The 13 Best Online Checking Accounts of 2023

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When was the last time you checked to see how much your checking or savings account was earning you, just for having money in it?

If you bank with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, it might have been a while — and that’s not surprising.

When financial institutions like Wells Fargo and Bank of America offer annual percentage yields (APYs) as low as 0.01% on their savings and checking accounts, it’s easy to become accustomed to your money being stagnant.

But savings accounts and even checking accounts can earn you money if you choose the right bank or credit union. Increasingly, you’ll find the best APYs (annual percentage yields) through online banks. Here are the best of the best online banks for 2023, whether you want to open a checking account, savings account or money market account:

13 Best Online Banks of 2023

These are the best online banks of 2023 for checking, savings and money market accounts, starting with our top pick.

Editor’s note: APYs are accurate as of Jan. 12, 2023.

Capital One

Capital One 360

Best Overall Online Bank

5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Leading APYs
  • Easy-to-use app
  • No overdraft fees
Capital One offers a quality, reliable banking experience with a highly rated mobile app and easy-to-use online platform. Its savings APY is among the highest on our list of the best online banks, and its checking APY isn’t bad either. Capital One also moved to eliminate overdraft fees for all its customers.
Capital One 360

APY
Up to 3.30%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM Fees
Nearly 80,000 fee-free ATMs

More Information About Capital One

Why we like this online bank: Capital One 360 tops our list of the best online banks. While it doesn’t have the highest APYs for its online checking or savings (though 0.10% APY for checking is still respectable), the online bank makes up for it with a stellar savings APY: 3.30% on all deposits.

Capital One also has the industry’s highest-rated app according to J.D. Power, with users citing the app’s speed, easy-to-use interface and self-service options that are simple to use.

In addition, Capital One’s accounts include zero monthly fees and offer easy bank account integration. With the checking account, you have access to nearly 80,000 fee-free ATMs, and unlike some online banks, Capital One does have physical branches — and Capital One Cafés, where you can enjoy Peet’s Coffee, take advantage of a shared work space, get one-on-one money coaching, attend workshops and even host events for nonprofits. You can also get your paycheck two days early.

In late 2021, Capital One joined the growing list of banks that will not charge overdraft fees.

Potential pitfalls: The APY for the checking account is not the strongest on this list. It’s also not possible to categorize your savings into sub-accounts within the app, which makes tracking toward multiple goals challenging. Instead, you have to open multiple savings accounts with Capital One.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Capital One review.

Pros and Cons of Capital One


Pros
  • No. 1 mobile app (J.D. Power)
  • High savings account APY
  • Access to Capital One and Allpoint ATMs
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Unique Capital One Café locations

Cons
  • Lower APY than some other online checking accounts
  • Hard to track multiple savings goals without opening multiple savings accounts

Axos

Axos Bank

Best for High-Interest Checking

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Up to 1.25% APY
  • Unlimited ATM reimbursements
  • Cashback checking
Axos is one of the best online banks for checking accounts. In fact, you have higher earning potential with the Rewards Checking account than you do with the money market and savings account options, and you don’t have to worry about overdraft fees. While the sheer number of options of new accounts can be overwhelming, it allows you to pick the Axos account that best suits your needs.
Axos Bank

APY
Up to 1.25%
Monthly fee
$0
ATM Fees
Unlimited domestic reimbursement

More Information on Axos Bank

Why we like this online bank: Axos (formerly known as Bank of Internet) is one of our favorite online banks. For starters, it gives consumers plenty of options when it comes to checking:

The Rewards Checking account has the highest APY on our list for checking at 1.25%, but earning that requires that you:

  • Receive monthly direct deposits of $1,500 or more; 
  • Use your Axos-provided Visa debit card for at least 10 transactions of at least $3; and
  • Have a loan and investment accounts with Axos. 

You have to achieve the direct deposit requirement (0.40% APY) to be able to qualify for the other criteria. The debit card spending adds another 0.30% APY. The rest of the interest rate comes from having an Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Account (0.20%), an Axos Self Directed Trading Account (0.20%) and a loan payment through Axos (0.15%).

This account also offers unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements and promises no overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees.

The Essential Checking account is all about no fees: unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements, no monthly maintenance fees and no overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees. You can also get your paycheck up to two days early with direct deposit express.

In addition, Axos offers specific checking features for teengers (First Checking) and senior citizens (Golden Checking).

The CashBack Checking account is also attractive, offering up to 1% cash back. However, if you have a high enough credit score — and can be responsible with credit — it may make more sense to check out one of the best cash back credit cards currently on offer.

The Axos online high-yield savings account is also impressive, with a 0.61% APY (though it drops to 0.25% and then 0.15% as your balance increases).

Potential pitfalls: Axos offers a lot of options. Just determining the right account can be stressful. And once you choose a checking account, you’ve got to keep track of quite a bit to either earn the full APY.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Axos Bank review.

Pros and Cons for Axos


Pros
  • Unlimited ATM reimbursement
  • High APY for checking and savings

Cons
  • Unimpressive mobile app
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Overwhelming number choices and guidelines to manage

Ally Bank

Ally Bank

Best for No Overdraft Fees

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • High APY for checking and savings
  • No overdraft fees
  • No monthly fees
Ally Bank was the first major bank in the U.S. to eliminate overdraft fees, but it’s also notable for its High Interest Checking account and unique savings tools that help you organize your savings goals and automatically grow your savings as you spend. Ally’s ATM network pales in comparison to many on this list, but its app is easy to use, including mobile check deposit.
Ally Bank

APY
Up to 3.30%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
43,000+ fee-free ATMs

More Information about Ally Bank

Why we like this online bank: Ally offers both online checking and savings accounts, as well as a money market account. 

APYs are competitive, with a 3.30% APY for savings and money market and up to 0.25% APY for checking. You can also apply for loans through Ally, and ATM access is never a problem. That’s because Ally gets you access to more than 43,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide and reimburses up to $10 in ATM fees each month.

Other hallmarks of Ally’s online banking include its lack of monthly fees (a true free checking account) and minimum balance requirements, and its top-rated mobile app with mobile check deposit.

Potential pitfalls: If you travel outside the country frequently, don’t use your Ally Bank debit card — it carries a 1% foreign transaction fee. Travel credit cards are a better option when traveling abroad. 

In addition, the 0.25% APY for checking might draw you in, but know that you need at least $15,000 in the account, or else you’ll earn just 0.10%. However, if you have $15K to spare, you’d be better off storing that in a high-yield savings account or money market account.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Ally Bank review.

Pros and Cons of Ally Bank


Pros
  • Great mobile app
  • Access to Allpoint ATMs (and limited out-of-network ATM reimbursement)
  • No overdraft fees

Cons
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Unrealistic requirements for high checking APY

SoFi

SoFi

Best for Combination Checking and Savings

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Up to 3.75% APY
  • Up to 15% cash back locally
  • Early paycheck access
SoFi has rocketed to a top spot on our list of the top online banks thanks to its high-yield combination checking and savings account. The account operates as both a checking account (you can spend money with a debit card) and a savings account (with Vaults for organizing your funds). The high-interest earnings (with direct deposit set up) are the big appeal here, but we also love the convenience.
SoFi

APY
Up to 3.75%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
55,000+ in-network ATMs

More Information About SoFi

Why we like this online bank: SoFi gets a lot right, with an attractive APY on what is technically an all-in-one checking and savings account (though the 3.75% APY is only for funds in the savings portion of the account; otherwise, it’s 2.50% on the checking funds). You can also earn up to 15% cash back when shopping locally. Other perks are the early paycheck access, automatic savings features and lack of monthly account fees.

Potential Pitfalls: While other banks move to fee-free overdrafts, SoFi only offers no-fee overdraft coverage for up to $50. Some people may not like having their savings and checking funds all in one place.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete SoFi review.

Pros and Cons of SoFi


Pros
  • High APY
  • Potential for cash back
  • Automatic savings tools
  • Convenience of one account

Cons
  • Overdraft program
  • Poor reputation with student loan business

Lending Club

LendingClub

Best for ATM Users

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Varying cash back rewards
  • No overdraft fees
  • Unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements
LendingClub is noteworthy for its unlimited ATM reimbursements nationwide, but we also like it for its unique cash back rewards, as well as its 4.00% APY on all savings balances. The minimum deposit requirement, though just $100, is atypical of entrants on our list, which typically have no minimum balance requirement.
LendingClub

APY
Up to 4.00%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
Unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements

More Information about LendingClub

Why we like this online bank: LendingClub Banking (formerly Radius Bank) offers a unique free checking account that offers 1.00% cash back on everyday purchases. That means for every $100 you spend, you earn $1. The account is also interest-bearing, but only if you’ve got over $100,000 in checking. (Don’t do that.)

LendingClub Bank’s online checking comes with several perks, but ATM usage is one of the best. When you bank with LendingClub, you can visit any ATM at any time; LendingClub will reimburse you for all ATM fees. 

Other advantages include payment up to two days earlier than your direct deposit, an innovative mobile app with location-based restrictions and spending caps, alerts when you or someone else uses your card and the ability to turn off lost or missing debit cards.

Right now, the LendingClub savings account offers a 4.00% APY for all balances, but rates have been tiered in the past (and could be again).

Potential pitfalls: LendingClub requires a $100 minimum deposit for the checking account. 

Something that’s likely to be more frustrating is the steep set of requirements for earning cash back, including direct deposits totaling at least $2,500 each month. Not everyone qualifies for the rewards portion of the account, meaning you may miss out on the cash back.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete LendingClub review.

Pros and Cons of Lending Club


Pros
  • Fee-free access to ATMs
  • Cash back rewards on the checking account
  • High APY on the savings account

Cons
  • $100 minimum deposit
  • Restrictions on benefits

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union

Best Online Credit Union

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 80,000+ in-network ATMs
  • Competitive APY
  • No overdraft fees
Alliant Credit Union has a lot going for. The credit union has recently eliminated overdraft fees, and there are no monthly fees to speak of. The APY for the high-yield checking account is tremendous (0.25%); the high-yield savings APY is even better (2.70%). We like the extensive ATM network (plus ATM fee reimbursement policy) and its easy-to-use, highly rated mobile app.
Alliant Credit Union

APY
Up to 2.70%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
80,000 fee-free ATMs + $20/month in reimbursements

More Information About Alliant Credit Union

Why we like this online credit union: ATM access is almost always guaranteed when you bank with Alliant, as it has more than 80,000 ATMs in its network and offers $20 in monthly ATM reimbursement for out-of-network usage. Alliant also operates one of the highest-rated apps for both checking and savings accounts and has physical locations in the Chicago area.

Currently, Alliant’s checking APY stands at 0.25%. The account has no monthly service fee or minimum balance requirements and comes with a free Visa contactless debit card. As of September 2021, Alliant has done away with overdraft and NSF fees. You can also open a checking account for your teen through Alliant.

The high-yield savings account is even more impressive with a 2.70% APY if you maintain a $100 minimum balance. 

Potential pitfalls: Alliant is a credit union, not a bank. Credit unions can be more challenging to join, and Alliant is no different. Alliant currently does not participate in shared branching, a system that allows you to conduct your banking business at other credit unions in the same network throughout the country. This is often a hallmark of other credit unions.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Alliant Credit Union review.

Pros and Cons of Alliant Credit Union


Pros
  • Great mobile app
  • Access to 80,000+ fee-free ATMs (and limited out-of-network ATM reimbursement)
  • Decent APYs
  • No overdraft fees

Cons
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • No shared branching

nbkc

nbkc

Best for Simplicity

3.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • 1.26% APY across the board
  • No monthly fees
  • One comprehensive account
While nbkc doesn’t offer the most attractive APY in the market, it delivers simple banking that many will appreciate. Rather than have separate savings and checking accounts, you’ll have just one Everything Account with a 1.26% APY. (The money market account currently earns 1.51%.) We do wish nbkc offered more in-network ATMs, though the bank will reimburse $12/month in out-of-network ATM fees.
nbkc

APY
1.26%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
37,000+ fee-free ATMs + $12/month in reimbursements

More Information on nbkc

Why we like this online bank: nbkc (the National Bank of Kansas City) keeps things simple by combining checking and savings into one single account, called the Everything Account. You’ll earn an APY of 1.26% across the board with this account.

Even better: There are no fees to bank with nbkc. We’re not just talking monthly maintenance fees; you also don’t have to worry about minimum balance fees, foreign transaction fees or even overdraft fees.

This bank also offers $12 in monthly reimbursements when you use an out-of-network ATM (and with only 37,000 ATMS nationwide, it could happen). The mobile app is easy to use, includes Savings Goals for organizing your money, and offers a Pay Bills feature.

Potential pitfalls: Its savings APY (1.26%) is not the most competitive of the accounts listed here. Actual member locations are limited to Kansas City, Missouri, and the bank could use more ATMs in its network. 

Pros and Cons of nbkc


Pros
  • Unique account combines checking and savings
  • Limited ATM reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction and overdraft fees

Cons
  • Brick-and-mortar branches in KC area only
  • Small ATM network

Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank

Best for High-Yield Accounts

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • High APYs for savings, money market and CDs
  • Check-writing with money market
  • Massive ATM network
Synchrony Bank is not for everyone. Without a checking account, it often falls short. But we like Synchrony’s money market account, which offers check-writing capabilities and earns 2.25% APY. But for serious earning, open a high-yield savings account or CD. Right now, Synchrony is offering 3.75% APY on savings and 4.60% on a 14-month CD.
Synchrony Bank

APY
Up to 3.75%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
400,000 in-network ATMs + $5 monthly reimbursement

More Information About Synchrony Bank

Why we like this online bank: Synchrony has a healthy 3.75% APY for the savings account, which also includes a convenience card for ATM access. 

That means that Synchrony offers a savings APY that’s 375 times larger than Bank of America’s. Its lack of fees (even for withdrawals past the maximum six per month) is another highlight. 

Right now, Synchrony is offering very competitive CD rates, up to 4.60% APY for just 14 months.

While Synchrony doesn’t offer a checking account (more on that below), you can get check-writing capabilities with the money market account, which currently offers 2.25% APY.

Also noteworthy: Synchrony has joined the ranks of other top banks by creating an app, called Synchrony Bank (not to be confused with MySynchrony, which is the bank’s retail portal).

Potential pitfalls: Synchrony doesn’t offer a checking account, meaning you’ll need to rely on an external account or direct deposit to fund your account. 

If you want check-writing capabilities, you can open a money market account. Synchrony also lacks home and auto loans among its products and services, but you can open various credit cards.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Synchrony Bank review.

Pros and Cons of Synchrony Bank


Pros
  • Convenience card for access to ATMs (nice touch for a savings-only account)
  • Massive ATM network
  • High APY for all deposit accounts

Cons
  • No checking account, but can open money market account for check-writing capabilities
  • No loan options

Chime

Chime

Best for Beginners

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • No hidden fees
  • Large ATM network
  • Easy automatic savings
Chime® is a great financial institution for those just starting on their personal finance journey. Chime offers automatic savings tools and plenty of learning resources, protects you against overdraft fees and is largely fee-free (no foreign transaction fees is a nice touch). And it doesn’t hurt that savers will earn 2.00% APY.(1)
Chime

APY
2.00%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
60,000+ in-network ATMs(2)

More Information About Chime

Why we like this mobile bank: Chime is great for first-time savers and spenders. Chime has no monthly service fees, no overdraft fees (you can overdraw up to $200 on debit cards without incurring a fee using the SpotMe® feature)3, no minimum balance requirements, no foreign transaction fees and access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide.

More importantly, it can be set up to automatically transfer 10% of any direct deposit ($500 or more) into the linked savings account and/or to automatically round up to the nearest dollar on all purchases, depositing the extra change into the savings account. You might also have access to your paycheck up to two days early with direct deposit.

If you’re looking to save, you will want to open a Chime Savings Account (only possible if you have a Chime Checking Account). The savings account has an APY of 2.00%.

Potential pitfalls: Chime is a newer option and could face growing pains. There is no in-person service, and reviewers regularly complain of slow customer service. 

Chime is not a full suite bank (no loans, for example).

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Chime Bank 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. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

1 The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

2 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

3 Chime SpotMe is an optional service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. 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.

Pros and Cons of Chime


Pros
  • Automatic savings features
  • Access to paycheck before actual deposit
  • Access to 60,000+ ATMs nationwide

Cons
  • Not a full suite bank
  • Slow customer service

CIT Bank

CIT Bank

Best for Savers

4.5 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Up to 4.60% APY
  • Leading mobile app
  • $30 in monthly ATM fee reimbursement
CIT Bank regularly has one of the highest interest rates of any savings account on our list; right now, the Savings Connect account boasts a 4.60% APY. The eChecking account is also worth your consideration, with up to 0.25% APY and $30 in monthly ATM fee reimbursements. Interested in money markets or CDs? You’ll find good options for those here as well.
CIT Bank

APY
Up to 4.05%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
$30 in monthly ATM fee reimbursement

More Information about CIT Bank

Why we like this online bank: CIT Bank provides competitive interest rates on its various deposit accounts, including 4.60% on the Savings Connect account and 1.00% on the Savings Builder account. 

The eChecking account, a newer addition to the portfolio, is attractive, with a 0.10% APY on balances under $25,000 and 0.25% on balances at or above $25,000 — but it rarely makes sense to keep so much in checking. The account does pay out $30 a month in ATM reimbursements, and CIT’s mobile app has great reviews on the App Store and Google Play. You can also get home loans through CIT.

Potential pitfalls: CIT’s savings accounts suffer from their tough requirements. The Savings Connect account requires a $100 opening deposit while the Savings Builder asks even more: $100 opening deposit and, to earn the APY, a minimum balance of $25,000 or $100 in monthly deposits. 

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete CIT Bank review.

Pros and Cons of CIT Bank


Pros
  • Great mobile app
  • ATM reimbursement plan
  • High APY

Cons
  • $100 minimum opening deposit for savings
  • Some strict requirements for APY

Discover Bank

Discover Bank

Best for Rewards

4 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Easy cash back checking
  • Large ATM network
  • No monthly fees
Discover, more widely known for its credit card offerings, includes an impressive cash back checking account and even a high-yield savings account (3.30% APY). While we like Discover for their credit options, Discover’s deposit accounts are also solid and feature a great mobile app.
Discover Bank

APY
3.30% APY
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
60,000+ in-network ATMs

More Information about Discover Bank

Why we like this online bank: Discover Bank features both savings and checking accounts*. Discover’s checking account is a rewards account, meaning you earn cash back for debit card purchases instead of interest on the money in the bank account. Right now, you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month, for up to $30 a month and $360 a year. You’ll also have access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs, and you won’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees.

Discover’s savings account stands at 3.30% APY.  Discover also offers a money market account and CDs, as well as retirement accounts.

Note: Discover has temporarily closed its Cashback Debit account to new customers. You can sign up online to be notified when the account is available to new members again. As of Jan. 12, 2023, the account is still unavailable.

Potential pitfalls: You cannot get an auto or home loan through Discover Bank’s products and services. Cash back on checking accounts is helpful, but big spenders will earn more when using a credit card without a monthly limit on cash back.

Plus, the Cashback Debit (checking) account has been unavailable to new members for several months now. Discover has not given an official relaunch date yet.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Discover Bank review.

Pros and Cons of Discover Bank


Pros
  • Great mobile app
  • Access to 60,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Cash back rewards

Cons
  • No traditional APY for checking, but cash back is still enticing
  • Checking account hasn’t been available to new members for a while

Barclays Bank

Barclays

Best for CDs

3 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • Wide range of CDs
  • High-yield savings account
  • Leading mobile app
Barclays is a solid choice for a savings account or CD, but you will need another bank or credit union to operate a checking account. You would be better served by another bank on this list if you need a checking account. That said, Barclays offers an award-winning account with top-notch security and an easy-to-use mobile app.
Barclays

APY
3.40% APY
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
No ATM network

More Information About Barclays Bank

Why we like this online bank: Barclays offers a competitive 3.40% APY on its online savings account. While not super attractive, it is still far above the 0.01% you will earn at Chase. Its mobile app is highly rated.

Low-risk investors may also like Barclay’s assortment of high-interest CDs. Right now, you can get a 12-month CD at a 4.25% APY.

Potential pitfalls: You cannot open a checking account with Barclays, complicating access to funds.

For a full run down of fees and services, check out our complete Barclays Bank review.

Pros and Cons of  Barclays Bank


Pros
  • Great mobile app
  • High APY

Cons
  • Limited access to funds (no checking)

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab

Best for Travelers

3 out of 5 Overall

Key Features
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Unlimited global ATM fee reimbursement
  • Great for investors
Charles Schwab is a top choice for your investment portfolio, but it’s also a good home for your savings and checking needs. If you travel often and don’t use a travel credit card, you will appreciate the unlimited ATM reimbursements globally and the lack of foreign transaction fees. Noteworthy for the checking account is the 0.45% APY on all deposits.
Charles Schwab

APY
Up to 0.48% APY
Monthly fees
$0
ATM fees
Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements globally

More Information About Charles Schwab

Why we like this online bank: Charles Schwab is great for those who like to travel — it has no foreign transaction fees and offers unlimited ATM reimbursement worldwide

Charles Schwab is, however, more ideally suited for investing than saving and spending, thanks to its wide range of investment options. As such, the checking account — called High Yield Investor — is built with investors in mind with a direct link to a customer’s brokerage account for easy funding. It earns an impressive 0.45% APY.

That’s nearly as much as the 0.48% APY for the savings account. Admittedly low, but still much larger than America’s large banks, which offer 0.01% APY.

Potential pitfalls: APYs are lower than other online banks on our list: 0.48% for the savings account and 0.45% for the checking account. 

Charles Schwab is great for investors looking for a brokerage account, but savers and spenders looking for basic, high-yield online savings and checking accounts should look elsewhere.

Pros and Cons of Charles Schwab


Pros
  • Great mobile app
  • Unlimited ATM reimbursement worldwide
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons
  • Overdraft fees if funds aren't available in linked account
  • Built more for investing, not spending and saving

Online Bank Comparison at a Glance


Banking Features You Want

Bank Rating Savings APY Checking APY Loans

Capital One

5 stars

3.30% APY

0.10% APY

Auto

CIT Bank

4.5 stars

4.05% APY

0.25% APY

Mortgage

Axos Bank

4.5 stars

0.61% APY

1.25% APY

Mortgage and auto

Ally Bank

4.5 stars

3.30%

0.25% APY

Mortgage and auto

SoFi

4.5 stars

3.75% APY

2.00% APY

Mortgage and auto refi

LendingClub

4 stars

4.00% APY

1.00% cash back

Auto refi

Alliant Credit Union

4 stars

2.70% APY

0.25% APY

Mortgage and auto

Synchrony Bank

4 stars

3.75% APY

n/a

None

Discover Bank

4 stars

3.30% APY

1% cash back on up to $3,000 in monthly purchases

Mortgage

Chime

4 stars

2.00% APY

0.0% APY

None

nbkc

3.5 stars

1.26% APY

1.26% APY

Only in Kansas

Barclays Bank

3 stars

3.40% APY

n/a

None

Charles Schwab

3 stars

0.48% APY

0.45% APY

Mortgage

Advantages of Online Banks

The biggest allure of online banking is the high annual percentage yield (APY).  APY is the interest (including compound interest) that you’ll earn on your money in a year.

Because online banks rarely have physical locations and need fewer employees, they have low overhead and can pass those savings over to customers.

Traditional banks offer interest rates as low as 0.01% for both checking and savings accounts. (The national average for savings accounts is just 0.30%.)

But online bank accounts have many benefits outside of high interest rates. Here are just a few:

  • Low (or no) fees, including monthly maintenance fees (sometimes called monthly service fees or simply monthly fees), overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees and ATM fees. Some online banks even offer reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees.
  • Low or no minimum balance requirements.
  • Strong online and mobile banking experiences, including apps and two-factor authentication.
  • FDIC and NCUA insurance up to $250,000.
  • Accessible customer service online or by phone.
Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.

Drawbacks of Online Banks

Online banking isn’t without its issues, but customers generally find the high-yield returns, stellar mobile experiences and lack of fees more than make up for online banks’ pitfalls.

Below are some of the most common drawbacks of online banks:

Limited Options for Cash Deposits

Depositing cash is the biggest challenge of online banks because they lack physical locations. Even online banks that have partnerships with brick-and-mortar banks for in-network ATMs often cannot accept cash deposits via ATM.

If you intend to deposit cash regularly (like if you’re a server or hair stylist who depends on cash tips) but still want the benefits of an online account, open an account with a brick-and-mortar bank solely to deposit cash and electronically transfer it to your online account.

Challenges With Transferring Funds

Online checking accounts generally make it easy to access your money with debit cards that work at thousands of ATMs. Some also offer checkbooks, no matter how archaic they may seem.

Online savings accounts, on the other hand, can be more challenging to access in emergencies than accounts at brick-and-mortar banks, but thanks to improvements in the speed of electronic transfer (ACH deposits) and new solutions from online savings accounts (like convenience cards), this issue has been largely reduced.

No Face-to-Face Support

If you’re more old school about your money management and like the idea of walking into a branch and singing your sorrows to a bank teller who can help you figure out your financial problems, an online bank might not be for you.

Online banks offer incredible customer service online and over the phone, but you can only get comforting in-person help for your accounts at a brick-and-mortar traditional bank.

How to Choose an Online Bank

If an online bank makes sense for your finances, you’re now faced with the task of choosing one. While reviewing our list of the best online banks is a great place to start, you will need to assess your specific needs out of a bank to determine which on our best online banks list actually works best for you.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Which bank has the highest APY? If earning the most in interest is what’s most important to you, your task is easy. Do note, however, the APYs can fluctuate. So if two of your top banks are neck and neck, but the bank with the slightly lower APY has better customer service and easier access to brick-and-mortar, it might actually be wiser to go with that one. In a few months, the interest rate may be higher than the current leading bank.
  • Are there other rewards? APYs are only one piece of the puzzle. Certain checking accounts offer cash back rewards, and some accounts — savings, checking and money market accounts — even come with sign-up bonuses.
  • How often do you use an ATM? If ATM usage is a part of your weekly routine, consider only online banks that have free access to a large network of ATMs. Otherwise, fees will add up.
  • What are the fees? The beauty of most online banks is the lack of monthly fees. However, this can vary. If you travel to foreign countries regularly, for instance, and plan to use your bank’s debit card, look for a bank that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
  • Are you a mobile power user? If you live in your financial institution’s app, chances are good you will want one with an intuitive user interface and lightning speed. Check out reviews of mobile apps before committing to a specific bank.
  • How often will you need to talk to an employee? Online banks are known for a lot of things, but stellar customer service is not typically one of them. If you need to chat with someone regularly about your money or tend to ask a lot of questions, look for an online bank with a good reputation for customer service.
  • What about money market accounts? For our list of the best online banks, we primarily considered personal checking and savings accounts. Money markets are quite similar to savings, but not every bank offers them.

Recapping the Best Online Banks

  • Capital One: Best Overall Online Bank
  • CIT Bank: Best for Savers
  • Axos Bank: Best for High-Interest Checking
  • Ally Bank: Best for No Overdraft Fees
  • SoFi: Best for Combination Checking and Savings
  • LendingClub: Best for ATM Users
  • Alliant Credit Union: Best Online Credit Union
  • Synchrony Bank: Best for High-Yield Accounts
  • Discover Bank: Best for Rewards
  • Chime: Best for Beginners
  • nbkc: Best for Simplicity
  • Barclays: Best for CDs
  • Charles Schwab: Best for Travelers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Online Banking

Still have questions? You’re not alone. Here are some frequently asked questions about online banking—with answers.

Which Is the Best Online Bank in the U.S.?

This year, we have ranked Capital One as the number one online bank in the US. However, these ratings are subject to change, and any bank that made our list of the top 13 online banks is a quality choice. Alliant Credit Union is the only credit union on our list; while Chime offers banking services, it is a fintech company, not a bank.

Are Online Banks Safe to Use?

Yes, online banks are safe to use. Just make sure your bank is insured by the FDIC (or, if it’s an online credit union, by the NCUA). As with all websites, only input financial information if you see the HTTPS and a lock symbol. Don’t use the same password for any other accounts, and consider utilizing a password manager. Multi-factor authentication, as well as biometric screenings, are a great way to protect your account as well.

Which Is the Most Secure Online Bank?

Secure banking hinges upon strong apps, multi-factor authentication and biometric screening. Some of the top online banks that utilize such security practices include Citibank, Bank of America, Starling Bank, Barclays and HSBC. However, every bank included on our list above has been deemed to be tremendously safe and is backed by the FDIC or NCUA.

Methodology: How We Picked These Online Banks

To determine the online banks and credit unions for this list, we reviewed nearly 40 of the most popular financial institutions. We chose the 13 banks on our list because of their combination of high APYs, low minimum balances and low or no fees. Customer service, easy (and free) access to ATMs, mobile/online experience and ease of funds transfers were also important considerations.

All financial institutions on this list are FDIC-insured (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or NCUA-insured (National Credit Union Administration) and have no monthly fees (or offer a way to waive them).

Contributor Timothy Moore is a writer and editor in Cincinnati who covers banks, loans insurance, travel and automotive topics for The Penny Hoarder.