Free Checking Accounts

The following free checking accounts don’t require you to have direct deposit or to maintain a minimum balance; there is no per-check fee. Most come with a free VISA debit card, and overdraft protection is generally available separately. Although many of these accounts require a minimum deposit, they don’t have any minimum-balance requirements. You don’t get back your canceled checks (or images of your canceled checks) with your monthly statements. Account owners must be at least 18 years old.

BB&T (BB&T Free)

$50 opening deposit required. If you have $300 in a savings account, you can link the accounts to provide overdraft protection; you’ll be assessed a fee for transfers used for this purpose.

Chevy Chase (Preferred Fifty)

Account owner must be at least 50 years old. Free checking and savings accounts. Free standard checks.

Chevy Chase (Student Checking Account)

No opening balance required. Student ID required (part-time is ok). Must be signed up for free online banking. Free for the life of the account. You can apply for a $300 student line of credit to provide overdraft protection; you’ll be assessed interest on the line of credit only if it is used.

Farmers & Mechanics Bank (Student Checking Account)

$50 opening deposit required. Student ID required (part-time is ok). Free until student turns 25, then it reverts to a “classic” account and fees kick in. You can apply for a separate line of credit to provide overdraft protection; you’ll be assessed interest on the line of credit only if it is used.

Frederick County Bank (Fifty Plus Account)

Account owner must be at least 50 years old. Free checking account and VISA check card.

M&T Bank (Totally Free Checking)

$25 opening deposit required. No overdraft protection available.

Middletown Valley Bank (Founders’ Club)

Account owner must be at least 55 years old. Free checking account and VISA check card.

My Bank/First United (Freedom Checking)

$50 opening deposit required. Automatically comes with a VISA check card. You can apply for a separate line of credit to provide overdraft protection; you’ll be assessed interest on the line of credit only if it is used.

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The insider's guide to saving time and money in Frederick, Maryland