Checking account fees have been taking a toll on consumers for some time now, but many people are unaware that there is a better option out there. Online checking accounts generally offer much lower or no monthly fees, and sometimes even pay interest!
You may wonder how an online checking account works when you need to withdraw cash or deposit a check. Luckily, many offer fee waivers for using out of network ATMs as well as various options for making a deposit to your account. The best online banks have great ways to manage your accounts online, over the phone, by mail and through mobile banking. Concerns about security? Not to worry, online banks are insured through the FDIC, meaning online checking deposits at an insured bank are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
Mobile Banking from Simple
Simple is a slightly newer player to the online banking game, but their account is already one of the most innovative. There are absolutely no monthly fees, minimum balances, or even overdraft fees! ATMs are free too, as long as you use any of over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide. But a big part of what’s so unique about Simple is their focus on mobile. With your phone as your guide, you can pay bills, deposit checks, or even decide if your next purchase is out of your price range.
Capital One 360 - 360 Checking (0.20% APY*)
Capital One's new checking account is noteworthy for it's low or nonexistent fees across the board. Besides no monthly fee, there are hardly any others that customers will encounter while using their account (stop payments being one of the only exceptions). You can even use your card abroad without incurring foreign transaction fees. Earn 0.20% interest on balances up to $50,000. You can use your computer or a mobile app to scan and deposit personal checks to your 360 Checking account.
Nationwide Bank - E-Checking - 0.60% APY* for balances above $10,000
Well-known insurer Nationwide isn't just for auto or life policies anymore. They also offer a suite of online bank accounts that rival many other options. One of the more convenient accounts you'll find with Nationwide Bank is E-Checking. Avoid an $8 monthly fee by simply signing up for direct deposit and using your debit card 8 times per month. The account pays tiered interest rates, so the higher your balance the higher your rate. For day-to-day transactions, you can easily deposit checks, pay bills, and more, all from your mobile phone. Finally, Nationwide allows customers to access any of their own ATMs for free at any time, but you can also use any of over 76,000 partner ATMs across the country up to six times each month.
Bank5 Connect - High Interest Checking (0.76% APY*)
Bank5 Connect's checking account excels in virtually all the most important areas to consider. No monthly maintenance fee means you're safe from accidental dings for dipping below a minimum balance. BUT, keep at least $100 in the account and you'll earn interest at a rate far higher than you'll find at most savings accounts! Finally, as an online bank you can't just walk into a branch, but Bank5 Connect makes sure customers have easy access via online and mobile banking, as well as completely free ATMs nationwide. Use any ATM and Bank5 Connect will reimburse any fees up to $15 per month.
Ally Bank - Interest Checking Account (0.10% APY*)
Ally makes it easy to conveniently deposit money into their checking accounts. In addition to sending checks by mail, you can scan and upload them yourself with Ally eCheck Deposit, or just take a picture with your smartphone and deposit the check via Ally's mobile app. Their Interest Checking account includes no monthly fee and very limited other service fees (such as $9 for an overdraft, limited to 1 per day - that's nearly 1/4 the industry norm). Ally also pays a respectable 0.10% on all checking balances up to $15,000. Use their online tool to quickly calculate your future interest earnings.
Why bank online?
Online banks save a ton of money on personnel and maintenance costs because they have no physical branches. The result is more money for you. You have to manage your account online, but you can access your money 24/7 and transfer it between accounts anytime. You can’t talk to a representative in person, but they’re always available online or over the phone. Thus, if you’re tech-savvy, an online savings account is incredibly convenient.
Looking for an account with a brick-and-mortar bank instead?
Check out our tool to find a checking account closer to home.
*Rates updated weekly