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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.
EverBank - Yield Pledge Checking (0.30% APY*)
Everbank requires a substantial opening deposit, but there's no monthly fee to worry about once you've opened your Interest Checking account and you'll enjoy above-average interest rates. Balances up to $10,000 earn 0.30% APY, but with increased deposits you can earn much more. Even better, new customers can enjoy a bonus rate of 1.25% on balances up to $100,000 for the first 6 months. Everbank also guarantees interest rates within the nation’s top 5%. Plus, with a balance of $5,000+ you'll automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees.
FNBO Direct - Interest Checking (0.65% APY*)
FNBO Direct, online division of First National Bank of Omaha, has a great online checking account that really emphasizes the convenient bill pay options. Customers can make quick payments to individuals through Popmoney, or even schedule automatic payments for recurring bills. You can use your check card for free at any First National Bank of Nebraska ATM, but those with higher balances ($25,000 or more) will receive reimbursements for the first 4 foreign ATM fees each month. Another notable feature of this account is the highly competitive interest rate of 0.65% - that's far more than you'll earn right now with most savings accounts, especially at the big banks.
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.
Mutual of Omaha Bank - Online Advantage Checking (0.50% APY*)
Mutual of Omaha's online-only checking option is a good way to earn a high rate of interest on your everyday balances for managing your account entirely online. Any balances over $1,500 will earn 0.50% APY and all you need to $100 average collected balance to waive the monthly $10 fee. Plus, with access to a surcharge-free network of over 22,000 ATMs nationwide through MoneyPass, you won't need to worry about finding a place to get cash.
Bank of Internet - Rewards Checking / High Interest Checking
Bank of Internet has two online checking options for consumers to choose from. One is a rewards checking account
, which is a free account that has the potential to earn an excellent
interest rate. Sign up for direct deposit, use online bill pay and use your debit card regularly to boost your rate up to the maximum amount. You also have the opportunity to earn unlimited ATM reimbursements. If you can't meet these requirements you won't earn any interest, but at least you'll still get a truly free account.
BofI's second option is a high interest checking account that doesn't require any special actions, like their rewards account, except to maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 (otherwise a $7.50 monthly fee applies). There are also no rate tiers with this account. You'll earn a fantastic 0.71% APY*
on all balances, whether it's $1 or $100,000.
First Internet Bank - Interest Checking (0.55% APY*)
First Internet Bank's two checking accounts offer something for either type of customer: those looking to minimize fees or those looking for higher yields. Luckily, those in between can choose a little of both with the interest checking account. The minimum balance to waive a monthly fee is just $500, and the yield beats many other competing checking accounts these days.
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