NerdWallet’s Top Online Checking Accounts

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.

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

  • Judy

    What about Flagstar?

  • Kate McCullough

    Maybe a stupid question… what sort of identification is required to open an online bank account

    • NWjohn

      Not a stupid question at all! You’ll typically need a social security number as well as a drivers license or other government ID to verify name, age and address. Don’t forget to bring a way to make your first deposit, like a check, cash, or other existing account number.

      • Well-Manicured Man

        Bring it where? This is online banking. You’re a moderator here?

    • uselesscompanyatjobfair

      Avengers Id Card

  • JMT

    Hi! Do you have any information for Savings accounts? I currently use Capital One 360 Savings, and the current rate is 0.75%. I’m looking for other banks with higher rates, if there are any. Thanks!

    • NWjohn

      Try our savings account comparison tool here:

    • Ken

      GE capital bank online savings account is currently paying 1.05% interest with no minimum. FDIC insured and fairly simple to use. Down side is no atm card, but I’m happy with it

  • AT

    I thought the question about the amount of time deposits or transfers take to become available was interesting. Is there an online checking comparison tool for that?

  • citymiami

    which online banking allow you to have multiple sub accounts

  • Travis D’Anna

    Out of curiosity, do these online banks allow for wire transfers from them to another bank outside of them?

    • Lisa Brains

      Yes. Some do it for free if the outside account belongs to you and is a linked with your account. Many require that you initially already have another deposit account at another bank before you can open an account. Capital One 360 and Ally Bank ask you to link your current account with them so you can make your initial opening deposit. In these cases they are not considered wire transfers, but ACH transfers because the funds take a few days to become available and are treated as if you were paying a bill. My bank charges $3 for 3 day ACH transfers, but $20 or more for wire transfers depending on the amount and if it is the weekend.

  • Mya Self

    I would like to know whether or not any of these accounts use ChexSystems or Early Warning Services.

    • BrownTaurus

      Capital One 360 does not use chexsystems.

  • Barry B

    I use capital one 360. It’s wkbderful. I tried to sign up for simple and at first I really liked them. But my business is in South America and the country I work out of Colombia is on there black list. Without telling me I guess I didn’t think to ask that. I went to Atm to pull out rent money and nothing came out. I called them and there like sorry Colombia is blacked out. Which is comical because I read a article that there working with BBVA which is all over Colombia.

  • Thomas Nichols

    Your credit union doesn’t pay taxes…

    • socceruci

      There is no “profit”, why should it?