Digital nomads enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being able to work from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing them to balance work and leisure in a way that suits their lifestyle. They travel frequently, often staying in one place for a few weeks or months before moving on to the next destination.
However, expats and digital nomads face unique challenges when it comes to managing their finances. They need a bank that understands their lifestyle and offers services that cater to their needs.
For example, digital nomads require a bank that offers low fees and transaction charges since they frequently move money across borders. They also need a bank that provides easy access to their accounts from anywhere in the world, with mobile banking features that allow them to make transactions on the go.
10 Best Banks for Digital Nomads
Without further ado, here’s our lineup of the best bank accounts for digital nomads.
Revolut is a digital bank that’s headquartered in London. While it doesn’t offer a traditional bank account, its money management app can be a great option. Once you download it, you can make global exchanges with more than 30 currencies and transfer money abroad instantly. Revolut will give you 10 free international transfers per month plus a debit card with cash back rewards.
Also, if you invest in a Premium or Metal plan, you can enjoy additional perks, like travel insurance and access to airport lounges while you wait for your flights. In addition, you’ll get to use 55,000 fee-free ATMs and be able to withdraw up to $1,200 from out-of-network ATMs each month. If you’re interested in a Revolut account, you’ll need to provide a name, address, and ID. The bank does not require a credit check or proof of address.
When most people think of international financial accounts, Chime doesn’t typically come to mind first as it’s a financial technology or fintech company in the U.S. Even though it doesn’t provide a multi-currency account, its cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees and offers free cash withdrawals at ATMs across the globe.
This is great news if you’re looking for an affordable way to cover your international purchases. Chime’s main offerings you might want to consider include the Chime Checking Account, the Chime High Yield Savings Account, and the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card.
It’s important to note that Chime is designed to be used as a mobile app so it could be a solid pick if you like the idea of mobile banking. The app will send you daily notifications on your account balance and international transactions. Rest assured you can disable them at any time.
3. Capital One
Capital One is one of the largest banks in the U.S. but we had to include it in this list because of its primary checking account, the Capital One 360 Checking. If you consider yourself an expat, often make online purchases from different countries, and would like to avoid a monthly fee or foreign transaction fee, this account can make sense.
You won’t have to pay any transaction fees if you use your card overseas, plus you may open the account without a minimum opening deposit requirement or monthly fees. To reap the benefits of the Capital One 360 Checking, you must be a U.S. resident with a U.S. mailing address and Social Security number.
Wise, which was formerly known as Transferwise, should be on your radar if you do business abroad. The UK-based fintech company will let you create a local bank account that accepts multiple currencies, making it a breeze to meet your digital nomad banking needs. Wise also integrates with popular payment platforms, such as Amazon Payments and Stripe for easy direct deposits.
We can’t forget to mention the Wise borderless account that may be worthwhile whether you’re studying abroad, an expat, or a freelancer with international clients. It comes with low fees and can be accessed by just about anyone. However, Wise is not an actual bank account so you may have trouble receiving direct deposit payments. For this reason, it might be a good supplement to an existing bank account.
To take advantage of Wise, you’ll need a bank or credit card statement, tax bill, proof of address, driver’s license, or government document.
Chase is an excellent choice for digital nomads and expats living abroad due to its global presence and user-friendly digital banking platform. Chase’s online banking system is user-friendly and provides a range of features, including bill pay, mobile check deposit, and international money transfers.
For those living abroad, Chase’s credit and debit cards also offer no foreign transaction fees, making it an affordable option for international travelers. In particular, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are widely considered to be among the best credit cards available.
Furthermore, Chase Bank provides 24/7 customer service support, ensuring that its customers can get assistance with any issues they may encounter, regardless of their time zone.
HSBC serves about 40 million customers across 63 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America. If you’re an international traveler, you can’t go wrong with the HSBC Everyday Global Account, which makes it easy to make purchases in 10 different foreign currencies with no transaction fees or monthly service fees. It truly offers a fee-free banking experience.
In addition, there are no ATM fees so you can enjoy fee free ATM withdrawals and many promotions throughout the year. HSBC also offers Visa Zero Liability, which can protect you from fraud and give you some much-needed peace of mind. We can’t forget that HSBC offers over 55,000 ATMs, many of which are in the Allpoint network, as well as 24/7 customer support via phone and Twitter.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Citibank as it’s a well-known bank in the U.S. It has a presence in 97 markets and supports clients in more than 160 countries. With the Citibank Plus account, you can manage your money in up to 21 different currencies.
Citibank will waive your maintenance fee as long as you maintain a certain balance and reimburse you for foreign ATM withdrawals when you use ATMs outside its network. Additionally, you may send money abroad quickly and won’t have to pay a penny if you’re sending the funds to another Citibank account. Another great perk is the handy mobile app that offers convenient banking while on the go.
Monzo is a challenger bank in the UK that’s recently increased in popularity. You can open an account for free, divide it into “pots” to better manage and save your money, and get a free debit card, which can be sent to any address in the UK. You can use it for a variety of debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals abroad.
You won’t pay any fees when you make purchases on your card and can receive a limited amount of free ATM withdrawals every month. Monzo is also compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Plus, there’s a convenient mobile app with useful budgeting tools that may help you take control of your spending. Note that Monzo is fully digital so you can’t count on it for in-person support or local branches.
9. Charles Schwab Bank
You can open a U.S. bank account through Charles Schwab and won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees or opening fees. Plus, you can enjoy unlimited rebates on international withdrawals.
In the event you move to a different country, you can open another Charles Schwab account but you may have to meet a high minimum deposit threshold. If you need assistance while you’re traveling, you’ll be thrilled to know you can receive it via phone or email.
10. Bank of America
Despite the word America in its name, Bank of America can be a smart option if you’re looking for a digital nomad bank account. In fact, it attracts many frequent travelers.
It serves more than 35 countries and has locations throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle Each so you shouldn’t have an issue finding a branch near you. Bank of America offers a variety of bank accounts you may find appealing as well as a well-designed mobile app.
Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Bank for Digital Nomads
When exploring different digital nomad banks, consider these features.
Every financial institution provides its own unique experience. First, think about whether you’d like an online-only bank or one with branches you can visit. Then, think about the size of the bank that would be best for you.
A smaller bank might be a better fit if you prefer personal service as well as better rates and lower fees. A larger bank, however, might make more sense if you’d like access to a wider range of products and resources.
Some banks offer a few accounts and banking services while others pride themselves on a long list of offerings, like checking accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts, and many others. To determine the account types you need, think about your goals.
Are you looking for someone to park your cash so you can access it while you’re abroad? If so, you might be in the market for a basic checking account or high yield investor checking account with no foreign transaction fees and ATM fee reimbursement.
If you’re a business owner, you may require additional services like international wire transfers between accounts and countries without paying costly fees.
ATMs and Debit Cards
Chances are you can benefit from a digital nomad bank account with ATM access. If you need to make purchases abroad frequently or every once in a while, you should opt for an account with debit cards that are compatible everywhere. This usually means you’re in the market for a Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express debit card.
Keep in mind that many countries don’t accept cards with magnetic strips so you will need a card with an EMV chip. Ideally, it would also allow for contactless payments, which are quite popular abroad.
Note that while debit card purchases may make sense in some situations, credit cards come with greater protections, which can be helpful if your card gets lost or stolen. If possible, use your debit card at ATMs and credit card every time you make a purchase.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be stuck with sky-high fees that deter you from your financial goals. Here are some fees to be aware of as you search for the best banks for digital nomads.
Foreign transaction fees: These fees can kick in whenever you make a withdrawal or purchase in a foreign currency. Your bank might charge them all the time, in certain situations, or not at all.
ATM fees: If you need to withdraw money from an ATM, you may be on the hook for ATM fees. The chances of this are higher if you opt for an out-of-network ATM. The good news is some banks offer free withdrawals or will reimburse you for ATM fees while you’re abroad.
Monthly maintenance fees: You may face a monthly maintenance fee or service fee to keep your account open. Typically, the more features your account has, the more expensive this fee will be. Fortunately, some banks pride themselves on low banking costs and zero monthly fees.
Depending on what you plan to do with the bank account you open, interest rates may or may not be important. If your sole purpose is to get easy access to cash while you’re traveling to a different country, interest rates probably aren’t a big deal. But if you’d like to use your account for saving or investment purposes, a higher rate is ideal. The higher the rate, the easier it will be for you to meet your goals.
Security should be a top priority when you explore digital nomad bank accounts. Reputable banks have certain account holders protections in place for if your debit or credit card gets lost or stolen, for example. They also make it a breeze to report fraudulent activity from anywhere.
Some banks also have a security feature known as two-factor authentication. This requires you to use your password and a special code you receive via call or text every time you log in. It provides extra security in the event your device gets lost or stolen.
In a perfect world, you’d never have any questions or issues with your bank account. Since this is unlikely, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of customer service. The bank you choose will determine how easy or difficult it is to receive assistance.
If you can, opt for a digital bank with 24/7 customer service. Otherwise, you may get stuck if you have an urgent need and customer service is only available during select business hours.
If you visit a bank’s website, you’ll find no shortage of information on its benefits and why you should become a customer. However, one of the best ways to determine whether a bank account is worth it is through customer reviews. Do your due diligence and read real reviews on reputable, third-party websites.
Also, look at ratings on websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to get a better idea of a bank’s reputation. If you notice a lot of negative reviews and poor ratings, you may want to look elsewhere.
Online Banking Features
As a digital nomad, you’ll likely be doing a lot of your banking online. Look for a bank that offers robust online banking features, such as the ability to view account balances and transaction histories, transfer funds, and pay bills online.
Choosing a good bank is essential for digital nomads who need access to their money while traveling the world. With the right bank, you can manage your finances easily and efficiently while enjoying the freedom of a location-independent lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who works remotely and has the ability to work from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. They often travel frequently and have a location-independent lifestyle.
Why do digital nomads need a specific bank?
As a digital nomad, you’ll need to find a bank that caters to your specific financial needs; one that offers easy online access, enables low-fee transactions, and facilitates international transfers without hefty costs. Traditional banks may not be able to provide you with these services, which is why it’s important to investigate other options.
What is the best bank for digital nomads and expats?
There is not one bank that checks off everyone’s boxes. The right option for you depends on your goals. You may choose an account that allows for easy money transfer abroad. Or you may prefer one that eliminates foreign transaction fees. It’s up to you and what you hope to accomplish.
How can I avoid transaction fees when banking as a digital nomad?
To avoid transaction fees when banking as a digital nomad, you should look for a bank that offers fee-free ATM withdrawals and has low foreign transaction fees. You may also want to consider using a debit or credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Do I need to have a permanent address to open a bank account as a digital nomad?
You do not necessarily need a permanent address to open a bank account as a digital nomad. Some banks allow you to use a post office box or a friend’s address as your mailing address. You may also be able to use a virtual mailbox service.
Can I open a bank account in a foreign country as a digital nomad?
Most countries prohibit non-residents from opening bank accounts. You’ll find that you’ll likely need a local mailing address. Unfortunately, financial institutions don’t typically accept hotel or short-term rental addresses.
Can I use my digital nomad bank account for personal transactions?
Yes, you can use your digital nomad bank account for personal transactions. However, it’s best to keep your business and personal finances separate to make accounting and tax reporting easier.
Will my digital nomad bank account have all the features of a traditional bank account?
Your digital nomad bank account may not have all the features of a traditional bank account, but it should have the features that are most important for your lifestyle, such as online banking and low transaction fees. Be sure to research the banks you’re considering to ensure they offer the services you need.
What should I do if I lose my debit card while traveling?
If you lose your debit card while traveling, you should contact your bank immediately to report the loss and request a replacement card. You should also carry a backup debit card or credit card in case of emergencies.
What are the best banks for international wire transfers?
If you’d like to make many international wire transfers, there are certain banks with solid bank transfer rules you should explore. Several examples are Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Citibank, PNC, and U.S. Bank.
Some of the largest banks call America home. These banks are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and offer a variety of products and services. If you prefer a big bank over regional banks or a smaller, community bank, you’ve come to the right place.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the largest banks in the U.S. Once you read through it and perform some of your own research, you should be able to choose a bank or two that meets your needs.
How to Measure Bank Size
First, let’s discuss how to measure the size of a bank. We can do so by looking at the number of customers, number of branches, and number of employees.
But perhaps the best way to measure bank size is by focusing on the total assets under management. This figure shows the actual size of a bank, regardless of how many employees, branches, or ATMs it has.
In our list of the largest banks in the U.S. below, you’ll find that we include each bank’s total assets so you can get a better idea of just how large it is.
We also thought it would be a great idea to briefly discuss how banks work and what they can do for you as a customer. Banks have been around since at least the 14th century. They offer a safe place for individuals and business owners to park their cash and work on various financial goals.
While every bank has their own unique lineup of services, most of them provide checking accounts, savings accounts, and loan services. Some go the extra mile with credit cards, wealth management services, and other conveniences.
Types of Banks
In addition, it’s wise to go over the types of banks at your disposal. The most common types of banks you’ll find include:
Retail banks: Retail banks serve the public and typically have branches and main offices. They provide a wide range of services, like checking and savings accounts, mortgage and loan services, auto financing, CDs, and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Retail banks may be regional banks operating in various states.
Commercial banks: Also known as corporate banks, commercial banks gear their offerings to small business owners and larger corporate entities. In addition to the usual banking services, they may offer cash management, employer services, and commercial real estate services.
Investment banks: Investment banks are designed for corporate clients with complex needs, like mergers and acquisitions. These clients are large corporations, governments, and hedge funds.
Central banks: Central banks are not available to the public. Instead, they’re an independent institution that oversees the money supply and monetary policy in the country. The Federal Reserve Bank is the central bank in the U.S.
Banks vs. Credit Unions
While banks are quite popular, some customers use credit unions instead. While credit unions also offer banking services, like checking and savings accounts, they’re not for profit institutions that are managed by their customers or members.
Compared to banks, credit unions tend to deliver more personalized service. But they also provide fewer services and have fewer branches and ATMs. A credit union can make sense, depending on your unique goals.
20 Biggest Banks In The U.S.
Here’s an overview of the largest banks in the U.S.
1. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Total Assets: $3.381 Trillion
Headquarters: New York City, New York
If you focus on consolidated assets, JPMorgan Chase earns the spot as the largest bank in the U.S. This investment bank is also a holding company for subsidiaries, including Chase Bank. Chase, which is J.P. Morgan’s consumer banking division, has more than 4,700 branches in the U.S. plus more than 30 branch locations abroad.
According to Chase, almost half of the households in the U.S. are Chase customers. It attracts digital savvy customers that value online banking and products with artificial intelligence (AI). In addition to consumer banking, JPMorgan Chase is a combined bank that offers commercial banking, asset and wealth management, and investment banking.
Chase offers some of the most popular cash back and travel credit cards that can earn you valuable rewards through their program, Chase Ultimate Rewards. Using these credit cards for everyday purchases can earn you travel points, cash back, and other benefits.
2. Bank of America Corp.
Total Assets: $2.440 Trillion
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
Bank of America is a multinational bank with nearly 66 million customers and small business clients across the globe. It has a few divisions, including Merrill, Bank of America Securities, and Bank of America Private Bank.
As a Bank of America customer, you can enjoy access to a wide variety of products and services as well as access to more than 4,000 branches and more than 17,000 ATMs.
Just like most big banks, Bank of America prides itself on a robust mobile app, the Zelle payment solution, and other intuitive digital tools. Its various service lines include consumer banking, corporate banking, credit cards, insurance, investment banking services, institutional banking, mortgage loans, private banking, private equity, and wealth management.
Total Assets: $1.720 Trillion
Headquarters: New York City, New York
Citigroup, which is widely known as Citi, is an investment bank and financial services firm. When Citigroup merged with Travelers Group in 1998, it became a major player in the financial space. Citibank, Citigroup’s retail banking division has more than 700 branches in the U.S. and over 1,800 branches outside the U.S.
Most of the U.S. bank branches are in Florida, California, New York, and Washington DC. Citibank manages over 138 million bank accounts and has 65,000 fee-free ATMs across the country. Over the years, it has earned high rankings for its digital money management tools, including one that shows customers a financial wellness score.
4. U.S. Bancorp
Total Assets: $582.25 Billion
Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota
The parent company of U.S. Bank, Bancorp’s locations are mainly in the Midwest. It offers personal and business banking with more than 3,000 branches and 5,000 ATMs. Over the years, Bancorp has worked to become a responsible financial provider and earn a spot on the Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list.
As a Bancorp customer, you can access information about your accounts through Google Home and Amazon Alexa. You may also download the handy mobile app to make mobile deposits and perform other services, like transactions via Zelle.
5. PNC Financial Services Group
Total Assets: $534.35 Billion
Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
PNC is short for Pittsburgh National Corporation. PNC Financial Services is the bank holding company of PNC Bank, which has more than 2,000 branches across 21 states. It stands out among other large banks for its unique customer perks and products for individuals and business owners. The Virtual Wallet tool, for example, lets you manage your money online or on your mobile device.
You can keep your checking and savings accounts together or just stick to one type of account, depending on your particular needs. In addition to traditional banking services, PNC offers mortgages, home equity lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans and personal lines of credit, student loans, and student loan refinancing.
6. Wells Fargo
Total Assets: $1.71 Trillion
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Wells Fargo made its debut in 1852 when it was first opened by investing partners, Henry Wells and William Fargo. It was initially designed as a bank and express delivery service for gold. Eventually, Wells Fargo expanded as a consumer bank to serve all types of customers with various banking needs. It is admired for its long list of offerings and the Wells Fargo mobile app that helps customers track their spending and simplify their bills.
While Wells Fargo has focused on consolidating and prioritizing digital banking services in recent years, it still has about 4,700 locations and more than 12,000 ATMs around the U.S.
In addition to personal and small business banking, Wells Fargo supports commercial banking, investing and wealth management, and investment banking.
7. Truist Financial Corporation
Total Assets: $532.08 Billion
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
Compared to the other large commercial banks on this list, Truist is fairly new. It was formed in 2019 as the result of one of the largest bank merger between BB&T and SunTrust.
Truist is made up of three major divisions, including Truist Bank, Truist Securities, and Truist Insurance Holdings. These divisions employ over 37,000 people that work in consumer and commercial banking, investment banking, mortgages, and insurance.
It offers a variety of noteworthy perks, such as no overdraft fees, a $100 negative balance buffer, and automatic upgrades. The bank also places a lot of emphasis on community involvement and giving back.
8. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Total Assets: $501.91 Billion
Headquarters: New York City, New York
Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 by Marcus Goldman, a German American shopkeeper. Its original purpose was to help merchants and small businesses with short-term funding. Eventually, Samuel Sachs joined Goldman in 1882. Today, Goldman Sachs has a reputation as a leading global investment banking, management, and securities firm.
In the fall of 2016, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, its online banking division made its debut and began to offer numerous financial products, like savings accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards, and loans.
In addition to these offerings, Goldman Sachs provides asset management services, mutual funds, investment banking and management, prime brokerage, commodities, and commercial banking.
9. Charles Schwab Corporation
Total Assets: $407.90 Billion
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Charles Schwab is a multinational financial services firm with a focus on investment accounts, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and brokerage accounts.
You’ll find an extensive selection of funds with low expense ratios as well as commission-free stock and ETF trades. While there are over 360 Charles Schwab branches with financial consultants, you can take advantage of its services online.
Schwab also offers a high-yield checking account. Whether you’re new to investing or consider yourself a veteran, you can benefit from Charles Schwab.
10. TD Group U.S. Holdings
Total Assets: $405.22 Billion
Headquarters: Wilmington, Delaware
While TD Bank has roots in Canada, it’s been in the U.S. market since 2007 when it acquired Commerce Bancorp. There are more than 1,100 branches and 700 ATMs across fifteen U.S. states and Washington D.C.
TD Bank offers the typical lineup of banking products and services but is known for its branch convenience. Most branches have long hours, are open on the weekends, and provide curbside pickup for new debit cards.
If you prefer in-person banking, TD Bank is certainly worth exploring. Many of its accounts come with generous sign up bonuses and access to comprehensive online banking features, such as online bill pay, Zelle, and remote check deposit.
11. Capital One Financial
Total Assets: $388.44 Billion
Headquarters: McLean, Virginia
Since it was established in 1988, Capital One bank is one of the newer large banks on our list. In only a few decades, the bank has grown significantly, thanks to its credit card offerings in the early 90s.
Once 2016 came around, Capital One was named the third-largest credit card issuer in the U.S. These days, Capital One continues to offer credit cards as well as digital services through Capital One 360.
Capital One 360 stands out for its Capital One’s 360 Performance Savings account, which comes with no minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirements.
It also has a mobile banking app with mobile check deposit, customized alerts and notifications, Zelle, free credit score monitoring via CreditWise, and more. There are about 775 branches, 2,000 ATMs, and nearly 30 Capital One cafes.
12. Bank of New York Mellon
Total Assets: $365.10 Billion
Headquarters: New York City, New York
Bank of New York Mellon came about after a 2006 merger between Mellon Financial Corporation and The Bank of New York. The Bank of New York was originally founded in 1784 by Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S. Bank of New York Mellon is now one of the largest securities firms in the word.
It specializes in a number of solutions and services for corporations, insurance companies, banks, brokers, dealers, and other reputable clients in the financial industry. In addition, the bank offers private investment and wealth management services for wealthy clients.
13. State Street Corporation
Total Assets: $296.43 Billion
Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts
State Street Corporation was founded in 1792 as a financial services and asset management company. It has more than 40,000 employees and a global presence in over 100 markets.
Its offerings include investment research and trading, investment management, and securities lending for clients, such as insurance companies, pension funds, and asset owners.
14. Citizens Financial Group
Total Assets: $226.53 Billion
Headquarters: Providence, Rhode Island
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. has been around since 1828. It owns Citizens Bank, its retail division and offers credit cards, deposit accounts, personal loans, student loans, refinancing, and a number of other financial services. Citizen Bank mainly operates in the Northeast and Midwest.
In addition to more than 2,700 ATMs, there are over 1,100 branches in New England states as well as Delaware, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The bank provides extended call center hours, a streamlined online experience, and a highly rated mobile app.
15. Silicon Valley Bank
Total Assets: $211.82 Billion
Headquarters: Santa Clara, California
Silicon Valley Bank made its debut in 1983. Today, it serves as a full-service commercial bank for technology and life sciences companies. Aside from traditional banking services, Silicon Valley Bank offers foreign exchange, venture capital, and treasury management services.
It has supported innovation for several well-known tech companies, including Google and Facebook. Many people give it credit for establishing Silicon Valley.
16. Fifth Third Bank
Total Assets: $205.55 Billion
Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
Fifth Third Bank is a subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp and known as one of the largest banks in the Midwest. It has approximately 1,100 branches that span across Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
As a customer, you can enjoy access to more than 50,000 ATMs across the country and no opening deposit requirements for checking and savings accounts.
In addition to deposit accounts, Fifth Third Bank financial institutions offer mortgages, auto financing, personal loans, insurance, and investing products. Products and services are available to business customers as well.
17. First Republic Bank
Total Assets: $197.91 Billion
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
First Republic Bank is a premier private bank with more than 80 branches across the country. Its vast lineup of products and services includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, IRAs, CDs, and wealth management.
Business customers can take advantage of business loans, business lines of credit, commercial real estate loans, and small business loans. The bank focuses on philanthropy and constantly supports programs related to art and education.
18. Morgan Stanley
Total Assets: $191.35 Billion
Headquarters: New York City, New York
Morgan Stanley’s roots date back to 1935. Today, the bank is a reputable, multinational investment management and financial services company. It has over 700 locations in every state as well as Washington D.C.
Its investing division includes three portfolios, including the impact portfolio, market-tracking portfolio, and performance-seeking portfolio. Whether you’re a beginner investor or wealthy client, Morgan Stanley may be a solid pick.
Total Assets: $184.67 Billion
Headquarters: Cleveland, Ohio
KeyBank was founded in 1825 and is now considered a community bank with a presence in 15 states. It has more than 40,000 ATMs in its network and 1,000 full-service branches. The bank also partners with the AllPoint Network of over 40,000 ATMs nationwide.
Its standard services include checking accounts, savings accounts, home loans and mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, investing, insurance, and debt consolidation. In 2021, KeyBank acquired several digital businesses including digital platform XUP Payments and GradFin, a student loan counseling fintech.
20. Ally Bank
Total Assets: $182.2 Billion
Headquarters: Sandy, UT
While it’s based in Utah, Ally Bank is an online only bank with a long list of digital banking solutions. Its deposit accounts come with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.
The bank also pays high yields on CDs and savings accounts than traditional banks with brick-and-mortar banks. As a customer, you can enjoy 24/7 customer services and access to more than 43,000 ATMs through the Allpoint network.
As you can see, there are many large banks in the United States. Each one has its own unique perks and priorities. To choose the right bank, consider your location, needs, and preferences.
If you’re looking for personal banking services and prefer a digital platform, Goldman Sachs and its Marcus division may be the way to go. But if private wealth management is your top priority, you may be better off with Bank of New York Mellon. Best of luck in your search for the perfect large bank.
Largest Banks in the U.S. FAQs
What is a bank?
Put simply, a bank is a financial institution that can legally accept checking and savings deposits and distribute loans. Some banks also offer additional services like certificates of deposit (CDs), individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and wealth management.
What is the largest bank in the world?
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest bank in the world. The bank’s assets add up to $4.324 Trillion.
What are the ten largest banks in the U.S.?
Ranked in total asset value, the ten largest banks in the U.S. include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, PNC, Truist Bank, Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, and TD Group.
How do I choose a bank?
To choose the right bank, focus on what you’re looking for. For more personalized service, you might want to explore a community bank. But if you prefer branch locations across the country and a long list of offerings, one of the large banks on this list might be a better fit.
Is my money safe in a bank?
Your money is safe as long as the bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). An FDIC-insured bank typically insures up to $250,000 per depositor. Note that you don’t have to purchase FDIC insurance. As long as you’re a customer at a bank that offers it, you’ll receive it automatically.
How does a commercial bank differ from a retail bank?
A commercial bank offers a variety of products and services to both individuals and businesses. Retail banks, on the other hand, focus their offerings to individual customers. If you own a business, you’d be better off with a commercial bank that can serve the financial needs of your organization.
Do online banks exist?
Absolutely! In today’s day and age, online banking is more popular than ever before, among larger banks and smaller banks. While some banks offer in-person and online services, other banks, like Ally Bank, solely operate online with no branch locations.
What are some other large banks not on this list?
Other big banks you might want to consider include First National Bank, Huntington Bank, Provident National Corporation, America Bank, and HSBC Bank USA.
Current is a digital banking app designed to simplify banking in the modern world. It also includes features for teens and young adults that can help them learn to manage money.
So, how does Current work and what does it cost? We’ll answer all of these questions and more in the Current review below.
What is Current?
Current is not a bank. It’s different from other financial institutions in that it’s a financial technology with a mission to help people make smart decisions about money.
It comes with several perks, like faster paycheck access, savings pods, spending insights, and cash back rewards. Best of all, there are no minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees.
Founded in June 2015 by Stuart Sopp, Current has raised over $400M and landed big name partners and investors, including Mr. Beast, the well-known YouTube star.
Its banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Members FDIC. In addition, the Current Visa Debit Card is issued by Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank.
To date, there are about 4 million Current users. Current accounts are currently mobile only as there is no desktop account access or in-person branch network. You can download the Current app on your Android or iOS advice.
Current offers several account features that you might find useful, including:
Faster Paycheck Access
Sometimes, you can’t wait until payday and need your hard earned money sooner. That’s where Current’s paycheck access comes in. It will deposit the funds from your paycheck up to two days faster than the typical direct deposit.
Current is unique in that it disregards the date your employer intends to release your paycheck funds. Instead, it works like a prepaid debit card and credits your account immediately after receiving it.
Gas Hold Feature
There’s no denying that the price of gas has skyrocketed. As a result, many gas stations have begun placing holds on the cards of customers. For example, a gas station might place a $100 hold on your card, even if you only purchase $50 worth of gas.
This will ensure you’ll have enough funds to cover the total cost. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the gas station to release the hold. Current will remove the hold right away so that the funds are readily available to you and you don’t have to wait.
Current offers a teen account that enables parental supervision and strives to educate teens about proper money management. Its parental features include cashless convenience, instant transfers to teen cards, purchase notifications, and the ability to block specific merchants.
Parents can also use Current’s teen account to set spending limits and chores as well as automate allowance payments. In addition, multiple family members may add funds as they wish.
With Current’s savings pods, you can meet various saving goals. Here’s how it works: You name a savings pod and deposit money into it from your account or qualifying direct deposit.
You can also add money through the round up feature where you round up to the nearest dollar from any debit card purchases you make.
At the time this article was written, Current offers 4% APY on $6,000. To take advantage of the interest feature, transfer money from your spending balance to your savings pods.
Note that the type of membership you have will determine how many savings pods you can open. If you’re a basic customer, you’re limited to one pod whereas premium customers get up to three pods.
Cash Back Rewards
Current members can reap the benefits of a generous rewards program. As a member, you can earn up to 15x points on purchases you make at over 14,000 retailers. These retailers include Rite Aid, Cold Stone Creamery, Rite Aid, Subway, Forever 21, Burger King, and others that are listed in the Points tab in the Current app.
You may redeem these points for cash back in your Current account. You’ll receive the points right after you make a qualifying purchase and can redeem 100 points per dollar.
According to Current, its members have the potential to earn $165 cash back per year by simply using their card at participating gas stations. Keep in mind that Premium customers have the potential to earn more points and cash back than Basic customers.
Instant Cash Deposit
Current lets you easily deposit cash into your account. You may instantly add cash at over 60,000 at convenient places like local grocery and convenience stores, including Walmart and CVS. This is a huge selling point.
To deposit cash with Current, find a nearby cash deposit location, tap “view barcode” from the map, show the barcode to a cashier, and give them the funds. You can add up to $500 per transaction or up to $1,000 per day and $10,000 per month. The money will show up in your Current bank account immediately.
The app does more than eliminate overdraft fees. If you overdraft your account by accident, you’ll get a free pass. The Overdrive feature offers a fee-free overdraft of up to $200 on in-store and online purchases.
To qualify for it, you must be 18 years or older and receive $500 or more in eligible direct deposits each 30-day period. A qualifying deposit can be an ACH transfer from your employer, payroll company, or Social Security. Unfortunately, mobile check deposits and peer-to-peer transfers don’t count.
With Current, you can buy and sell cryptocurrency from the same app. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about any trading fees or wait days for your trade to settle. You can purchase 27 popular coins, like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, and Shiba Inu. Once you sell a coin, you’ll notice the cash in your Current account immediately.
Current’s money management tools can come in handy if you’re looking for a way to take control of your personal finance and make the most out of your money. The Spending Insights feature, for example, is available on your home screen.
It lists your recent purchases and assigns them a spending category so you can easily see where your cash is going. You may also sign up for real-time notifications that will appear any time you make a debit card purchase.
While the Spending Insights feature is designed to help you track your spending, the Budgets tool if your goal is to prevent overspending. You can create budgets for various categories. As you approach your budget or spending limit on an account ownership category, you can receive updates and make changes accordingly.
Current Pay works a lot like Apple Pay, Venmo, Zelle, and PayPal. If you know others that use the app, you can pay and request money from them instantly. Best of all, the process is easy and doesn’t involve any fees.
Does Current Have Transaction Limits?
Despite all of Current’s handy features, the app does impose transaction limits you should be aware of. These include a $500 daily maximum in ATM withdrawals, $2,000 daily maximum in card purchases, and $5,000 maximum transaction amount for peer-to-peer payments through Current Pay.
Are There Any Fees?
Now it’s time to discuss Current review fees. You may be surprised to learn that Current doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees or have any minimum balance requirement requirements.
Additionally, there are no overdraft fees, or money transfer fees for money transfers from an internal bank account or external bank account or ATM fees at 40,000+ Allpoint ATMs. This is great news if you’d like to try it out with no strings attached.
But keep in mind that you may face out-of-network or third-party fees. For example, if you use Current at an out-of-network ATM, you’ll get charged $2.50. International withdrawals cost $3 each.
In addition, if you’d like, you can upgrade from the Basic membership plan to the Premium account or membership plan. While this will come with an additional monthly fee of $4.99, you’ll get access to more features, like additional savings pods and the chance to earn more cash back.
Who is Current best for?
Current might be worth exploring if you don’t mind mobile banking. It can help you meet smaller savings goals with a high interest rate. It’s also ideal if you use your credit card frequently and hope to earn generous cashback rewards.
In addition, you may benefit from Current if you’re a parent or guardian that wants an account for your teen and wishes to instill healthy money habits. We also recommend Current if you’re unable to qualify for a traditional banking account and are looking for a viable, cost-effective alternative.
Current Pros and Cons
Just like any digital banking app or online bank, Current comes with several benefits and drawbacks, including:
No monthly fees: You can use Current without committing to monthly usage fees.
Generous APY: Current offers 4% APY on up to $6,000 in savings to help you expedite your savings goals.
Cash back: Unlike most debit cards, Current rewards you with cash back every time you make a purchase at 14,000+ participating retailers.
Early paycheck access: You may access the money from your paycheck up to two days sooner.
Instant gas hold removals: If a gas station places a hold on your account, Current will remove it immediately.
Teen features: Current comes with plenty of features you can use to help your teen become responsible with money.
No online or in-person banking: You can only use Current on your iOS or Android device as Current’s mobile app currently doesn’t support online or in-person banking at a local branch.
No checks: The Current app doesn’t offer checks so you’ll have to find an alternative payment solution.
Email-based support: If you have a question or concern, Current will only be able to help you via email support is not available.
Mobile check deposit feature is slow: It can take up to 5 business days for a check deposit to clear.
How to Use Current
If you’d like to sign up for Current, follow these easy steps.
Download the app on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. You can also enter your phone number on Current’s website and receive a download link.
Share basic personal information including your name, phone number, email address, residential address, and Social Security number.
If you’d like, connect Current to a debit card or bank account to fund your account.
Once you sign up, you’ll receive a Current debit card by mail. It should arrive via USPS within 7 to 10 business days but you can use Current before then. Current will give you a virtual card you can add to your digital phone wallet while you wait for your physical card.
Before you go ahead and sign up for the Current app, you might be wondering what other Current account holders have to say about it. Here’s an overview of the various reviews we found online.
On TrustPilot, Current earned 3.8 out of 5 stars. Most reviewers praise the app but there are several complaints about Current customer support and challenges with disputes.
Apple App Store
Current users gave it a 4.7 out of 5 stars on the Apple App Store. There are over 84K reviews and any of the negative ones relate to customer service.
When it comes to the Google Play Store, Current ranked well as well with 4.8 out of 5 stars from over 89K reviews. Again, the negative reviews are about customer service and resolving disputes.
It’s no surprise that customer service is Current’s most noteworthy downfall as it’s only available via email and in-app chat that sometimes doesn’t work. If you have an urgent question while using the app, you won’t be able to make a phone call and receive a quick response. Depending on when you send the email, you may have to wait a few business days or even longer to hear back.
Speaking of customer service, you might want to know how to go about it. You can use the in-app chat feature or fill out an email form and wait for an email response. As stated, there’s no way to call the Current team for faster support.
The good news is the app is fairly intuitive and you shouldn’t come across too many issues while using it, especially if you consider yourself tech savvy. Plus you can check out Current’s frequently asked questions on its website for answers to simple, less urgent questions.
While Current is a solid online banking app for many adults, teens, and young adults, it’s not for everyone. If you find that Current isn’t right for you or are wondering about alternative options, here are a few to consider.
Just like Current, Chime is a financial technology company or fintech company with modern features you may not find at a traditional bank, credit union, or brick-and-mortar financial services company. It offers early direct deposit2, savings roundups, and no-fee overdrafts5.
Compared to Current, it’s more like a high yield savings account8 in that it lets you earn a better APY on your savings on your entire balance, rather than just up to $6,000.
In addition, there’s a Credit Builder7 account you can use to boost your credit without a credit check. Just keep in mind that Chime doesn’t offer a teen account like the Current teen account.
Read our in-depth Chime review here.
See also: Chime vs. Current: Which Is Better?
While Current is intended for teens and their parents, Greenlight’s online banking services are geared toward younger children in elementary school. Both apps come with parental controls and features such as spending limits, chore rewards, transaction monitoring, and the chance to blacklist set retailers. Greenlight also lets you invest in the stock market.
Current offers a long list of features that make it a smart choice if you want a digital banking platform with no monthly fees or hidden fees. You can enjoy early paycheck deposit, no overdraft fees, teen savings accounts, cash back rewards, savings pods, and more.
As long as you’re okay with limited customer service and don’t mind using the app on your mobile device, it’s certainly worth exploring.
Here are a few of the most common questions that many people ask about the Current digital banking app.
Is Current safe?
It’s a risk to use any type of mobile or online banking platform. But Current checking accounts and teen accounts are backed by FDIC insurance of $250,000 in the event of a bank failure. Plus just like many reputable online banks, the app uses bank-level data security measures and you can sign up to receive push notifications any time current detects account fraud.
Does Current have any physical branches?
At this time, Current does not have any physical branches. This means you won’t be able to receive in-person service. The good news, however, is it does offer fee-free cash withdrawals at over 40,000 Allpoint ATMs throughout the country.
Can you deposit cash into your Current account?
Yes, Current lets you deposit cash. However, cash deposits aren’t free and you will have to pay $3.50 for every cash deposit transaction.
What happens if you overdraft your Current account?
Thanks to the Overdrive feature, it’s no big deal if you overdraft your account. You can enjoy a fee-free overdrive of up to $200 on any purchase you make in-store and online.
Can you earn rewards or bonuses with Current?
Absolutely! As long as you use the Current Visa debit card at participating retailers, you can earn cash back. Plus you can earn $1 every time you refer a friend who signs up for a Current account.
Is Current worth it?
If you’re looking for a free checking account with plenty of bells and whistles or a teen banking account, the Current mobile app should be on your radar. But if you prefer a more traditional banking experience, you might be better off with an account at a local bank or credit union.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.
2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment ﬁle from the payer. Chime generally make these funds available on the day the payment ﬁle is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
5. Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each at least once every 34 days. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
7. To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.
8. A Chime Checking Account is required to be eligible for a Savings Account.
If you’re looking for a free checking account, you have multiple options in both traditional and online banks. With more than 4,100 banks in the U.S., according to the FDIC, the choices can be downright overwhelming.
It can help if you get clear on what you want in a checking account, narrow down your options, and then read reviews like the one below to find the best free checking account to meet all your needs.
12 Best Free Checking Accounts
When you’re ready to open a new checking account, consider the no fee checking accounts on this list. We’ve evaluated the fees, minimum deposit requirements, annual percentage yield APY on those that earn interest, and more.
Most of the best checking accounts offer features like overdraft protection, mobile banking and the ability to get paid up to two days early with your direct deposit. But financial institutions that let you earn interest on your checking balance or deliver cash back also gained our favor.
1. Chime Checking
Chime boasts truly fee-free checking and a host of advantages for those seeking an online-only banking solution. The bank has no monthly service fees, no overdraft fees, no transaction fees, and no minimum daily balance fees. If you lose your debit card, you don’t even have to pay to replace it!
Chime has a few features that can help you manage cash flow. First, if you sign up for direct deposit you can receive your paycheck up to two days earlier than you might with a conventional bank.
Second, Chime’s SpotMe program covers overdrafts up to $200 (depending on your qualifications). To take advantage, you must have a monthly direct deposit of at least $200. If your debit card purchase exceeds your overdraft limit, it will be declined, so you won’t ever pay overdraft fees.
Your Chime debit card is linked to a nationwide network of 60,000+ fee-free ATMs. The only fee you might pay is if you withdraw money from an out-of-network ATM or use your debit card to withdraw funds from your account during an over-the-counter debit card purchase.
Chime is an online financial services company, not a bank. It provides $250,000 worth of FDIC insurance per account holder, per account, through Stride Bank and The Bancorp Bank, both members FDIC.
Unlike some neobanks, Chime offers multiple means to reach their customer service representatives. You can reach out on live chat through the app or website 24/7/365.
Best for: Free Overdraft Coverage
Minimum Deposit: None
Monthly Fee: None
2. Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®
Bank of America offers three Advantage checking accounts:
All three allow you to waive the monthly maintenance fee in a few different ways. Preferred Rewards members, who hold at least $20,000 in a Bank of America account or Merrill investment account enjoy free checking from Bank of America.
Otherwise, to waive the fee for your Advantage Plus checking account, you’ll need a qualifying direct deposit of $250 or more per month, or maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance.
If you don’t qualify to have fees waived, your Bank of America Advantage Plus account will cost a reasonable $12 per month.
As the “middle-of-the-road” account which would fit the needs of the average customer, we chose Advantage Plus as the best free checking account from the big bank. It is also the most popular of the three.
You’ll want to be aware that your BOA account may have additional fees, including an overdraft fee of $10 for each item paid. You can avoid this fee by linking another eligible Bank of America account to your Advantage Plus checking account to cover overdraft transactions with no transfer fees.
Other Bank of America fees include a $15 replacement fee for a lost debit card, an international transaction fee equal to 3% of the transaction in U.S. dollars, and ATM fees of $2.50 for using an out-of-network ATM. With roughly 16,000 ATMs, nationwide, however, it should be easy to avoid out-of-network ATM fees.
Bank of America offers some features you won’t find at other banks. For instance, you’ll gain access to “Erica,” Bank of America’s virtual financial assistant to easily manage your accounts.
You can also enroll in Bank of America’s Keep The Change program, which allows you to round up debit card purchases and have the extra money deposited into your BOA savings account or your child’s linked BOA account.
Keep the Change is an easy way to sneak some extra savings into your budget. Preferred Rewards members can earn more than 5% interest on money in their linked Bank of American Advantage Savings account.
Best for: Preferred Rewards members
Minimum Deposit to Open: $100
Monthly Fee: $0 or $12
3. Quontic High Interest Checking
While it doesn’t compare to Wealthfront’s 4.55% APY for a Cash Account, Quontic offers what qualifies as a high interest checking account with a 1.10% APY.
Be aware that to earn that rate, you’ll need to make at least 10 qualifying debit card purchases of $10 or more in each statement cycle. Otherwise, your money will earn just 0.01% APY.
Quontic’s free checking account with no monthly maintenance fees, no overdraft fees, and no minimum account balance is straightforward, FDIC insured, and socially responsible. The online bank is one of fewer than 3% of all banks designated as a Community Development Financial Institution.
That means Quontic uses your money with fiscal responsibility for social good, depositing it into accounts to help serve lower income families, under-served demographics and small business owners obtain affordable mortgages.
But opening an account with Quontic doesn’t just help others. Account holders enjoy a host of benefits. You’ll gain access to online bill pay and a “roundup program” to shuffle extra “change” from your debit card purchases into your linked high yield Quontic savings account with a 4.25% APY.
You’ll also get a Quontic Pay Ring, a wearable that replaces your debit card for point-of-sale purchases.
Enjoy access to 90,000+ fee free ATMs through the AllPoint, MoneyPass, or SUM program ATMs, as well as Citibank ATMs nationwide. You’ll find these ATMs at popular stores like Target, Speedway, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Safeway, Winn Dixie, and Circle K.
In addition to its High Interest Checking Account, Quontic offers a Bitcoin Rewards checking, which rewards you in cryptocurrency for debit card purchases, and a Cash Rewards checking account, which pays 1% cash back on all eligible debit card purchases.
Both accounts offer the same features as the High Interest checking account, except you’ll receive rewards instead of interest on your checking balance.
For a higher APY, you can open a Quontic Savings account with no monthly service fee and a high 4.25% APY.
Best for: Socially conscious banking
Minimum Balance to Open: $100
Monthly Fee: None
4. Wealthfront Cash Account
Like Chime, Wealthfront is not a bank. But some would argue that, with no monthly maintenance fee, FDIC insurance of up to $5 million through partner banks, and a high 4.55% annual percentage yield APY on the Wealthfront Cash Account, it’s even better.
Your Wealthfront Cash Account offers many of the same features as a traditional or an online bank. You’ll receive a free debit card and can withdraw cash with no ATM fees at a network of 19,000 ATMs nationwide.
Most consumers will choose the Individual Cash Account, with features such as early direct deposit, online bill pay, mobile check deposit through the app, and fraud protection. Wealthfront also offers a joint account, with up to $10 million FDIC insurance, and a Trust Cash account.
Best of all, Wealthfront charges no overdraft fees, no transfer fees from external accounts, and no fees if your account dips below a minimum balance. It requires just $1 to open an account.
If you are interested in retail investing, Wealthfront makes it easy with virtually instant transfers between your Wealthfront Cash Account and linked Wealthfront Investment accounts.
As you build your portfolio, you can take advantage of Wealthfront’s vast array of financial services, including automated investing, stock investments with zero commissions, and tax loss harvesting services.
As your Wealthfront investment portfolio grows, you can borrow up to 30% of your portfolio’s value at an interest rate as low as 7.40% APR.
For consumers looking for a one-stop shop for investments, fee-free checking, and savings with a high annual percentage yield, Wealthfront represents a solid choice in online financial service companies or neobanks.
Best for: High Annual Percentage Yield APY
Minimum Deposit to Open: $1
Monthly Fee: None
5. Capital One 360
A Capital One 360 checking account combines the security and convenience of one of the nation’s largest banks with no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum opening deposits.
Account holders also earn 0.10% APY on all checking account balances in their Capital One 360 account.
You can open your account online or in a branch. If you want in-person assistance, you can visit a Capital One branch or Capital One Café for help.
Capital One 360 gives you access to your money through more than 70,000 fee free ATMs in the Allpoint, MoneyPass or Capital One networks.
Capital One 360 has no overdraft fees, but you can decide how you want the bank to handle transactions that exceed your account balance.
You can set it up so that a transaction that would cause an overdraft is declined. Or you can transfer funds from a linked savings or money market account to cover an overdraft.
Alternatively, Capital One may accept certain transactions that put your account into overdraft. You’ll need to deposit money to cover the overdraft or additional transactions will be declined.
Capital One offers direct deposit up to two days sooner than many banks.
Capital One’s robust mobile app allows for bill payments online, mobile check deposits, and Zelle person-to-person transfers. If you want to add cash to your account, you can do it in person at a CVS store. If you have other Capital One accounts or credit cards, you can manage them all through one login.
Your Capital One 360 account has no foreign transaction fees, but keep in mind there may be fees for using out-of-network ATMs, cashier’s checks, outgoing wire transfers, or paper checkbooks.
Best for: Capital One Credit Card customers
Minimum Balance to Open: None
Monthly Fee: None
6. Consumers Credit Union
The only credit union on our list of the best free checking accounts, this checking account is open to virtually all U.S. residents over the age of 18.
You’ll just need to pay a one-time, $5 membership fee to the Consumers Cooperative Association. Consumers Credit Union even reimburses this fee after you open your free checking account. Children as young as age 12 can join as the second member on a joint account.
Your Consumers Credit Union Rewards checking account offers many of the same benefits as top rated online banks with no monthly fees and no fees of any kind.
You will even be reimbursed for fees incurred while using out-of-network ATMs. CCU has a network of 30,000+ ATMs nationwide.
Enjoy early direct deposit, mobile banking, and even the ability to write unlimited checks with no fees. Plus, you’ll earn up to 5% APY on your balance, depending on certain actions you take. Here’s how the tiered checking account interest works for balances up to $10,000:
Earn 3% APY if you make at least 12 debit card purchases a month and have direct deposits, mobile check deposits, or ACH credits of at least $500 each month
Earn 4% APY if you meet the above requirements plus spend $500 or more on your CCU Visa credit card each month
Earn 5% APY if you meet the requirements to earn 3% plus make $1,000 or more in purchases on your CCU Visa card monthly
Balances of $10,000.01 to $25,000 earn 0.20% APY and balances over $25,000 earn 0.10% APY.
If you don’t meet the requirements in a given month, you will still have free checking and free online bill payments and you will receive a 0.01% APY on all checking account balances. You also won’t qualify for ATM fee reimbursement.
You can reach Consumers Credit Union customer service online, by phone, or at CCU branches across Illinois. You can also bank at shared branches across the U.S. that are part of the CU Service Center Network, a co-op of credit unions.
Best for: Those who prefer to bank at a credit union
Minimum Balance to Open: $5
Monthly Fees: None
7. Ally Bank Interest Checking
Ally is not just a robust fin-tech; it is a nationally chartered bank with $196 billion in assets and 11 million customers. The bank offers an interest earning checking account with no monthly fee and no overdraft fees, high-yield savings, money market account and CDs. Plus, it provides investment services, loans, and credit cards.
The Ally Bank free checking account lets you earn interest of 0.25% annual percentage yield APY on all balances.
You’ll pay no monthly service fees, no overdraft fees, and no ATM fees at more than 43,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide. Ally also reimburses you up to $10 on out-of-network fees charged at other ATMs.
Your Ally checking account makes money management easy. You can put money in specific “spending” buckets allocated for different purchases. This can help you track your spending and stick to your budget. You can also get paid up to two days early with direct deposit.
Many of the best free checking accounts offer overdraft protection. Ally offers two choices to help you avoid overdraft fees. With the Overdraft Transfer Service, you can link your Ally Bank online savings or money market account to your Interest Checking account.
Ally will automatically transfer funds to your checking account to cover your purchase. If you make more than six withdrawals in a statement period, you may be charged “excessive transaction fees,” but Ally Bank reimburses those fees.
The CoverDraft service will cover purchases up to $100 as long as you have deposited at least $100 into your Interest checking account in the past 30 days. You can extend that coverage up to $250 if you receive a qualifying direct deposit of at least $250 for two months in a row.
You’ll need a direct deposit every 45 days to maintain your expanded coverage. You will have 14 days to bring your balance out of the negative.
Best for: Online only banking
Minimum Balance to Open: None
Monthly Fee: None
8. Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Axos Bank offers three different checking accounts with no monthly maintenance fee.
The Essential Checking online account has no overdraft fees, no monthly account fees, and unlimited reimbursement for out-of-network ATM use within the U.S.
The Rewards Checking has all the benefits of the Essential checking account and adds up to 3.30% APY in interest on qualifying balances.
Now until June 30, 2023, you can earn a sign-up bonus of $100 when you open an Axos Bank Rewards checking account and receive direct deposits totaling $1,500 or more each month for the first three months your account is open.
The Axos Bank Rewards checking account has complicated requirements to qualify for the highest annual percentage yield. Here’s how it works:
Direct deposits of $1,500 per month or more earn 0.40% APY
Once you fulfill that requirement, you’ll need 10 point-of-sale signature transactions with your debit card (minimum $3 purchase) or enrollment in account aggregation/personal finance manager account to earn an additional 0.30% APY.
Maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 in an Axos self-directed trading invest account to earn 1%
Maintain an average daily balance of $2500 in an Axos Managed Portfolio Invest account to earn another 1%
Make a monthly payment to an open Axos Bank consumer loan from your Rewards checking account to earn up to 0.60%
Together, this results in a 3.30% APY.
A Cashback Checking account offers the same benefits as the other checking accounts, except instead of earning interest you will receive 1% cash back on eligible debit card purchases.
Keep in mind that to earn the full 1% cash back, you’ll need to maintain an average daily balance of $1,500 in your checking account. If the balance falls below $1,500, you’ll earn .50% for that month.
Best for: Sign-up bonus
Minimum opening balance: $50
Monthly fee: None
9. SoFi Checking and Savings
Another excellent option in online banking, SoFi offers a wide range of financial services, including investments and loans. The bank provides a combination Checking and Savings account with a high yield APY of 4.20% for balances in your savings or Vault, and 1.20% APY on checking balances.
You will need to set up direct deposit to qualify for the high interest rates and other benefits, such as 2-Day Early Paycheck and no-fee overdraft coverage. But there is no minimum balance required.
Right now, the bank is offering new customers who open a free account up to $250 in cash. To receive your bonus, simply open your account and set up direct deposit. Deposits of $1,000 to $4,999.99 qualify for $50 cash back, while a deposit greater than $5,000 will net you $250.
There are no account fees when you bank with SoFi. Account holders with qualifying direct deposits receive fee-free overdraft protection for up to $50 per purchase.
You can even keep the money in your SoFi online savings to collect the high annual percentage yield APY of 4.20% and the bank will automatically transfer funds to checking to cover certain purchases. It will not, however, transfer money from Vaults, which are designed to help you reach specific savings goals.
Your SoFi debit card gives you access to your money for free at more than 55,000 ATMs in the AllPoint network. Plus, when you use your debit card for point-of-sale transactions at many local businesses, you can earn 15% cash back.
SoFi is a nationally chartered back with FDIC coverage. Thanks to a partnership with other banks, SoFi’s FDIC insurance exceeds the $250,000 maximum.
Your deposits are insured up to $2 million per account holder, per account, with SoFi. That makes SoFi an excellent choice in online banking for those with high savings, money market, or CD balances.
Best for: Money management and saving
Minimum Opening Balance: None
Monthly Service Fees: None
10. Varo Bank
Varo Bank has the distinction of being the first financial technology company to become a nationally chartered, online only bank. While most of the banks on our list of best free checking accounts have important features in common, Varo has a few perks that are harder to find in a free account.
First, your Varo debit card offers up to 6% cash back at select online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. Each time your cashback balance reaches $5, you’ll see the funds deposited directly into your Varo bank account.
When you open a Varo checking account, it pays to open Varo savings at the same time. You’ll gain access to features like “Save Your Change,” which allows you to round up debit card purchases and put the difference in savings.
You can also use Save Your Pay, which deposits a portion of every paycheck you receive via ACH transfer directly into savings. You can set up these features in the mobile app.
Varo also offers a cash advance feature called “Varo Advance,” which allows you to borrow up to $250 and pay it back within 30 days.
You’ll pay nothing for advances less than $20, but there are fees up to $15 associated with borrowing larger amounts. As with many other banks, Varo also lets you get paid via direct deposit up to two days early.
Varo makes it easy to deposit cash into your account by purchasing a Green Dot MoneyPak at stores like Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, 7-11, Dollar General, and others. You can also deposit cash at the register in any of these stores. You might pay a fee of up to $4.95 for this service.
Varo has no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fee, no monthly fee, no foreign transaction fees, and fee-free access to 55,000+ ATMs in the Allpoint network.
If you use an out-of-network ATM, you will be charged a $3 fee by Varo, plus any charges incurred from the other bank. If you withdraw money using your Varo debit card at the point-of-sale in a store, you’ll pay $2.50 for the convenience.
You can reach Varo customer support via chat on the app every day from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Mountain Time, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Varo phone support is also available Monday through Friday during the same hours for help logging into your account, filing a dispute if you suspect fraudulent charges, or to receive help adding your Varo card to a digital wallet.
Best for: Cashback debit
Minimum Opening Balance: None
Monthly Fee: None
11. Discover Cashback Debit
In the world of finance, Discover is best known for offering a straightforward cashback rewards credit card. Discover’s free online checking account also offers cash back rewards of 1% for up to $3,000 worth of debit card purchases monthly.
That could equal up to $30 in free money every month. You can even choose to have that Cashback Bonus deposited directly into your Discover Online savings account, where it can earn up to 3.90% APY.
Discover has no fees for anything. This includes overdraft protection through your linked Discover savings, no insufficient funds fee, no fee for official bank checks, no fee to receive expedited delivery of a new debit card, and no fees for paper checks. The only service that incurs a fee is an outgoing wire transfer. That will cost $30.
You can use your Discover debit with no fees at any of 60,000+ ATMs nationwide. Like many other financial institutions on this list, Discover allows you to receive ACH deposits from your employer up to two days early through the Discover “Early Pay” program.
Unlike many other online only banks, Discover offers 24/7 U.S.-based customer service by phone at 800-347-7000. If you prefer the convenience and cost savings of an online only bank account but want access to 24/7 phone service, Discover Bank could be the best choice for you.
Best for: 24/7 customer service by phone
Minimum Opening Balance: None
Monthly Fee: None
12. Chase Total Checking®
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is not just one of the “big four” banks in the U.S. It is the biggest bank in the U.S. and the world’s largest financial institution based on market cap. For that reason, many people choose Chase Bank for its convenience and 4,700 branches nationwide.
Chase Total Checking is the bank’s most popular checking account, requiring no minimum opening deposit, and a low monthly fee of $12 that’s fairly easy to waive. To waive the fee, you’ll need to do one of the following each month:
Have at least $500 in direct deposits
Maintain a beginning daily balance of $1,500 or more
Maintain an average beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of your Chase checking account plus other qualifying accounts
Chase offers overdraft protection in the form of its Overdraft Assist program. You won’t pay an overdraft fee if you’re overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day.
If you are overdrawn by more than $50 but bring the account current or bring your overdraft to $50 or less by the next business day, you also won’t pay any fees.
Chase offers access to Zelle for person-to-person payments and has an intuitive and user-friendly app for online and mobile banking.
You can also take advantage of Chase Autosave features to automatically have a portion of deposits transferred into your Chase savings account, or set up automatic transfers on a schedule, such as weekly or monthly.
Set savings goals and have money deposited into specific buckets or transfer funds into your general savings account to build your emergency savings. You can even pause automatic savings if your checking account drops below an amount you set.
Chase Premier Plus Checking offers even more benefits, including free money orders and cashier’s checks, ATM fee reimbursement for out-of-network ATMs four times per statement cycle, and free checks.
Your Chase Premier Plus Checking account earns a 0.01% APY on all account balances, which is the same as a Chase Savings account.
You can avoid the fees on your Chase Premier Plus Checking account if you have an average beginning day balance of $15,000 in any combination of Chase checking, savings, and other deposit accounts.
Another option is if you have a linked qualifying Chase mortgage enrolled in automatic payments, or if you are a member of the U.S. military or a veteran.
When you are a Chase checking customer, you can refer friends to open a Chase account and receive a $50 bonus, up to $500 per year. Like most financial institutions on this list, Chase has a robust and easy to use mobile app.
Best for: 4,700 branches nationwide
Minimum Opening Balance: None
Monthly Fee: $12.95 (for Chase Total Checking) or free if you meet requirements
Methodology: How We Select the Best Free Checking Accounts
We evaluated multiple factors to find the best free checking accounts for consumers across the U.S. Whether you have large monthly direct deposits or have been “unbanked” until now, you’ll find the best free checking accounts for any need or any budget here.
ATM network or generous ATM-fee reimbursement program
You shouldn’t have to pay extra money to access your money. After all, that’s the opposite of a “free checking account,” isn’t it? You want to find a bank with a large, fee-free ATM network to conveniently withdraw cash or make deposits. If the bank reimburses out of network ATM fees, that’s a bonus.
Nationwide availability (Physical locations or mobile access)
If you’re looking for a traditional bank, you want to make sure it has branches near you. Otherwise, an online bank might be the best choice. For this list of free checking accounts, we eliminated credit unions that don’t serve customers nationwide or have strict membership requirements.
Credit unions are often a solid choice for banking, and often have low fees and high interest rates. For instance, Navy Federal Credit Union is a highly ranked financial institution backed by the National Credit Union Administration. But it’s only open to members of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. veterans, their families, and Department of Defense personnel.
We tailored this list around banks with national appeal, with means they serve customers nationwide, with no residency requirements or specific occupational requirements. The one outstanding credit union on the list, Consumers Credit Union, is open to virtually anyone in the U.S. over the age of 18.
No Monthly Maintenance Fee
When most people think of a free checking account, they think of one with no monthly maintenance fees. You’ll see a few banks with monthly maintenance fees on this list because the benefits outweigh the fees. But any monthly service fees are easy to waive by meeting direct deposit or minimum balance requirements.
Low Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements
Truly free checking accounts should be accessible to most consumers. That means having low or no minimum deposit or minimum balance requirements.
No or Low Foreign Transaction Fees
If you travel abroad or make international transactions, you don’t want to pay fees. This may not be important to everyone, but foreign transaction fees may be a point to consider.
No Account Closure Fee
This was a deal-breaker for us. If you choose to close your account, you should be allowed to do so with no account closure fee. All the banks on this list make it as easy to close your checking account as it is to open it.
No Overdraft Fees
Likewise, if you accidentally spend more money than you have in your account, you shouldn’t be punished. Sometimes we forget that an automatic payment cleared or sometimes, you just need a helping hand to make it to your next paycheck. We gave preference to account with no overdraft fees, overdraft protection, or generous overdraft forgiveness.
Benefits such as high APY, cash-back rewards, or other additional perks
From cash back debit cards to interest bearing checking accounts, generous perks can make it easy to choose one fee-free checking account over another. Other nice-to-have features include:
The ability to pay bills online
Early direct deposit
Mobile check deposit
These account features make it easy to manage your money. We evaluated all these aspects when compiling our list of the best free checking accounts.
Whether you opt for a neobank or a traditional bank with brick-and-mortar branches, you want fast and responsive customer service. We took branch hours or phone hours into consideration, as well as a responsive chat or email for those who prefer automated service without speaking directly to a person.
Other Products and Services
Many people want to use the bank that holds their primary checking account as a one-stop shop for all their financial needs. They don’t want to download another mobile app, remember another password, or keep their money in different places.
For this reason, we considered the availability of high yield savings or money market accounts, CDs and other financial services when choosing the top free checking accounts. Chase, Capital One, and a few others got bonus points from us for the ability to link a child’s account to teach money management at a young age.
How to Choose the Best Free Checking Account
Before you choose a free account, decide what features are most important to you. Do you want a bank with brick-and-mortar branches or are you comfortable banking online only? If you choose an online financial institution, find out if there is a way to deposit cash, since some only allow mobile deposits and ACH transfers from other accounts.
Most of the checking accounts on this list offer similar features, including an easy to use mobile app, no monthly fees, direct deposit capabilities, and overdraft protection. Some have no minimum deposit to open the account, which is convenient since you can set up the account and then fund it within a few days or when you receive your next paycheck.
If you’re looking for interest bearing checking accounts, you’ll find a few on this list. Others provide debit rewards, which isn’t a common feature in a free deposit account. These benefits can help put extra cash in your pocket to help you reach your financial goals.
Determine if you want a linked savings. If so, do you want the capability to transfer funds into multiple savings buckets to help with budgeting?
All the banks on this list are FDIC insured for up to $250,000 per account holder for each type of deposit account. CCU is insured for the same amount by the National Credit Union Administration. That means your money is safe, which is important in today’s climate of economic uncertainty.
Ultimately, your checking account becomes a hub for your financial life. Whether you’re opening your first account or thinking about switching banks to get free checking and more perks, this list provides a good place to start your search.
Free Checking Account FAQs
See what people are asking about the best free checking accounts.
What are monthly maintenance fees?
Monthly maintenance fees are service charges imposed by a bank simply for holding an account. The free checking accounts on this list have fee free checking or it is easy to waive the monthly maintenance fee by having monthly direct deposits or meeting minimum balance requirements.
Do free checking accounts have any fees?
When people think of fee-free checking, they often think of an account with no monthly maintenance fees. However, some free checking accounts may have a monthly fee that can be easily waived with a monthly direct deposit or by meeting minimum balance requirements within a statement cycle.
So-called free checking accounts may have over fees besides the monthly fee. Read the fine print closely to find truly free checking accounts.
What fees do I need to watch out for?
Some banks who advertise free checking accounts may forego a monthly maintenance fee, but charge overdraft fees, ATM fees, withdrawal fees (typically only for savings or money market accounts), fees for paper checks, fees for paper statements, foreign transaction fees, and wire transfer fees. If you lose your debit card, you might have to pay a fee to have it replaced, as well as covering mailing costs.
Can I open a free checking account without a deposit?
Some banks allow you to open a checking account with no minimum deposit required. Of course, if there are any perks, benefits, or sign-up bonuses, you’ll want to fund the account to earn interest or take advantage of special offers.
How do banks make money on free checking accounts?
Banks might make some money from monthly maintenance fees and other customer service charges. But the bulk of their revenue comes from the interest rate they earn on your money when they invest it in other securities, as well as interest collected on loans they make.
Banks don’t necessarily keep the money you deposit in your account. They hold cash withdraws to allow customers to withdraw their money. But they also invest the money and earn revenue on those funds.
They may also earn money on loan services, financial advisory services, investment services with fees, and other services they provide to customers.
These other revenue streams allow banks to offer free checking accounts without losing money.
What’s the difference between a checking and a savings account?
A checking account is where you keep cash for everyday spending. Typically, you can make debit card purchases and withdraw funds from an ATM easily, without fees. Most checking accounts don’t pay interest on your deposits, but some do.
A savings account, on the other hand, holds money you are saving either for a specific events – such as vacation or large purchase – or for an emergency. Financial experts recommend keeping as much as three to six months of living expenses in an easy-to-access savings account.
Savings accounts pay interest ranging from .01% annual percentage yield APY up to 4% or 5% APY. Be aware that some savings accounts charge fees for monthly withdrawals exceeding a limit of six per month.
You can still find free checking accounts these days if you know where to look, but truly free checking accounts are in short supply at big banks like Wells Fargo and Chase.
So the fact that the Chase Total Checking® makes it relatively easy to waive its $12 monthly maintenance fee counts as a win. At least, if you also appreciate the security of banking with a global financial institution.
Though it’s not perfect, Chase Total Checking brings some other perks to the table, including a nice-sized account opening bonus and no minimum balance requirements. Size it up and see if it’s right for you.
What Is Chase Total Checking?
Chase Total Checking is an everyday checking account. It has a $12 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived when you maintain a minimum balance, receive a qualifying direct deposit, or pay a certain amount in banking fees.
Chase Total Checking comes with a Visa debit card that’s accepted at millions of locations worldwide. It has a user-friendly mobile app that supports mobile check deposit, fast person-to-person transfers, and recurring bill payments. It also waives fees on short-term overdrafts under $50, though larger and longer-term overdrafts still incur fees.
You can open a Chase Total Checking account if you’re an adult U.S. resident, except if you live in Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico.
What Sets Chase Total Checking Apart?
Chase Total Checking has a few notable features worth calling out early on:
Above-average account opening bonus. Chase Total Checking comes with a $200 account opening bonus that’s very easy to earn. You just need to enroll by the promotion end date and set up direct deposit within 90 days.
No overdraft fees on certain transactions. Chase Total Checking comes with Chase Overdraft Assist, which waives fees on overdrafts under $50 and certain larger overdrafts where the negative balance lasts for no more than one business day.
Multiple ways to waive the monthly fee. Chase Total Checking’s $12 monthly maintenance fee is relatively easy to waive with a $1,500 minimum daily balance or at least $500 in monthly direct deposits.
Above-average mobile app. The Chase mobile app is one of the best in the business. It can do just about anything the desktop dashboard can do, plus accept mobile check deposits.
Key Features of Chase Total Checking
Chase Total Checking is a basic checking account with no minimum deposit or balance requirements, a decent but not huge ATM network, multiple overdraft protection options, and some other features worth noting.
Account Opening Bonus
Earn a $200 account opening bonus when you open your account and set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment. You must open your account by July 19, 2023 to qualify.
Minimum Deposit and Balance
Chase Total Checking has no minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance requirements. Chase doesn’t close accounts for balance-related reasons unless they’re negative for an extended period of time.
Monthly Maintenance Fee & Waiver Options
Chase Total Checking has a $12 monthly maintenance fee. Chase waives this fee for at least the first two months after you open your account.
After that, Chase waives the fee in any month where you meet at least one of these waiver requirements:
Receive direct deposits or other qualifying electronic deposits totaling $500 or more
Maintain an average daily balance of $1,500 or more in your Total Checking account
Maintain an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in combined eligible Chase accounts, including your Total Checking account
ATM & Branch Network
Chase has about 15,000 ATMs in its fee-free network. It also has about 5,000 physical bank branches across the United States.
Importantly, Chase doesn’t reimburse out-of-network ATM fees for Total Checking customers. It’s best to avoid out-of-network ATMs with this account.
Chase’s Overdraft Assist program waives the customary overdraft fee for overdrafts that meet either of the following criteria:
Totaling less than $50 at the end of the business day
Totaling more than $50 at the end of the first business day, but the account is brought to within $50 of a zero balance within one business day
For larger overdrafts, Chase offers two optional overdraft protection programs:
Overdraft Protection: Chase transfers the exact amount needed to cover the overdraft from your linked Chase savings account. If you don’t have a Chase savings account or don’t have enough in your linked savings account, this isn’t an option.
Debit Card Coverage: Chase allows transactions that would result in a negative balance to go through. There’s a $34 charge per item for this service (capped at three per day, or $102).
Chase Credit Journey
Chase Credit Journey is a free credit-tracking service that offers on-demand access to your FICO credit score and personalized tips on improving your credit score factors over time.
Possible Account Fees
Other potential Chase Total Checking fees include:
A $3 out-of-network ATM fee within the U.S.
A $5 international ATM fee
A $10 fee for a cashier’s check (bank check)
A 3% foreign exchange fee for international transactions
A fee of $0 to $50 per wire transfer, depending on the direction and destination
The Chase mobile app has several useful features:
Rapid person-to-person transfers via Zelle, with no Chase user fees
Free mobile check deposit
Free one-time and recurring bill payments
Customizable account balance and transaction alerts
Card locking and unlocking
Chase Total Checking’s biggest advantages include an easy-to-earn account opening bonus, no minimum balance requirements, and generous overdraft coverage for certain transactions.
Easy to earn the account opening bonus. Chase Total Checking is one of several Chase accounts with above-average account opening bonuses. Its bonus is especially easy to earn, requiring only that you set up direct deposit within 90 days.
No fees on certain overdrafts. Chase waives overdraft fees on smaller negative balances — down to minus $50. That’s not typical for a big bank and qualifies as a significant advantage.
No minimums. Chase Total Checking has no minimum opening deposit or balance requirements. You can live paycheck to paycheck with this account.
Powerful mobile app. The Chase mobile app can do basically everything your online account portal can, and in more places.
Monthly fee waived for at least the first two months. Chase waives the monthly fee on this account for at least two months from account opening. This gives you time to set up direct deposit or build up a balance that qualifies for a fee waiver later on.
Chase Total Checking’s drawbacks include a relatively high monthly fee, high fees for overdrafts not covered by its overdraft protection plans, and no interest on balances.
$12 monthly maintenance fee. Though it can be waived without too much trouble, this account’s $12 monthly fee counts as a drawback all the same.
High fees for larger or longer-term overdrafts. Chase charges $34 per item and up to $102 per day for overdrafts not covered by its complimentary overdraft protection plans. This is on the high side for a U.S.-based bank.
No interest on balances. Chase Total Checking is not a high-interest checking account. In fact, it pays no interest at all. If you’re looking to grow your day-to-day spending balance, look elsewhere.
Relatively small ATM network. Chase has about 15,000 ATMs in its fee-free network. That’s significantly less than competing banks that belong to bigger networks like Allpoint and MoneyPass, which have tens of thousands of machines.
How Chase Total Checking Stacks Up
Chase advertises Total Checking as an account for everyday banking needs, and it certainly holds up its end of the bargain. But it’s not the only bank account that meets this description. Before you apply, compare it against another popular option with few frills: BMO Harris Smart Money.
Chase Total Checking
BMO Harris Smart Money
Monthly Maintenance Fee
$12, but can be waived
$5, limited waiver only
Direct deposit or balance minimums
Only if you’re under age 25
$0 for overdrafts under $50, otherwise $34 per item
$0, but BMO declines most overdrafts
ATM Fee Reimbursement
Interest on Balances
Chase Total Checking® is a full-service checking account, but it’s not exactly fancy. With no interest or rewards and few benefits beyond the basics — overdraft protection and fee-free in-network ATM withdrawals, for example — it can’t stand up to more generous options.
But those options tend to have higher monthly fees and make it more difficult to waive them. By contrast, Chase Total Checking has multiple waiver options within reach of the average account holder, in particular the $500 monthly direct deposit requirement. And Chase waives the monthly maintenance fee for the first two months no matter what.
All in all, Chase Total Checking is a well-rounded bank account that’s better than many competitors. Maybe good enough to be the bank account you open next.
Chase Total Checking®
Chase Total Checking® is a basic checking account with an easy-to-attain account opening bonus and a powerful mobile app. While it has no yield and lacks any real rewards for users, it does have customer-friendly features like no minimums, fee-free overdraft coverage for certain transactions, and free credit-tracking tools. Overall, it’s worth a look if you don’t need anything fancy from your bank account and can consistently get the monthly fee waived.
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
Savings may be essential for financial health, but building a savings account is easier said than done. Between regular expenses and well…life in general, it’s often hard to figure out what you can actually afford to save, let alone prioritize planning for the future.
Fortunately, the best money-saving apps on the market today promote saving techniques that work around your regular spending habits – sometimes so smoothly you save money without even noticing.
Overview of the best money-saving apps
Savings account APY
$0 ($5 for round-ups)
$0 ($1 for certain investment accounts)
0.6%/year for investment accounts
$5 for investment accounts
$10 for investment accounts
Best for first time investing – Acorns
Cost – $3 or $5/month.
Options – Saving, investing, and checking accounts, retirement accounts, children’s UTMA/UGMA accounts, cash back extension.
Acorns gets its name from the idea that small “acorns” of spare change can grow into big savings if you give them a little time. As a combo savings/investing app, Acorns makes things simple for the brand new investor and doesn’t require much money to get started.
The $3/month“Personal” plan gets you an Independent Retirement Account (IRA) and an “Acorns Spend” checking account. For $5/month, you can tack on investment accounts for children as well.
If savings are your main goal, the basic account will probably be enough to get you rolling. When you link a credit or debit card to your investment account, Acorns “rounds up” your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference for you once it hits $5 or higher – a popular auto-savings technique. You can add a “multiplier” feature if you want Acorns to double or triple the amount of investment with every transaction.
Learn more about Acorns or read our full review.
Best for flexible savings – Digit
Cost – $5/month (first 30 days are free).
Options – Savings, investment, and retirement accounts.
Savings techniques – Automatic fund transfers, credit card debt reduction.
For $5/month, Digit’s algorithms analyze your spending patterns and cash flow, then make a savings plan tailored to you. When you can spare a little extra, Digit transfers some cash to a linked savings account. When you have just enough to pay the bills, Digit skips the transfer.
This method can work well for people with fluctuating incomes or anyone who has trouble deciding in advance how much to save. If Digit does overdraft your account (which they promise not to), they’ll reimburse fees for up to two overdrafts.
Like most money apps, Digit lets you pick your own savings goals, and if you’re paying down credit card debt, Digit can automatically send the amount you’ve saved to the credit card company on your behalf.
Learn more about Digit or read our full review.
Best for lots of investment options – Stash
Cost – $3 or $9/month.
Options – Savings, investment, and retirement accounts, checking accounts, individual stocks and fractional shares, life insurance.
For people who want to watch their savings grow, Stash offers over 150 ETFs, stocks, and other micro-investment vehicles. You have more control over your portfolio picks with Stash than you do with Acorns – you can design your own portfolio or pick a pre-selected one from Stash. You can even pick ETFs that align with your values.
Savings options are flexible, too: you can choose an amount to put in savings each month, invest your spare change with the “round-up” method, or let Stash’s “Smart Stash” feature figure out what you can afford to save based on your cash flow.
Stash comes with a debit card, something a lot of savings apps offer, and its own unique “stock-back” incentive. Whenever you use the Stash bank card to buy something at a publicly-traded company, Stash gives you a small fractional share of company stock to add to your portfolio.
The app’s cost depends on how many extra features you want. Most everyday savers will be fine with the $3/month Growth plan, which includes a debit card, an investment account, and stock-back perks. You can also add a tax-advantaged retirement plan (a good idea if you haven’t opened a retirement account yet). Serious investors can upgrade to the $9/month “Stash+” for 2x stock-back returns and extra market info.
Learn more about Stash or read our full review.
Disclaimer – Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.
¹For securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares start at $0.05.
²Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. pursuant to a license from VISA U.S.A. Inc. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.” because the article mentions the debit card.
³You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.
⁴Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details.
⁵Stock-Back® is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A, or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.
Best for low fees – Chime®
Cost – No monthly fees.
Options – Savings and checking accounts.
Savings techniques – Round-ups, automatic transfers to savings, paycheck transfers.
Chime is a mobile app that takes advantage of the lower-cost online-only financial app model to pass savings on to customers. They don’t charge a monthly fee, so you keep any money you save.2
Chime’s free checking and savings accounts offer plenty of the features you’ll find at a bank*, like:
A Chime Visa® Debit Card.
Check deposit options.4
Two-day advance on directly deposited paychecks.3
Checking and savings are linked; whenever you make a purchase with your checking account, Chime rounds up to the nearest dollar and adds the difference to savings.^ Or you can have Chime auto-deposit 10% of every paycheck into savings before the rest hits checking.1 Either way, the app does all the work.
Learn more about Chime or read our full review.
* Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. ^ Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account. 1 Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account. 2 There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Chime Savings Account. 3 Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. 4 Mobile Check Deposit eligibility is determined by Chime in its sole discretion and may be granted based on various factors including, but not limited to, a member’s direct deposit enrollment status.
Best for joint savings – Twine
Cost – No fees for saving, 0.6% of invested assets/month for investing.
Twine is ideal for people who are saving for a goal together (though you can use it on your own, too!). It combines savings-app automation with robo-advisor guidance, which can be helpful if you have more than one savings goal.
The basic free Twine savings account earns you a little interest – there’s a 1.05% variable Annual Percentage Yield (APY). They encourage you to earmark accounts for certain financial goals, either “general savings” or specific goals like a vacation or a down payment on a house, and pick a monthly goal deposit amount so you can track your progress. If you’re saving with someone else, you’ll pick a joint goal but open individual accounts.
Investment portfolios are optional if you want to take your savings to the next level. Twine pre-selects diverse portfolios for you, and they only require $5 to get started.
Qapital runs on behavioral economics – their multiple savings strategies use your routines, habits, and everyday purchases to help bulk up your savings.
Here’s how it works: you get a spending account that earns you 0.1% in compounded monthly interest, and a “goals” account to grow your savings. To fund your goals, you can transfer regular, set amounts from a linked bank account to your goals account, or pick one of Qapital’s “rules” or savings tricks.
There’s the “round-up” rule, which lots of apps use. There’s the “trigger” rule which saves a specific amount every time you engage in a certain activity (something simple you do regularly, whether it involves spending money or not).
The “guilty pleasure” rule moves a little cash into savings whenever you indulge in your favorite pricey latte, takeout, etc. The “52-week” rule lets you gradually increase the amount you stash in savings over a year. Qapital has other rules, too, and you’ll probably find one that works for you.
Their pricing is higher than most money-saving apps – a $3/month basic plan has all the savings tools, while the $6/month plan unlocks pre-selected investment portfolios and gives you a Qapital debit card. The $12/month master plan lets you open joint savings with a partner, similar to Twine.
Learn more about Qapital or read our full review.
Why should you use money-saving apps?
You’re just starting to build savings
The idea of building a savings account might be intimidating, but it’s much simpler to stash away 50 cents whenever you buy a cup of coffee or a dollar whenever you refill your gas tank. That’s mostly what these apps do – take the work out of savings one small amount at a time, so your regular budget isn’t disrupted.
Read more: The Pros And Cons of ‘Spare Change’ Investment Apps
You struggle to make savings a habit
If your money management style is on the “spend now, save later” side, it may be unrealistic to overhaul your habits right away and heap everything into savings. That’s not how habits work; they take time to develop.
A free 30-day trial of Digit or Qapital, for instance, could be enough to show you how much the app can grow your savings in a typical month; and after 30 days, you’ll be more used to putting a little cash aside.
You’re curious about small-scale investing
Investing can be a great way to save, but it’s inherently risky, and you don’t want to launch yourself right into an investment account without knowing what you’re doing.
These apps make micro-investing as easy as sticking to an automated savings plan and assessing your risk comfort level. And they let you start with small balances, so you don’t have much to lose.
Read more: 7 Easy Ways To Start Investing With Little Money
Why shouldn’t you use money-saving apps?
You have a savings pattern that works for you
If you’re already saving money on a timeline that fits with your goals and income, a savings app could help you skim a little more off the top of everyday purchases, but it might not be worth the fees.
You already have substantial savings
The savings accounts built into money-saving apps are great tools to get started, but they’re not the highest-yield accounts out there. You’ll earn more money keeping your savings in a bank or investment account that offers a higher APY (Annual Percentage Yield), especially if you have decent credit.
Most important features of money-saving apps
Money-saving apps take the “how much can I afford” guesswork out of savings by putting them on autopilot. You won’t see a huge interruption to your regular cash flow, which is nice – saving money doesn’t have to feel like a penalty or a punishment.
And most apps make the automation flexible; if you’re having a lean month or two, you can temporarily stop withdrawals (or, as with Digit, the app stops them for you).
Most importantly, you’ll get into the savings habit after a while.
Saving for short- and long-term goals
Sometimes it’s easier to save if you have something to look forward to. Money-saving apps keep you motivated by letting you choose your goals and showing you how much your savings have progressed.
“Rounding up” purchases
This auto-savings technique is available on almost every app now. By rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar (or two dollars, or three – some apps let you multiply) you’re saving small, manageable, regular amounts while you spend.
Several apps set you up with a checking account and debit card, though you can usually link an existing checking account as well.
Everyday money management
For elaborate budgeting templates, look for a budgeting app specifically (you can find our recommendations here). But savings apps have plenty of tools to keep your finances in line, especially if you tend to be disorganized and overdraft your accounts by accident. You can observe your spending patterns, set up payment reminders for bills, and get regular balance alerts all through the app.
While investment accounts aren’t available with every savings app, they seem to be becoming more of a standard offering. “Micro-investing” lets you start out with spare change. Once you really get the hang of it, you may choose to switch to a higher-yield investment account elsewhere.
Money-saving apps are a great starting point, but they’re only one aspect of a solid financial management plan.
Think of them as a helpful tool to analyze your spending behavior and nudge you into the next steps, whether that means breaking down a monthly budget or working towards financial freedom.
In the past decade, we’ve seen a major transformation in the banking sector. As the world continues to digitize, the financial landscape has shifted in response, giving birth to a plethora of online banking services. One such innovation that has garnered widespread adoption is online checking accounts.
As a key financial tool, a checking account serves as a lifeline for day-to-day transactions, paying bills, and generally managing one’s finances. But with online checking accounts, convenience, accessibility, and often better rates and lower fees have made them an attractive alternative to traditional banks.
10 Best Online Checking Accounts
These best online checking accounts offer a range of features, from high annual percentage yield (APY) to robust mobile apps, all designed to meet the varying financial needs of users. Here are our top 10 picks for 2023.
1. Chime Checking Account
Chime, a financial technology company that offers online banking services, is revolutionizing the banking industry with its online checking account that pairs both convenience and value into a single offering.
With Chime, you can access banking services without the constraints of physical branches and enjoy a plethora of services, from direct deposits to earning savings interest and more.
It’s essential to note that Chime isn’t a bank but rather a financial technology company providing banking services through Bancorp Bank, N.A., and Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
No monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance: The Chime Checking Account comes with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, making it a cost-effective option for those looking to maximize their financial resources.
Early direct deposit: With Chime, you can receive your direct deposits up to two days early, providing you with quicker access to your funds compared to many traditional banks.
SpotMe® feature: This innovative feature allows you to overdraw your account up to $200 on debit card purchases without a fee, provided that you have $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits each month. The SpotMe® limit can be increased based on account history, direct deposit amounts and frequency, spending activity, and other factors.
Automated savings features: Chime allows you to save effortlessly with its Round Ups feature. Each time you use your Chime Visa® Debit Card, the transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the difference is transferred to your savings account. The Save When I Get Paid feature lets you set up a recurring transfer of 10% of your direct deposit paycheck of $500 or more from your checking account to your savings account each time you get paid.
Extensive ATM network: With Chime, you get access to over 60,000+ fee-free ATMs nationwide, giving you the flexibility to withdraw cash without worrying about ATM fees.
The Chime Checking Account is a stellar example of how online banks are providing value-packed offerings that rival traditional banks.
The account is particularly beneficial for those who receive direct deposits and don’t need to deposit cash often.
2. Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Axos Bank is an online-based bank that’s shaking up the banking industry with its online Rewards Checking account, a unique blend of convenience and value.
Axos allows you to utilize banking services without the constraints of physical branches and offers numerous benefits, from earning high APY to ATM fee reimbursements and more.
It’s important to note that Axos Bank is a completely online bank without in-person customer service options.
High APY: The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account can earn an APY of up to 3.30% on balances up to $50,000, given certain conditions are met. You can earn this high APY by fulfilling certain requirements. These include maintaining a monthly direct deposit totaling at least $1,500 or making qualifying debit card purchases. Additionally, maintaining certain balances in Axos investment accounts, or making a monthly Axos consumer loan payment using Rewards Checking.
No Overdraft Fees: Rewards Checking doesn’t charge overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees. Transactions are simply declined unless you enroll in one of the bank’s overdraft programs, which include the option to set up free automatic transfers from a savings account to your checking account if your balance goes negative.
ATM Fee Reimbursement: Axos Bank offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from any ATM without worrying about the fees.
Cash Deposits: Axos Bank uses a third-party service, Green Dot, to let customers add cash to their accounts or reload debit cards at retailers such as 7-Eleven and CVS Pharmacy. However, it costs up to $4.95 per deposit. You can also make deposits at some of Axos Bank’s 91,000 in-network ATMs.
Remote Customer Service Options: Axos Bank offers a variety of remote customer service options, including a 24/7 phone line, automated online chat, secure online messaging, and Twitter support.
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is a prime example of how online banks are delivering offerings that compete with traditional banks.
The account is particularly beneficial for those who can meet the requirements to earn the high APY and are comfortable with online-only customer service.
3. Current Account
Current, a pioneering financial technology company, delivers cutting-edge banking solutions with its Current Account.
While not a traditional bank, Current collaborates with Choice Financial Group to provide banking services, assuring member FDIC protections up to $250,000.
Up to 2-day early direct deposit: With Current, customers can receive their paycheck up to two days earlier with direct deposit, offering superior control over their finances.
Fee-free overdraft protection: Current Account users can take advantage of fee-free overdraft protection, a feature that can safeguard against unexpected charges.
Points earned on debit card swipes for cash back: The Current Account provides added incentives for daily spending, as customers can earn points on debit card swipes that can be redeemed for cash back.
Access to over 40,000 fee-free ATMs: Ensuring easy access to cash nationwide, Current provides its users with over 40,000 fee-free ATMs.
Mobile check deposit: The innovative mobile check deposit feature from Current allows for effortless banking directly from a smartphone.
Current doesn’t just stop at basic features, it goes beyond by offering a range of options that simplify and amplify the banking experience.
Free from minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, bank transfer fees, and in-network ATM withdrawal fees, Current is committed to delivering an uncomplicated and seamless banking experience.
The “Current Pay” feature further enhances the user experience by facilitating instant money transfers among friends and family, simplifying payments or reimbursements.
4. SoFi Checking and Savings Account
SoFi, a modern financial platform offering a suite of financial services, is setting new standards in the world of banking with its online bank account that combines remarkable earning potential and considerable convenience.
Remember that SoFi isn’t a traditional bank but a financial technology company that provides banking services in association with a network of participating banks, all of which are FDIC insured.
No account or overdraft fees and no minimum balance: The SoFi Online Bank Account is cost-friendly, with no account fees, overdraft fees, or minimum balance requirements. This makes it an excellent choice for those who want to keep their banking expenses to a minimum.
Potential 2-day early direct deposit: If you set up a direct deposit, SoFi provides the possibility of getting your paycheck up to two days earlier, offering faster access to your money compared to traditional banking establishments.
High-interest earnings: As a SoFi member, you have the opportunity to earn up to 4.20% APY on your savings and Vaults balances, and 1.20% APY on your checking balances. This earning rate is significantly higher than the national average, making your money work harder for you.
No-fee overdraft coverage: SoFi introduces a user-friendly feature covering accidental overspending up to $50 with no fees, given that you have qualifying direct deposits.
Cash back at local establishments: SoFi users can enjoy up to 15% cash back at local establishments when they pay with their SoFi debit card, combining savings with everyday spending.
Increased FDIC insurance: SoFi deposits are insured up to $2M, a feature that provides extra peace of mind when it comes to the security of your funds.
The SoFi Checking and Savings Account is an excellent example of how FinTech firms are providing robust banking solutions that rival and even surpass traditional banks.
The account is particularly attractive to those who frequently use direct deposits and prefer banking digitally, offering superior returns on their balances and protection from various fees.
5. Ally Bank Interest Checking Account
Ally Bank, renowned for its customer-centric digital banking services, provides a comprehensive offering through its Ally Bank Interest Checking Account.
While being an entirely online institution, Ally Bank ensures FDIC insurances up to the maximum allowed by law, bolstering financial security for its customers.
Fee-free banking: Ally Bank champions transparency and affordability with no monthly maintenance or overdraft fees, supporting customers in maximizing their financial resources.
Access to 43,000+ no-fee Allpoint® ATMs: With a network of over 43,000 no-fee Allpoint® ATMs, customers enjoy widespread cash access. Plus, Ally reimburses up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide.
Spending buckets: This innovative feature helps customers manage their money effectively by setting funds aside for ongoing expenses such as rent and groceries, much like digital envelopes. This encourages better spending habits and gives a clearer picture of personal finances.
Up to 2-day early direct deposit: Offering greater financial flexibility, Ally Bank allows customers to receive their paycheck up to two days sooner with early direct deposit.
Overdraft protection: With the Overdraft Transfer Service and CoverDraft℠ service, Ally provides a dual protection mechanism against accidental overspending, adding to its customer-friendly features.
Manage your debit card: Within Ally’s mobile app, customers can lock their card, set notifications, and limit spending, offering enhanced control over their banking.
Remote check deposit: With Ally eCheck DepositSM, depositing checks is as simple as snapping a photo with your smartphone.
Send and receive money: Through Zelle®, customers can send and receive money quickly, securely, and without the need for an extra app.
The Ally Bank Interest Checking Account provides a robust banking experience, packed with unique features that suit the needs of today’s digitally savvy customers.
It combines the convenience of online banking with the benefits of a comprehensive checking account, delivering unparalleled value.
Furthermore, Ally Bank’s commitment to keeping fees minimal, coupled with its transparent approach, ensures customers can bank confidently and efficiently.
6. Consumers Credit Union Serious Interest Checking
Consumers Credit Union, committed to enhancing its members’ financial prosperity, offers an appealing solution with its Serious Interest Checking®, a high yield checking account.
Despite being a credit union, it combines the benefits of a checking account with an attractive interest rate, making banking rewarding for its members.
High-yield earnings: This checking account stands out by offering a whopping 4.00% APY on balances up to $15,000. To qualify for this interest rate, account holders must have 12 posted debit card transactions per month, maintain a $1,000 average daily balance, and establish a minimum recurring monthly direct deposit of $1,000, along with eStatements.
Instant-issue debit card: With the Serious Interest Checking® account, members receive an instant-issue debit card, providing immediate access to their funds.
No debit card usage fees or check deposit fees: In alignment with its member-friendly approach, Consumers Credit Union does not charge fees for debit card usage or for each check deposited.
24-hour online banking and mobile banking app: Offering a seamless digital banking experience, account holders have 24-hour access to online banking and a convenient mobile banking app.
Free online check copies and unlimited check writing: As part of its comprehensive offering, Consumers Credit Union provides free online check copies and allows unlimited check writing, adding to its array of cost-effective features.
Access to 30,000+ fee-free ATMs nationwide: Customers can withdraw cash from over 30,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide, ensuring easy access to their funds.
Competitive interest rates and custom alerts: Apart from competitive interest rates, the account also offers custom alerts for balance and activity, promoting active financial management.
Free eStatements and mobile check deposit: This high yield checking account also features free eStatements and mobile check deposit, further simplifying the banking experience for customers.
The Consumers Credit Union Serious Interest Checking® account blends the convenience of a checking account with the high-yield earnings usually associated with a savings account.
Its feature-rich, value-packed offering makes it a compelling choice for those seeking to elevate their banking experience and maximize their earnings.
7. Quontic High Interest Checking
Quontic Bank, committed to maximizing customer earnings and supporting financial inclusivity, offers a high interest checking account that combines convenience, high-yield potential, and an innovative digital banking experience.
Highly rated by multiple platforms, this account is perfect for those seeking to earn more from their deposits.
Earn up to 1.10% APY: The Quontic High Interest Checking account allows you to earn up to 1.10% APY on all balance tiers. To qualify, make at least 10 qualifying debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle. Failure to meet these requirements results in a 0.01% interest and APY. A minimum opening deposit of $100 is required.
Quontic Pay Ring: In a bid to revolutionize banking, Quontic offers a payment wearable called the Quontic Pay Ring. This innovative feature allows you to make payments effortlessly without needing to carry your debit card.
Access to 90,000+ ATMs nationwide: Enjoy surcharge-free withdrawals at any participating AllPoint® Network ATMs, MoneyPass® Network ATMs, SUM® program ATMs, or Citibank® ATMs located in various retailers across the nation.
Fully mobile & online banking: Quontic offers a dynamic online banking platform and mobile app equipped with features like remote check deposit, bill pay, account transfers, and receipt tracking, providing a seamless banking experience on your terms.
Wide range of pay options: With compatibility for Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Zelle, Quontic ensures you have plenty of options to facilitate your payments.
No monthly or overdraft fees: Quontic is committed to transparency and affordability, promising no hidden monthly or overdraft fees.
Member FDIC and advanced security monitoring: As a FDIC-insured institution, Quontic offers robust security features including the ability to lock and unlock your debit card online and protection against unauthorized transactions.
Banking with a purpose: Quontic stands apart by being a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), striving to bring the dream of homeownership to low-income families, immigrants, people of color, small business owners, and others who are unable to obtain mortgage financing through traditional lenders.
The Quontic High Interest Checking account combines innovative features, high yield potential, and an inclusive mission, making it a compelling choice for socially conscious individuals seeking to earn more on their deposits.
8. Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
Simplicity and high yields are the cornerstone of Alliant Credit Union’s High-Rate Checking account, a solution tailored to meet the needs of modern-day banking customers, whether they’re on-the-go or prefer traditional banking methods.
Recognized by multiple platforms for its service excellence, this account is designed for customers who desire a seamless and rewarding banking experience.
No monthly fee or minimum balance requirement: Alliant Credit Union ensures hassle-free banking with no monthly service fee or monthly minimum balance requirement.
No overdraft fees: Mistakes happen, and Alliant understands this by not charging its customers overdraft fees. However, some standard fees such as stop payment do apply.
Access to 80,000+ fee-free ATMs: Get access to more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs, eliminating the need for ATM hunting. Plus, enjoy up to $20/month in ATM fee rebates for out-of-network ATMs.
Contactless payments and digital wallet compatibility: Pay quickly and securely with your free Visa® contactless debit card or through digital wallets such as Apple Pay™, Samsung Pay™, and Google Pay™, and other payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App.
Mobile banking and remote deposit: Manage your finances anywhere, anytime with the Alliant Mobile Banking app, which also allows you to deposit checks remotely.
Free overdraft protection and courtesy pay: Avoid accidental overdrafts with free overdraft protection, and opt-in for Courtesy Pay to cover checks, electronic payments, and transfers beyond your overdraft protection.
Account alerts and card management: Receive alerts for large transactions or unusual account activity, and manage your debit card on-the-go with options to activate or replace a lost/stolen card via Alliant online or mobile banking.
Federally insured and $0 liability on fraudulent charges: Rest assured knowing your deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA, and enjoy Visa’s $0 fraud liability feature, offering protection against unauthorized charges.
To earn interest on your checking account, simply opt for free eStatements and ensure at least one monthly electronic deposit to your Alliant High-Rate Checking account.
The Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking account offers simplicity, flexibility, and competitive interest rates, making it a smart choice for your everyday banking needs.
9. Schwab Bank Investor Checking
Charles Schwab brings its robust reputation in the investment sector to banking with its Schwab Bank Investor Checking account, designed for those seeking seamless integration of banking and investing.
This account ensures that your financial management is hassle-free and efficient, encouraging more financial freedom and effective investment.
No fees or minimums: Experience the freedom of no maintenance fees or account minimums. This account enables you to focus more on your finances without the worry of hidden charges or minimum balance requirements.
Competitive APY: Enjoy a competitive 0.45% APY on your checking account balance, providing an added benefit of earning interest on your deposited funds.
Unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide: Travel or live abroad without worrying about ATM fees. Charles Schwab offers unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, making accessing your money easier and more affordable.
No foreign transaction fees: Schwab’s account is designed with the international traveler in mind, eliminating foreign transaction fees and making it more convenient and cost-effective for you to use your debit card abroad.
Security and peace of mind: Feel secure with features like card lock/unlock, bank and transaction alerts, and travel notices. These features, combined with the Schwab Security Guarantee, ensure maximum security and control over your financial transactions.
Robust mobile app: Manage all your Schwab banking needs from one place with a feature-rich mobile app. Make deposits, transfer money, and more, with just a few taps on your smartphone.
Mobile payments: Enjoy a secure, convenient, and easy way to pay with your mobile wallet or contactless debit card. This allows for quick and hassle-free transactions, whether you’re shopping online or in-store.
The Schwab Bank Investor Checking account integrates banking and investing, offering convenience, ease, and attractive benefits for the modern user.
Whether you’re an avid traveler or looking for a no-fee, high-yield checking account that also offers excellent digital banking capabilities, this account could be a great fit.
10. Navy Federal Credit Union Free EveryDay Checking
Navy Federal Credit Union’s Free EveryDay Checking is an easy-to-use, accessible banking solution for everyone.
It is ideally suited for those seeking a basic, straightforward account for everyday banking needs, particularly individuals with lower account balances.
No monthly service fee or minimums: This account demands no monthly service fees, no opening deposit requirement, and no minimum balance requirement, offering a flexible, low-maintenance banking experience for all users.
Interest-earning: With a 0.01% APY and Dividend Rate, your balance isn’t just sitting—it’s working for you, accumulating dividends over time.
Free debit card with zero liability protection: Your account includes a Navy Federal Debit Card, which is accepted at millions of locations worldwide and comes with zero liability protection for added security.
Digital banking: Navy Federal’s account offers a wide range of digital banking capabilities. This includes Mobile Deposits and Bill Pay, enabling you to manage your finances on the go, securely, and conveniently.
Checking protection options: Protect your checking account from overdrafts and denied transactions with Navy Federal’s Checking Protection Options, ensuring peace of mind and financial stability.
Additional benefits: The Free EveryDay Checking Account also offers free traditional name-only checks, an easy-to-use online ordering system, and automatic notifications to track account activity.
Highly rated: With a 4.7 out of 5 rating based on 142 reviews, Navy Federal’s checking account is highly rated by its customers for its user-friendly features and excellent service.
In addition to these standard features, Navy Federal Credit Union offers comprehensive digital banking tools like mobile banking apps, bill pay services, and convenient transfer and deposit options.
Plus, all members enjoy access to 24/7 customer service and more than 350 branches worldwide. The Free EveryDay Checking Account is a simple, straightforward, and user-friendly option that makes everyday banking a breeze.
What is an online checking account?
An online checking account operates much like the checking accounts you’re accustomed to at traditional brick and mortar banks, with the primary difference being that it’s mostly or entirely digital. They are provided by online banks, credit unions, and even financial technology companies that are not banks themselves.
Online checking accounts have surged in popularity for a variety of reasons. Their major draw is the convenience and flexibility they offer. With these accounts, you can deposit cash, pay bills, transfer money, make debit card purchases, and even deposit checks digitally using the bank’s mobile app. This means that all your transactions can be completed without visiting a physical branch location.
Additionally, online only banks typically offer higher annual percentage yields (APY) than traditional banks, meaning your money grows faster. The absence of physical branches translates into reduced overhead costs for these financial institutions, enabling them to pass on the savings to customers in the form of higher interest rates and lower fees. These accounts also often have lower minimum balance requirements and monthly maintenance fees compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
Lastly, many online banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), providing the same level of safety for your deposits as traditional banks.
Criteria for Evaluation
Selecting the best online checking accounts was not a task taken lightly. We’ve considered a variety of factors in our analysis to ensure that our picks provide a mix of the most advantageous features for diverse financial needs. Here are the key criteria we used in our evaluation:
Annual percentage yield (APY): We considered the APY offered on the checking accounts. Higher APY means your money grows faster, making it a key feature to look for in an account.
Monthly fees and other costs: Monthly maintenance fees can eat into your savings. We favored accounts with low or no monthly fees. We also looked at other potential costs like overdraft fees, out of network ATM fees, and foreign transaction fees.
ATM access: Easy and wide-ranging access to ATMs is crucial. We considered online banks with large ATM networks and those that offer ATM fee reimbursements.
Customer service: Exceptional customer service is important, especially for an online only bank where in-person assistance is not an option. We assessed the quality of customer service provided by each bank.
Mobile app experience: A great mobile app can make managing your money a breeze. We evaluated the usability, functionality, and reliability of each bank’s mobile app.
Additional features: Other features like early direct deposit, mobile check deposits, cash back rewards, and savings tools can add value to online checking accounts. We considered these additional features in our review.
How to Choose the Right Online Checking Account for You
Choosing the right online checking account is crucial. It can simplify your financial management, enhance your monetary gains, and align with your lifestyle needs. Below are key factors to consider in making an informed decision:
Financial Habits: Evaluate your typical financial behaviors. Do you frequently use ATMs, and will you need access to an extensive, fee-free ATM network? If you regularly maintain a high balance in your checking account, an interest-earning account could be beneficial. Conversely, if you tend to keep a low balance, consider an account with no minimum balance requirement to avoid potential fees.
Goals: What are your financial goals? If you’re aiming to save, consider an account that earns interest. If you’re focused on investing, select an institution that offers seamless integration between checking and investment accounts.
Lifestyle: Assess your lifestyle and daily needs. Do you travel often and need an account that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees? If you prefer digital banking, look for accounts with robust online platforms and mobile apps that allow for easy money management on the go.
Fees: Examine the fee structure carefully. Consider potential monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and ATM fees. Look for accounts offering fee waivers or reimbursements.
Customer Service: Exceptional customer service is crucial, particularly for an online bank. Look for 24/7 customer support, availability of live chat, and timely response to queries.
Security: Ensure that the bank employs stringent security measures to protect your account from fraud or unauthorized transactions. Features like two-factor authentication, alerts for suspicious activity, and FDIC insurance are vital.
In today’s fast-paced, digital age, online checking accounts provide a convenient, accessible, and often more financially rewarding alternative to traditional banking. However, the key to making the most of these benefits is to choose the right account based on your individual needs, lifestyle, and financial goals.
By carefully considering factors like your financial habits, goals, lifestyle, potential fees, customer service, and security measures, you can find an online checking account that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Remember, your checking account is at the heart of your financial life – choose wisely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are online checking accounts safe?
Yes, online checking accounts are safe as long as they’re offered by a reputable bank or credit union that has FDIC or NCUA insurance. This insurance protects your money up to $250,000 per depositor.
Can I deposit cash into an online checking account?
Depositing cash into an online checking account can be more challenging than with a traditional bank. Some online banks have agreements with certain ATM networks or retail outlets where you can deposit cash. You can also deposit cash into a traditional bank account and then transfer it to your online account.
What should I do if I need to write a check?
Many online banks offer free or low-cost checkbooks. However, if you seldom write checks, you may not need a physical checkbook. Instead, you can use the bank’s online bill pay service, which sends a check or electronic payment to the recipient on your behalf.
Do online banks offer customer service?
Yes, most online banks offer robust customer service options, including phone support, live chat, email, and often extensive FAQ sections on their websites. Some even offer 24/7 support.
There are literally thousands of legitimate checking accounts to choose from, and more spring into being all the time as online banks emerge and grow. There’s no way you can evaluate them all.
If you’re under age 25 and don’t care about loading up on potentially generous features, you can safely narrow your search by limiting your choices to basic checking accounts built for young, unfussy people. One account that should still be among those choices is the BMO Harris Smart Money™ Account.
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account has no monthly maintenance fee for users under 25 and relatively few other account fees. It comes with a Mastercard debit card accepted by millions of merchants worldwide. And it could be right for you — but be sure you understand its capabilities and limitations before opening an account.
What Is the BMO Harris Smart Money Account?
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account is a basic checking account designed for younger people and those seeking the peace of mind that comes with fee-free overdraft protection.
Smart Money has no monthly maintenance fee for anyone under 25 and no overdraft fees for anyone. Otherwise, it has the same basic features as BMO Harris’s two other consumer checking accounts — Advantage and Premier — including a vast fee-free ATM network, a robust mobile app, and no ongoing minimum balance requirement.
What Sets the BMO Harris Smart Money Account Apart?
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account stands out from competing checking accounts in a few key ways:
No overdraft fees. Smart Money has no overdraft fees. This is less generous than it sounds because BMO declines most Smart Money transactions that would result in an overdraft. Still, BMO may allow some transactions to go through even if they result in a negative balance. If and when it does, there’s no charge.
No maintenance fee for younger users. Smart Money has no monthly maintenance fee for users under 25. It qualifies as a free checking account for younger folks.
No way for older users to waive the maintenance fee. Smart Money does have a maintenance fee ($5 per month) for users 25 and older. This is low as checking account maintenance fees go. But it’s also unusual (in a bad way) because there’s no way to waive it. Most checking accounts waive maintenance fees if you maintain a minimum balance or incoming direct deposit.
Key Features of the BMO Harris Smart Money Account
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account is a straightforward checking account for people who don’t need many bells and whistles.
Smart Money has no official age restrictions. Kids under age 18 can open an account with a parent as a joint owner, and anyone 18 or older can open an account as the sole owner.
However, Smart Money does make an important distinction between account holders under age 25 and those 25 and older. While there’s no monthly maintenance fee for users under age 25, users 25 and over must pay a $5 monthly maintenance fee. There’s no way to waive this fee, either.
Minimum Deposit & Balance
The minimum deposit to open this account is $25. Once opened, there’s no ongoing minimum balance.
BMO Harris belongs to the Allpoint ATM network, which has more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. These ATMs are relatively evenly distributed across the country, including in many locations where BMO Harris has no physical branches.
Smart Money doesn’t reimburse out-of-network ATM fees, however. Be sure to use Allpoint ATMs to the extent possible.
Possible Account Fees
Smart Money has no maintenance fee for users under 25 and an unwaivable $5 maintenance fee for users 25 and older. It has no overdraft fee for any users, though BMO Harris declines most transactions that would result in a negative balance.
Other possible fees include:
A $2 paper statement fee per month
A $3 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
A $3 fee for each check image if you’re not opted into paperless statements
Smart Money users get access to BMO Harris’s user-friendly mobile app. Notable capabilities include:
No BMO user fees for person-to-person Zelle transfers (though other fees may apply)
Free mobile check deposit
Free budgeting and expense-tracking tools
A single view of all your BMO accounts, including bank accounts and credit cards
Like the account itself, Smart Money’s advantages are straightforward: no maintenance fees for younger users, no ATM fees if you stay in-network, and excellent mobile features, to name a few.
No monthly maintenance fee for younger users. BMO waives the $5 monthly fee for account holders under age 25. That makes Smart Money an appealing choice for college students and recent college graduates.
No overdraft fees. Though it declines most transactions that would result in negative balances, BMO waives overdraft fees and insufficient funds fees for such transactions anyway. If it allows negative-balance transactions to go through at its discretion, it still doesn’t charge an overdraft fee.
Big fee-free ATM network. As part of the Allpoint ATM network, BMO Harris has more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs in the United States. You can find these machines in every corner of the country, including places far from any physical BMO Harris branches.
Excellent mobile features. BMO Harris has a comprehensive, user-friendly mobile app with useful, time-saving features like mobile check deposit and Zelle transfers.
Smart Money’s biggest downsides include an unavoidable monthly fee after age 25, unavoidable ATM fees outside the Allpoint network, and no sign-up bonus for new account holders.
No sign-up bonus. Unlike the BMO Harris Premier Account and the BMO Harris Smart Advantage Checking Account, the BMO Harris Smart Money Account has no sign-up bonus for new account holders. If you’re looking to pad your balance early on, consider one of those instead.
Can’t waive the monthly fee after age 25. Most checking accounts offer a way around their monthly maintenance fees, and sometimes several. Often, maintaining a minimum balance of a few thousand dollars or receiving a recurring direct deposit does the trick. Smart Money is different — in a bad way. There’s no way to waive the $5 monthly fee after you turn $25.
No out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement. Smart Money doesn’t reimburse out-of-network ATM transaction fees. These can really add up, so if you expect to use non-Allpoint ATMs often, consider an account with a more generous reimbursement allowance.
How the BMO Harris Smart Money Account Stacks Up
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account is one of three BMO checking accounts. Before you open yours, see how it compares to the highest-end account in the BMO family: BMO Harris Premier.
BMO Harris Smart Money
BMO Harris Premier
Monthly Maintenance Fee
$5, limited waiver only
$25, but can be waived
Only waived if you’re under 25
Yes, required $10,000+ balance
ATM Fee Reimbursement
Up to $25 per month
Credit Card Benefits
Up to $75 in quarterly spending bonuses
Closing cost and interest rate discounts
Interest on Balances
If you’re a college student or recent college graduate looking for a basic checking account that lets you spend as you please, wherever you please, the BMO Harris Smart Money™ Account makes sense for you.
Just don’t expect Smart Money to be anything more than it claims. With no sign-up bonus or perks beyond fee-free in-network ATM withdrawals, it’s not a lifelong checking account. Better to use it as you work to build your net worth, then trade up to a more generous product — whether with BMO or another bank of your choice.
BMO Harris Smart Money™ Account
The BMO Harris Smart Money Account is a no-frills bank account with few fees and an above-average mobile experience. It’s ideal for people under age 25, who pay no monthly maintenance fee no matter what.
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
In the past, you had to drive to your bank and work with a teller to manage your deposit accounts. These days, however, you have the option to complete virtually any banking need with any device that has internet access. You can pull out your smartphone and deposit a check. Or you may use your laptop to check your account balance.
That’s where banks called neobanks come in. It’s no surprise that neobanks are more popular than ever before. Let’s take a closer look at what they are and how they work so you can decide whether a neobank makes sense for your particular situation.
20 Best Neobanks
While traditional banks take up more market share than neobanks, you can still find a good amount of them if you do your research and shop around. The right neobank for you will depend on your unique lifestyle, needs, and preferences. To help you hone in on the ideal option, here’s our list of the top neobanks of 2023.
Founded in 2012, Chime is a financial technology company that offers banking services from The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank N.A. The Chime Checking Account is free of monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements.
Its perks include early direct deposit, automated savings features, access to over 60,000 or more fee-free ATMs, and free debit card replacement. In addition, you can take advantage of SpotMe and get up to $200 in fee-free overdrafts.
There’s also a Chime’s Savings Account, which offers a competitive interest rate with no cap on the amount of interest you can earn. Other services include Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card that doesn’t require a credit check, making it a suitable option if you have limited credit. Chime should be on your radar if you prefer a one-stop-shop for all of your banking needs.
You can read our full Chime review to learn more.
For more than a decade, Green Dot Corporation has specialized in alternative banking products. In 2013, GoBank made its debut as the first digital bank offering digital financial services. Then, in 2021, the company launched GO2bank, its second online bank.
GO2bank stands out from other neobanks which require you to sign up online because you can pick up their debit cards in person at Walmart and other popular retailers. GO2bank’s bank account tends to be a popular product in addition to its secured credit card that can help you build credit.
For a comprehensive overview, read our full GO2bank review.
Since its inception in 2015, Current, which is not a bank, but a fintech company based in New York City, has partnered with Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank to offer banking services. Its flagship products are a personal checking and debit card you can access via a mobile app on any iOS or Android device.
Even though Current’s product line is limited, the neobank prides itself on no shortage of perks and benefits. You can get your deposit up to two days early and earn cash back for debit card spending from more than 14,000 merchants. Additionally, Current doesn’t charge minimum balance fees or bank transfer fees and offers fee-free ATM withdrawals from ATMs in the Allpoint network.
If you would like to learn more, take a look at our Current review.
Founded in 2015, Revolut is one of the largest European neobanks, serving more than 16 million customers. It has expanded its footprint to the U.S. market and has plans to become one of the most reputable neobanks in the world.
Revolut is unique in that it offers a wide array of financial services, such as bank accounts, debit cards, peer-to-peer payments, cryptocurrency, and currency exchange. It supports both individual consumers and businesses with more than 30 currencies. For a neobank with a diverse lineup of offerings, Revolut has you covered.
To learn more, read our full Revolut review.
5. Quontic Bank
Quontic Bank is a full-service, FDIC-insured online bank that was founded in 2002. It offers a range of banking products and services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and business banking solutions.
They offer some of the best annual percentage yields (APYs) in the industry. Quontic accounts come equipped with no overdraft fees, no incoming wire transfer fees, no monthly service fees, and access to over 90,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
Quontic also has a savings accounts feature called “Roundup”, which makes saving money simple and easy. In addition, they have a responsive U.S. based customer service team available to assist with any questions or concerns.
Read our full Quontic review for more information.
When Dave began in 2017, its sole focus was paycheck advances. Over time, it evolved to offer a checking account with no minimum balance requirements. If you become a Dave customer, you can receive early access to your paycheck, without a credit check or interest charges.
Dave also offers handy built-in budgeting features and doesn’t charge overdraft fees or ATM fees, as long as you use an ATM from the MoneyPass network. Dave may make sense if you’d like the option for small cash advances to get you through a financial hiccup from time to time.
See also: Free Online Checking Accounts: No Opening Deposit Required
Albert began as a money management app in 2016, but is now a personalized banking service that has attracted over 6 million customers. This digital banking account offers cash back and a range of benefits.
These including no-interest cash advances of up to $250, integrated budgeting and savings tools, and annual savings bonuses of up to 0.10%. There are no minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees. However, there is a minimum monthly fee of $4. Keep in mind that you’ll need to have an external bank account to open an account with Albert.
Varo Bank began in 2015 as a fintech company that partnered with The Bancorp Bank. In 2020, it acquired its own national banking charter, making it different from other neobanks you might come across. Even though Varo operates as an actual bank, it focuses on online banking via its website and mobile app.
Its checking account is free of monthly fees and there’s no minimum balance requirement. Plus it comes with a debit card. In addition, Varo partners with more than 55,000 ATMs through the Allpoint ATM network.
We can’t forget its other perks, such as contactless payments, credit cards with reporting to the major credit bureaus, early direct deposits, and no foreign transaction fee or transfer fees. Varo might be worthwhile if you’re looking for a checking account with all the bells and whistles.
Read our Varo Bank review to learn more.
Aspiration was founded in 2013 under the motto “Do Well. Do Good.” It partners with financial institutions like Coastal Community Bank and Beneficial State Bank to offer cash accounts, savings accounts, and a few investment accounts.
Aspiration’s most popular product is the Aspiration Spend & Save Account, which is a hybrid of a checking account and savings account. There’s also the Zero credit card, which offers cash back and plants a tree every time you make a transaction. Aspiration can be a good fit if you’d like to get rewarded for your spending and like the idea of one account for your checking and savings goals.
Read our full review of Aspiration to learn more.
Bluevine made its debut in 2013 as a fintech company with a mission to improve banking for small and mid-sized business owners. Its flagship product is the Bluevine Business Checking. It’s completely free and comes with a competitive annual percentage yield and unlimited transactions. This is rarely seen in the world of business checking.
In addition to the business checking account, Bluevine offers financing products, such as lines of credit of up to $250,000. Bluevine should be on your radar if you’re a business owner in search of fast, convenient startup banking and financing.
Social Finance or SoFi entered the market as a student loan refinance company. Recently, however, the fintech company received its own bank charter to offer digital banking services. You can use the SoFi Checking and Savings combo account to manage your spending and saving needs in one place.
Fortunately, SoFi doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and ATM fees. Additional perks and extras include no-fee overdraft coverage, sub accounts for various savings goals, and additional products like credit cards, cryptocurrency trading, and retirement accounts, like an individual retirement account.
Read our full review of SoFi to learn more.
Acorns has a reputation as an easy-to-use micro investing app. Since 2012, many people have downloaded it on their iOS or Android devices to invest their spare change. Over time, Acorns has expanded to offer a checking account.
You can open Acorns Checking for free and enjoy perks such as no monthly or overdraft fees, early direct deposit, mobile check deposit, and access to a network of 55,000 ATMs.
The checking account seamlessly integrates into the Acorns micro investing feature. Plus when you use your Acorns debit card, you can earn cash back at participating retailers and use it to invest, along with your spare change. If you’d like to get started with investing, Acorns is worth considering.
One is a neobank owned by Walmart. It offers a budget-friendly overdraft program with customized budgeting and savings options for its customers. One’s banking account allows users to organize their money into subaccounts called Pockets.
Pockets offer saving rates of 1% on up to $5,000 for any customer and 1% on up to $25,000 for customers with direct deposit. Additionally, One provides fee-free overdraft coverage of up to $200 for customers with direct deposits of at least $500 per month.
Cheese is a digital banking platform that was launched in March 2021 and caters specifically to the immigrant and Asian American communities. It offers up to 10% cash back at 10,000 businesses, including Asian-owned businesses and restaurants.
Cheese’s customer support is available in English and Chinese, with more languages to be added in the future. One of the benefits of opening an account with Cheese is that accounts earn interest and do not have monthly fees or ATM fees when using the national MoneyPass ATM network.
Unifimoney is a money management and investment app that helps you manage your banking, investing, and borrowing needs all in one place. It caters to account holders who earn at least $100,000 per year but have significant amounts of student debt. You can download Unifimoney to pay bills, deposit checks, and write checks.
It’s unique in that it also allows you to refinance student loan debt and can create a diverse investment portfolio with particular stocks, cryptocurrencies, precious metals, stocks, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
In addition, you can turn to Unifimoney for insurance products, like car insurance and health savings accounts (HSAs). If you’d like to get started with Unifimoney, open the Unifimoney high-yield checking account with as little as $100.
Headquartered in New York and founded in 2016, NorthOne offers digital business banking services. If you’re a startup, entrepreneur, or small business owner, NorthOne can be a good fit. It differs from other banks that serve businesses in that there are no transaction limits that require premium upgrades.
You can open a business bank account for a flat $10 monthly fee and won’t have to worry about additional fees for deposits, transfers, ACH payments, or app integrations. In addition, you’ll get to create as many “Envelopes” or sub accounts as you want so you can save for payroll, taxes, and other business needs.
San-Francisco based Oxygen focuses on two accounts: the free thinker account for individuals and the pioneer account for business users. Even though it doesn’t charge fees, like monthly fees, ACH fees, and overdraft fees, you will have to pay an annual fee that can go up to a few hundred dollars.
While most neobanks don’t allow for cash deposits, Oxygen does. As long as you have an Oxygen bank account, you can make deposits at GreenDot locations, which are usually located inside popular retailers, like Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS. If you don’t mind paying an annual fee and like the convenience of being able to deposit cash, Oxygen is worth exploring.
Bella is a fairly new player in the neobanking space. Its partner bank is nbkc bank, which allows it to provide banking services. With Bella’s checking account rewards program, you can receive a random percentage of cash back on randomly selected purchases.
The cash back amount may be anywhere from 5% to 200%. Like most neobanks, Bella doesn’t charge monthly fees, ATM fees, and overdraft fees. You can also opt for a no-fee savings account. Bella accounts are FDIC insured for up to $5,000,000.
Lilli services small business owners and believes that managing two accounts is a hassle. That’s why this neobank offers a single account you can use for both your business and personal transactions.
Come tax time, Lili will eliminate financial stress and let you automatically save a certain percentage of your income into a “tax bucket.” Plus, it produces quarterly and yearly reports instantly, reducing your tax prep costs. While the Lili Standard account is free, Lili Pro will run you a couple dollars per month.
If you upgrade to Lili Pro, you’ll get cashback rewards on all your debit purchases and 1% interest on your savings accounts. Lili could be a solid pick if you’re a freelancer or solopreneur hoping to simplify your finances.
Monzo is a UK-based neobank that just opened up to the U.S. market in late 2022. All accounts are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000. Plus fee-free withdrawals are available at more than 38,000 ATMs.
Furthermore, Monzo is similar to Aspiration as it strives to protect the planet. Additionally, this neobank offers budgeting tools that can help you meet various savings goals.
What is a neobank?
Often called challenger banks, neobanks have recently entered the financial services industry and challenged banking norms. Most neobanks are financial technology or fintech companies that offer the same banking services you may find at traditional banks, like Bank of America or PNC.
But they promote innovation and act like digital only banks or online banks as they don’t have any physical branches and operate via apps. Most of these apps are user-friendly and loaded with a variety of handy features, such as early deposit and savings tools to simplify the banking experience. They are specifically designed to give you greater control of how you manage and spend your money.
Also since neobanks don’t have any physical branches, their overhead costs and customer acquisition costs are low and enable them to offer more affordable banking products and services. Many neobanks let you choose from a number of free and paid premium subscription services.
Are neobanks safe?
Since neobanks are fairly new and different from many traditional banks, you might wonder whether they’re safe. Fortunately, most of them are very safe because they operate within a regulated market.
These financial institutions typically work with U.S. banks to offer FDIC-insured accounts, which protect your money from potential bank failures and the losses that come with them. To help determine if a neobank is safe, check out their ratings and reviews on reputable websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Neobanks vs. Traditional Banks
To further explain neobanks and their modern spin on traditional banking, let’s take a closer look at how they differ from traditional banks.
Neobanks operate without physical branches. To take advantage of their offerings, you’ll likely need to download an app and provide some personal information.
While you can expect fewer banking and credit products than you’d find at traditional banks, you’ll reap the benefits of lower fees and extras that improve the overall banking experience.
Some neobanks have decided to expand their lineup of products and services to create more of a one-stop-shop you’d get from a traditional bank. Since most neobanks don’t earn money from lending, like incumbent banks, their business model depends on interchange fees or transaction fees, which usually come from debit cards. They might also charge for premium accounts and extra features.
Traditional banks often have brick-and-mortar locations across the country or in a specific geographic region or area. But many of them also have digital banking divisions in which you can perform banking services online.
Most banks focus on strong customer relationships and earning interest through loans as well as account fees from banking, lending, and investing. They typically target customers who appreciate customer engagement and a traditional in-person banking experience.
See also: Best Alternatives to Traditional Banks
Pros & Cons of Neobanks
Just like all types of financial institutions, neobanks have benefits and drawbacks you should consider, including:
Lower fees: Compared to traditional banks, neobanks offer lower fees. That’s because they don’t have the high overhead costs associated with the upkeep of physical branches.
Higher rates: Neobanks often pride themselves on higher interest rates on their checking and savings accounts. This can make it easier and faster for you to save money.
Convenience: Perhaps the greatest benefit of neobanks is the convenience they bring. You can perform a variety of banking tasks, like depositing checks or making payments from your smartphone device, round-the-clock.
Easy access: You can manage your banking 24/7 without ever having to leave your home and visit a local branch. All you have to do is download an app from the app store.
Simple setup: It’s usually fast and easy to open an account with neobanks. Many of them will approve you, regardless of your credit score or credit history.
Focused services: While most neobanks don’t offer all the services you might find at traditional banks, the few services they do provide focus on service quality and are typically loaded with perks and benefits. For example, you can get a no fee checking account with cash back rewards.
No bank charters: Neobanks don’t have bank charters. Instead, they often partner with traditional banks to insure their products. Before you move forward with a neobank, ensure they partner with a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp or FDIC-insured bank and offer their own FDIC insurance.
Customer service restrictions: Since neobanks operate on app instead of through physical branches, customer service can be a downside. You may have to turn to chatbots or social media for basic banking questions and support. If you notice fraud in your account, it may be more difficult to resolve the issue.
Fewer services: Traditional banks usually pride themselves on a long list of services, including loans, wealth management, and brokerage services. Neobanks, however, tend to limit their offerings to checking accounts and savings accounts.
Unproven track record: Neobanks are still in the startup phase as many made their debut within the last few years. This means that they may fail and force you to look elsewhere for your banking needs.
Require knowledge of technology: While most neobank apps are intuitive and designed for the average person to use with ease, they may still be inconvenient for some people. If you don’t consider yourself tech literate, a neobank might not make sense.
There’s no denying that neobanks have revolutionized the banking industry and financial industry. If your primary goal is convenience and you prefer mobile or online banking, a neobank can be a great alternative to a traditional bank or legacy bank. Just make sure you explore all your options and read the fine print before you choose one.
The savings offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MoneyCrashers.com does not include all savings companies or all savings offers available in the marketplace.
Years ago, finding a bank meant heading downtown and choosing from whichever options were available there. The Internet dramatically lessened the importance of physical branches and made it possible to bank from anywhere at any time.
Virtually all banks with physical locations have online portals, but a growing number now do the bulk of their business online. Some have ties to community banks and may have physical branches in select regions. Others exist only in the digital realm and have no physical branches.
What follows is a list of the best online banks on the market today.
Best Online Banks of May 2023
These are the best online banks on the market right now.
Each does at least one thing really well, whether it’s offering a potent lineup of budgeting and money management tools or delivering savings and CD rates well above the national average. Our top pick offers the most value for the greatest number of potential customers, in our opinion.
Unless otherwise noted, all the accounts on this list come with FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per account.
Best Overall: American Express® National Bank, Member FDIC
The American Express® High Yield Savings Account has a solid yield on all balances with $0 maintenance fees, a $0 minimum opening deposit, and a $0 minimum balance. The current savings yield is 3.90% Annual percentage Yield (APY) as of May 16, 2023.
Want to tie up your money for a while at a higher interest rate? Choose from seven CD options ranging from six months to five years.
CD yields are very good across the board: 3.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on the longest-term product (60 months or 5 years) and 4.25% on the 12-month CD. Early withdrawal penalties are:
90 days’ interest for terms under 12 months
270 days’ interest for terms between 12 and 48 months (four years)
365 days’ interest for terms between 48 and 60 months (five years)
540 days’ interest for terms of 60 months or longer
Extensive lineup of personal credit products, including premium credit cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express
Move money between up to three external bank accounts in short order
24/7 customer service
Best Credit Union: Alliant Credit Union
When is an online bank not an online bank? When it’s an online credit union.
There’s no better branchless option than Alliant Credit Union. As a credit union, Alliant exists for its members rather than stockholders so they will always put you first.
Alliant has a comprehensive lineup of checking and savings accounts, like:
High-Rate Savings, a high yield savings account for goal-oriented savers (currently 3.10% APY¹)
High-Rate Checking, a checking account with competitive interest rates
Certificates of Deposit, which help you earn more with set interest rates for a fixed period of time (currently yielding 5.00% APY)
Kids Savings, a custodial account that helps you teach sound money management concepts to kids 12 and younger
Teen Checking, a joint account for kids aged 13 to 17 — there when you’re ready to loosen the reins
Get access to over 80,000 in-network ATMs with Alliant
No monthly service fee with eStatements
Low minimum deposit and balance requirements
Bank anywhere, anytime with the Alliant mobile app
Sign Up for Alliant Savings
Insured by NCUA
(¹For important additional disclosures, please refer to the corresponding footnote at the Sign Up link directly above.)
Best for High Yields: CIT Bank
CIT Bank offers several different accounts with category-leading yields:
Savings Connect has one of the best yields of any bank account, online or off: 4.50% APY.
Platinum Savings has an outstanding yield when you maintain a balance of $5,000 or more (4.75% APY) and a so-so yield when you don’t (0.25% APY).
Savings Builder yields up to 1.00% APY for accountholders who can meet minimum balance or deposit requirements.
The CIT Bank Money Market account has a very good yield on all balances (currently 1.55% APY) with no monthly maintenance or service fees.
Multiple CIT Bank CDs offer above-average yields, led by the 11-month CIT No Penalty CD at 4.80%
No monthly service fee
No early withdrawal penalty for No Penalty CDs
No ATM fees in-network
CIT may reimburse up to $30 in outside ATM fees
Earn interest on eligible eChecking funds
Sign up for CIT Bank
Best for Investors: Wealthfront
Wealthfront is a next-generation banking service that’s ideal for day-to-day money management. Its Cash Account features high-interest checking, no account fees, and a host of value-added features — and you can open an account with just $1.
But Wealthfront made its name in the investment business, and there’s where it continues to shine. Key features include:
Build semi-customized, automatically rebalanced, globally diversified portfolios of low-cost index funds optimized with daily tax-loss harvesting
Just $500 minimum to invest
Pay an annualized management fee of 0.25% assets under management (AUM) on all balances
Choose from individual and joint taxable accounts, IRAs, and 529 college savings plan accounts
Portfolio line of credit that lets you tap up to 30% of your account value once you have $25,000 or more under management
Consolidated view of all your accounts through Wealthfront’s free DIY financial planning tool
Additional features of the Wealthfront Cash Account include:
4.55% APY (variable) on all balances
$1 minimum opening deposit
No account fees
No overdraft fees
FDIC insurance on balances up to $5 million
Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit
Put your money to work in the market within minutes when you use your Cash Account to invest in a Wealthfront Investment Account
Mobile check deposit
Free bill pay and peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers
Complimentary debit card and free in-network ATM access
For a limited time, get $30 bonus cash when you open a Wealthfront Cash Account and fund your new account with at least $500 in new money. Terms apply.
Sign Up for Wealthfront
Money Crashers, LLC receives cash compensation from Wealthfront Advisers LLC (“Wealthfront Advisers”) for each new client that applies for a Wealthfront Automated Investing Account through our links. This creates an incentive that results in a material conflict of interest. Money Crashers, LLC is not a Wealthfront Advisers client, and this is a paid endorsement. More information is available via our links to Wealthfront Advisers.
Best for Customer Support: Albert
Albert is a powerful financial app that makes spending, saving, and investing easy. It’s among the growing crop of financial solutions that offer early payday with eligible direct deposit, and its automated savings and investing features put it well ahead of the pack.
But where Albert really shines is on the customer service front. The platform has a dedicated team of in-house financial experts — called Geniuses — to help you make sense of your money. That puts it heads and shoulders above its crop of fellow digital money management apps.
Albert Cash. This is the place to manage your day-to-day spending money with Albert. Earn up to 20% back on eligible debit card purchases and get paid up to two days early with qualifying direct deposit. Use the Albert Instant cash advance feature to get up to $250 from your next paycheck with no hidden fees.
Albert Savings. Albert’s Smart savings engine sizes up your cash flow and sets aside funds automatically so that you’re always moving toward your financial goals. Set specific goals within the app, such as building an emergency fund or saving for your next vacation. And get cash bonuses on your Albert Savings every year.
Albert Investing. Start investing with as little as $1 using Albert’s guided investment platform. Choose your own stocks or themes, or have Albert do it for you.
Sign Up for Albert
Best for Debit Card Rewards: GO2bank
GO2bank is a low-friction online bank with a mobile-friendly bank account (no monthly fee with eligible direct deposit) and impressive yields on savings (4.50% APY2 on savings up to $5,000).
Eligible electronic gift card purchases in the app earn up to 7% cash back; Amazon eGift Card purchases in the app earn 3% cash back. Terms and conditions apply.
No minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance requirement
Avoid the $5 monthly fee with an eligible direct deposit
Get paid up to two days early with ASAP Direct DepositTM 3
Deposit cash at participating retail stores, subject to fees and deposit limits
Enjoy up to $200 in overdraft protection with opt-in and eligible direct deposit.*
Earn 4.50% APY paid quarterly on savings up to $5,000 — over 10 times the national average savings rate2
* $15 fee may apply to each purchase transaction not repaid within 24 hours of authorization of the first transaction that overdrafts your account. Overdrafts paid at GO2bank’s discretion.
Sign Up for GO2Bank
1Active GO2bank account required to receive an eGift Card. eGift Card merchants subject to change.
2GO2bank, Member FDIC. Interest paid quarterly on the average daily balance of savings during the quarter up to a $5,000 balance and if the account is in good standing. 4.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of April 2023. APY may change before or after you open an account. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.39% is determined by the FDIC as of 4/18/23. Visit https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/ to learn more. Fees on your primary deposit account may reduce earnings on your savings account.
3Direct deposit early availability depends on the timing of the payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period. The name and Social Security number on file with your employer or benefits provider must match your GO2bank account exactly or GO2bank will decline your deposit.
Best for No Account Fees Ever: Rewards Checking via Upgrade
Rewards Checking via Upgrade4 has a slew of user benefits, but its defining feature couldn’t be simpler: no account fees, ever.
That’s right. As a user, you pay no account fees — no annual fees, overdraft fees, transfer fees, or ATM fees charged by Rewards Checking by Upgrade1.
There’s more, of course. Additional features of Rewards Checking via Upgrade include:
2% cash back on purchases at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars, and on utility bills and certain monthly subscriptions2
Earn up to $500 cash back per year at the 2% rate
Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
Get up to five third-party ATM fee rebates each month1
You may receive discounts on loans and cards through Upgrade3
FDIC Insured up to $250,000 through Cross River Bank, Member FDIC
Sign Up for Rewards Checking via Upgrade
1 There are no account fees, overdraft fees, annual fees, or transfer fees associated with Rewards Checking accounts. Rewards Checking charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. Upgrade will rebate any ATM fee charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month, customers must have (i) an open Rewards Checking account and (ii) either maintained an average daily balance in their account of at least $2,500 in the prior calendar month or made direct deposits into their account totaling at least $1,000 during the prior calendar month. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for up to the first 2 calendar months after account opening regardless of account activity. Some limitations apply and terms and conditions may change. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.
2 Rewards Checking customers accrue 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card charges. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers accrue 1% cash back on all eligible debit card charges for the remainder of the year. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.
3 The interest rate on a new loan or credit line through Upgrade may be up to 20% lower than would otherwise be applicable without this discount, as long as you have an active Rewards Checking Account. Additional terms may apply. Please refer to the applicable Truth-in-Lending Disclosure and Loan Agreement.
4 Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Rewards Checking services provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Upgrade VISA® Debit Cards issued by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Personal Loans made by Upgrade’s bank partners. Personal Credit Lines are issued by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. The Upgrade Card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
Best for Automated Budgeting: Douugh
Douugh is a money management app that makes it easy to stay on top of your day-to-day financial obligations while saving for a rainy day — and happier days too.
A single mobile-friendly dashboard makes it all possible.
How? That’s down to Salary Sweeper, an AI-enabled feature that automatically allocates income to two protected “jars”:
Your Bill Jar, complete with a virtual card of its own
Your Savings Jar, which is actually a customizable array of single-purpose savings buckets
The rest is yours to spend as you please using a debit card accepted by millions of merchants worldwide. Best of all, you never have to give manual budgeting a second thought.
Enjoy a free checking account with a Mastercard debit card
Use Apple Pay, PayPal, and other payment apps to make purchases online and IRL
Lock and unlock your card and change your PIN within the app — without calling customer service or visiting a branch.
Sign Up for Douugh
Best for Debt Refinancing: SoFi Checking and Savings
Need to refinance the student loans you’ve been carrying for years with no end in sight?
Open a SoFi Checking and Savings account, then head over to SoFi’s student loan refinancing portal to check out your options. SoFi is a category leader in the education loan refinancing business, with incredibly low rates, flexible terms, and an array of reasonable repayment options.
And since you’re also in the market for a new online bank, you’ll enjoy these great SoFi Checking and Savings perks and features:
No minimum opening deposit or balance requirement
Rate discounts on SoFi loans
Free peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers
Customized financial planning
Member-exclusive offers from SoFi partners
A referral program that pays up to $310 per successful referral
Up to 3.75% APY on eligible balances
Plus, for a limited time, sign up for SoFi Checking and Savings and earn a $250 opening bonus when you set up direct deposit of at least $1,000 into your account
Sign Up for SoFi Checking and Savings
Best for Teens and Young People: Copper Banking
Copper is a banking solution for teens age 13 and older — and their parents too.
It’s built around the Copper Card, a personalized debit card that leverages Apple Pay technology to facilitate seamless online and in-person transactions.
The Copper App allows parents to monitor spending and instantly send money in seconds. For teens, its Automatic Saving feature encourages saving — a lifelong financial habit — by automatically setting aside a portion of each paycheck or inflow.
Copper has a wealth of financial literacy content for parents and kids alike — it’s one of the best financial education tools around
Withdraw cash for free at over 55,000 ATMs
All Copper Accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 through Evolve Bank & Trust
Sign Up for Copper
Best for Potential Returns on Savings & Spending: PrizePool
PrizePool is a truly unique financial app — the only FDIC-insured deposit account provider that offers users the chance to earn serious money based on your saving and spending habits.
PrizePool offers two ways to win:
Savings Balances: Get 1 ticket for PrizePool’s prize drawings for every $1 on deposit in your savings account, every day. So if you have $1,000 in your account, you get 1,000 tickets every day.
Debit Card Purchases: Earn 30 tickets for every $1 spent, plus get the chance to have your purchases reimbursed.
PrizePool holds a weekly drawing every Friday. There are almost 6,000 cash prizes every week, including a $10,000 grand prize drawing at least once every six weeks.
Earn 0.30% APY on eligible savings balances
Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000
Refer new users to PrizePool and get 10% of their prize winnings forever
Sign Up for PrizePool
Best for Freelancers and Self-Employed People: Lili
Lili offers a totally free checking solution with a slew of value-added features designed to simplify your financial life.
Its core product is built with freelancers in mind, but it’s appropriate for a range of use cases, from solopreneurs to folks who supplement 9-to-5 income with side hustle revenue.
With powerful, automated tax savings and expense categorization tools, Lili eliminates the need to juggle separate bank accounts for business and personal needs — it’s just one deposit account for your entire financial life.
No minimum opening deposits or ongoing balance requirements and no account fees
Pay virtually anywhere with a Visa debit card that’s accepted worldwide
Lili’s Tax Bucket tool automatically sets aside funds earmarked for income tax payments
Utilize expense management and categorization tools that simplify business budgeting, cash flow management, and year-end accounting
Get real-time alerts for every transaction (and other account activities too)
Make mobile check deposits through the Lili mobile app
Make cash deposits at more than 90,000 retail locations across the U.S., including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid
Get paid up to two days early with early direct deposit
Enjoy fee-free withdrawals at about 38,000 ATMs nationwide
For $9 per month, Lili Pro adds even more valuable features:
A premium Visa Business Debit Card that delivers cash-back rewards
BalanceUp, a fee-free overdraft solution that covers up to $200 in would-be overdrafts
Advanced expense tracking that helps business owners maximize their tax deductions
A savings account that pays interest
Sign Up for Lili
Best for Savers: Quontic Bank
Quontic Bank got its start as a New York City community bank that catered to thrifty types.
Today, Quontic’s branch-based banking options represent just a small fraction of its offerings. With a nationwide digital footprint, Quontic delivers category-leading checking and savings yields for consumers and small-business owners from all walks of life — all with no monthly service fees:
Cash Rewards Checking: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on qualifying debit card transactions after meeting the $100 minimum opening deposit.
Bitcoin Rewards Checking: Earn 1.5% Bitcoin on qualifying debit card transactions. The minimum opening deposit is $500. This account may not be available in all states.
High Interest Checking: Make 10 or more qualifying debit card point-of-sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle to earn interest at competitive rates based on account balance. The minimum opening deposit is $100.
High Yield Savings: Earn interest at category-leading rates (currently 4.25%) after meeting the $100 minimum opening deposit.
Money Market: Earn solid yields (currently 4.75%) after meeting the $100 minimum.
CDs: Quontic CDs have terms ranging from six months to three years and competitive yields that generally increase in proportion to term. The minimum opening deposit is $500. Early withdrawal penalties may apply.
Tap to pay with the Quontic Pay Ring — the first wearable debit card
Choose from an array of home loans, including community development loans that go beyond your traditional credit profile
Take advantage of special loans for foreign nationals and recent immigrants
Sign Up for Quontic Bank
Best for Borrowers: Discover Bank
Discover Bank is a full-service online bank with a wide range of deposit accounts. It’s a great (almost) one-stop shop for your digital financial needs.
Discover Bank’s real differentiator is its comprehensive lineup of secured and unsecured credit products. That includes unsecured personal loans, which many online banks don’t bother with due to perceived risk.
You’ll find home loans, home equity products, student loans, credit cards, and personal lines of credit here too.
Discover Bank’s deposit account options include:
Cashback Debit: This checking account has no yield, but you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card spending each month. There’s no monthly maintenance fee.
Online Savings Account: This account has a very strong yield on all balances — currently 3.90% APY. There’s no maintenance fee or minimum to open.
Money Market Account: With a minimum opening deposit and balance requirement of $2,500, this account has competitive yields on all balances. Its two balance tiers cleave at $100,000, but yields on higher balances barely exceed those on lower balances. Enjoy a free, optional debit card, and no maintenance fee. There’s also no minimum balance fee, despite the minimum balance requirement.
Traditional CDs: CD terms range from three months to 10 years. Yields range widely, peaking on longer-term CDs. You need $2,500 to open any CD.
Structure any money market or CD as a traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA
Or roll over your 401(k), 457 deferred compensation plan, annuity, or IRA from another institution
Enjoy a coast-to-coast network of 60,000 fee-free ATMs
Enjoy 24/7 support by phone, live chat, and email
Make mobile check deposits from anywhere
Enjoy free, instant P2P money transfers
Sign Up for Discover Bank
Methodology: How We Select the Best Online Banks
We use several key factors to evaluate online banks and surface the very best ones for our readers. Each relates in some way to the overall user experience, and you’ll see many represented in our “Best For” categories above.
Available Account Types
The best online banks offer a range of different deposit account types: free checking, savings, CD, and money market accounts, among many others.
Truly comprehensive online banks go even further, with less-common account offerings like savings IRAs, jumbo CDs, and more. More accounts doesn’t necessarily mean a better banking experience, but it’s helpful if you’re looking for a one-stop financial shop.
Online banks tend to have higher yields — interest rates paid to the account holder — as well as lower interest rates on certain types of loans, if offered.
You shouldn’t count on that though. It’s important to shop around and choose an online bank that consistently offers significantly better rates. Not all do.
The best online banks have low or no minimum balances and low or no minimum opening deposit requirements on checking, savings, and money market accounts.
CDs generally do have minimum deposit requirements, even at the best online banks, but there’s lots of variation. Look for deposits at or below the $1,000 mark, if possible.
Monthly Maintenance Fees
Free is always better than not free, right?
Not necessarily. Some of the best online banks around charge modest monthly fees. In exchange, they offer a wealth of value-added features and services that can earn or save you money (and sometimes both at the same time).
That said, we do give preference to banks that don’t charge monthly fees at all. Because everyone could use a break.
Other Account Fees
The trusty monthly maintenance fee is just the most visible bank fee. Others include:
ATM fees (in-network and out-of-network)
Wire transfer fees
Excess transaction fees
Early withdrawal penalties
Minimum balance fees
Traditional banks are notorious for nickel-and-diming their customers. By contrast, most online banks do charge at least some fees, but they’re predictable and clearly disclosed on their websites and applications.
For example, many online bank CDs come with early withdrawal penalties. These can be equivalent to as little as one month’s interest on shorter-term CDs but may range up to 24 months of interest on very long-term CDs.
All else being equal, we prefer online banks that charge few if any fees — and hidden fees are a dealbreaker.
Investment and Tax-Advantaged Options
Many online banks stick to core banking services, like checking and savings. But a growing number of online banks offer a wider array of options for people who’d like to be able to do all their banking in the same place.
We’re particularly fond of online banks that offer tax-advantaged account options, such as savings IRAs and CD IRAs. We also like online banks that have in-house investment platforms — whether they’re self-directed brokerages like Ally Invest or low-cost robo-advisors like Wealthfront.
All online banks have at least one deposit account product. That’s what makes them online banks.
A smaller but growing number make loans or issue lines of credit — including credit cards — as well. Common online bank credit products include:
Mortgage loans, including purchase loans and refinance loans
Home equity products, including home equity loans and lines of credit
Student loans and student loan refinancing products
Credit cards and other types of credit lines
We don’t hold it against online banks that don’t make loans — it’s a big step for many a lean bank. But we do look out for banks that have taken the leap.
Budgeting and Money Management Features
Budgeting is hard to do right. That’s why we’re big fans of online banks with built-in budgeting and money management tools.
The more automated these tools are, the better. In fact, some make our list of the top budgeting apps on the market. Truly “set it and forget it” money management saves the typical consumer hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year.
Online Banking FAQs
Still have questions about online banks and managing money online? We have answers.
How Much Does Online Banking Cost?
Online bank rates, yields, and fees are subject to change at banks’ sole discretion. For up-to-date information about specific accounts and bank policies, check their websites or call customer service.
That said, online banks are generally more affordable than traditional banks. They’re less likely to charge monthly maintenance fees on checking and savings accounts, and many have fewer hidden fees too.
What’s the Interest Rate on an Online Bank Account?
That also depends on the individual bank. But many online accounts feature higher yields relative to those of traditional banks.
That’s because online banks have less overhead than traditional banks. They don’t need to pay to keep big, centrally located branches open or pay people to work at them. Their operations are more efficient, which allows them to pass the savings on to customers via higher rates and lower fees.
How Do You Enroll in Online Banking?
It depends on the bank and how its website or app is structured, but it’s usually straightforward. In fact, with an online-only bank, enrollment is usually automatic. You don’t have to complete a separate application or even click a button to activate your account.
However, you will need to create a unique username and password to get started. You may be asked to do this as part of the initial application process or once your account is approved. You’ll also need to link at least one external funding source to transfer money into your account.
Can You Get a Mortgage From an Online Bank?
Some online banks offer home loans (mortgages) and other credit products. These banks tend to be larger online banks with high name recognition, like Ally Bank and Capital One Bank. Look for a “Mortgages” or “Home Loans” tab on the homepage or in your account dashboard.
Be aware that some online banks outsource mortgage origination to other companies. In other words, if you apply for a mortgage through your bank, your loan officer might actually work for someone else. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it could mean a different level or style of service than you’re used to.
And don’t expect your online bank to offer better mortgage rates than other lenders. The mortgage loan business is highly competitive, and direct lenders with even lower overhead may be able to undercut online banks.
How to Choose the Best Online Bank — Or Several
The institutions on this list offer a great combination of FDIC-insured banking products, solid yields, open access, and helpful customer service.
Before choosing one, take a closer look at the features that set it apart from the competition: rewards checking, flexible withdrawal terms for CDs, particularly high account yields, a socially responsible corporate philosophy, and so on.
And remember that, unlike in the old days, your banking choices aren’t bound by geography or other restrictions. If you can’t settle on a single online bank, why not open accounts at multiple banks and compare your experiences?
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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.