I use Washington Mutual (WaMu) as my primary checking account. My paycheck is direct deposited there and I pay all my bills (with free online bill pay) with it. I like it because they offer absolutely free checking. There are no monthly fees or balance requirements and they have branches nationwide! They also offer free basic checks for life (although I rarely use checks anymore) and you can now get a statement savings account earning 5% APY when you open an account online. They are obviously targeting internet-savvy consumers as you cannot get this deal in person at a branch.
I don’t actually use the WaMu 5% savings for my emergency fund. I keep my emergency fund at a couple online savings accounts which I’ll talk about later. I keep money that I’m going to need within a week or so in the WaMu account so that it’s at least earning some interest. Before, it would just sit in my checking account earning zero interest. It’s also good because I can instantly transfer any funds from my checking to my savings account or vice versa.
Now make sure that you sign up for both accounts (free checking & statement savings) at the same time. Otherwise, you won’t get the 5% on the savings. Even if you already have an account with WaMu (I did when I signed up for this), you’ll have to sign up for both accounts. So right now I have two checking accounts and one savings account with Washington Mutual.
-No monthly fees and only $1 to open each account
-Branches nationwide, 5% interest, and free checks for life
-Free debit card with $.03 cash back and free online bill pay
-Watch out for fees when you make a mistake (bounce a check, have someone bounce a check on you, make more than 6 outgoing transfers from your savings per month, etc.) (I know from experience, although, you can call and usually have the fee waived, but don’t go crazy…)