Get free checking, earn interest at Alliant Credit Union

Ink pen on check

The big banks would love for you to pay big fees for using one of their checking accounts.

But you don't have to put up with it.

There are plenty of online banks, community banks and credit unions that still offer free checking. The best will even pay you a bit of interest, dish out rewards and reimburse ATM fees.

One of the better deals available comes from Alliant Credit Union, which offers a free basic checking account, along with an interest-earning High Rate Checking account.

The interest account pays 1.10% APY, more than a percentage point better than the 0.07% APY average offered by banks throughout the country.

Unlike a traditional rewards checking account, which requires you to make a certain number of purchases per month, to earn interest, all you need to do is opt out of paper monthly statements and meet one other requirement, such as setting up a direct deposit from your employer or making a monthly ATM deposit.

There are no debit card fees, and you can get free ATM use at more than 80,000 ATMs nationwide.

Surcharge-free ATMs include those operated by Alliant and those that are part of the CO-OP Network, Credit Union 24 CU Here, Bank of the West, Allpoint and Alliance One networks.

Your first box of checks is free.

Unless you live in the Chicago area or belong to a qualifying organization, you must make a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success to be eligible to join the credit union.

Before you consider paying for a checking account, use our 8-step guide to landing a free checking account.

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