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Best Online Banks

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Online banking allows consumers to access their money online whenever and wherever they want. Online banks operate completely online — hybrid banks offer online and in-person services — and typically have low fees and high annual percentage yield (APY) on savings accounts.

While many features of online banking can make life easier, it can feel inconvenient to switch from a bank with physical locations to one that is all online. This guide will help you compare the best online banks and discover which features you need to look for to make banking easier. 

When looking for the best online banks with a checking account, we considered fees, interest rates on checking and savings accounts, security, budgeting tools, account options, customer service, ATM availability, balance requirements and consumer reviews. When choosing an online bank, ask about security measures that ensure your money is safe. You should also find an online bank with an interface that feels straightforward and easy to use. Finally, any online bank you choose to do business with should be backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), just like any traditional bank.

Note that our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us. This does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

  • Our pick for best savings features: Ally
  • Our pick for no fees: SoFi
  • Our pick for online banking alternative: Chime
  • Our pick for hybrid bank: Bank of America
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Compare our top 4 choices for online banking


Choose what information you want to see across each brand. At least one option must be selected.

All information accurate as of time of publication.

More info about our top choices for online banking

Consider which online banking features would make budgeting and reaching your financial goals easier. We’ve compared the top perks from the following four online banks.

Best savings features
Minimum account balance
$0 - $25

Ally Bank is a pioneer in the online banking space, having formed in 2009. It continues to be a robust online bank with a wide range of financial products, including savings and checking accounts, investment vehicles and accounts, and loans.

What makes Ally Bank a user-friendly online bank is its transparency, as it’s upfront with the rates and fees on its products. You don’t need a minimum deposit to open an Ally Bank online savings account, and you won’t pay monthly maintenance or overdraft fees. You also won’t pay fees on cashier’s checks or expedited Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers. Additionally, its credit cards come with no over-the-limit fees or returned payment fees. It is not completely fee-free, though; there are fees for expedited delivery ($15), outgoing domestic wire ($20) and account research ($25).

Since Ally Bank is completely online, you can’t deposit cash into your account or visit an in-person branch. You can still deposit checks via your mobile app and pull out cash at one of 43,000 free-to-use ATMs across the country. Plus, its 24/7 customer service line ensures you won’t feel neglected when it comes to account issues.

Ally Bank pushes savings with high interest rates and tools that make it easier to save. It offers Buckets, which is a feature that allows customers to set money aside for specific goals without needing to create a new bank account. The Surprise Savings feature analyzes your linked checking account for money that is safe to transfer so your savings account grows even when you are busy.

  • Minimal fees
  • 0.25% APY on checking account
  • 24/7 customer support
  • No cash deposits
  • No physical branches

Many reviewers are happy with how much Ally Bank has to offer, from its wide range of products to its higher APYs. One customer from Washington said: “Great rates, competent and responsive customer service and easy access via ATM. They also have an investing side to help research and invest in stock.”

Most of the negative reviews on Ally Bank’s profile involve Ally’s auto loan financing. Many said it was hard to get in contact with the auto division’s customer service and that it was hard to get monthly payments to go through successfully with the app.

Best no-fee accounts
Minimum account balance

Originally, SoFi started as a student loan refinancer. Now, it is a full-service online bank that offers high-yield savings accounts, as well as a variety of other financial services such as loans, investing, insurance and small business financing. SoFi is FDIC-insured, and accounts are kept safe with two-factor authentication and rigorous third-party penetration testing done on the overall site.

SoFi’s online savings and checking accounts come with no fees, and you do not have a minimum account balance or a minimum deposit requirement. Customers will enjoy no overdraft fees either and are covered up to $50. Savings accounts earn as much as 3.75% APY while checking accounts earn as much as 2.50% APY.

If you choose to use SoFi as your personal loan lender, you will also see the company’s “no fee” motto there too. SoFi’s personal loans come with no origination fees, no prepayment penalties and no late fees.

Depositing or withdrawing funds is convenient, with over 55,000 fee-free ATMs across the nation. You can deposit cash into your account at any retail location that offers Green Dot services; a service fee may apply.

Customers can get up to a $250 bonus when they set up direct deposit. Plus, you will get your paycheck up to two days early.

  • Up to $250 bonus for direct deposit
  • 2.5% APY on checking account
  • Early paycheck
  • Up to $4.95 service fee to deposit cash
  • No physical branches

Many reviewers chose SoFi for personal loans, saying the process was easy and quick. Additionally, they say customer service was friendly and prompt with answers to questions.

One New Jersey customer used SoFi for a $50,000 personal loan and received funds in less than three business days. “My FICO score was good but not excellent. I was even able to speak to a live human when I had a question. I did get a good rate compared to LendingClub or Prosper. The site itself is a pleasure to use.”

There are negative reviews from customers who had trouble getting loans or had issues with customer service.

Best online banking alternative
Minimum account balance

Chime is a financial technology company that works with two FDIC-insured partner banks to provide banking services: The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank.

The Chime checking account doesn’t require a minimum balance or charge monthly fees, overdraft fees or foreign transaction fees. The SpotMe feature allows you to avoid overdraft fees on up to $200. When you set up a direct deposit with Chime, you can get paid up to two days early.

Chime gives you access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs. The Chime app will show you the closest in-network ATMs. You can also deposit up to $1,000 a day in cash without fees when you do so through a Walgreens or Duane Reade location.

The Chime savings account earns up to 2.00% APY, with no fees or account minimums. It offers two savings features when linked with the Chime checking; one is Round Ups, which rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the extra change in your savings account. You can use Save When I Get Paid to automatically deposit 10% of your direct deposit paycheck into your savings account.

  • No account minimums or fees
  • 60,000 in-network ATMs
  • Fee-free cash deposits at Walgreens
  • $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee
  • Not a bank

Customers chose to use Chime because of its no-fee overdraft feature and easy-to-use app. One Idaho customer said after using Chime for 14 months: “All of my deposits, transfers, withdrawals have gone absolutely smooth. The SpotMe feature is amazing if you ever get into a bind. Soon after I added on the Credit Builder card and immediately saw an increase in my credit score.”

Some customers have had issues with customer service and have gotten locked out of their accounts. Others have had problems with the security of their account and have reported being hacked and stolen from.

Best hybrid bank
Minimum account balance
$0 - $25

Bank of America is an established name in the banking industry, with 3,900 retail financial centers across the U.S. It is our choice for best hybrid bank because it offers the latest online banking technology while still having all of the perks of a traditional brick-and-mortar bank.

Bank of America offers three checking account types, with account fees ranging from $4.95 to $25 per month. The bank waives these fees if you meet certain conditions, like maintaining a minimum daily balance of $1,500 for the Advantage Plus account. Minimum deposits to open a checking account range from $25 to $100.

Unlike the other banks on our list, Bank of America does not offer high APY for savings accounts. The standard APY is 0.01% (up to 0.04% if you are a Preferred Rewards member). Advantage Savings has a required opening deposit of $100 and an $8 monthly fee unless you maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $500 or meet certain other conditions.

With online banking through Bank of America, you have access to a digital wallet and 24/7 virtual customer service through its virtual financial assistant, called Erica. Erica, available only in the Bank of America app, can show you balances across all your accounts, notify you of credit score changes, notify you when a merchant posts a refund to your account, alert you of duplicate charges and connect you to live chat with a Bank of America specialist.

  • SafeBalance checking account for students with no monthly fee
  • In-person services at branches
  • Account fees
  • Minimum deposits
  • Low APY

Many have praised Bank of America for having friendly in-person customer service, as well as an app that is easy to use. Several customers have used Bank of America for many years and feel that they can trust the company. An Oklahoma customer of 10 years said: “They have always notified me when there was any abnormal charges on any of my accounts. They have also immediately refunded any money that was taken out of my account.”

The top complaint about Bank of America is the long wait times. Customers said they had to endure long wait times on the phone while trying to connect to customer service. There were also a few reviewers who had long wait times at the physical branches.

Compare the Top 10 Online Bank Reviews

  • Best Rated
  • Most Reviewed
  • Highest Rated

What is online banking?

Online banking is when you complete all of your banking tasks through your phone, tablet or computer. Using online banking services, you can open a bank account, pay your bills, deposit and transfer funds, check your balance and apply for loans. It’s also easy to keep track of changes in your account. More online banks are also offering online investing and other financial services, like insurance.

Usually, an online bank can provide account holders with most of the same services as traditional banks. Customer service representatives are available over the phone, by email or via online chat. Online banks allow you to use a network of ATMs to withdraw cash without paying a fee. Note one major difference between online banks and traditional banks: Online-only banks do not have physical branch locations.

Online banks and traditional banks have a lot of similarities: you can deposit and withdraw money, open a variety of accounts, take out a loan and monitor your account for fraud and suspicious activity. They are both FDIC-insured and subject to the same federal rules and regulations.

Many traditional banks and credit unions also offer online banking services that allow you to deposit checks and pay your bills quickly and conveniently online. On the other hand, an online bank doesn’t have any physical branch locations; making a bank run is as simple as logging in to your account, which you can do 24/7.

Traditional banks and credit unions vary in how innovative their online services are. For example, a well-known traditional bank might have cutting-edge technology that makes online banking simple. Other smaller and local banks or credit unions might still use limited or dated technology, with the biggest online perk being bill pay.

For online-only banks, transfers go through almost immediately, although deposits might be more challenging to make. Another disadvantage to online banking is that your access to your account will always be dependent upon a steady internet or data connection.

How does online banking work?

Unlike at traditional banks or credit unions where you need to conduct transactions in person, online banking makes it easy for account holders to manage their finances online through their computer or smartphone. Because online banks don’t have the overhead associated with physical locations, they can often charge fewer or even no fees and may offer higher interest rates on savings accounts.

To deposit a check, you can simply take a picture with your phone and upload it through your online bank’s secure portal. It’s easy to monitor your account through an app.

Many online banks have connections with ATM providers, so finding an in-network ATM is convenient, and there’s no fee for cash withdrawals.

Online banking pros and cons

Whether you are a member of a traditional bank that has some online features, or you have just joined an online-only bank, it’s great to know and take advantage of the benefits online banking offers.


  • Higher APYs
  • Lower or no fees
  • 24/7 access
  • Extensive ATM network


  • Some don’t allow cash deposits
  • No in-person communication
  • No or limited branches
  • Some have limited services


Are online banks safe to use?

Online banks are safe to use. In fact, online banking security is now more advanced than ever, and some experts consider online banks to be safer than brick-and-mortar banks. You complete all of your financial transactions through a secure web portal, and encryption scrambles your data, which makes it secure against hackers. Direct deposit eliminates the risk of someone stealing your check from the mail.

Additionally, online banking often comes with sophisticated fraud monitoring, two-factor authentication and login alerts. You should be sure to always use your data plan to access your online banking account. Accessing your online bank account while connected to public networks opens you up to hacking and unauthorized access.

Even if you’re diligent, scammers are out there. To be on the safe side, make sure you have a hard-to-guess password, and don’t write it down anywhere. Keep your device updated, and never give account information over the phone or through email or text messages.

How do I choose an online bank?

Choosing an online bank is simple enough if you think about which features are most important to you. Do you want a bank with no fees, or are you looking for a bank with products that offer the best return for your money? Compare online banks’ fees, APYs and services. Consider which products you will want to use today and two to three years from now. You might only want a high-yield savings account now, but having easier access to auto loans or mortgage refinancing might come in handy later on.

Do you need an ID to open an online bank account?

You will need to verify who you are before you are given a bank account. Each online bank is slightly different in how it verifies your identity. Some items a bank may request are a government-issued photo ID, a Social Security number and proof of address.

Not sure how to choose?

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