golden Checking for customers 55 and older. Axos offers customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Accounts are FDIC-insured up to the legal limit.

Quontic Bank

Quontic Bank offers several different checking accounts, including High-Interest Checking and Cash Rewards Checking. The High-Interest Checking account pays a competitive APY on all balances when account holders make at least 10 qualifying purchases of $10 or more with their debit card per month.

The Cash Rewards Checking account offers up to 1% cash back on eligible debit card purchases and is free of overdraft fees. You can do the math and decide which account works out better for you financially: cash back or a competitive APY.

Quontic Bank offers its account holders a ring they can wear on their finger and make payments just by holding their ring over payment terminals with the contactless symbol.

Current

Current offers mobile banking with no physical branches, catering to those comfortable with online banking. It’s not a bank but partners with an FDIC-insured bank, protecting deposits up to $250,000 per account. Features include no overdraft fees, a vast ATM network, and options for cryptocurrency and savings pods. Customer service is primarily online. There are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees, but cash deposits incur a fee. The mobile app is highly rated, offering check deposits and budgeting tools. Interest rates are competitive, with savings pods allowing up to $6,000 deposits. Access is online-only, with free withdrawals at over 40,000 ATMs.

Pros & Cons of Online Checking Accounts

Local banks might have pros and cons, but online banks do, too. Here’s what you need to know about choosing an online bank for your checking account needs.

Pros

  • You can readily move your money around through mobile apps and strong websites.
  • Many online banks offer straightforward services, such as a checking account that requires no fees and no minimum balance.
  • Online banks often have less overhead, which means they can offer higher interest rates and perks for customers.
  • Most online banks tap into a massive ATM network, giving you access to over 40,000 ATMs across the nation.

Cons

  • Many online banks have no branches at all or branches only in large metro areas, such as San Francisco or New York City.
  • Online banks might have a limited number of financial services, like mortgages.
  • It can sometimes be tough to find a real person to talk to at customer service.

How to Choose: Alabama Local Bank vs. Online Checking Account

Choosing between a local bank and an online one depends upon what you need to serve your financial needs. For instance, if you prefer a full suite of banking options, such as mortgages or personal loans, you might want to go with a local bank that offers the full slate of opportunities to make your money work for you. But if you are looking for a user-friendly bank that allows you to handle everything online and you need only the basics, an online bank might be your best option.

Online banks allow you to handle your money at any time, no matter where you are. Mobile apps tend to be quite useful, with more than a few bells and whistles. A local bank might not have such a robust online presence; however, they tend to offer better customer service. Sometimes, getting in touch with a real person at an online bank can feel almost impossible, so if you need a personal touch, a local bank would be best for you.

Take a long look at your financial needs to determine which sort of bank is right for you.

What to Know About Alabama Checking Accounts

Curious about checking accounts in Alabama? Here are some other things you need to know about banking in the state.

  • As with some other states, banks in Alabama are not required to let you know if your account is overdrawn. Therefore, it’s vitally important to keep tabs on your checking account. You can do this through a website or mobile app.
  • Keep in mind that if you have a loan with a local bank as well as a deposit account, such as savings or checking, the bank is allowed to take funds from the deposit account to bring a delinquent loan current. This is known as the “right of setoff,” and it is legal at banks in Alabama.
  • For banking purposes, the age of majority in Alabama is 19. That means anyone who is 18 or younger must have an authorized legal representative open the account for them. In most cases, that will be a parent or guardian. Once the person turns 19, they can access and handle the account on their own.
About Author
Shannon Lee
Shannon Lee, a versatile contributor to MoneyRates, is a freelance writer with a passion that spans over two decades. Her extensive writing portfolio encompasses a myriad of topics, ranging from personal finance and home improvement to education, relationships, and medical and health subjects. In addition to her prolific freelance career, Shannon is also a novelist. Shannon’s dedication to providing insightful and informative content makes her a valued voice in the world of personal finance.
Our reviews are unbiased and thorough, focusing on consumer needs. For details, see our Editorial Policy & Methodology.