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Neobanks are financial technology — or fintech — companies that typically offer banking accounts through mobile apps and desktops with eye-catching features like low-cost credit or cash-back rewards. Some neobanks offer high-yield savings accounts, loans, credit cards or investing products, too.
Neobanks generally operate without branches and, since most lack bank charters, they partner with banks to provide accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. All neobanks in this article have FDIC-insured accounts, but in cases of neobanks handling investments or other nondeposit activity, not all accounts are FDIC-insured.
» Learn more: What is a neobank?
Our main list shows neobanks that NerdWallet hasn’t reviewed for its deposit accounts yet but that we find notable or promising (skip to our methodology for how we chose this list). The second list shows neobanks that we have reviewed, including some digital wallets like Cash App and Venmo, that can be considered neobanks based on similar features.
Neobanks: Their role, disadvantages and benefits
Fintech firms — that are also known as neobanks — have been around as challengers to traditional banks in the U.S. for more than a decade, beginning with the now-defunct Simple in 2009, long before the term “neobank” caught on. As of 2022, there are close to 400 neobanks worldwide, according to the global business consulting firm Simon-Kucher. Neobanks are often different from online banks, which are internet-based banks or divisions of traditional banks, such as Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Capital One and Ally.
Neobanks face some disadvantages: Simon-Kucher estimates that only 5% of neobanks worldwide have reached profitability, highlighting a key challenge for this newer type of banking institution. Plus, some once-innovative services like early direct deposit and free access to nationwide ATM networks have become commonplace among U.S. neobanks, upping the competition to stand out. Since many aren’t banks, there’s also a less clear process for what happens when neobanks fail than when banks do.
» Learn more: 5 questions to ask before opening a neobank account
Despite challenges, the reasons why people use neobanks are clear. Neobanks have drawn in millions of consumers to their checking or savings accounts with lower costs and more technology-driven perks than traditional banks usually provide. In fact, neobanks were early adopters in offering early direct deposit and not charging overdraft fees. They also played a key role in the COVID-19 pandemic during the first stimulus payment rollout, as a 2021 NerdWallet report found. In addition, some neobanks have emerged to focus on underrepresented communities that traditional banks often overlook, including Black and Native Americans.
For credit and savings
HMBradley lets you earn high rates on savings if you meet certain requirements. The more qualifications you meet, the higher your rate can be. Requirements include having a positive monthly cash flow, receiving at least $500 in monthly deposits and spending $500 monthly on a linked credit card. There are no monthly maintenance fees. The linked credit card also lets you earn up to 1.5% cash back on purchases. HMBradley, founded in 2019, partners with New York Community Bank, a division of Flagstar Bank N.A., to offer FDIC insurance to depositors.
Oportun was founded in 2005 and offers a variety of services in addition to its credit and savings products, including personal loans and investing. It partners with Pathward N.A. and other partner banks to provide FDIC insurance for its banking products. Customers who have a personal loan with Oportun get one free year of access to the Oportun app, which is designed to help customers with setting goals, increasing savings and reducing overdrafts. For customers who don’t have a personal loan, there is a free 30-day trial. The fee after any free trial is $5 per month.
For credit building
The online lender Credit Sesame, founded in 2010, launched a free digital banking account in March 2020 that focuses on serving people living paycheck to paycheck. The Sesame Cash account provides a way to build credit history without a credit card as well as access to credit monitoring alerts and your credit score. There’s also cash back on debit card purchases. However, the account charges a $9.99 monthly fee and a $3 inactivity fee unless you meet these requirements: Any transactions monthly for the inactivity fee and a minimum amount of direct deposits or purchases monthly for the monthly fee. And there’s no customer support number. Credit Sesame partners with Community Federal Savings Bank to offer its FDIC-insured account.
» COMPARE: Best budgeting apps
MoCaFi, or Mobility Capital Finance, is a Black-owned digital platform launched in 2016 that partners with Sunrise Banks N.A. to provide free checking to serve largely unbanked and underbanked communities, with a focus on closing the racial wealth gap. It provides a bill pay feature that lets customers report rent payments to major credit bureaus to build credit history. As a rare perk, MoCaFi works with its third-party partners to provide free cash deposits at various retailers and free mobile check deposits with fast release of funds. A $5.95 inactivity fee is charged monthly for accounts that are unused for one year.
» More about MoCaFi and similar fintechs: Check out neobanks with a community focus
Dave launched in 2017 as a paycheck advance company and expanded to offer spending accounts that let you round up purchases and pocket the difference as savings. You can also get a small advance on your next paycheck without interest charges or a credit check, and you can build credit history through repayments. In addition to these savings and credit features, Dave provides budgeting that factors in upcoming bills and the ability to search for side jobs in its mobile app. There are no minimum balance requirements and no fees for overdrafts or for using ATMs within the nationwide MoneyPass network. However, there are fees for advances, which are offered as an emergency overdraft service. Dave partners with Evolve Bank & Trust to offer FDIC insurance to deposit customers. (Read our review of Dave’s paycheck advance service.)
The tech firm M1, or M1 Finance, launched in 2016 and began as an online investment platform that has since expanded to encompass accounts for saving and borrowing money. M1’s high-yield savings account has a competitive annual percentage yield but only for customers who pay a $10 monthly subscription fee; otherwise, the interest rate is comparatively low. Another downside is that M1 doesn’t support ACH transfer connections with more than a dozen banks, particularly ones with partnerships with other neobanks. To offer FDIC insurance for its savings account, the firm partners with B2 Bank, which M1’s CEO bought in 2021. M1 has a checking account that launched in mid-2020, but the firm plans to close all existing checking accounts on Oct. 31, 2023.
Founded in 2015, Stash offers an online account for customers who want to shop with a debit card and also transfer funds into investments. Premium subscribers who shop at certain brands receive an additional perk: fractional shares of matching stock. The fintech charges subscription fees of either $3 or $9 a month, based on subscription level (though the first month is free). Stash partners with Stride Bank N.A. to offer FDIC insurance for customer deposits. Note that investment balances aren't FDIC insured. (Read the full review.)
The microinvesting firm Acorns, founded in 2012, expanded beyond its automated investing for hands-off investors into banking in 2018 with Acorns Checking. The main selling point is having one app for spending money and investing portions of each paycheck or debit card purchase. There’s a limited rewards program where certain purchases earn money that goes to your investment account. Acorns has three account packages with monthly fees ranging from $3 to $9, and Acorns Checking is available for all tiers. Acorns partners with Lincoln Savings Bank or NBKC Bank to offer its FDIC-insured banking account. (Read Acorns investing review.)
Albert started in 2016 as a money management app, and it launched a personalized banking service called Albert Cash in August 2021. Albert Cash is a banking account that earns cash back and includes the following benefits: no-interest cash advances of up to $250; integrated budgeting and savings tools; and a personalized customer support service, called Genius, that helps customers invest and automate their savings. Albert partners with Sutton Bank to provide banking services, and it partners with Axos Bank, Coastal Community Bank and Wells Fargo to provide FDIC insurance on savings accounts.
Founded in 2015, the United Kingdom-based company Monzo launched its digital banking platform in the U.S. in 2022. Its spending account’s most notable perk is no foreign transaction fees, including no foreign ATM fees (other than those charged by the ATM owner). Other features that can help during traveling include real-time transaction alerts and the ability to freeze a card if it’s missing, and there are no monthly fees or overdraft fees. One drawback is that customer support by phone isn't always available and it may need to call you back, though chat support is available all hours during weekdays and limited hours on weekends. Monzo’s accounts are offered through its partnership with Sutton Bank.
Greenlight Financial Technology Inc. was founded in 2014 and the Greenlight card and app for kids launched in 2017. Greenlight offers family-friendly features, including options to create spending controls and notifications, connect chores to allowance and invest together. Cash back earned from spending goes to savings, which can earn a high rate depending on your subscription plan. The Greenlight app’s banking services are offered through its partnership with Community Federal Savings Bank. Greenlight doesn’t charge overdraft fees or ATM fees, but there is a monthly fee; the amount depends on the plan you choose. Greenlight also partners with some banks and credit unions to offer its products for free through those financial institutions.
Step was founded in 2018 and offers a variety of products and services that can help teens with their finances. It provides FDIC insurance on its deposits through its partner bank, Evolve Bank & Trust. Step’s savings account has a high interest rate if customers set up direct deposit and they deposit $500 or more per month. The app allows customers to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar to contribute to their savings account as well as set savings goals. Other features include the ability to get paid two days early and to earn rewards by spending. Step also helps teens build their credit and invest before they turn 18.
Founded in 2019, Majority provides banking services through its app and in partnership with Axiom Bank N.A. and Sutton Bank. Majority doesn’t require a Social Security number for its checking account and debit card, and it offers features that are especially migrant-friendly: customer support in different languages, fee-free money transfers, unlimited free calls to about two dozen countries and low rates for calls to other countries through the Majority app. Direct deposits are federally insured and can be available up to two days early. Majority doesn’t charge overdraft fees or foreign transaction fees when using the debit card, but there is a $5.99 monthly fee.
The Latino-founded neobank Comun, which started in 2021, focuses its offering for the Latino community, including helping migrants better access financial services. Applicants can use a Social Security number, taxpayer identification number, foreign passport or other form of ID during sign-up. The spending account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, and it works with several domestic and international money transfer apps such as Remitly and Xoom, which can help when sending money to family and friends in different countries. Depositing cash is available at 1,500 ATMs at Walgreens and CVS, which is far fewer than what some other neobanks provide. Comun partners with Piermont Bank to offer its banking services.
Founded in 2012, the Dutch digital banking firm Bunq plans to enter the U.S. after becoming one of the biggest neobanks in Europe — with the rare combination of having a European bank charter and being profitable. The U.S. account details haven’t been released on its website, but looking at Bunq’s European accounts, there are more than 50 mobile banking features, including the ability to budget and create subaccounts, a Mastercard with the user's chosen name, joint savings accounts, and the ability to have multiple currencies in one place (the core feature of what’s known as a multicurrency account). However, Bunq charges monthly fees on all of its spending accounts, and not all features are available for all accounts. In April 2023, the neobank announced that it has applied for a U.S. bank charter.
Considered the first and only Native-owned neobank, Totem founded its platform in 2022 to help Native Americans better access the mainstream financial system. Applicants sign up with their tribal affiliation, and Totem partners with tribes. The neobank has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, plus it has some typical neobank features such as two-day early direct deposit and free ATM access nationwide. Totem offers its FDIC-insured banking services through its partnership with First Pryority Bank.
We mostly considered neobanks (or fintech banking firms) that have the following: consumer spending and/or savings accounts with no or low monthly fees; clear and useful features that traditional banks don’t often provide; venture funding as a metric for industry interest; and search volume as a metric to gauge consumer interest. Our list focuses on neobanks that we don’t already review for their consumer deposit accounts on our website, followed by a list of neobanks we’ve covered with links to our reviews. In cases where we've reviewed a neobank for different financial offerings, we've typically included the review that focuses on consumer deposit accounts.
Neobanks we’ve reviewed
Standard (nonbank) neobanks
These are fintech firms that follow the trend of partnering with banks to offer FDIC-insured deposit accounts.
Firm (select to read review)
See more information from Chime
Fee-free overdraft program.
Fee-free overdraft program.
High-yield savings account.
Coastal Community Bank.
Business account with no monthly fees.
Choice Financial Group.
Cash-back rewards at Walmart.
Coastal Community Bank.
Business account with no monthly fees.
The Bancorp Bank N.A.
Neobanks that are online banks
Although not typical for neobanks, some end up getting bank charters to operate as banks themselves. So why still call them neobanks? They often have features more like nonbank neobanks than online banks, many of which don’t offer checking accounts.
Digital wallets with banking services
These digital wallets, also known as peer-to-peer transfer apps, expanded into banking with debit cards and early direct deposit services. One note of caution: Not all types of balances at these digital wallets have FDIC insurance, such as in-app balances from sending money. Accounts associated with banking services such as debit cards or direct deposit or check deposit are FDIC insured at partner banks.
Fintech firms with cash management accounts
Some nonbank fintech firms focus on brokerage or investment accounts while also offering a type of banking account called a cash management account. This account often combines features from checking, savings and/or investment accounts.
From credit tracking tools to travel perks, modern checking accounts offer more than their predecessors did. But before getting one, check whether the fintech company is a bank or partners with a bank, and see which features would best serve your financial life.