10 Best Online Banks of 2022

NerdWallet's picks include banks, nonbanks and one credit union with strong overall ratings and mobile features.
Dec 9, 2021

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Jump to our picks for the Best Online Banks:

Online banks and banking service providers offer desktop and mobile banking services without physical branches. Because online institutions don’t have to pay for the cost of maintaining branches, they're often able to pass the savings on to their customers in the form of higher interest rates. Online banks require customers to be comfortable with technology, but they also tend to provide robust customer service options to help users resolve any issues.

NerdWallet’s picks include online banks, nonbanks and credit unions. Some of these financial institutions are not themselves chartered banks, as noted in their descriptions.

Why trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to make sure our coverage is fair and accurate, so you can choose the financial accounts that work best for you. Learn more about our criteria for evaluating banks and credit unions.

Our picks for banks with checking and savings accounts

Discover Bank

Discover Bank Online Savings
NerdWallet rating 

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

Discover’s savings account earns a 0.40% APY, and rates for its certificates of deposit are competitive. Discover’s Cashback Debit account offers 1% cash back per month on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases.

Discover also offers more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs and doesn't charge monthly fees on its checking or savings accounts. Plus, while the largest U.S. banks charge an average overdraft fee of $35, Discover doesn't charge an overdraft fee. Discover’s mobile banking apps also have high ratings from customers.

One

NerdWallet rating 

One gives customers a free One account with different “Pockets” for spending and saving. Each customer starts with three Pockets: the Spend Pocket, the Save Pocket and the Auto-Save Pocket. For the Save Pocket, customers can earn 1.00% APY on up to $5,000, and for the Auto-Save Pocket, customers can earn an unlimited 3.00% APY on balances that come from rounding up spending with their One debit card.

One is part of the Allpoint network, so customers have access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs for making withdrawals, though One does not currently allow cash deposits. Customers can fund their One account via direct deposit, through an electronic transfer from an outside bank account or by using a peer-to-peer payment service such as Venmo or Cash App.

Varo

Varo Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 

at Varo, Member FDIC

Varo offers a checking and savings account, but it doesn’t offer certificates of deposit. Its savings account comes with a baseline 0.50% annual percentage yield, but that interest rate becomes 3.00% if customers meet some monthly requirements: Receive $1,000 or more in direct deposit, have a monthly savings balance below $5,000 and maintain a checking and savings balance.

There are limits and fees for cash deposits, and the only way a Varo customer can deposit cash is by going to a third-party retailer that participates in the Green Dot network, such as 7-Eleven, CVS or Walgreens.

To withdraw cash, customers can use an ATM in the Allpoint network for free; use of non-Allpoint ATMs carries a $2.50 fee from Varo in addition to any fees that the ATM owner may charge.

Monifi

NerdWallet rating 

Monifi offers two free accounts, the Spend Balance and the Save Balance. Monifi’s Save Balance account offers a strong 0.60% APY, and customers also have the chance to earn a $250 bonus on their Spend Balance account when they receive two direct deposits of at least $1,000 each.

The Monifi app also allows customers to set spending and saving goals and transfer money between accounts.

TIAA Bank

NerdWallet rating 

TIAA Bank offers checking, savings and certificates of deposit. Its checking account offers a 0.10% APY, its savings account has a 0.50% APY and its CD rates are competitive. TIAA Bank’s Basic Checking and Basic Savings accounts both require a $25 minimum opening deposit, whereas its CDs have a minimum $1,000 to open. For checking and savings, there’s no monthly fee as long as a customer holds a minimum balance of $25; otherwise they’ll be charged $5 per month.

TIAA Bank also offers a strong ATM reimbursement program. For customers who hold a minimum monthly balance of $5,000 in their checking account, TIAA Bank will give unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. For customers who keep a balance under $5,000, TIAA Bank will reimburse up to $15 in ATM fees per month.

Ally Bank

Ally Bank Interest Checking Account
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Ally Bank’s savings account offers a 0.50% APY, and its checking account earns 0.10% APY for balances under $15,000 and 0.25% for balances of $15,000 or more. Its certificates of deposit have competitive rates as well. Ally doesn’t allow customers to deposit cash; accounts must be funded by transferring money from an external account, depositing a check via mobile or mail, or using a wire transfer.

Ally’s phone support is available 24/7, and its website has a chat feature to help customers.

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
NerdWallet rating 

at Alliant Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA

Alliant offers a 0.55% APY on its High-Rate Savings account, a rate much higher than the average 0.06% APY offered on savings accounts at traditional banks. Alliant also offers a High-Rate Checking account with a 0.25% APY, and share certificates (the credit union equivalent of certificates of deposit) with above-average rates.

If you don’t qualify for Alliant membership based on Alliant’s general requirements, you can do so by becoming a member of the charity Foster Care to Success; Alliant will pay the $5 membership fee on your behalf.

Our picks for banks with savings accounts only

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Overall Bank Rating
NerdWallet rating 

at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Member FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers a 0.50% APY (annual percentage yield) as of 11/17/2020 on its Online Savings Account and has strong rates for certificates of deposit. Marcus doesn’t yet offer a checking account, however, and there’s no ATM network for depositing or withdrawing cash; money can be moved in and out via direct deposit or transfer with another institution.

Marcus' same-day transfer limit is high, though, at up to $100,000. Marcus’ mobile app is highly rated in both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store, though there is no mobile check deposit.

Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Synchrony doesn’t offer a checking account, but it offers a competitive savings account and certificates of deposit. Synchrony’s high-yield online savings account comes with a 0.50% APY, which is much higher than the APY offered by most brick-and-mortar banks.

Customer service is available via Twitter, live chat and phone. Synchrony’s mobile app accepts check deposits, and the app performs well according to user reviews in Apple’s App Store and Google Play store.

Comenity Direct

NerdWallet rating 

Comenity Direct’s free High-Yield Savings Account has a 0.55% APY, and interest rates for its certificates of deposit are competitive as well. The savings account has a minimum opening balance requirement of $100, and Comenity Direct’s CDs require an opening balance of $1,500.

Frequently asked questions

An online bank is a financial institution that operates without any physical branches. Such banks typically have strong mobile apps and customer service options, as well as higher interest rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

It varies. If the bank is part of an ATM network, you can likely use an ATM to either deposit or withdraw cash; some online banks allow only online transfers in and out of the account. Online banks also usually allow mobile check deposits, direct deposit from employers and online transfers to and from external bank accounts.

Both traditional and online banks typically allow people to apply for accounts online these days. It can take just a few minutes and typically involves creating a username and password and entering some personal information. See NerdWallet’s guide to how to open an account online.

Online banks are typically safe. Most banks use data encryption, and some allow customers to opt in to two-factor authentication when logging in to their accounts. Customers should also take care to practice good security hygiene when it comes to banking online.

Chartered banks are FDIC insured — meaning if the bank goes out of business, then your money is federally protected, usually up to $250,000 — but some online financial institutions are not themselves chartered banks. In those cases, the financial institution typically partners with a chartered bank behind the scenes to provide FDIC insurance to customers.


Methodology

We took a close look at over 80 financial institutions and financial service providers, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on assets and membership; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage yields, minimum balances, fees, digital experience and more.

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