Nationwide Advantage Checking Review — Features, Pros & Cons


Most checking accounts don’t pay interest, but a growing number of high-interest checking accounts do. Some offer yields on par with the best high-yield savings accounts, though often with extra hoops to jump through.

Nationwide Advantage Checking can’t match the best savings account yields, but it nevertheless provides a reasonable return on your cash when you meet two qualification requirements. If you regularly use your debit card and receive recurring direct deposits each month, you should qualify for the full yield.

That said, Nationwide Advantage Checking has some important downsides to consider before opening an account. Weigh the pros and cons carefully.

What Is Nationwide Advantage Checking?

Nationwide Advantage Checking is a high-yield online checking account that earns up to 0.90% APY in any statement period where you meet the two qualifying criteria:

  • Receive direct deposits totaling $1,000 or higher each month (good for 0.45% APY)
  • Make at least 10 in-person debit card transactions, each totaling $3 or more (good for another 0.45% APY)

If you complete one qualifying activity but not the other in a given statement cycle, you earn the posted interest rate for that activity but not the maximum possible yield. 

Nationwide Advantage Checking is backed by Axos Bank, one of the biggest online banks in the United States. In addition to potentially paying interest on balances, it has customer-friendly features like no monthly maintenance fee and no ongoing minimum balance.

What Sets Nationwide Advantage Checking Apart?

Nationwide Advantage Checking stands out for several reasons:

  • Pays interest with qualifying activities. You can earn up to 0.45% APY when you receive qualifying direct deposits and complete at least 10 in-person debit card transactions of $3 or more each.
  • No maintenance fees. Unlike some high-yield and rewards checking accounts, Nationwide Advantage Checking charges no monthly or annual maintenance fees. 
  • Big ATM network. Nationwide Advantage Checking has more than 80,000 machines in its ATM network, which spans the entire United States. You pay no fees to withdraw cash from these ATMs.
  • Above-and-beyond security features. On top of standard security features like automatic timeouts and SSL encryption, Nationwide Advantage Checking goes above and beyond with protections like two-factor authentication and complimentary antivirus and malware protection.

Key Features of Nationwide Advantage Checking

Don’t open a Nationwide Advantage Checking without understanding its core features and capabilities, from its fees and minimums to the conditions it places on interest payments.

Account Yield & Requirements

Nationwide Advantage Checking’s maximum yield is 0.90% APY. You must complete both of the following qualification requirements to earn it in any given statement cycle:

  • Make 10 or more debit card transactions in person, each totaling at least $3
  • Receive at least $1,000 in qualifying direct deposits, not including transfers between bank accounts

The debit card transaction requirement qualifies you to earn 0.45% APY on your account balance. The direct deposit requirement qualifies you to earn another 0.45% APY. 

If you complete only one or the other in a given statement cycle, you earn only the corresponding interest rate. If you complete neither in a given statement cycle, you earn no interest for the period.

Account Fees & Minimums

This account has no monthly or annual maintenance fee and no ongoing minimum balance. There is a $50 minimum required opening deposit.

ATM Access

Nationwide Advantage Checking has more than 80,000 ATMs in its fee-free network. Cash withdrawals are free at all machines in the network, but you may face surcharges if you venture outside it.

Security Features

All bank accounts come with certain standard security features, such as encryption and password protection. Nationwide Advantage Checking goes a bit beyond the typical security lineup with two notable nonstandard features:

  • Complimentary malware and virus protection for customers
  • Two-factor authentication, which means your password alone isn’t enough for intruders to gain access to your account

Mobile Features

Nationwide Advantage Checking has a user-friendly mobile app with all the main features of the regular online account dashboard. You can deposit paper checks on your phone, set up recurring and one-time bill payments, and transfer funds to external accounts or other individuals with a few taps.

Deposit Insurance

Nationwide Advantage Checking comes with FDIC insurance on balances up to $250,000. Should Axos Bank (Nationwide’s banking partner) go under, your deposits are guaranteed by the federal government up to this amount.

Pros & Cons

Nationwide Advantage Checking has some clear advantages and a few notable downsides as well.

Pros

  • No maintenance fees or ongoing minimum balance
  • Better potential yield than most checking accounts
  • Large ATM network

Cons

  • Must complete qualifying activities to earn interest
  • Lower yield than the best high-yield checking accounts
  • No debit card rewards

Pros

Nationwide Advantage Checking is a low-cost, low-balance checking account that has the potential to be at least somewhat rewarding.

  • No maintenance fees. Nationwide Advantage Checking charges no monthly or annual maintenance fees, so you won’t pay anything out of pocket to keep your account open.
  • No ongoing minimum balance. Once your account is open, you’re not required to maintain a minimum balance. Some interest checking accounts make you keep hundreds or thousands of dollars in the bank at all times.
  • Better potential yield than most checking accounts. Nationwide Advantage Checking has a higher yield than most checking accounts. After all, traditional checking accounts pay no interest at all.
  • Large ATM network. Nationwide (through Axos Bank) has more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs, more than many competing banks.
  • Above-average security features. Nationwide Advantage Checking has a few nonstandard but welcome security features, such as antivirus protection and two-factor authentication.

Cons

Nationwide Advantage Checking attaches important conditions to interest payments and isn’t among the highest-interest checking accounts on the market in any case.

  • Must complete two qualifying activities each statement cycle to earn interest. You need to make at least 10 qualifying debit card transactions and receive at least $1,000 in qualifying direct deposits to earn the maximum interest rate in any given statement cycle. While not totally outrageous, these requirements aren’t easy for every user to fulfill.
  • Maximum yield can’t match the best high-interest checking accounts. It’s nice that Nationwide Advantage Checking yields anything at all. But it’s a far cry from the top high-yield checking accounts, whose yields compete with the top high-yield savings accounts.
  • No rewards on debit card spending. Nationwide Advantage Checking has no debit card rewards program. If you want to earn rewards on spending, consider a rewards checking account or app like Go2Bank.

How Nationwide Advantage Checking Stacks Up

Nationwide Advantage Checking shares the spotlight with several other interest-bearing checking accounts. Before you apply, see how it compares to another popular option: Quontic Bank High-Interest Checking.

Nationwide Advantage Quontic High-Interest
Maintenance Fee $0 $0
Minimum to Open $50 $100
Minimum Ongoing $0 $50
Maximum Yield 0.90% APY 1.10% APY
Qualifying Activities? Yes Yes

Both Nationwide Advantage Checking and Quontic High-Interest Checking have no maintenance fees and low minimums. Both also require qualifying activities to earn interest, though Quontic is a bit more manageable with just one requirement. Quontic’s maximum interest rate also noses ahead of Nationwide’s, if not by much.

Final Word

Nationwide Advantage Checking uses a two-tiered interest rate to encourage you to make it your main checking account. Neither qualifying activity is a heavy lift if you have a steady, decent-paying job and regularly use your debit card in person. While the maximum interest rate (currently 0.90% APY) can’t match the top interest-bearing checking accounts, it’s way better than nothing.

That’s not to say Nationwide Advantage Checking is the best checking account on the market. For example, you can earn interest at a much higher rate in a Wealthfront Cash Account — without jumping through any hoops — and you can earn rewards on debit card purchases with Go2Bank (among many other rewards checking accounts and apps). Nationwide deserves to be in the conversation, but don’t open an account before seeing what else is out there.

Editorial Note:
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.



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