What Is Capital One 360 Checking Account?
The days of the brick-and-mortar checking account might be declining, but Capital One’s 360 Checking Account is going strong with low fees that make it a favorite among financial experts and banking customers.
However, the 360 Checking account has its drawbacks, too.
If you want to make sure this account is right for you, then it’s important to figure out what those weaknesses are along with the account’s strengths.
You’ll also want to know how the Capital One 360 Checking account compares to checking accounts from other big banks like Chase and Bank of America.
The final piece? Knowing what other Capital One customers say about Capital One’s 360 Checking account and understanding how that should influence your opinion.
This review of the 360 Checking account will hit on each of those key areas. We’ll do an overview of the pros and cons of this checking account, talk about how it compares to other brick-and-mortar bank products and review consumer opinions about the checking account.
Once we work through that information, we’ll wrap up with some of our overall thoughts about the Capital One 360 Checking account.
A Quick Word About Interest
We’re going to discuss the main benefits of this account in the next section, but we wanted to take a quick second to let you know that the money you deposit to your checking account earns interest:
- Balances up to $49,999 – 0.20%
- Balances from $50K to $99,999 – 0.75%
- Balances $100K and above – 0.90%
Your interest payment is calculated every day by dividing the yearly rate by 365. That number is then multiplied by your balance and added to your account.
The Pros of the Capital One 360 Checking Account: Low Fees
Every financial product you buy is going to have its set of positives and negatives. Based on our research, we’ve found that the main positive with this checking account is its low fees.
Checking accounts fall into two categories: those with fees and those without fees. The Capital One 360 is part of the latter group and this is the product’s main advantage to consumers like you.
You won’t pay any fees for having a Capital One 360 Checking account as long as none of your payments are returned and you don’t overdraw your account (try to take out more than what’s in there).
Capital One won’t charge you a monthly fee for having the account, they don’t require that you keep a minimum balance (a popular tactic among banks) and they don’t charge you to make BillPay payments or transfer money to another Capital One customer.
ATM withdrawals are free from a Capital One Bank and from any ATM in the Allpoint network, which has more than 38,000 machines across the country. If you want to know which ones are closest to you, use Allpoint’s ATM Locator.
Also, Capital One won’t charge you if you use an out-of-network ATM. However, the owner of that ATM might charge you a nominal fee.
A Quick Word About Checking Account Fees
There was a time when checking account fees were normal. However, these big-bank checking accounts faced competition from new startups offering checking accounts for free.
So, they’ve slowly been following suit. Capital One 360 is leading the way with their no-fee checking account.
“Forty-five percent of Americans pay those or other fees in a typical month, according to the American Bankers Association,” Forbes reporter Laura Shin wrote in a 2014 article. “This is absolutely unnecessary given how many bank accounts these days are free or have avoidable fees, such as when the charge is waived if you receive a direct deposit, maintain a minimum balance or sign up for electronic statements.”
One year later, the American Bankers Association released new findings about fees.
“We’ve seen tremendous innovations to bank services over the last decade that have allowed our customers to bank in the way that is most convenient for them and at little or no cost,” ABA Senior Vice President Nessa Feddis said.
The Cons of the Capital One 360 Checking Account: Limited Locations
As we mentioned earlier, online checking accounts have popped up all over the place. Consumers love them because they can offer low or no fees at all.
However, not everyone likes the idea of using an “invisible” bank; they prefer using a bank that has physical locations.
If you’re the kind of consumer who likes knowing you have a bank branch you can go to, Capital One’s 360 Checking account might frustrate you.
Their brick-and-mortar locations are found in the following states:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
As you can see, this list is limited to the East Coast, Texas, and Louisiana. Granted, the Allpoint ATM network offsets this by providing withdrawal points all across the country.
However, if you value getting face-to-face service from a local bank branch, unless you’re in Texas, you’re out of luck if you live west of the Mississippi.
How Does the Capital One 360 Checking Account Compare to Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo?
Capital One isn’t the only major bank in the United States offering checking accounts these days. Both Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo offer checking accounts that compete with Capital One’s 360.
Capital One 360 Checking vs. Bank of America Core Checking
Based on our research, we believe the 360 Checking account is the better product when it comes to fees.
While the 360 has no fees or minimum balance requirements, the Bank of America Core account charges you $12 a month unless you have a monthly direct deposit of $250 or more or you maintain an average daily a balance of $1,500 or more.
Bank of America will also charge you $35 if you have a declined transaction because funds are too low and you’ll also be charged $12 for overdraft protection (using money from other accounts to cover a transaction you can’t make).
Capital One won’t charge you for declined transactions and will charge you $9 for overdraft protection.
While Capital One may win with fees, Bank of America wins the branch accessibility battle with more than 5,000 bank branches across the country.
Capital One 360 Checking vs. Chase Total Checking
Chase offers a popular checking account called Total Checking. While it has a different name than the Bank of America Core Checking, the fees are essentially the same.
You’ll be charged $12 a month if you don’t’ meet the minimum daily balance of $1,500 or have a monthly direct deposit of $500.
These numbers are what give the capital One 360 account the advantage when it comes to fees.
However, when it comes to the number of branches Chase offers, it’s clear who has the advantage.
Chase has more than 5,000 branches across the country, giving access to the East Coast, Midwest and West Coast.
Capital One 360 Checking vs. Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
The final comparison reveals that Wells Fargo’s Everyday Checking account follows the same pattern as Chase and Back of America in that they’ll charge you a monthly fee if you don’t meet certain requirements.
Those requirements, however, are a little easier to meet at Wells Fargo.
According to their Everyday Checking page, you’ll be charged $10 a month unless you make at least $250 a month, “10 or more posted debit card purchases/payments. This includes posted debit card purchases or posted debit card payments of bills from this checking account.”
And, as with the other banks on this list, Wells Fargo has a far better selection of branch locations. The bank is the biggest in the country, with more than 6,000 brick-and-mortar banking centers.
Free Accounts and Freelancers
One of the drawbacks to the direct-deposit fee waiver system is that many freelancers don’t get paid through direct deposit. They’re paid either through bank transfers (Chase’s QuickPay is a good example) or, for Upwork freelancers, PayPal transfers.
What Other Consumers Say About Capital One’s 360 Checking Account
If you look at the reviews of the Capital One 360 Checking Account, you’ll find that most reviews average 2-4 stars.
Many of the negative reviews about the Capital One 360 product are recent and they focus on bugs that foiled remote check deposits, poor customer service and long delays for transfers to make it from one account to another.
Here’s a typical negative review:
“I used to love this bank and recommend it to everyone, but lately it seems to have fallen apart. A few months ago, they had an issue where many (most? all?) users couldn’t deposit checks at all -- which is clearly a complete and total deal breaker. It took over 3 weeks to fix it. Now, as of last week (late Feb 2017), it happened again, already. I'm looking for a new bank, as I've had it.”
There are positive reviews of the bank, too. Two of the four sites we researched had an average of 4-star reviews for the Capital One 360 Checking account.
Here’s a typical positive comment:
“I have had Capital one 360 Checking for the last 2 years. It is very hassle free because you can link all your other capital one accounts together. I can transfer funds between the accounts for free and there are no hidden fees!”
Our Final Thoughts About the Capital One 360 Checking Account
The Capital One 360 Checking account has many of the features we’ve come to expect out of today’s checking accounts: low or no fees, branch access and other features like mobile deposits and online transfers.
In that sense, what you’re getting from this bank isn’t much different than what you’d get with Wells Fargo, Chase or Bank of America.
The differences between the banks and the checking accounts they offer come down to some of the details and how those details relate to your specific situation.
For example, if you receive a paycheck via direct deposit, then you’ll have no problem meeting the fee-waiver requirements that Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have.
In that sense, you really have unlimited options when it comes to choosing the best checking account.
However, if you’re like the growing chunk of American workers who earn income through freelance jobs, you may not get direct-deposit payments. In that case, you have a couple of choices.
First, you can choose an online bank like Ally or Bank of Internet. They have no branches and operate purely online. They’re safe and secure, too.
However, if you would prefer to be a customer of a bank with brick-and-mortar branches, you may want to consider using Capital One’s 360 Checking account. It offers a no-fee structure similar to the online banks but has locations across the East Coast.
The drawback here, of course, is that not everyone lives on the East Coast where most of Capital One’s branches are. If it’s accessibility you want, try Wells Fargo, Chase or Bank of America. They have far more branches than Capital One.
In all, we think that the Capital One 360 Checking account is a great choice compared to the competition. It offers the fee-free banking option you see with online banks, but it has a brick-and-mortar network of banking centers all along the East Coast.
Should you choose to open a checking account with Capital One or any of the big banks earlier, you’ll get a free debit card. We suggest ditching that card and sticking with your credit card to make purchases Why?
Take a look at our article on credit cards vs. debit cards to get four solid reasons why you’ll benefit from choosing credit over debit.