How Many Checking Accounts Can I Have?

Having more than one checking account can be an excellent way to keep your finances organized and set yourself up for success.

A woman displays three credit cards in her hands.
Updated June 14, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Having multiple checking accounts is possible and can be incredibly beneficial for managing your finances effectively. I discovered this firsthand when I started my side hustle and opened a separate account to keep my freelance income distinct from my day job earnings. This made it easy to set aside money for taxes, track business expenses, and avoid accidentally spending money I wanted to save.

But even if you don't have a side gig, multiple checking accounts can help you stay organized, prevent overspending, and you can take advantage of perks like higher interest rates and sign-up bonuses.

In this article

How many checking accounts can I have?

There are no rules about the number of checking accounts you can have at one or multiple banks. While some banks may limit the number of checking and savings accounts you can open simultaneously, you can generally have as many checking accounts as you can effectively manage.

Why I opened more than one checking account

When I started my side hustle, I knew I wanted to keep the money I earned separate from the money I received from my full-time job. I knew I needed to set aside money for taxes and that I wanted to keep those funds completely separate from my other income.

Since I had a traditional checking and linked savings account at a brick-and-mortar bank, I knew if I just deposited those funds like any other money, the urge to spend it all would be strong. It would also make my emergency fund look inflated since I hadn’t paid taxes on my side hustle earnings yet.

After some research, I opened an online bank account with a reasonable signup bonus and deposited my freelance earnings directly into it. I pay my quarterly taxes from that checking account, then move the remaining money into my various savings and retirement accounts to help me reach my goals. If I need to make a purchase, I use the debit card associated with the checking account.

I still use this method, and it's been a great way to organize my financial life. With two checking accounts, I can quickly calculate my quarterly taxes and keep them separate from my everyday money. Using the debit card to make purchases related to my side hustle lets me see the related expenses and tally any tax deductions I may be entitled to.

Here’s a look at the benefits of multiple checking accounts.

While you don’t want to go crazy opening bank accounts, having more than one checking account can help you manage tricky financial situations.

Here are some reasons to consider having multiple checking accounts.

Better organization

Keeping your money in different accounts can help you stay organized. If you’re like me and your tax situation is a little complex, using multiple checking accounts can be a great way to remember what amount came from which source. Separate accounts can also help you track relevant expenses.

Using more than one checking account can also be an excellent way to keep your everyday and discretionary spending separate. If you and your partner share household expenses but also want to have your own money, two checking accounts can be beneficial.

Many couples use a joint checking account for household expenses like a mortgage, utilities, and insurance. To make life easier and avoid arguments, both people have an individual checking account for their personal expenses, like clothing, entertainment, and eating out. This method can be an excellent way to ensure the bills get paid and avoid arguments about each other’s spending habits.

Easier budgeting

Having multiple checking accounts can also make budgeting easier. Much like having a savings account for your goals, using a checking account separate from your main account can help ensure you don’t overspend.

For example, many people use a high-yield savings account (HYSA) to hold their emergency or vacation funds since HYSAs often earn better interest than those at a traditional bank. HYSAs are generally connected to an online checking account and usually come with access to a debit card.

When you’re ready to travel, move the money from your HYSA into the associated checking account and challenge yourself to only use the debit card to that account while you’re on the road. That way, you know you have only the funds you set aside for travel, which can help you avoid dipping into money you have earmarked for other expenses or using a credit card.

Manage FDIC coverage

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures up to $250,000 per depositor per FDIC-insured bank. If you tend to keep large amounts of money in your checking account, using different FDIC-insured banks can help better protect you from (the relatively unlikely) event of a bank failure.

Having accounts at multiple banks can also be a good way to ensure you have funds available anytime. Although bank failures are rare, if you have money in a failed bank, your money may be unavailable for a few days while the FDIC works to arrange a sale to a healthy bank. Having funds in a separate bank can ensure you can access at least some money during that time.

Making cash deposits to an online-only bank

Many online-only banks offer better perks than some traditional banks and can be a great way to help your money earn more. However, one drawback of an online-only bank is that it can be difficult to deposit cash. While many banks offer remote deposits of checks, if you have cash to deposit, you may be out of luck or have to jump through hoops to get it into your account.

Setting up two checking accounts — one at an online bank with better interest rates and the other at a more traditional bank — lets you deposit cash in the traditional bank and then move it to the online account. This can be a good way to take advantage of higher interest rates while still keeping the ability to deposit cash, especially if cash tips are a large part of your income.

Account bonuses

As you consider how to choose a bank, you may notice that many banks offer sign-up bonuses to attract new customers. Depending on how sweet the deal is and your current financial situation, opening an account with a cash bonus or better interest rates could be worthwhile.

Before you sign up, however, be sure to read the fine print and note any minimum balance requirements to open the account or receive the total bonus. Read the fee schedule and account disclosures carefully so your bonus doesn’t evaporate because of monthly fees.

The drawbacks of having more than one account

While multiple checking accounts can be helpful, you should also consider the downsides before opening a new account.

Extra fees

Many checking accounts have monthly maintenance fees, minimum balance fees, or other associated costs. While there are often ways around the monthly fees, the more accounts you have, the more fees you will likely pay. It's worth researching the best checking accounts and seeking out those without extra (or any!) fees. Be cautious about signing up for an account with an attractive welcome bonus but has fees or high minimum balance requirements.

More complexity

Unfortunately, the more checking accounts you have, the more complex your financial picture will likely be. You’ll need to understand each account's requirements, manage bank login credentials, and monitor each account periodically for signs of fraud or other issues. It probably won't be too painful if your checking accounts are all with the same bank, but using multiple banks means managing various platforms.

Develop a system to help you manage the different banks you use. You can log in to each platform on a different day, use an app to track your various accounts, or even manually track your accounts using a spreadsheet or accounting software.

Risk of overdrafts

Similarly, having multiple accounts increases your chance of overdrafting. You’ll need to carefully decide where to place your incoming funds across your various accounts to help you avoid fees and potential overdrafts. Be cautious about spreading yourself too thin, and consider your complete financial picture before opening any new accounts.

My checking account recommendations

Account name Main features Monthly maintenance fee
SoFi Checking1
  • 0.50% (as of 07/22/24) APY with direct deposits2
  • Simple and straightforward banking experience
  • Member benefits program
  • Joint account option
$03
Chime® Checking
  • Fee-free overdraft up to $200 for eligible members via SpotMe®4
  • Cash deposits available at Walgreens5
  • Paycheck available up to two days early with direct deposit
$06
Axos Rewards Checking
  • Up to 3.30% APY with qualifying activities7
  • Unlimited U.S. ATM fee reimbursement
$0
Betterment Checking
  • ATM and foreign transaction fee refunds
  • No overdraft fees
  • Joint account option
$0
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
  • Up to 2% cash back on eligible purchases8
  • Paychecks available up to two days early with direct deposits9
  • Fee-free withdrawals at 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs
$0

How to keep track of multiple accounts

Using multiple accounts can be worth it, but having a plan to manage each account you open is essential. Consider the following to help you keep track of multiple accounts.

  • Use mobile banking: Streamline your financial life and use online and mobile banking whenever possible. Set up your login and passwords (make sure the passwords are strong and unique for each account), and familiarize yourself with the bank’s dashboard. If you use an online-only bank, link your primary checking account to fund the new account and make moving funds easier.
  • Set up alerts: One of the benefits of mobile banking is that you can customize alerts about your bank account specific to your needs. To help keep you informed, consider adding low-balance notifications, alerts for unusual activity, and reminders about upcoming automatic withdrawals, among other things.
  • Use an app: Many of the best budgeting apps, like You Need a Budget (YNAB) or PocketGuard, can help keep track of everything going in and out of each account using one dashboard. Look for an app that securely connects to your various bank accounts using industry-standard or higher encryption levels and automatically updates your transactions.
  • Check-in frequently: While apps and software are great ways to monitor everything, ensure you periodically check in on each account. How often you check in will vary based on your situation. Even if you’re using an app, try to physically log in to each account at least once every couple of weeks to ensure everything is correct. If you don’t use an app, you likely need to log in more frequently to ensure everything is on track.
  • Reevaluate: Even the best accounts may no longer be helpful if your financial picture changes. Review your bigger-picture finances once or twice a year and evaluate your account needs. Check your transaction history to see how often you used the account and where you primarily spent the funds. Review the fees and interest earned and decide whether the account still meets your needs.

FAQ

Can I open checking accounts at different banks?

Yes, you can open checking accounts at different banks. You can also generally open multiple checking accounts at the same bank.

Is it illegal to have two bank accounts with different banks?

No, it is not illegal to have two bank accounts with different banks. There are generally no limits or restrictions on the number of bank accounts you can have at different banks or credit unions.

Does having multiple checking accounts hurt your credit?

No, having multiple checking accounts won't hurt your credit. The number of bank accounts you have does not affect your credit score, although your score may be affected if you write bad checks or have a negative account balance that goes to collections.

Bottom line

Using more than one checking account can help you stay organized, avoid overspending, and take advantage of extra perks or signup bonuses. But before you open multiple accounts, consider your financial picture and the best way to manage your money. Read the fine print, pay attention to fees and other account costs, and occasionally reevaluate your needs to ensure your accounts are still working for you.

It might not seem like much in the big picture of your financial life, but using two checking accounts has made my finances more manageable and given me peace of mind that I haven’t forgotten or overlooked important details.

High APY of up to 4.60%2 with direct deposit
Paycheck access up to 2 days early
No monthly maintenance or overdraft fees3
Streamlined savings and savings goals with Vaults
Access to a large ATM network10

Author Details

Kate Daugherty

Kate Daugherty is a professional writer with a passion for providing others the head start they deserve on their financial journeys. Largely self-taught, Kate relied on books, blogs, and trial-and-error to learn how to budget and save for the future, all while working to pay back about $15,000 in student loans.