In this review, we will take a close look at the top 10 best online banking platforms to see how they stack up.
According to a recent study by J.D. Power, online banks are outranking traditional banks for customer service, with exceptionally high marks in problem resolution and communication. It wasn’t too long ago that many people were reluctant to put their hard-earned money into a digital account; it seemed far too risky. Today, some of the biggest names in the banking industry offer online banking. As long as you take the proper measures to keep your account information secure, the benefits of banking online are many. Continue reading for our top choices.
1. Charles Schwab Bank
Charles Schwab is known mainly for its investment services, but the 2019 Direct Banking Satisfaction Study ranks its online banking platform highest in overall satisfaction among consumers. It’s easy to see why. While one might surmise that an account with Charles Schwab bank would require a hefty minimum deposit, that is not the case. You can open a high-yield investor Checking Account with no minimum deposit. There are no monthly fees, and you’ll earn 0.35 percent APY on your balance. You will need to link it with a Schwab One brokerage account, which is provided with the checking account. However, you don’t have to utilize it unless you choose to.
With the account, you will get a Visa debit card with no foreign transaction fees, free order of checks, free bill-pay, and the ability to deposit checks using your mobile device. Another great feature that regular ATM users will appreciate is the ability to use any ATM in the world free of charge. Say goodbye to high fees to access your own money; you will be reimbursed for those! One drawback to this platform is that there are limited branches if you want an in-person experience. However, this is definitely one of the best online banks you will find.
2. Capital One 360 Checking
If you are looking for a basic online checking account, but you want the option of visiting a physical branch too, Capital One 360 Checking might be for you. There are several full-service branches as well as capital one cafes—comfortable coffee shops with free WIFI and bank ambassadors on hand to help you out. There are also 39,000 fee-free ATMs in the network where you can make deposits or withdrawals.
There is no minimum balance to open an account and no monthly charges. You are not required to have an employer directly deposit your funds, although you can. Instead, you can deposit checks directly through the bank’s mobile app. You will earn 0.20% APY on your balance up to $49,999, with the APR increasing if you carry higher balances. What do we love most about Capital One 360 Checking? There are no overdraft fees. Instead, you will have access to a $1000 line of credit as overdraft protection. You will have to pay 11.25% APY interest on any amount you have overdrawn. This is still substantially less than the typical $35 fee most banks charge for a bounced check.
3. Ally Bank Checking
Ally Bank is an internet-only bank. You won’t find any physical branches. If you are the type who is comfortable taking care of your banking needs entirely online, this is a terrific choice. You will earn 0.10 percent if you have a balance of $15,000 or less in the account, and 0.60 percent on a balance of more than $15,000. The account is free and has no minimum deposit amount or balance, and there are no monthly fees. Overdraft fees are typically less than most banks, and you are eligible for a $10 per month statement credit toward out-of-network ATM fees. However, there are 43,000 AllPoint ATMs which are entirely fee-free. You will also get a free debit card, free bill-pay, and the ability to make paper check deposits through the mobile app.
4. Discover Cashback Debit
Discover’s Cashback Debit account is a paperless checking account that is accessed entirely online. There are no physical branches, but there are some great perks to this account as you will see. Let’s start with the first benefit; there are virtually no fees associated with the Discover Cashback Debit account. You will have access to over $60,000 fee-free ATMs and no monthly fee either. Additionally, you will get fee-forgiveness on the first overdraft or stop payment you have. But let’s get right to where this account really shines—its cashback rewards. You are eligible for a 1% cashback reward of up to $30 per month on transactions made with your debit card. If you have a Discover credit card, you can combine your cashback rewards and transfer them between accounts.
Those who love mobile banking will appreciate the Discover Cashback Debit account as it has one of the most mobile-friendly platforms around. Within the app, you can deposit checks, move money around, track your spending, and more. Also, If you need paper checks for some reason, you can order them at no charge.
5. FNBO Direct
FNBO Direct is another online checking account platform with no physical branches. It’s not as known as some of the others on our list, but it’s worth a look. FNBO Direct is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, the largest privately-owned bank in the country. While you won’t be able to write paper checks, the 0.65% APY interest rate may help you decide it’s time to go paperless. You can open your account with only $1, and there are no minimum monthly fees. Network ATMs are also free, and there are plenty of locations. To access your cash or pay bills, you will use your FNBO Direct debit card. There is an overdraft fee of $33 per item, with one fee forgiven every twelve months. Overall, FNBO Direct offers a fully online checking account that can earn you a relatively decent rate of interest.
A mobile checking account and budgeting app rolled into one; the aptly named Simple platform is ideal for those who prefer to do their banking on the go. The platform can also be accessed from your desktop. Simple has a unique feature that allows you to set up “protected goals accounts.” Whether you are saving for a car or trying to set aside some emergency cash, the app will help you keep track of what is available to spend and what should not be touched. Plus, all of the money in your accounts combined is eligible for a 2.02% APY. Using a digital envelope system, the app allows you to budget for various categories and figure out how much to set aside. The platform really is simple, and there are no monthly or overdraft fees. You can access your funds at over 40,000 in-network ATMs.
7. Chime Checking Account
Chime is ideal for those who don’t carry a large balance and who want a basic, easy-to-use online banking platform. They call their checking account a spending account, and its main claim to fame is ensuring customers receive direct deposits instantly—up to two days earlier than with traditional banks. If you are someone who gets tired of waiting for your paycheck to hit your bank account, Chime might be ideal for you. There are not many bells and whistles to this account, but you won’t find any hidden fees either. What you see is what you get. There is no minimum balance required, and there are no monthly service costs. You’ll get a Visa debit card that also works with Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. You also never have to worry about overdrafts with Chime, because you can never spend more than what is in your account. The main drawback to this account is if you want to deposit cash, you will need to do it through the green dot network, which can be a bit of a hassle.
8. Axos Bank Checking Account
Formerly named Bank of Internet USA, Axos was the first player on the Internet Banking scene in 1999. Throughout the years, they have won several awards for their innovative technology, including SNL’s #1 Bank in the thrift category five years in a row. They have internet banking down to a science. Like most online banks on our list, there is no minimum balance and no monthly fees.
Axos shines with its rewards and cashback checking programs. With rewards checking, you will earn an APY of up to 1.25% as long as you have at least $1000 a month in direct deposits and make 15 or more transactions with your debit card. To get cashback, you must maintain an average of $1500 a day to earn 1% back on all signature purchases. There are no in-network ATM fees, and Axos will reimburse you for the majority of out-of-network ATM fees.
9. TIAA Bank Interest Checking Account
If an interest-bearing checking account is your primary goal, TIAA has you covered. With some of the highest rates in the industry, they guarantee they will always remain in the top five percent of interest rates for banking at any time. This means you can stop shopping around and keep your money in one spot for a while. For the first year, you’ll get 1.21 percent APR, and 0.25 percent after that on balances under $10,000. If you maintain a minimum balance of $25, there are no checking account service fees.
10. Bank 5 Connect
Last up in our review of the best online checking account platforms is Bank 5 Connect. With an opening deposit of as little as $10, you can be up and running with this zero-fee checking account. However, if you deposit and maintain a balance of at least $100, you will earn a cool .76% APY. Your first round of basic paper checks is free, and you will be reimbursed up to $15 per month in out-of-network ATM fees. You will also get free online and mobile banking, paperless statements, and bill pay. One of the cool things about this account is its new debit card rewards program. Within the app, you will have the opportunity to choose from several cash rewards from participating retailers. Just select the rewards you want, shop with your Bank 5 Connect debit card, and your earnings will be deposited into your account the following month.
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By BCR Staff