The Best Checking Accounts in Alaska for 2024

Find out Alaska's best checking accounts. Compare local vs. online banks for the lowest fees, highest interest rates, exclusive benefits, and seamless banking.
Written by Shannon Lee
Financial Expert
Managing Editor
Ketchikan, Alaska homes and trees in the summer

Alaska is home to several large banks. However, given that the population is so widespread throughout the large state, online banks might be easier to use. Here are the various options for checking accounts in Alaska.

Compare Alaska Checking Accounts with Online Checking Accounts

Understanding the differences between online checking accounts and traditional brick-and-mortar bank accounts is crucial for Alaskans seeking the most suitable banking option.

Use this chart to compare the different types of checking accounts in Alaska so you can make an informed decision based on your personal preferences and financial needs.

The Best Checking Accounts in Alaska for 2024

Some of the largest banks in Alaska offering savings, checking, loans, and other services will be in places like Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Smaller cities might have bank branches and ATMs to serve the residents.

Here are some of the best checking accounts from brick-and-mortar banks in Alaska.

Wells Fargo Bank

This large national bank has the most branches of any other bank in Alaska. It offers the opportunity for in-person banking, but there is also a robust mobile and online presence, giving checking account holders the best of both worlds.

Wells Fargo offers four main checking account options, from Clear Access banking, which is best for students and others just getting started, to Premier Checking, which is designed for those with high dollar amounts in the bank. There are ways to avoid the fees for any of these accounts.

First National Bank Alaska

This bank has been serving Alaska residents since 1922 and has grown to include a full suite of services. Checking accounts at First National Bank Alaska range from those for teens to those for seasoned financial investors. Every account includes debit cards, online bill pay, overdraft protection, mobile banking, and the use of numerous fee-free ATMs across the state.

Though there are some fees, these are typically things you can avoid, such as the $1 fee per month for paper statements. Banking in person with First National Bank Alaska is no problem, considering there are 28 branches spread out over 19 communities in the state.

Northrim Bank

Northrim Bank has 17 branches spread throughout the state. Flex Checking offers four different accounts for those with varying financial needs. Each account requires a $100 minimum deposit to open, and the higher tiers have monthly fees, though these can be easily waived.

There are also some accounts for certain individuals, such as the 50 Plus checking designed for those over 50 and the Loyalty Club, which is reserved for new banking customers and offers promotions throughout the year, such as bonuses for opening an account.

Find the Best Checking Accounts in Alaska

Dozens of Alaska banks and hundreds of online banks offer checking accounts. Use the list below to find the best checking account that fits your financial goals.

Pros & Cons of Local Alaska Banks

Local banks can be an excellent option. Here are some important things to look for.


  • Many local banks have a strong community presence, including branches and a wide variety of ATMs around town.
  • Local banks are more likely to have a full suite of services, including loans and mortgages.
  • A local bank might have a strong ATM network, but what about when you travel? A bank that taps into the broader ATM networks, offering over 40,000 ATM options, is your best bet.


  • You might find that interest rates on checking accounts are lower than those for online banks; this often comes from the fact that local banks have more overhead.
  • Local banks might not put as much effort into their website or mobile app, making them clunky and outdated.

Online Checking for Alaska Residents

Reading the reviews of online checking accounts can help you make an informed decision. Here’s a look at some of the top online bank checking accounts to get you started.

BMO Bank

BMO Bank, an online bank with branches, provides multiple checking accounts and other financial services across various states. With over 500 branches and access to 40,000 ATMs, BMO offers personal and business banking solutions, including checking, savings, loans, and credit cards.

BMO’s checking accounts require a $25 minimum deposit and offer features like fee-free ATM access and overdraft protection. The Relationship account offers additional benefits, such as interest earnings and fee rebates, making it suitable for those seeking enhanced banking perks.

Varo Bank

Varo Bank distinguishes itself among online banks with various noteworthy features. It enables early direct deposit, offers paycheck advances, and facilitates automatic transfers to savings accounts.

With no monthly fees and an extensive ATM network, Varo provides user-friendly mobile banking and cashback perks. However, limitations on cash deposits and out-of-network ATM fees exist. Varo suits those comfortable with online banking, offering a convenient and fee-conscious option for managing finances.


Greenlight checking offers features tailored for kids learning financial management. Partnered with Mastercard, it enables global use and accepts deposits from various sources. Robust parental controls allow spending monitoring and chore-based allowances. Three plan options offer varying benefits, including savings awards and investment opportunities. However, monthly fees apply, and interest options benefit the parent. Greenlight is suitable for parents seeking a hands-on approach to teaching financial literacy to their children.

Pros & Cons of Online Checking Accounts

Online checking accounts bring some pros and cons of their own to the table. Here’s what to expect:


  • Strong mobile apps and a good website presence are must-haves for online banks. Most have apps that work seamlessly to make it easy to handle your money.
  • Many online banks focus on a few things they do best, such as checking or savings. Those who want an account with no bells and whistles (and no fees!) are more likely to find it with online banks.
  • You might get a higher interest rate from an online account versus a local bank.


  • No branches can make it tough to handle your finances if a unique situation arises.
  • Online banks might not offer everything you need. For instance, the bank where you open a checking account might not offer mortgages or car loans, which means you will spread out your financial life between various banks. That can be a hassle.

What to Look for When Choosing a Checking Account in Alaska

When you’re narrowing down the options between checking accounts at Alaska and online banks, focus on what matters to you. Watch out for fees, easy access to your money, and interest rates or bonuses that get your attention.

Monthly Fees

Many banks are going to a no-fee schedule, though some might still have fees. However, they should be easy to waive, such as by adding a direct deposit to your account every month.

If your bank does require a monthly fee, ask what you get in exchange for that fee; for instance, that fee might cover any out-of-network ATMs.

Other Fees

A bank might tout no fees but then have more than a few fees in the fine print. These fees might include things like paper statements, wire transfers, and stop-payment requests.

If these fees matter to you, then look for ways to waive them or look to other banks that don’t charge those fees.

ATM and Branch Access

Having access to ATMs is crucial to get money very quickly if you need it. Make sure your checking account has ATM access and a large network of ATMs. Some banks will even waive the ATM fees of other banks, up to a certain amount each month.

If banking in person matters to you, look for a bank that has branches nearby.

Interest Rates or Bonuses

If you are seeking a high-yield checking account, there are certainly some options out there. Remember that some of these checking accounts are more likely to charge fees, and some of them are tiered, saving their best interest rates for those with the highest balances.

By taking your time to open an account, you might find a promotional offer that actually puts more money in your pocket when you do required activities.

Mobile Banking Apps

Speaking of access to your money, you should be able to move it around at all times from the comfort of your couch. A mobile banking app should be a strong feature of any online bank. Download the app before you open an account and look at the functionality. Does it seem easy to navigate and use? If not, you might want to consider opening an account with a different institution.

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

Need help deciding between a local Alaska bank and an online banking account?

Traditionalists may favor the community-oriented vibe and personalized services of local banks. Online options offer autonomy and competitive rates, ideal for tech-savvy individuals.

Prioritize your needs to find the perfect match for your financial goals in the Last Frontier.

Alaska Checking Accounts

Those who want to bank in a more traditional way, with the opportunity to meet with a banker and take advantage of a broad range of banking options, might want to go with a local bank.

These banks often have a strong community atmosphere. They might offer more nuanced services, such as the opportunity to explain issues with credit history when trying to get a personal loan. Local banks are also good for those who aren’t comfortable with mobile or online banking.

Online Checking Accounts

Online checking accounts, on the other hand, are best for those who are okay with handling their money on their own without the need to talk to a banker. Customer service is available via phone, email, and chat for those who need the help of a real person.

Those interested in interest-bearing checking accounts might find more options and better competitive rates through online banks, as they don’t have as much overhead to contend with and thus can pass the savings on to the account holders.

In the end, what matters most in a checking account in Alaska is whether that bank meets your needs. Take the time to review each checking account option and ask as many questions as you need to make sure you have the right option for you.

What to Know About Alaska Checking Accounts

Here are a few other things you might want to know about Alaska checking accounts before you open one:

  • Some banks in Alaska require proof of residency in the state to open up an account. This is common with local banks. Those who go with online banks won’t face a residency requirement.
  • The state of Alaska mandates financial education opportunities for account holders, which might be offered through workshops (in person and online), one-on-one counseling, online resources, and educational materials available at banks, libraries, and government entities.
  • Some banks in Alaska don’t require a social security number or tax ID number to open an account. This could be a good option for undocumented immigrants or others who don’t have certain documentation required by most banks. The Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is an example of this.
  • To go in-depth with comparisons for banks in Alaska, visit the Alaska Division of Banking and Securities website. This site offers up-to-date information on every bank in the state.
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.
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