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This Is How a Checkless Banking Account Works


Chris Aguas, co-founder and CEO of CoreChain Technologies, a digital payments company, says checkless accounts are increasingly becoming the norm.

“Consumer check volumes continue to drop year over year, so there’s no question that checks will continue to be de-emphasized by financial institutions across the board going forward as the final stragglers eventually adopt electronic payments,” Aguas says.

Find out more about how checkless banking works and how a checkless account compares with a traditional checking account.

Who Might Benefit From a Checkless Account?

Several groups of customers might want to consider checkless banking, including:

  • People who want to avoid an examination of their banking history. Generally, you can open a checkless account without your banking history being reviewed, says Bryan Toft, chief revenue officer at Sunrise Banks. Traditionally, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions review your banking history, checking for red flags before approving or rejecting your application for a checking account.
  • People who want to avoid overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees. Checkless accounts normally don’t offer overdraft protection and, therefore, normally don’t charge overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees, Toft says. In 2019, U.S. banks collected an estimated $15.47 billion from these fees, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since then, many banks have made it easier to avoid overdraft fees or eliminated them altogether.
  • People who never write checks. If paper checks aren’t part of your financial routine, then you may want to opt for a checkless account. In some cases, banks charge account holders for paper checks. “Paper checks are a means of payment whose time has come and is now long gone,” Aguas says. “Today, consumers can pay virtually anyone instantly and securely using a variety of electronic payment methods.”

Who Might Not Benefit From a Checkless Account?

While checkless accounts hold appeal for some consumers, they might not be right for others, including:

  • People who write a lot of checks. If you depend on paper checks for rent payments, bill payments and other purposes, checkless banking might not be a good fit. However, Aguas notes that many online bill-paying services can print and mail paper checks on your behalf if a recipient insists on payment with an old-fashioned check.
  • People who like the security of overdrafts. Do you sometimes forget to check your account balance? Are you nervous about giving up the backstop that overdraft protection provides? If so, checkless banking isn’t the best choice for you. Toft says that since these accounts won’t let you overdraft, “you won’t be able to complete transactions if you attempt to spend more than you have.”

Common Features of Checkless Accounts

Consumers who choose checkless banking often can take advantage of an assortment of features, including:

  • Free access to online bill-paying functions.
  • Ability to make purchases with a debit card or with a digital method such as Apple Pay or Google.
  • Free access to person-to-person payment services such as Venmo and Zelle.
  • Lack of overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees.
  • Access to ATMs, bank branches and banking apps.
  • No minimum opening deposit.
  • No minimum balance requirement.
  • No monthly maintenance fee for some customers, such as teenagers or those who carry out a set number of transactions.

Checkless Accounts vs. Traditional Accounts

Here is a comparison of checkless and traditional accounts offered by three major banks.

Clear Access Banking (checkless account) Everyday Checking (traditional account)
Minimum opening deposit $25 $25
Monthly maintenance fee $5 ($0 for primary account holders 13-24 years old) $10 ($0 if certain requirements are met)
Minimum balance requirement $0 $0
Overdraft protection No Yes
ATM fees $0 at Wells Fargo ATMs; $2.50 at non-Wells Fargo ATMs $0 at Wells Fargo ATMs; $2.50 at non-Wells Fargo ATMs

Truist Confidence (checkless account) Truist One Checking (traditional account)
Minimum opening deposit $25 $50
Monthly maintenance fee $5 ($0 if certain requirements are met) $12 ($0 if certain requirements are met)
Minimum balance requirement $0 $0
Overdraft protection No Yes 
ATM fees $0 at Truist ATMs; $2.50 at non-Truist ATMs $0 at Truist ATMs; $3 at non-Truist ATMs

TD Essential Banking (checkless account) TD Convenience Checking (traditional account)
Minimum opening deposit $0 $0
Monthly maintenance fee $4.95 ($0 for primary account holders 13-17 years old) $15 ($0 with $100 minimum daily balance or for primary account holders 17-23 years old)
Minimum balance requirement $0 $100 to avoid $15 monthly maintenance fee
Overdraft protection No Yes
ATM fees $0 at TD Bank ATMs; $3 at non-TD Bank ATMs $0 at TD Bank ATMs; $3 at non-TD Bank ATMs



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