The Best Checking Accounts in Massachusetts for 2024

Learn about the best in-person and online checking accounts in New Jersey. Find the best rewards, lowest fees, and accounts that earn interest.
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Written by Rebecca Lake
Financial Expert
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Managing Editor

Finding a good checking account often means doing some research to compare what’s available at different banks. Start your search with local banks and credit unions, then branch out to consider national banks or online checking accounts.

Looking at the features, benefits, and fees can help you narrow down the list to find a checking account that fits your needs. If you live in Massachusetts, you’ve got various checking account options.

We’ll walk you through which banks offer the best checking accounts in Massachusetts.

Compare Massachusetts and Online Checking Accounts

Online banks and in-person banks differ in several ways, reflecting the evolution of banking services and customer preferences. Here are five key differences between them.

Best Checking Accounts in Massachusetts

State and local banks can offer all the features you expect in a checking account, along with the convenience of branches and ATMs. The banks selected below represent some of the highest-rated options for Massachusetts checking accounts, including a mix of free and premium accounts.

Rockland Trust Bank – Free Checking Account

The Rockland Trust Bank Free Checking account has no minimum balance requirements or monthly maintenance fee. This account includes paper checks, and your first order is free. You’ll also get a debit card that you can use to spend or withdraw cash at ATMs.

You can manage your account online, via mobile banking, or at Rockland branches and ATMs. Rockland is part of the SUM ATM network. There’s also a student version of this account, designed for full- or part-time students between the ages of 16 and 24.

Webster Five – GoChecking

GoChecking offers essential checking account services with no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fee when you enroll in paperless statements. You can manage your account at Webster Branches, and there are no fees for transactions at ATMs in the SUM network.

Online and mobile banking access are included, and you can also use phone banking to check balances or transfer funds between accounts. The Swipe & Save feature helps you build savings automatically by rounding up debit card transactions and depositing the difference into a Webster Five savings account.

Avidia Bank – Premier Plus Checking 

Avidia Bank‘s Premier Plus Checking account has a $500 minimum opening deposit requirement, which is higher than many other Massachusetts checking accounts. But in addition to basic checking account features, you’ll also get:

  • Fee-free ATM access at SUM and Allpoint locations
  • Unlimited monthly reimbursements for out-of-network ATM fees
  • Unlimited free standard checks

This account also earns interest. There’s a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which is waived when you maintain a combined minimum average balance of $25,000 or more across your Avidia Bank accounts.

Find the Best Checking Accounts

Hundreds of 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 sort through the list to find a checking account that fits your financial goals.

What to Look for When Choosing a Checking Account in Massachusetts

When shopping for a new checking account, it helps to know how to compare them. Here are some main things to consider when looking at Massachusetts banks.

Monthly Fees

Monthly maintenance fees can add up unless your bank gives you a way to avoid them or doesn’t charge them at all. A typical monthly maintenance fee may be anywhere from $5 to $25, so it pays to know how much your bank charges.

Also, consider how you can avoid a fee. That might include:

  • Maintaining a certain minimum balance in your account
  • Meeting a minimum balance requirement across all your accounts at the bank
  • Enrolling in paper statements
  • Enrolling direct deposit
  • Completing a certain number of debit card transactions per month

Other Fees

Aside from a monthly fee, look at what else you might pay for a Massachusetts checking account. Typical bank fees can include:

  • Overdraft fees
  • Non-sufficient funds fees
  • Returned item fees
  • Paper statement fees
  • Check reordering fees
  • Lost debit card replacement fees
  • Wire transfer fees
  • Out-of-network ATM fees

For ATM fees, consider whether the bank refunds any foreign ATM fees monthly.

ATM and Branch Access

State and local banks typically have a smaller geographic footprint than big banks. So, consider how often you’ll need to visit a branch or ATM.

When considering ATMs in particular, check to see which ATM network the bank belongs to. Some ATM networks are more extensive than others, giving you more opportunities to withdraw cash without triggering a foreign ATM fee.

Interest Rates or Bonuses

Some state and local banks may offer interest checking accounts, introductory bonuses, or a chance to earn rewards on debit card purchases. If any of those things are important to you, look for a bank that specifically offers one or all three of those benefits.

Keep in mind that interest rates at traditional banks are likely to be less than what you’ll find at online banks.

Mobile Banking

More banks offer mobile banking access as a convenient and free benefit to their customers. But it’s always a good idea to check and see whether any Massachusetts bank you’re considering opening accounts for is included in the list.

It’s also a good idea to look at the app’s functionality and what its users are saying. If the app is available in the Play Store or App Store, you can check the reviews to get a sense of what people like or don’t like about it.

Pros & Cons of Local Banks

Local banks have advantages and disadvantages, and you might decide that an online checking account is better. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of banking on a local level.

Pros

  • Customer service is typically more personal, making it easier to build a banking relationship
  • Some local banks may charge fewer fees or offer more benefits and features than big banks
  • Getting a loan may be more accessible at a local bank if you have a positive reputation in the community

Cons

  • Local banks may have fewer branches and ATMs to choose from
  • Digital banking apps may lack some of the functionality that you’ll find with an app from a larger bank
  • You may need to visit a branch to open accounts

Online Checking for Massachusetts

If you’re interested in online banking, that can open up a broader range of options. You can open online checking accounts at Massachusetts banks or cast the net wider to choose an online checking account that’s available nationwide.

Discover® Checking

Discover Bank’s online checking account offers unique features, including 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases with no fees, except for outgoing wire transfers. Access over 60,000 fee-free ATMs and enjoy early direct deposit.

While it lacks branch access, its robust mobile banking app ensures convenient banking. Pros include cash back rewards and fee-free overdraft protection, but cash deposits aren’t supported. Consider your preferences before opting for online-only banking. Compare with other options for the best fit.

Citi Priority Checking

The Citi Priority Checking account offers a signup bonus, waived fees, and special deals. With a minimum deposit of $10,000, you can enjoy perks like fraud monitoring, travel benefits, and investment options.

While it lacks interest, it provides in-person and online access. Despite a $30 monthly fee, it offers fee waivers and ATM fee reimbursements. Eligibility for the bonus requires maintaining a balance. Ideal for frequent travelers and those with significant deposits, it suits existing Citi customers seeking exclusive benefits.

Online signup is straightforward, and customer support is available. Citi prioritizes user experience and accessibility across its nationwide network.

Pros & Cons of Online Checking Accounts 

Online checking accounts also have advantages and disadvantages, which are essential to weigh if you’ve never tried online banking before. Here are some advantages and drawbacks of online banks.

Pros

  • Online banks can charge fewer fees and have lower minimum deposit or minimum balance requirements
  • ATM networks may be larger than a smaller community bank, again, with fewer fees
  • It’s relatively easy to open a checking account online without having to visit a branch

Cons

  • Customer service is less personal
  • Online banks typically don’t have physical locations you can visit
  • Only a handful of online banks allow you to deposit cash at partner retail locations, which may require paying a fee

How to Choose: Massachusetts Bank vs. Online Checking Account

Deciding whether a local or online checking account makes sense depends mainly on what you need. You might choose a Massachusetts bank checking account if you want to bank locally and have a more personalized experience.

On the other hand, an online checking account may be preferable if you want to skip steep banking fees and don’t mind forgoing branch banking access.

What to Know About Massachusetts Checking Accounts

Massachusetts state law governs specific rules regarding checking accounts and bank accounts in general. Here are three key points to know as you look for a checking account.

  • State-chartered banks are required to provide free checking accounts to anyone under age 18 or over age 65. Minors under 18 will, however, require a parent or legal guardian’s assistance to open a checking account. 
  • You’re not necessarily required to be a resident of Massachusetts to open a bank account in the state. On the other hand, Massachusetts credit unions may include residency as a requirement for membership. 
  • Jointly owned accounts belong to each person equally, and either one can withdraw funds without the other’s consent. 
About Author
Rebecca Lake
Rebecca Lake, a valued contributor at MoneyRates, unravels the intricacies of personal finance with her expertise in areas spanning from banking to homebuying and investing to small business strategies. Rebecca seamlessly bridges the gap between complex financial concepts and readers, demystifying them with her clear and insightful narratives. She has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, among numerous other publications. With Rebecca’s guidance, financial clarity is just an article away.
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