Opening a bank account online has never been easier than it is today. However, with so many banks, credit unions, and financial institutions offering financial services online, choosing the right one can be quite a challenge.
For most of us, convenience and simplicity are high priorities when it comes to banking online. If you’re trying to figure out which online bank account is best, and which are the easiest banks to join, you’re in the right place.
Whether you’re looking for a new checking account, savings account, reliable mobile banking, or simply to avoid monthly maintenance fees, the options we’ve analyzed below are sure to satisfy your needs.
Chime is a financial technology company which partners with The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank to provide banking services to their customers. Chime is one of the leaders in online banking because it’s easy to sign up and they don’t charge a monthly maintenance fee. Additionally, they offer a fantastic secured credit card that can help to build your credit score.
Signing up for an account with Chime is as easy as getting online and entering your basic details – name, email, and Social Security Number. You don’t need to worry about credit checks, a minimum deposit, or any minimum balances with Chime. They also offer other fantastic products and services, which is why many people consider Chime as the best checking account available online.
Check out our full Chime review to learn more.
Upgrade is another financial technology company, offering financial services in conjunction with Sutton Bank. Upgrade’s products include a no-fee checking account with generous cashback rewards, along with multiple cards and even personal loans.
Signing up for a checking account with Upgrade is pretty straightforward and can be completed within a matter of minutes. With no-fees and up to 2% cashback on your purchases, their Rewards Checking Account is an attractive choice for those who don’t need any other frills.
Current claims that their sign-up process takes less than two minutes, which might be a record. In any case, this forward-focused fintech offers a checking account that is geared towards cashback rewards, quick peer-to-peer transfers and even an earlier payday with monthly direct deposits. You also won’t pay any monthly fee with a Current account.
One interesting aspect of a Current account are their Savings Pods. You can earn up to 4.00% APY on your savings (up to $6,000). This makes Current a potential option for those looking to earn on their savings and benefit from a no-fuss digital checking account.
4. Axos Bank
Axos is an online bank that offers several types of checking accounts for new customers. These include rewards checking, cashback checking and a more straightforward “Essential” checking account. There are also a range of savings and investing accounts available from Axos.
Axos Bank is also low on fees, like most internet banks. They also offer unlimited reimbursements for ATM withdrawals, which is pretty rare. There is no minimum balance requirement and you can earn up to 1.25% APY once you meet the criteria for rewards.
Axos Bank sign up takes around fifteen minutes. It’s a little longer than most of the other banks on this list, but still relatively quick and easy compared to a traditional bank.
Aspiration is a non-bank financial institution that offers a “Spend & Save” account, which is essentially a checking and savings account all in one. Aspiration markets themselves as an environmentally-focused alternative to traditional banks, with the option to plant a tree with every swipe of your card.
There are no overdraft fees and no mandatory monthly fees. In fact, Aspiration allows customers to choose their monthly service fee, or simply not pay one at all. You can sign up online with just your basic information and fund your account via direct deposit right away.
Ally, which is part of Ally Financial Inc, is an online-only bank. Ally offers a high interest checking account with no monthly fee. Account holders also get free access to over 43,000 ATMs nationwide. Like most online banks, sign up takes just a few minutes and basic information such as your contact information, address, and Social Security Number.
The checking account offers 0.1% APY on balances less than $15,000 and 0.25% APY with a minimum daily balance of $15,000. These are better interest rates than some savings accounts with traditional banks.
Ally doesn’t facilitate cash deposits. However, you can always fund your account through wire transfer, direct deposit or mobile check deposit, among others. There’s also no minimum balance requirements, or minimum opening deposit. Ally will also reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle for any fees you’re charged using an out-of-network ATM in the U.S.
You can check out our Ally Bank Review for more information.
Online banking provides many features that attract consumers. But, it’s important to have a clear idea of both the pros and cons of online banking in general. This can help you to understand what online banks can do for you, and also find out which features are most essential to meet your financial needs.
- Access 24/7: An online bank account is always accessible. You can check your balance, make transfers, and avail of other banking services anytime. This might sound obvious, but in comparison to brick and mortar banks with business opening hours, it’s pretty convenient. Your access may be restricted if your mobile banking app undergoes maintenance from time to time. However, you’ll still be able to spend your money and use your card.
- Low Fees: Many online banks offer significantly reduced banking fees in comparison to traditional banks. With an online checking account, you can save on overdraft penalties, monthly maintenance fees, and even ATM fees. That means you can automatically make savings just by finding a bank or credit union to join online.
- Savings, Bonuses & Rewards: Online banks are generally focused on offering checking accounts. However, it is possible to find and benefit from a high annual percentage yield APY with an online savings account. There are also some great bonuses, as well as products such as a cashback rewards checking account on the market.
- Non-Traditional Customer Service: Banking online means that you won’t have face-to-face customer support as you would at a traditional brick and mortar bank. You can still get great customer service online. But, many people like to have the option of dealing with any issues in-person. If that’s you, then you’ll probably want to look for an online banking provider that offers customer service over the phone.
- Limited Cash Deposit Options: Many banks with online services rely on direct deposit or transfers to fund accounts, with cash deposits somewhat left behind. You can usually deposit cash in specific network ATMs, or route it via a traditional bank account or third party.
- Less Comprehensive Banking: With many bank accounts online, there tends to be a focus on one kind of account or product, meaning you may not have all of your banking needs met. Compared to traditional banks, an online account will tend to be less comprehensive in terms of the services available to you.
There are a few key elements that you should look for in an online bank account. Let’s run through the most important features that all the best checking accounts offer:
- Security: Make sure that any bank you sign up with is FDIC insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) helps insure the accounts of legitimate financial institutions (checking, savings, money market accounts and CDs) against bank failure. They protect you for up to $250,000. Also consider things like two-factor authentication, and any other security features.
- Fees: Most online banks and credit unions can waive the traditional fees for checking accounts, including overdraft and maintenance fees. Pay attention to the small print, however, because sometimes there can be hidden fees.
- Customer Service: Get clear on the options available to you for customer service. Take note of the operating hours and also the channels, such as phone, email, and text chat.
- Additional Products & Services: There are plenty of banks online that offer no-frills checking accounts. However, if you’re interested in other financial products such as loans, credit cards, and high interest savings accounts, then it’s worth shopping around to find the best fit for you.
All the banks listed above don’t require an opening deposit. There are also more traditional banks offering online accounts without a deposit, such as Capital One and Discover Bank.
Yes. Many online banks don’t run a credit check and don’t use a ChexSystems report to screen your application for an account.
Again, all the banks listed above have no minimum balance requirements. You’ll also find that the majority of online-only banks don’t require a minimum balance to maintain your account.
The vast majority of online banks allow you to make cash deposits either via network ATMs, direct deposit from a traditional bank account, or via other means such as mobile check deposits.
There are a lot of great checking accounts online, as well as some competitive savings and rewards checking accounts. No matter what your money needs are, all the banks we’ve looked at here make it really easy to sign up and get started with your new account right away.