The Best Checking Accounts in Illinois for 2024

Explore the best checking accounts in Illinois and compare local and online options. Learn key differences in fees, interest rates, customer service, and convenience.
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As an Illinois resident, you may feel more comfortable doing business with a bank that is part of your community. 

Luckily, many banks in Illinois provide great service, including different checking account options. Continue reading for information about the best checking accounts in Illinois. In addition, you’ll find information about online checking accounts if you’re interested in branching out beyond local banks.

Compare Illinois and Online Checking Accounts

Traditional and online banks have benefits and drawbacks, so consumers should consider their needs as they consider where to open a checking account in Illinois. For example, some customers may value being able to do their banking face-to-face to build a long relationship with their bank.

Others may choose their bank based on how convenient it is to access their funds. Also, some consumers want a bank that provides the best chance of having their money work for them.

What’s the Difference Between Online and Local Banks?

Best Checking Accounts in Illinois

If you’re interested in a checking account in Illinois, you have several choices. Explore some of the best below.

American Bank and Trust 

American Bank and Trust offers checking accounts to accommodate consumers with various needs.

For example, Green Plus Checking is an interest-bearing account for those who want an environmentally friendly option that only provides electronic statements and transactions. The account has no monthly fees but charges $2 when customers make more than six monthly withdrawals at out-of-network ATMs.

The Mint Checking account is for customers 13 to 24 years old and does not charge monthly, overdraft, or statement fees.

Marquette Bank

Marquette Bank‘s ReStart Checking account is designed for those who have had financial issues in the past.

The account can be opened with an initial deposit of $20, and no minimum balance is required. For the first year, account holders can access free online statements, a personal finance workshop, and money orders.

The Everyday Checking account can also be opened with a $20 deposit, and consumers can receive the first basic check order for free. There is a $7 monthly fee when accounts have less than the $50 minimum balance.

Peoples State Bank

Peoples State Bank‘s checking accounts provide access to the company’s debit card, mobile wallet, and e-Docs.

The bank’s Regular Checking account offers unlimited check writing ability with no minimum balance requirement or monthly fees.

The Checking Plus account provides interest when people have at least $2,500 in it. Account holders also receive free Internet banking services and a debit card.

Explore Top Checking Accounts

Many banks offer checking accounts in Illinois, and there’s strong competition to offer the lowest fees and best rewards. Use the listing below to find the best checking account for your situation.

Pros and Cons of Local Banks

While opening a checking account in Illinois may sound like a great way to reach your financial goals, remember that doing business with any bank has pros and cons. The following are some of the benefits and drawbacks of local banks.

Pros

  • Local banks have deep roots in their communities, so they understand residents’ needs better than large banks do.
  • Local banks are dedicated to helping the communities they’re in, so they may have more flexible terms when you want to take out a loan or open a credit card.
  • Local banks often charge lower fees so that you can save money on account maintenance.

Cons

  • Local banks may not be abreast of the latest banking trends, so you may miss out on cutting-edge services.
  • Local banks may offer low interest rates on checking accounts.
  • Local banks may have fewer ATMs in their network, so withdrawing funds can become costly if you’re charged fees.

Online Checking for Illinois Residents

If you’re comfortable with virtual banking, online checking may be the right choice for you.

The following are some online checking accounts available for Illinois residents so you can see what they offer.

BlueVine

BlueVine Business Banking offers various financial services tailored to businesses that need flexible solutions.

It provides high credit limits, low rates on invoice factoring, and fee-free business checking that earns competitive interest on balances up to $100,000. This is ideal for businesses with high invoice volumes or those looking for quick loan approvals and funding without the hassle of traditional banks.

BlueVine stands out with its easy qualification process, robust online platform, and absence of many standard banking fees.

BMO Harris

BMO Harris offers three primary checking accounts: Smart Money Account, Smart Advantage Account, and Premier Account.

The Smart Money Account, aimed at customers wanting to avoid overdraft fees, requires no minimum balance but has a $5 monthly fee for users over 25.

The Smart Advantage Account offers fee-free banking with paperless statements and provides access to a vast network of ATMs nationwide without fees.

The Premier Account, designed for those with higher balances, offers a way to earn interest and includes perks like fee waivers for non-BMO ATMs and premium rates on CDs. You can open any of these accounts with a $25 deposit.

Varo Bank

Varo Bank’s checking account offers fee-free online banking, emphasizing convenience without monthly or hidden fees.

The account offers cash back on purchases with its Perks program and early direct deposit. However, while Varo provides over 55,000 fee-free ATMs, it doesn’t have physical branches or live chat support.

The account is ideal for those comfortable with digital banking, allowing deposits at over 90,000 retail locations. It also includes tools like cash advances from paychecks, appealing to users who value simplicity and digital-first services.

Pros and Cons of Online Checking Accounts

Online banks can be a good choice for certain types of consumers, but you have to be realistic about them.

Here are some pros and cons associated with online banks so you know exactly what you get when you open an account.

Pros

  • Online banks make it extremely easy to open an account anywhere you can access the Internet.
  • Online banks may offer 24-hour customer service, so you can conveniently contact them online or by phone whenever needed.
  • Since online banks are FDIC-insured, you can be confident that your money is safe.

Cons

  • Service from online banks may seem impersonal to customers who enjoy connecting with the companies they do business with.
  • The types of accounts that online banks offer may be limited.
  • Since online banks have no ties to a particular location, they don’t have the same level of investment in what’s going on in a specific community.

What to Look for When Choosing a Checking Account in Illinois

Everyone has different needs, so consider what you want when opening a checking account in Illinois.

Are you concerned about being charged a lot of fees? Do you want to maximize your funds by finding an interest-bearing checking account? Whatever is important to you, we explore what consumers should look for below.

Monthly Fees

In some cases, checking accounts in Illinois have no monthly maintenance fees, so they would be the best choice. However, the monthly fees may vary, so investigate how much each bank charges.

Other Fees

While monthly maintenance fees may be something you can’t avoid, other fees may be based on behaviors you can control. For example, some checking accounts in Illinois may charge ATM, insufficient funds, and overdraft fees. Be sure to look for the banks that charge the least amount of fees, and keep a close eye on your account so you don’t get charged.

ATM and Branch Access

Do you prefer banking in person at a branch? Do you make frequent withdrawals at ATMs and want to avoid incurring fees? The best checking accounts offer the most options to access your funds easily.

Interest Rates or Bonuses

Although most don’t earn interest, some banks offer interest-bearing and rewards checking accounts to attract customers. Also, to remain competitive, some banks may even provide bonuses for certain debit card purchases, so the best banks will enhance their offerings to entice customers.

Mobile Banking Apps

If using a banking mobile app is important, you want to ensure you get the most out of it. The best checking accounts will have an app that gives you the most options so that you can handle as much of your banking needs on the app as possible.

What to Know About Illinois Checking Accounts

  • Illinois banks are required to provide basic checking accounts to people 65 and older. These accounts are opened either with a $100 deposit or a written agreement that a third party will make monthly direct deposits.

  • Illinois banks cannot charge more than $25 or the actual costs of the fees for insufficient funds.

  • When someone deposits a check into a checking account that bounces, Illinois banks can charge up to $4.50 in fees.
About Author
Kenya McCullum
Kenya McCullum is a freelance writer with expertise in personal finance. She writes about personal finance, education, and other topics that are important to consumers.
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