Best Neobanks [2024]: Banking Made Easy

BANKING - ONLINE BANKS
Neobanks typically offer competitive APY rates, low fees, simple online access, and other perks and features that make them a popular, modern-day choice.
Updated Jan. 5, 2024
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Some of the best neobanks include Chime®1, SoFi2, and Wealthfront3. While some of these companies might not be actual banks, they work with partner banks to offer a simple yet excellent banking experience through your phone.

Besides being based online, neobanks also prioritize low-cost banking. This typically means low or no monthly maintenance fees. Top it off with decent interest rates on your money in the form of higher-than-average annual percentage yields (APYs), and it’s hard to see why someone might not like neobanks.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • Neobanks often operate without the help of physical branches and instead offer banking services through mobile apps or websites.
  • Since they’re based online, neobanks focus on user experience by offering easy-to-use mobile apps with many useful features.
  • Neobanks typically offer both checking and savings accounts, with some accounts operating as hybrid accounts.
  • The best neobanks have no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. They also typically offer competitive APY rates and unlimited withdrawals.

The best neobanks

  1. Chime: Best for mobile banking
  2. SoFi: Best for no monthly maintenance fees
  3. Wealthfront: Best for banking and investing in one place
  4. LendingClub: Best for checking account rewards
  5. Varo: Best for high APY
  6. Aspiration4: Best for sustainable money management
  7. Ally Bank: Best for saving for multiple goals

Comparison of the best neobanks

Bank Best for Monthly maintenance fees Highest account APY
Chime® Mobile banking $0 5 2.00% (as of Oct. 25, 2023)6
SoFi No monthly maintenance fees $0 Up to 4.60% with direct deposits
Wealthfront Banking and investing in one place $0 5.00% 7
LendingClub Checking account rewards $0 4.50% (as of Oct. 3, 2023)
Varo High APY $0 Up to 5.00% (as of Oct. 3, 2023) with direct deposits
Aspiration Sustainable money management $0 to $7.99 Up to 3.00% (as of Oct. 11, 2023) with $500 or more spent in a month8
Ally Bank Saving for multiple goals $0 4.35% (as of Feb. 8, 2024)

Chime®: Best for mobile banking

Pros
  • An APY of 2.00% (as of Oct. 25, 2023) for the Chime® Savings Account 9
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Automatic saving options 10
  • Large fee-free ATM network 11
Cons
  • APY rates aren’t as high as some competitors

Who it’s best for: Customers who mostly bank from their phones.

Chime is a financial technology company that offers a refreshingly easy account sign-up process. In just a few minutes, you can complete and submit an application for a checking account. You can also choose to open an optional savings account. Both accounts have no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements.

You can access over 60,000 ATMs for free with a debit card 12 that connects to your Chime® Checking Account. You can also take advantage of Chime’s get paid early feature 13 by receiving direct deposits to your account.

Chime Savings Account offers an annual percentage yield of 2.00% (as of Oct. 25, 2023). Plus, you can set up automatic savings where your debit card purchases get rounded up and added to your savings account.

Visit Chime

… Or learn more in our Chime review.

Chime® Checking1 - No Fees + Early Paydays514

Checking Account. No minimum balance. FDIC Insured through The Bank Corp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.

Open Account

SoFi: Best for no monthly maintenance fees

Pros
  • Up to 4.60% APY on your savings balance with direct deposits
  • Up to 15% cash back when you use your debit card at certain businesses
  • No fees
  • Up to $2 million in FDIC insurance
Cons
  • No separate savings and checking options
  • Must activate direct deposit to earn the highest APY rate

Who it’s best for: Customers who don’t want to pay monthly maintenance fees and still earn rewards.

SoFi began as a student loan company but has since expanded into banking services. SoFi automatically provides you with both checking and savings accounts when you sign up and qualify.

The SoFi savings account comes with a relatively high APY rate of 4.60% when you receive direct deposits, while the SoFi checking account earns an APY of 0.50% (as of Jan. 30, 2024) with direct deposits.

SoFi provides a slew of additional features when you bank with them. You’ll pay no monthly maintenance fees, no ATM fees for in-network withdrawals, and no overdraft fees. Additionally, SoFi offers up to 15% cash back when you use your debit card at qualifying local businesses.

Visit SoFi

… Or learn more in our SoFi review.

SoFi Checking & Savings - Earn Up to $300 When You Set Up Direct Deposit

Earn 4.60% APY15 and collect up to a $300 cash bonus with direct deposit or $5,000 or more in qualifying deposits.16 FDIC Insured.

Open Account

Wealthfront: Best for banking and investing in one place

Pros
  • An APY of 5.00%
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Up to $5 million in FDIC insurance
  • Investing options are available
Cons
  • Wire transfers cost $10
  • Relatively small ATM network

Who it’s best for: Customers who need a banking solution and an investment account in one place.

Wealthfront offers a high-yield Cash Account, offering an APY rate of 5.00%. The best part? You don’t need to meet any specific minimum to qualify for this rate.

On top of its high APY, Wealthfront has a few unique features that make it a unique option. For starters, you’ll get up to $5 million in FDIC coverage via a network of member-FDIC banking partners, substantially higher than the standard $250,000 that banks typically offer.

Wealthfront also conveniently offers banking and investing options in one place, making it a good option for people who don’t like to have their money spread between different platforms. While not as wide a range as other options, Wealthfront also gives you access to 19,000 fee-free ATMs. Finally, you’ll get these features and more with no monthly maintenance fees.

Visit Wealthfront

… Or learn more in our Wealthfront review.

Wealthfront Cash Account - 5.00% APY7

High Yield Cash Management Account. $1 minimum deposit. FDIC Insured.

Open Account

LendingClub: Best for checking account rewards

Pros
  • An APY of 4.50% (as of Oct. 3, 2023) on savings
  • Cash back on certain debit card purchases
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • ATM withdrawal fee rebates
Cons
  • APY up to 0.15% (as of May 9, 2023) on your checking balance
  • Not all purchases are eligible for cashback rewards

Who it’s best for: Customers who want to earn rewards with their checking accounts.

LendingClub is one of the original peer-to-peer personal loan lenders that has grown to offer several products, including checking and savings accounts. LendingClub offers a High-Yield Savings Account that has an APY of 4.50% (as of Oct. 3, 2023). This account has no monthly maintenance fees and offers unlimited withdrawals, compared to the six monthly withdrawals many savings accounts typically limit you to.

LendingClub also offers its Rewards Checking account, which helps you earn cash back on all qualifying purchases, with no limit on how much you can earn. Like its savings account, LendingClub’s Rewards Checking has no monthly maintenance fees. Additionally, it offers ATM rebates for out-of-network ATMs.

Visit LendingClub

… Or learn more in our LendingClub review.

Varo: Best for high APY

Pros
  • Up to 5.00% (as of Oct. 3, 2023) APY with direct deposits
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Automatic round-ups available
  • Early payday options
Cons
  • The highest APY tier is limited to balances of $5,000 or less

Who it’s best for: Customers who want a high APY rate.

Varo is a digital banking fintech company that offers online checking and savings accounts, both of which come with various useful features.

Varo offers modern-day conveniences, such as the ability to get paid early, a helpful mobile app, and an ATM network of over 40,000 fee-free ATMs. The Varo savings and checking accounts come with no monthly maintenance fees.

Varo’s online savings account allows you to earn an APY up to 5.00% (as of Oct. 3, 2023), but only on balances of $5,000 or less. Balances above that limit still earn interest but at a lower APY rate.

Varo’s savings account also offers you automatic round-ups. This feature automatically rounds up every debit card purchase you make to the nearest dollar and puts the difference into your savings account balance.

Visit Varo

… Or learn more in our Varo review.

Join The Bank with 0 Monthly Fees

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Aspiration: Best for sustainable money management

Pros
  • An APY up to 3.00% (as of Oct. 11, 2023)
  • Up to 10% cash back on qualifying purchases
  • A tree is planted for every rounded-up purchase
  • FDIC insurance up to $2 million
  • Pay-what’s-fair fee, even if it’s $0
Cons
  • You’ll only earn cash back with Aspiration’s partners
  • Highest APY is limited to balances of $5,000 or less

Who it’s best for: Eco-conscious customers.

Aspiration offers a unique banking solution, being the only bank in our list of the top neobanks to put a sustainable twist on banking.

Aspiration’s Spend & Save account has two plans, Aspiration and Aspiration Plus, and comes with a debit card made from recycled plastic. This debit card offers up to 10% cash back on qualifying purchases you make with one of Aspiration's Conscience Coalition members, companies and retailers that focus on sustainability.

On top of that, a part of the monthly maintenance fee you pay goes towards charitable causes. As an Aspiration customer, you get to pick the fee you want to pay, even if it’s $0.

However, the Aspiration Plus account has a predefined $7.99 monthly maintenance fee. If you spend at least $500 on this account’s debit card each month, you’ll qualify for up to 3.00% (as of Oct. 11, 2023) APY.

Visit Aspiration

… Or learn more in our Aspiration review.

Ally Bank: Best for multiple savings goals

Pros
  • An APY of 4.35% (as of Feb. 8, 2024)
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Savings buckets help you organize savings goals
  • 43,000 fee-free ATMs
Cons
  • Ally discloses some fees
  • No cash deposits

Who it’s best for: Customers with various personal finance goals they want to work toward.

Ally Bank is another one of the fintech companies that offer online banking. Ally offers a High-Yield Savings Account and an Interest Checking Account. Its savings account comes with features that every avid saver would love, including an APY of 4.35% (as of Feb. 8, 2024) on all balances and access to savings buckets. These buckets allow you to organize your money based on specific goals. Plus, Ally gives you personal suggestions to help you grow your savings.

Ally’s interest-bearing checking has no monthly maintenance fees while providing many useful features. This includes check deposits via its mobile app and access to money transfers via Zelle®. You can earn an APY of 0.25% (as of Sep. 18, 2023) on your checking account balance.

Visit Ally Bank

… Or learn more in our Ally Bank review.

How to choose the best neobanks

When looking for the best banks for your needs, you should narrow down your options based on the most important features you look for. Here are some of the main factors you should consider when picking the right option for you and your money:

  • Higher interest rates: High interest in the form of a competitive APY rate can boost your savings. Many savings accounts offered by neobanks can help Americans benefit from APY rates that are well above the national average.
  • Deposit and withdrawal features: You likely need a bank account that provides you with easy access to your cash through a debit card, ATMs, and checks. Make sure you find an account that offers these features and has a healthy network of available ATMs in your area. On the same note, if you need to move money to and from your savings account frequently, look for an account that has unlimited withdrawals.
  • User-friendly banking app: Many neobanks and financial service companies have strong mobile apps. Still, some have certain features others don’t, like 24/7 customer support available in the app or the ability to lock and unlock your debit card right from the app.
  • Monthly fees: There are plenty of banks that don’t require you to pay monthly service or maintenance fees, and the best features aren’t solely reserved for expensive banks anymore.
  • Security: When you’re using a mostly online-based bank, you want to know your money is safe. Any neobank worth working with should provide strong security measures to protect its customers.
  • Rewards: While rewards might not be at the top of your mind when looking for somewhere to store your money, they can be a bonus. These rewards often come in the form of cash back. Some accounts have certain limitations on these rewards, so make sure to dig deep during your research.

FAQ about the best neobanks

Are neobanks safe?

While no bank or platform is 100% safe, neobanks typically offer a high level of security measures that can help put your mind to ease. Neobanks, just like other traditional banks, typically offer FDIC insurance on your deposits. Neobanks also use measures such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and biometric authentication to protect your personal and financial information.

Are neobank accounts real bank accounts?

Neobank accounts are typically real bank accounts, although they may be offered by a partner bank that works with the platform you use. For example, Chime itself is not a bank but partners with the Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank to offer its checking and savings accounts.

What is the downside of a neobank?

The major downside of neobanks is that they don’t have physical locations. For those looking for a personal touch to their banking, neobanks might not be the answer. Additionally, not all neobanks offer a full range of financial products and services that traditional banks provide, such as loans or mortgages. But for someone looking for banking services, this may not be a problem.

The best neobanks: bottom line

Neobanks provide many features that traditional banks offer, minus the brick-and-mortar locations. This helps neobanks offer higher APY rates, potential rewards, advanced mobile banking, and more.

Deciding which bank to choose can be overwhelming, but as long as you know what you’re looking for in a bank, there’s likely an option out there that will fit the bill. Explore more options in our list of the best online banks.

Methodology

To determine the best neobanks, we compiled a list of popular neobanks available in the market and looked at factors such as minimum balance requirements, APY rates, fees, security, customer service, and user experience. We also considered the unique benefits that some neobanks may offer, such as budgeting tools, cashback rewards, and more.

Then, we evaluated each neobank based on the factors above and selected ones that offer useful features and benefits. We aimed to provide a balanced and comprehensive overview of each neobank, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.

Keep in mind that our list is not ranked in any particular order, and we encourage readers to compare different options and choose the one that best suits their needs and goals. Note that we did not review every neobank in the market, and our recommendations aim to help you make an informed decision when choosing a bank.

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Author Details

Christopher Murray Christopher Murray is a seasoned personal finance writer with a passion for empowering individuals to achieve financial independence while embracing sustainable practices. Over the last few years, he has focused on various facets of personal finance—specifically saving, budgeting, investing (with an emphasis on alternative investments), credit building, and sustainability.

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