Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Service personnel and their families tend to relocate periodically and spend long periods overseas. To identify the best checking account for these users, Money sought low out-of-network and foreign-transaction fees, plus other perks for active and former military. —Megan Leonhardt and Alicia Adamczyk

USAA Federal Savings Bank

WHY IT WINS: USAA outperforms other military offerings with a mix of benefits: no maintenance fee and easily waived ATM fees, plus discounts on student loans, a free credit score each month, and alerts for changes in your credit. The first 10 outside ATM withdrawals a month are free— particularly important for a service member deployed overseas, away from USAA’s ATM network—and USAA will reimburse up to $15 each month in outside ATM surcharges.

CAVEAT: Interest is below average for brick-and-mortar checking. There is just one branch, in San Antonio. If you’re not going to avail yourself of the loans or other perks, you can avoid foreign-transaction and ATM fees with our pick for Foreign Travelers, Capital One 360 Checking.

Secure Checking
• Minimum to open: $25, waived for new recruits.
• Maintenance fee: $0
• Foreign-transaction fee: 1%
• Outside ATM fee: First 10 withdrawals per month free, then $2; up to $15 a month in other surcharges reimbursed.
• Interest: 0.01%