The Best Checking Accounts in Arizona for 2024

Get access to Arizona’s best checking accounts. Find out top-rated accounts with exclusive rates, minimum balances, local benefits, and high interest rate.
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Written by Shannon Lee
Financial Expert
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Managing Editor
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The skyline of Tempe, Arizona in the daytime

Is it time to open a new checking account? These options for Arizona residents run the gamut from an accessible, simple checking account to a more complex, interest-bearing option. Here’s what to expect when you dive into banking in The Grand Canyon State.

Compare Arizona Checking Accounts with Online Checking Accounts

These days, online banks and in-person banks aren’t too different. Some traditional banks have started offering online bank features such as robust mobile apps and budgeting tools. Online banks have made it easier to access and transfer money as well.

The Best Checking Accounts in Arizona for 2024

Some of the nation’s largest banks have set up shop in Arizona. Here are some local banks that make in-person banking easy but still provide the services you expect from an online option.

National Bank of Arizona

The National Bank of Arizona offers eight checking accounts, so you can find one that suits your needs. There are interest-bearing accounts, those meant just for seniors or military members, and even accounts designed for those who want to bank almost entirely online with a debit card but no checks. There are plenty of ways to waive the fees for these accounts, but the easiest way is to link your checking with a savings or money market account. There is robust digital banking and a wealth of branches and ATMs in the state.

Arizona Federal Credit Union

The Arizona Federal Credit Union has expanded well beyond its Phoenix roots by acquiring Horizon Community Bank. This credit union now serves those who live and work in 10 counties across the state. The credit union has accounts tailored for teens and young adults, and the Checking Plus account offers competitive interest rates, no monthly fees, and no minimum balance requirements. There is only a $20 deposit required to open the account. Significant protections on the debit card associated with the bank account make it easy to know exactly where your money is at all times.

Chase Bank

One of the largest banks in America, Chase has an impressive presence in Arizona, with over 190 offices in 54 cities across the state. Chase Bank offers numerous options for checking accounts, including Everyday Checking, Secure Banking, and Premier Plus Checking. None of these require a minimum deposit, but some require a monthly fee that can’t be waived. Online bill pay, checking accounts for children (tied to yours), and the possibility of competitive interest rates are among the big draws for these accounts. Promotional offers are abundant, including free bonuses for college kids.

Find the Best Checking Accounts in Arizona

Hundreds of financial institutions in Arizona 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 Arizona Local Banks

Using a local bank might be a wonderful option, but there are also some downsides. Compare these pros and cons.

Pros

  • Local banks have branches in the area that allow you to handle your finances in person.
  • If you need more than a checking account, you can usually find a full suite of services at local banks, including mortgages, loans, CDs, money market accounts, and more.
  • Local banks tend to have a strong ATM network or tap into a nationwide network that offers over 40,000 ATMs for no fee.

Cons

  • Local banks might not offer the most competitive interest rates you can find at online banks.
  • Local banks might not have a strong online presence, making communicating outside regular banking hours challenging.

What to Look for When Choosing a Checking Account in Arizona

When choosing a checking account in Arizona, there are some key points to ponder. Here is how you can compare the various banks vying for your business. 

Monthly Fees

More banks are moving away from fees and into a fee-free model that allows you to handle your money however you want. If there is a monthly fee, consider ways to waive that cost. For example, you might be able to send a direct deposit into the account or keep a minimum daily balance.

Other Fees

Even with a fee-free bank, you might face some fees for extenuating circumstances. For instance, there might be fees for wire transfers, stop-payment requests, paper statements, or research into a financial issue. Some of these fees won’t matter to you, but read the fine print to ensure you aren’t paying a surprise fee.

ATM and Branch Access

Look for a bank that taps into an extensive network of ATMs. If the bank doesn’t have a large ATM network, they might offer reimbursement for the fees required to use ATMs through other banks. If banking in person matters to you, look for a bank with a strong community presence and local branches.

Interest Rates or Bonuses

If you choose an interest-bearing checking account, watch out for fees; waiving fees on a high-yield checking account might be more challenging. However, those rates can be quite nice, especially if you have large amounts of money in the bank. To get your business, many banks will offer some bonus or incentive. This could be hundreds of dollars in free money, so it pays to look for bonus opportunities when opening an account.

Mobile Banking Apps

You want to be able to control your money all the time, not just during regular banking hours. A mobile app can put your account in your hand around the clock so you can bank when it works best for you. Look for a mobile app that has all the features you want. A bank without a mobile app or a robust online presence might not work well for those who want true banking freedom.

Online Checking for Arizona Residents

Online checking accounts are available to consumers throughout the country, and Arizona residents have access to a phenomenal selection of online checking accounts. Below are just a few of the online banks available to Arizona residents.

Discover® Bank

Discover Bank’s online checking account offers some special features. Highlights include earning 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases, with no monthly maintenance or insufficient funds fees.

Direct deposits allow early access to funds, and fee-free overdraft protection is available. Access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs and Zelle for money transfers enhances convenience. However, the account is online only and does not have branch access. Pros include cash back on eligible purchases, FDIC insurance, and a robust mobile app, while cons include capped cash-back rewards and limited deposit options.

Suitable for fee-conscious people comfortable with online banking, it may not appeal to those preferring branch services or unlimited cash-back rewards. Discover’s checking account stands out for its fee structure, mobile banking, and security measures, with no minimum balance requirements.

First Internet Bank

First Internet Bank offers two online checking accounts. The free checking account requires a $25 opening deposit and has no monthly maintenance fee or interest. Paper checks are available upon request.

For those seeking interest, the Interest Checking account takes a $100 minimum deposit. It yields a decent interest rate for balances over $500 and imposes a $10 monthly maintenance fee, waived with a $500 average daily balance. Also, it refunds up to $10 in ATM surcharges monthly.

These accounts offer online and mobile banking services, including check deposit via app and bill payments.

Axos Checking

Axos Bank provides a variety of checking accounts alongside its savings, money market, and CD options. These include Essential Checking, ideal for basic needs, Rewards Checking for interest earners, CashBack Checking for cash back rewards, Golden Checking for seniors, and First Checking for teens.

All Axos checking accounts waive monthly maintenance fees and reimburse third-party ATM fees. Notably, Axos Bank doesn’t impose overdraft fees on any of its checking accounts, making them attractive options for managing your finances.

Pros & Cons of Online Checking Accounts

Just like local banks, online banks have pros and cons. Here’s what to expect from online checking accounts.

Pros

  • Online banks often have an extensive mobile app and website presence to make it easy to move your money around.
  • Checking accounts through online banks can be as simple as you want, with few bells and whistles, or complex enough to handle high dollar amounts.
  • Online checking accounts might offer higher interest rates than local banks.

Cons

  • Many online banks have no branches to bank in person, and they might not have strong customer service.
  • If you have other financial needs, such as vehicle or home loans, you might not be able to obtain them through an online bank.

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

Local banks in Arizona are great for those who want a personal touch with their savings, checking, and other banking needs. Visiting a bank branch or a local ATM can help foster a sense of community, and you have a live person right there at a location you can easily access. This comes in handy if you want to move money around in person or need to speak to someone about any trouble with your account. Local banks might also offer a full suite of services that you don’t find at online banks, such as mortgages or personal loans.

However, local banks might not have the robust mobile app or website presence to bank digitally. In that case, an online bank might be a better bet.

Online banks are good for those who don’t want to deal with bankers and prefer to handle their financial needs online. Customer service for online banks is often excellent, so though you can’t meet with someone in person, you can usually find a natural person on the phone during extended banking hours. Online banks might also offer a competitive interest rate on their checking accounts, thanks to lower overhead than traditional banks.

What to Know About Arizona Checking Accounts

Here are some important facts you should know about checking accounts in Arizona:

  • Banks in Arizona must provide advance notice of changes in terms for any account. In most circumstances, the bank must send that notice at least 30 days before the change. This is usually a written notice, but the bank can tell the customer how that notice will arrive, which could also be through email or app notifications. 
  • If you are offered overdraft protection, you can choose to decline. This is not a requirement to get a checking account. If the bank charges a fee for overdraft protection, you can decline to pay it, but that means you don’t have protection against overdrafts, which could become pricey.
  • In Arizona, you can request and receive complete disclosures for your checking account, including any fee schedules. If requested, this must be given as a written notice, even if you are working with an online bank.
  • Arizona has strict laws governing security measures banks must use to protect their customers’ accounts, including strict privacy laws, timely notifications, and proper encryption.
  • Individuals under the age of 16 can have a checking account under the auspices of the Arizona Uniform Transfer to Minors Act, or AZUTMA. This allows a minor to handle their own money under the care of a trustee, usually a parent or guardian.
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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