The best online banks offer a range of services and great customer service to make your banking experience fast and convenient.
Which online banks are the best for you? Here are our recommendations, along with the fees you might be subject to and the extra features that make each bank stand out.
Best online banks with checking accounts
- Best for high APYs: SoFi
- Best for no fees: Axos
- Best for investors: Charles Schwab
- Best for overdraft protection: Ally
- Best for rewards: American Express
- Best for crypto users: Quontic
- Best for mobile banking: Capital One
- Best for high savings APY: Discover
- Best for frequent ATM users: CIT Bank
- Best for cash back: Varo
Best savings-only online banks
Best online banks with checking accounts
|Bank||Best for||Checking APY||Fees||ATM network|
|SoFi||High APYs||1.20% (as of May 9, 2023) with direct deposit
1.20% (as of May 9, 2023) without direct deposit
|None||No ATM fees at 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs|
|Axos||No fees||Up to 3.30% (as of May 23, 2023)||None||Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements|
|Charles Schwab||Investors||0.45% (as of May 23, 2023)||None||Unlimited ATM fee rebates|
|Ally||Overdraft protection||0.25% (as of May 9, 2023)||None||No fees at 43,000+ Allpoint ATMs|
|American Express||Rewards||1.00% (as of May 9, 2023)||None||No fees at 37,000 MoneyPass ATMs|
|Quontic||Crypto users||Up to 1.10% (as of May 11, 2023)||No fees, $100 minimum to open account||No fees at AllPoint Network ATMs, MoneyPass Network ATMs, SUM program ATMs, or Citibank ATMs|
|Capital One||Mobile banking||0.10% (as of May 23, 2023)||None||No fees at MoneyPass and Allpoint ATMs|
|Discover||High savings APY||None||None||No fees at 60,000 ATMs|
|CIT||Frequent ATM users||0.10% (as of May 23, 2023) for balances under $25,000
0.25% (as of May 23, 2023) for accounts with a balance of $25,000 or more
|None, a minimum of $100 is required to open an account||No ATM fees + $30 per month in reimbursements|
|Varo||Cash back||None||None||No fees at Allpoint ATMs|
1. Best for high APYs: SoFi
Who it’s best for: Those interested in maximizing interest and a SoFi membership.
SoFi offers many financial products, including personal and student loans. Its checking account provides a number of features designed to make banking easier and more efficient. For starters, it offers one of the most impressive checking APYs on our list: 1.20% (as of May 9, 2023) with direct deposit. That’s just for the checking account.
The savings account SoFi offers is even more impressive, at 4.20% (as of May 9, 2023) with direct deposit. SoFi’s checking account also comes with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
One of the more unique features offered by SoFi is the local rewards program through your debit card. You can earn up to 15% cash back at local businesses when you pay with your SoFi card.
2. Best for no fees: Axos
Who it’s best for: Those who want to avoid fees on banking products and either earn interest or earn cash back on their checking account.
Axos's checking accounts come with a variety of features that make them a unique and desirable option. Axos Bank offers no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements, making it an accessible and affordable choice for anyone looking to open a checking account.
With three different checking account options, there’s an account for most types of users. The Essential Checking account is a simple account with no fees and the ability to get early deposits, but it does not earn interest.
The Rewards Checking is meant more for high-balance accounts, as it offers up to 3.30% (as of May 23, 2023). Finally, the Cashback Checking account offers up to 1.00% cash back on your debit card purchases.
3. Best for investors: Charles Schwab
Who it’s best for: Current or potential Charles Schwab investors.
For Charles Schwab investing customers, the Investor Checking account is a straightforward account offering no monthly service fees or minimums. Schwab also offers unlimited rebates on ATM transactions all around the world, not just in the U.S.
You can transfer money between the checking account and your investing account, which could simplify your financial life if you already invest with Charles Schwab (or are planning to).
While the interest rate offered on the account isn’t the highest (0.45% (as of May 23, 2023)), it’s still better than many checking accounts you can get through credit unions or local banks.
Visit Charles Schwab.
Or read our full Charles Schwab review.
4. Best for overdraft protection: Ally
Who it’s best for: People who may occasionally overdraft.
The minute you hit the front page of Ally’s site, you’ll see the feature the company is most proud of — overdraft protection. Ally offers CoverDraft, which provides overdraft protection of up to $250.
If you get direct deposit through your Ally bank account, you’ll also have access to your paycheck up to two days early. Finally, Ally provides an automatic savings option through round ups. When you have both a checking and savings account through Ally, you can sign up for round ups, and each one of your eligible debit card purchases is rounded up, the rounded-up money moved to your savings account once you accrue at least $5.
5. Best for rewards: American Express
Who it’s best for: Current Amex cardholders who want to earn more Membership Rewards points.
Amex cardholders can find a lot of value in the American Express Rewards Checking. The account comes with the usual no fees or monthly minimums but also offers Membership Rewards whenever you use your debit card. You can use these points at qualifying airlines and hotels, redeem them for gift cards, pay for purchases with them, and more. You also earn a 1.00% (as of May 9, 2023).
The Amex mobile app comes with the ability to find fee-free ATMs, deposit checks, and access live support 24/7. Just know that only American Express cardholders with a consumer card can apply for this checking account.
Visit American Express.
5. (Tie) Best for crypto users: Quontic
Quontic has two checking account options for two entirely different groups of people. One account is the High Interest Checking, which offers up to 1.10% (as of May 11, 2023).
The other account is the Bitcoin Rewards Checking. This account offers 1.50% bitcoin on all eligible debit card purchases. The bitcoin account requires a $500 initial deposit, while the High Interest account requires just $100.
Another entirely unique feature of Quontic is the Quontic Pay Ring. It’s essentially a debit card in ring form. You can use it to make contactless payments at retailers that offer it. And don’t worry, the ring is completely secure, just like a regular debit card would be.
Visit Quontic Bank.
7. Best for mobile banking: Capital One
Who it’s best for: People who like mobile banking and are current Capital One credit card holders.
Capital One is a personal favorite, as I’ve used both the checking and savings accounts for years. The checking account is truly fee-free, and applying for an account takes just minutes.
Where Capital One really shines, though, is in its mobile app. You can use it to seamlessly manage your checking, savings, and credit cards all in one place. You can even check your credit score through CreditWise.
While Capital One’s checking APY isn’t anything to brag about at just 0.10% (as of May 23, 2023), the Performance Savings account is another story. It offers 3.75% (as of May 23, 2023) on all balances.
Capital One also has physical branches in seven states.
Visit Capital One.
8. Best for high savings APY: Discover
Discover has recently relaunched its checking account, which offers 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month. It also offers early direct deposit and has no fees.
Discover has also long offered a savings account with absolutely no fees. That includes no fees for overdrawing your account multiple times, getting a bank check, or having insufficient funds. Discover Bank's savings account also has a competitive APY at 3.90% (as of May 23, 2023).
Or read our full Discover review.
9. Best for frequent ATM users: CIT Bank
Who it’s best for: People who need regular access to cash.
CIT Bank charges no fees for in-network ATMs and you’ll get $30 each month in ATM reimbursement for ATMs outside of your network. CIT’s eChecking also comes with a few other worthwhile features, including no fees, unlimited withdrawals, and easy money transfers through Zelle, Bill Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay.
You will have to deposit at least $100 to open your account, but other than that, opening an account is a breeze. Plus, the easy-to-use mobile app allows you to easily deposit checks or reach the 24/7 customer service line.
Visit CIT Bank.
10. Best for cash back: Varo
Varo offers a bank account with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. It also comes with the option to earn cashback rewards on your debit card purchases. You can earn up to 6% cash back when you spend at retailers like Levi’s, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, and more. You can also earn cash back if you decide to get a Varo Believe secured credit card.
Varo takes the no fees concept a step further, offering no foreign transaction fees on top of no transfer fees and no ATM fees at over 55,000 ATMs. Plus, Varo solves the cash deposit problem that most online-only checking accounts face. You can deposit cash at 90,000+ retail locations by using Green Dot Reload.
Or read our full Varo review.
Join The Bank with 0 Monthly Fees
Best savings-only online banks
|Bank||Best for||Savings APY|
|Synchrony Bank||High APY||4.15% (as of May 23, 2023)|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs||Unlimited withdrawals||4.15% (as of May 9, 2023)|
1. Best for a high APY: Synchrony
Who it’s best for: Someone who wants to earn a high APY.
Synchrony’s high yield savings account comes with a 4.15% (as of May 23, 2023), no minimum requirement to open your account, and no monthly fees. You can use the savings calculator Synchrony offers to get a sense of how much you can earn on your balance.
In addition to a basic online savings account, Synchrony also offers a money market account with an APY of 2.25% (as of May 23, 2023). Or, for those looking for a more long-term savings solution, Synchrony has certificates of deposit (CDs) with various terms and APYs ranging from 2.25%-5.00% (as of May 23, 2023).
Or read our full Synchrony review.
2. Best for unlimited withdrawals: Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Who it’s best for: Someone who might need regular access to their savings account.
Another account with no minimum deposit requirements and no monthly fees, Marcus’ savings account also offers a high APY at 4.15% (as of May 9, 2023). Marcus also offers a more unique feature: unlimited withdrawals. That’s hard to find with savings accounts, most of which allow you to make up to six transactions each month. Marcus also has competitive CD rates.
Online banking pros and cons
Online banking makes it incredibly easy for customers to access their deposit accounts and manage their accounts. With online banking, customers can quickly pay their bills, make transfers, and use other banking services without ever having to leave their homes. And you can find free checking accounts.
Additionally, many banks offer account holders few fees and a high annual percentage yield (APY) on their customer’s account balances. The higher interest rates and lower fees come from not having to maintain brick-and-mortar bank locations.
However, online banking, just like most forms of banking, isn’t without its issues. Customers may miss the convenience of in-person customer service that traditional banking offers. As a result, customers may have difficulty finding help when they need it. Many online banks, though, offer 24/7 customer support via mobile apps.
Some downsides to an online-only bank include potentially high fees for certain banking activities and difficulties with making cash deposits.
How to choose the best online bank account
Choosing the best checking account or the best savings account might not seem like a big deal, but it can save you from the headache that comes from slow banking. When trying to decide where to open a new account, consider the following:
- Fees: Look carefully at the fees charged by an online bank. Investigate the overdraft fees, account maintenance fees, and ATM fees, as these fees can add up quickly. Also, check for any other fees charged by the bank, such as foreign transaction fees and fees for accessing money from external accounts.
- Minimums to open and maintain an account: Be sure to check the minimum amount needed to open an account, as well as the minimum amount needed to maintain it. You should investigate whether there are penalties for falling below the minimum.
- Types of products: Online banks offer a variety of account types and products, so research the accounts offered by each bank you are considering. Gauge whether the various accounts meet your needs and savings goals. For example, some checking accounts focus more on rewards, while others focus on low fees.
- Interest rates: Compare the interest rates offered by different online banks. The higher the interest rate, the more money you’ll earn on your savings. Banks are constantly competing with each other, so there’s no need for consumers to settle for no interest.
- ATM Access: Make sure the bank has enough ATM access in your area to meet your needs. Additionally, check to see if your preferred accounts offer ATM rebates.
- Mobile check deposits: If you’re frequently paid by check, you’ll need an account that allows mobile check deposits.
In determining our ranking of the best online banks, we looked at popular financial institutions and ranked them according to a series of weighted factors that we consider critical to the consumer. We did not evaluate all companies in the category.
FinanceBuzz ranking criteria include:
- Minimum to open an account: Companies were scored higher for having lower or no minimums to open an account.
- Minimum balance requirement: Companies were scored higher for low or no minimum balance requirements.
- Fees: Companies were scored higher if they didn’t have any overdraft or insufficient-funds (NSF) fees.
- APY offered on checking and/or savings accounts: Companies were scored higher for offering a higher APY.
- Number of fee-free ATMs: Companies were scored higher for having larger fee-free ATM networks or offering reimbursement for ATM fees.
- Types of bank accounts offered: Companies were scored higher for offering more bank account options.
- Customer service options: Companies were scored higher for offering customers more ways to contact them.
Which online bank is the easiest to open?
Most online banks are easy to open. With all of the options on our list, it typically takes just a few minutes of entering personal details like your name, address, and Social Security number to open an account.
What is the safest online bank?
Any bank worth using will explain its security features and tell you if they’re FDIC insured. Most online banks that discuss security protocols should be relatively safe to use. Before settling on a bank, make sure to read customer reviews to get a sense of any issues they’ve had with the bank.
Are online banks FDIC insured?
Yes, most online banks will be FDIC insured. Most banks insure your money up to the maximum of $250,000.
The online banking industry has come a long way in providing customers with safety, convenience, and competitive rates. Whether you’re seeking a complete personal finance hub or a reliable checking account, selecting an online bank can help you achieve your financial goals as long as you don’t mind not having a physical location to visit (in most cases).
With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide on the best bank to meet your needs. To narrow down your search, consider which factors are most important to you, such as fees, interest rates, and customer service.
Western Alliance Bank Benefits
- 5.05% APY high-yield savings account
- Interest is compounded daily and posted to your account monthly
- Trusted, award-winning financial institution with experienced bankers who put you first
- FDIC insured, no fees, $1 minimum deposit