U.S. Bank Smartly Checking Review [2024]: The Smarter Way to Bank?

BANKING - CHECKING ACCOUNTS
The U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account offers the ease of highly-rated mobile banking while still providing access to in-person branches.
Updated March 25, 2024
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We recommend the U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account as a solid option that combines brick-and-mortar availability with excellent mobile banking apps. With overdraft protection options and multiple ways to waive the monthly maintenance fee, this is a low-stress checking account for everyday money management.12

Note that U.S. Bank Smartly Checking accounts are only available to residents of 26 states. And while they’re interest-bearing, the rates aren’t great.34

Let’s explore our U.S. Bank Checking review to see if this is the right bank account for you.

U.S. Bank Smartly®️ Checking and Standard Savings Benefits

  • Earn up to $700 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and a Standard Savings account and complete qualifying activities
  • Subject to certain terms and limitations
  • Offer valid through June 27, 2024
  • Member FDIC
  • Offer may not be available if you live outside of the U.S. Bank footprint or are not an existing client of U.S. Bank or State Farm

In this U.S. Bank Smartly Checking review

Key takeaways

  • You can waive the $6.95 monthly maintenance fee if you’re a member of the military or a select age group (under 24 or over 65), have an average account balance of at least $1,500, have an open qualifying U.S. Bank credit card, or have combined monthly direct deposits of at least $1,000.2
  • If you’re overdrawn $50 or less, you could receive overdraft protection and waive the overdraft protection transfer fee when you link an eligible account to your U.S. Bank checking account.1
  • If you’re overdrawn more than $50, the Overdraft Fee Forgiven program waives fees if you make a qualifying deposit before 11 p.m. ET on the day you’re charged the fee.

U.S. Bank Smartly Checking overview

Pros
  • Overdraft protection options and fee forgiveness1
  • Highly-rated mobile apps
  • Member FDIC
Cons
  • $6.95 monthly maintenance fee (can be waived)2
  • Only open to residents in 26 states2

The U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account makes sense as a low-stress everyday checking account. It could be especially useful if you tend to carry a low balance because of its overdraft protection and fee forgiveness.

Keep in mind that you can only open this account if you’re a resident of one of the 26 states where U.S. Bank operates. And if you don’t want to pay the monthly fee ($6.95), you have to meet one of several requirements.

U.S. Bank Smartly Checking details

Annual percentage yield (APY) 0.001%-0.005% (as of Sept. 22, 2023)3
Minimum deposit requirement $25
Monthly maintenance fees $6.95 (can be waived)2
Number of branches 2,000+ branches in 26 states
FDIC insured Up to $250,000

U.S. Bank Smartly Checking is an interest-bearing account, but the APY is only 0.001%-0.005% (as of Sept. 22, 2023). Fortunately, earning interest isn’t what this account is designed for. As a low-stress checking account, you can expect:

  • Overdraft protection if you meet requirements1
  • Low minimum deposit requirement
  • Ability to waive monthly maintenance fees
  • Mobile and in-person banking options
  • FDIC insurance

For people who want a simple account to cover everyday expenses with little to no fees, the U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account could be the perfect fit.

As far as checking accounts from brick-and-mortar banks go, U.S. Bank Smartly Checking is similar to what Chase and Wells Fargo offer. Both the Chase Total Checking and Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking accounts provide overdraft benefits and ways to waive the monthly maintenance fee.

What we like about U.S. Bank Smartly Checking

  • Low minimum deposit requirement: You only need a $25 minimum deposit to open a U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account.
  • Member FDIC: Eligible U.S. Bank deposit accounts receive up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance.
  • In-person bank branches: You can visit over 2,000 in-person locations across 26 states.
  • Overdraft benefits: Take advantage of overdraft protection and the Overdraft Fee Forgiven program.
  • Smart Rewards®: Receive exclusive benefits and pricing discounts through the free-to-join Smart Rewards program.
  • Zelle transfers: Transfer and receive money, typically within minutes, using Zelle.
  • Mobile check deposits: Deposit checks straight through U.S. Bank’s mobile app, available on iOS and Android devices.
  • Highly-rated mobile apps: The U.S. Bank Mobile Banking app has a 4.8 out of 5 rating with over 1.6 million ratings on the App Store. On Google Play, the U.S. Bank mobile app has a 4.7 out of 5 rating with over 400,000 ratings.

What users are saying about U.S. Bank Mobile Banking

App Store — 4.8 out of 5 rating Google Play — 4.7 out of 5 rating
5 out of 5

“I love the freedom to send money to my family without the charges and worry of them not getting it.”

Dalinda B. - March 12, 2024

5 out of 5

“It's a banking app! It has most all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a banking app. I'm sure there's a feature another app has that this one doesn't. And I'm sure it has a feature or two another app doesn't have. Bottom line is it gets the job done.”

James W. - February 2, 2024

5 out of 5

“I can do the great majority of my banking with this app. I rarely have to write a check or visit an ATM.”

jljthree - March 11, 2024

5 out of 5

“U S. Mobile Banking App is (in my opinion) the best mobile banking app I've used and or seen. Specifically the option they provide for depositing checks through the app..”

Tahkia G. - February 8, 2024

1 out of 5

“Very glitchy. After a year, still haven’t been able to set up Zelle. Everyone I’ve asked keeps telling me it’ll load later on. It never does.”

nluppy - March 9, 2024

1 out of 5

“One of the main reasons I use banking app is to get notifications when money is spent on my cards. US Bank uses notifications to advertise and there's no way to separate the ads from the account notifications. So, I turned notifications off completely to avoid being solicited by my bank.”

Eric W. - December 18, 2023

What U.S. Bank Smartly Checking could improve

  • Low APY rates: With an APY of 0.001%-0.005% (as of Sept. 22, 2023), you won’t be earning much interest with this account.3
  • Monthly maintenance fees: There’s a $6.95 monthly service fee. It’s possible to waive this fee if you meet certain criteria, but it would be better if you didn’t have to worry about a service charge at all.2
  • Limited footprint: U.S. Bank is a large bank, but it doesn’t operate in all 50 states. Many of the best checking accounts are available nationwide.2

Who is a U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account best for?

The U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account makes sense as an everyday checking account, especially for someone who frequently or occasionally carries a low balance. That could mean a student or young adult who could benefit from using a checking account that offers overdraft protection.

Considering the monthly maintenance fee is waived for anyone 24 or under is more reason a student or young adult could benefit from this account.

The U.S Bank Smartly Checking account doesn’t make sense if you want to earn a lot of interest or avoid monthly fees without meeting certain criteria.

How to open a U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account

To sign up for a U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account, visit an in-person branch or the U.S. Bank Smartly Checking product page. Follow these steps to get started online.

  1. Navigate to the U.S. Bank Smartly Checking product page and select Open an account.

US Bank screenshot 1

  1. Enter your ZIP code to make sure you’re within U.S. Bank’s service area.

US Bank screenshot 2

  1. Fill out the application with your personal information, including your name, date of birth, and Social Security number (or ITIN).
  2. Submit your application once you’ve filled out the required information.

The U.S. Bank online account application process is simple and straightforward. As long as you have all the required information on hand, it could take only a few minutes to complete.

Note that you won’t be able to submit an application if you don’t live within U.S. Bank’s service area. These are the states where U.S. Bank operates.

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming2

Alternatives to U.S. Bank Smartly Checking

Discover Cashback Checking

With no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements, the Discover® Cashback Debit Account is about as stress-free as it gets. You also get a fee-free overdraft protection transfer service and access to over 60,000 fee-free U.S. ATMs. Plus, this account is FDIC-insured and provides 1.00% (as of Jan. 30, 2024) cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.

Visit Discover | Read our Discover Bank review

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi is an online-only bank, so you can open an account from just about anywhere. We recommend the SoFi Checking and Savings accounts, as you can receive up to 4.60% APY with direct deposit.5} And that’s all with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum opening deposit, plus up to $2 million in FDIC insurance.6

Visit SoFi | Read our SoFi Checking and Savings review

FAQ about U.S. Bank Smartly Checking

Is U.S. Bank a good bank to use?

U.S. Bank is an excellent choice for a traditional brick-and-mortar bank if you live in its service area spanning 26 states. U.S. Bank has highly-rated mobile apps and provides multiple financial services, including bank accounts and credit cards. But if you don’t live in its footprint, you can’t open a U.S. bank account.

Are U.S. Bank accounts safe?

Yes, eligible U.S. Bank accounts provide FDIC insurance of up to $250,000. That includes checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, IRAs, and more. Note that certain investment products that aren’t deposits, such as mutual funds and stocks, aren’t covered by FDIC insurance.

Why would U.S. Bank deny me a checking account?

You might have negative information, including unpaid balances or fees, on your checking account report. Many banks and credit unions use reports from checking account screening companies, such as Early Warning Services, to help with application screening processes.

You can typically check these reports and dispute any information you believe to be inaccurate.

U.S. Bank Smartly Checking review: bottom line

We recommend U.S. Bank Smartly Checking if you want a low-fuss everyday checking account. We especially think this account makes a lot of sense if you tend to carry a low balance because of its overdraft protection and fee forgiveness.

However, if you want to earn more interest on your funds and avoid monthly maintenance fees (without meeting certain requirements), we think there are better options available.

If this account doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, check out our list of the best banks to find an account that makes more sense for your needs.

U.S. Bank Smartly®️ Checking and Standard Savings Benefits

  • Earn up to $700 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and a Standard Savings account and complete qualifying activities
  • Subject to certain terms and limitations
  • Offer valid through June 27, 2024
  • Member FDIC
  • Offer may not be available if you live outside of the U.S. Bank footprint or are not an existing client of U.S. Bank or State Farm

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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