The Best Checking Accounts in New Jersey for 2024

Find the best local and online checking accounts in New Jersey. Find the lowest fees, the best rewards, and the most complete ATM access in one account.
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Not every checking account is the same, so you want to find the one that meets your financial needs.

Many checking accounts are available from financial institutions in New Jersey that may not only be a home for your money but also a place to achieve your goals.

Continue reading to find out what these checking accounts have to offer, as well as the differences between local and online banking.

Best Checking Accounts in New Jersey

You may not have thought much about what bank is best for your checking needs, but you should. Rather than getting a checking account from the bank down the street, you owe it to yourself to explore your options. Only some banks will be the right fit, so to help you get a sampling of what’s available in New Jersey, we put together the following list.

Unity Bank

Unity Bank has several checking account options, including accounts that are geared toward students and those over the age of 55.

Unity Bank makes it easy if you want the convenience of doing your banking online while still having the option to go to a physical location when needed. All checking account customers can review monthly statements, pay bills through the company’s website, and use its mobile app to manage their accounts.

Additionally, customers can open an account with only $1 and receive free starter checks when they do. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for interest-bearing checking accounts, Unity Bank does not offer that feature.

Manasquan Bank

Manasquan Bank‘s checking accounts provide access to Zelle, so you can conveniently send and receive payments when needed.

You also won’t be charged any monthly service fees when you have one of these accounts. However, that is where the similarities among all of Manasquan Bank’s accounts end, so you won’t have access to all the available benefits with every account.

You can choose a checking account based on your desired features, such as earning interest, waiving fees for check orders, and taking advantage of mobile banking.

OceanFirst Bank

OceanFirst Bank offers a checking account you can open by phone, online, and at a physical branch.

Benefits include robust fraud protection that provides a zero-liability guarantee if your account is breached.

You can also sign up for overdraft protection, but when your account is overdrawn by more than $50, you’ll be charged a $38 fee for each transaction.

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.

Pros & Cons of Local Banks

Are you unsure whether a checking account in New Jersey is best for your needs? Let’s look at some pros and cons associated with them.

Pros

  • Money received from customers goes directly back into the local community.
  • Fees may be lower than with other financial institutions.
  • Local banks understand the needs of a community.
  • Customer service is more personalized.
  • Account holders may receive competitive rates on interest-bearing accounts.

Cons

  • There may not be many types of accounts available.
  • Access to ATMs may be limited.
  • There may not be a lot of online services available.
  • Customer service hours may be limited.
  • Available services may not be in line with the latest banking trends.

Online Checking for New Jersey Residents

Although local banks have many benefits, in some cases, consumers may prefer to choose a completely online company for their checking accounts. Let’s look at what online checking accounts have to offer.

Chime

Chime, often dubbed a neobank, stands out as a technology-centric financial service provider, offering innovative features and benefits. Its spending accounts boast various advantages, including early paycheck access, overdraft protection, no hidden fees, and an extensive ATM network with access to over 38,000 fee-free ATMs.

While Chime presents notable advantages like competitive APY rates and a streamlined digital experience, it lacks branch banking and requires a checking account for savings.

Chime’s legitimacy is affirmed by its BBB rating, partnerships with established banks, and its growing customer base. Ultimately, Chime appeals to those seeking a seamless blend of technology and banking services, especially for individuals starting out or seeking financial redemption.

Current Checking

Current Checking offers a fully mobile banking experience with no branches, featuring no overdraft fees, maintenance fees, or minimum balance requirements. With over 40,000 free ATMs nationwide, access to your money is convenient.

Users have access to savings tools such as rounding up debit purchases or investing in cryptocurrency. Backed by an FDIC-insured bank, Current provides security and peace of mind. While cash deposits incur a small fee, mobile check deposits are free.

The absence of branches may not suit everyone, but for those comfortable with online banking, Current offers a hassle-free, fee-free experience with opportunities for saving and investing.

Pros & Cons of Online Checking Accounts

Have you ever considered an online checking account before? Here are some pros and cons of online banking you should know.

Pros

  • May offer better interest rates than traditional banks.
  • 24-hour customer service is often available.
  • May have more robust mobile banking services.
  • Lower fees may be charged on accounts compared to brick-and-mortar banks.
  • Deposits are FDIC-insured.

Cons

  • There are few or no branches available.
  • Depositing cash can be challenging.
  • It’s hard for consumers to establish personal relationships with their bankers.
  • Banking products may be limited.

Compare New Jersey and Online Checking Accounts

If your banking needs are straightforward and you feel comfortable with online environments, an online bank is a good choice because you can quickly and conveniently handle your transactions.

However, a brick-and-mortar local bank is the best option if you need or prefer face-to-face interactions when handling money matters.

What to Look for When Choosing a Checking Account in New Jersey

The features checking accounts in New Jersey have to offer are essential to keep in mind since not every bank will give you the same benefits. The following are some key things to look at when choosing a bank.

Fees

Over time, fees can eat into your checking account balance. You need to pay attention to monthly, ATM, overdraft, and non-sufficient funds fees. When looking at different banks, find out exactly what fees you’ll be charged and consider ways to keep them at a minimum.

ATM and Branch Access

One way to keep your fees down is by using ATMs in your bank’s network and making withdrawals at a local branch. Be sure to check how many ATMs and branches are available so you can conveniently handle your deposits and withdrawals and avoid racking up fees.

Interest Rates or Bonuses

In most cases, checking accounts don’t bear interest. However, you can find some banks that offer interest-bearing accounts with various rates. Also, some banks provide bonuses like cash back for qualified purchases made on your debit card.

Mobile Banking

Having access to a banking app isn’t enough. You want to ensure that if a bank offers an app, you get the features you need, whether that includes making deposits or transfers. Is the app user-friendly? Is it secure? You should look at these things to see if mobile banking is essential.

What to Know About Checking Accounts in New Jersey

  • Banks and credit unions in New Jersey cannot require an opening deposit of more than $50 for a consumer checking account.
  • Organizations cannot require consumers to have more than $1 in their checking account to keep it open.
  • You cannot be charged more than a $3 monthly service fee to maintain your checking account.
  • Consumers must be allowed to use up to eight checks, including withdrawals by check, without being charged a fee. You should not be charged more than $.50 for transactions when you use more than eight checks.
  • You should not be charged for making deposits to your account, no matter how many you make.
  • A banking institution can only close checking accounts if consumers engage in fraudulent activity or lie on an account application.
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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