Another online bank introduces Free Checking. The week of February 13, 2012, teachers’ retirement plan tiaa-cref launched an online consumer bank named tiaadirect. One of its product offerings is a free checking account. Unfortunately, like its competitors Ally Bank and ING Direct, tiaaDirect failed to name its free checking account Free Checking. Instead, like Ally Bank, tiaaDirect’s new checking account pays interest on tiered balances and is named Interest Checking. We’ve yet to hear a valid reason from any of these online banks as to why they refuse to name their free checking accounts Free Checking.