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15 Best Online Checking Accounts of 2021

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The best online banks, nonbanks and credit unions offer checking accounts with fewer fees and higher interest rates than traditional banks do, in part because of the money they save by not operating branches.

Why trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our coverage to help you choose the financial accounts that work best for you. See our criteria for evaluating banks and credit unions.

These accounts are secure, backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or the National Credit Union Administration. (Although they are not technically banks, nonbanks offer most of the same services that traditional institutions do.)

Here are our favorite online checking accounts.

Summary of Best Online Checking Accounts of 2021

Capital One 360 Checking
Learn more

at Capital One, Member FDIC

Capital One 360 Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Capital One 360 Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.10%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Capital One, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Capital One’s checking account earns interest and has no minimum balance.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: The checking rate is 0.10% APY for any balance.

Other pros: 360 Checking account holders have free access to over 70,000 Capital One, Allpoint® and MoneyPass® ATMs nationwide, and a handful of Capital One locations. The bank’s mobile app is highly rated as well.

What you should know: Capital One recently added a feature that can give you access to your direct-deposited paycheck up to two days early.

Click Learn More for additional account disclosures.

Read Full Review
Chime Spending Account
Learn more

at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Chime Spending Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Chime Spending Account

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Chime is a mobile-only financial service that has no overdraft fees, plus a feature that lets certain customers overdraw as much as negative $200 without a fee.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: In addition to its consumer-friendly overdraft program, Chime has two automatic savings programs. One lets you round up every debit card transaction to the nearest dollar and automatically transfer the difference to your Chime Savings account. The other allows you to choose a percentage of your paycheck that automatically gets transferred into savings. Chime says: "Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the round up from your Chime Spending Account to into your savings account. Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Spending Account into your savings account."

Other pros: Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees or require a minimum balance. Customers can use over 38,000 free ATMs through two networks, MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance, and can receive their direct deposit up to two days early (early access to direct deposit funds depends on payer). If you need to write a check, Chime has a free online feature that creates and mails one on your behalf.

What you should know: Chime charges $2.50 for ATMs outside its partner network (cash withdrawal and third-party fees may apply). And for cash deposits, you’ll need to use a third-party service, such as Green Dot, to fund your account and typically pay a fee.

Read Full Review
One Spend
Learn more

at One, Deposits are FDIC Insured

One Spend

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
One Spend

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at One, Deposits are FDIC Insured


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Customers of One Finance, a nonbank financial institution, can organize money in linked sub-accounts called "pockets," whether for paying bills or saving toward goals. One Finance also gives customers access to a large ATM network.

Monthly fee: None

Special features: Customers start off with three pockets: Spend, Save and Auto-Save and can create more to customize their experience. Save and Auto-Save pockets earn interest. Save pockets earn 1.00% APY on up to $5,000 in balances, or $25,000 with paycheck direct deposit. The Auto-Save pocket earns 3.00% APY. When you use your debit card, purchases are rounded up to the next dollar, and the difference is deposited in Auto-Save. Customers can also have a portion of their direct deposit paycheck dropped into Auto-Save.

Other pros: One Finance is part of the Allpoint network, which gives customers access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs.

What you should know: One Finance doesn’t offer certificates of deposit, and phone customer service is available only on weekdays.

Read Full Review
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking
Learn more

at Alliant Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.25%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Alliant Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Unlike most credit unions, Alliant makes it easy to apply for membership and take advantage of its interest checking and high-quality digital tools. If you don’t meet its other eligibility requirements, you can qualify by supporting an Alliant-affiliated nonprofit at no cost to you.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: 0.25% APY. To be eligible for this rate, you must opt out of paper statements and make at least one electronic deposit to your account each month.

Other pros: You’ll have access to over 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs and up to $20 monthly in out-of-network ATM fee refunds.

What you should know:  Alliant doesn’t participate in shared branching and doesn’t have many physical locations, so you’ll probably have to take care of most tasks online. That may not be an issue, though, because Alliant’s digital tools are better than those offered by most other credit unions. (Alliant also has a great high-yield savings account.)

Read Full Review
Axos Bank® Rewards Checking
Learn more

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC

Axos Bank® Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Axos Bank® Rewards Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.00%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Like some other Axos Bank checking accounts, the Rewards Checking has great perks: no overdraft fees and no monthly fees, plus domestic ATM fee reimbursements.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: With Rewards Checking, you also can earn up to 1.00% APY on balances up to $50,000, but you'll have to jump through some hoops.

Other pros: Axos also has a CashBack Checking rewards program that gives you 1% cash back on debit card transactions that require your signature, if you keep at least $1,500 as the average daily balance. If your account falls below that, you earn 0.50% cash back instead.

What you should know: To begin earning interest, the bank requires at least $1,500 in monthly direct deposits. That earns 0.40%. Once you meet that requirement, you can earn an additional 0.30% if you make 10 debit card purchases — with a minimum of $3 per transaction — or sign up for the Account Aggregation/Personal Finance Manager tool. You can also earn an additional 0.10% for each of the following: having average daily balance of $2,500 in a managed investment portfolio, having an average daily balance of $2,500 in a self-directed portfolio and making a monthly Axos consumer loan payment from Rewards Checking.

Read Full Review
LendingClub Rewards Checking
Learn more

at LendingClub Bank, Member FDIC

LendingClub Rewards Checking

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
LendingClub Rewards Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.10%

With $2,500 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at LendingClub Bank, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

LendingClub offers a Rewards Checking account that combines a competitive interest rate and cash-back rewards. It also has unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, a rare perk, and up to two-day early direct deposit.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: You get an unlimited 1% cash back on spending with your debit card. And the interest rate has two tiers, 0.10% and 0.15% annual percentage yield, depending on your account balance.

Other pros: LendingClub belongs to the surcharge-free NYCE and MoneyPass ATM networks, and it doesn’t charge out-of-network ATM fees.

What you should know: You need at least $2,500 in your account to take advantage of earning interest or cash back. The cash-back perk also requires at least $2,500 in direct deposits. The interest rate of 0.10% APY applies to balances from $2,500 to $99,999; 0.15% APY applies to balances above that, but if you have that much cash on hand, consider investing it instead.

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Quontic High Interest Checking
Learn more

at Quontic Bank, Member FDIC

Quontic High Interest Checking

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Quontic High Interest Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

1.01%

With $0.01 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Quontic Bank, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Quontic Bank has three checking account options, each with an enticing benefit: high interest, cash rewards and bitcoin rewards.

Monthly fee: None

Special features: The high-interest checking account has a rate of 1.01% APY on balances up to $150,000 for customers who make 10 debit card purchases monthly. For accounts with higher deposits that meet the monthly qualification requirements, the rate is 0.35% APY on balances up to $1 million. With cash rewards checking, customers can earn 1.50% cash back on debit card purchases. The bitcoin rewards option earns 1.50% on qualifying debit card purchases, with rewards you can convert to bitcoin.

Other pros: Quontic gives customers free access to more than 90,000 ATMs in the U.S.

What you should know: There’s a monthly inactivity fee of $10 that begins after a year if you don’t make any transactions with your account. Also, there is only one way to deposit cash in a Quontic account: by visiting the Quontic branch and ATM in New York. Otherwise, customers will need to make online transfers, direct deposits or mobile check deposit to fund their accounts. The account also has a $35 overdraft fee.

Read Full Review
Varo Bank Account
Learn more

at Varo, Member FDIC

Varo Bank Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Varo Bank Account

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Varo, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Varo Bank is a mobile banking app with an online banking account that doesn’t charge monthly fees and a savings account with a competitive rate.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: The Varo banking account is a particularly good deal: With no foreign transaction fees and an international ATM network (including 55,000 Allpoint ATMs in the U.S. and abroad), it’s among the best deals for international travelers.

Other pros: Spend most of your time stateside? Varo is still a solid deal. It doesn’t charge monthly service fees or overdraft fees.

What you should know: Varo Bank doesn’t have branches, so adding cash takes some extra steps. You need to visit a retailer that is part of the Green Dot network, such as CVS and 7-Eleven, and pay a fee of up to $5.95 to deposit cash at the register.

Read Full Review

nbkc bank Everything Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
nbkc bank Everything Account

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.15%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

NBKC offers a solid 0.15% APY on its Everything Account, which combines checking and savings features in one account.

Monthly fee: None

Special features: The Everything Account has a feature called “Goals.” Goals are sub-accounts that allow you to put money away for different purposes, such as a down payment for a house, an emergency fund or a vacation. No minimum balance is required to earn interest. Customers also have access to a “Financial Snapshot,” which can aggregate NBKC and external account activity to give users a look at their spending and help them set budgets for different categories.

Other pros: NBKC is part of the MoneyPass network, which gives customers access to 34,000 fee-free ATMs.

What you should know: NBKC provides account support only via phone on weekdays.

Read Full Review

Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.10%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Ally is an online-only bank with a no-fee checking account with a notable rate and a high-yield savings account. And Ally reimburses up to $10 in out-of-network ATM fees monthly.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: Ally’s Interest Checking has a rate of 0.10% APY for balances below $15,000; 0.25% APY for balances of $15,000 and above.

Other pros: Ally has more than 43,000 surcharge-free Allpoint ATMs, highly rated mobile apps and exceptional customer service. You can contact Ally via phone, real-time chat, messaging and Twitter. You can pair your Ally checking with its savings account, which is among the accounts with the highest yields.

What you should know: There isn’t a way to deposit cash into an Ally account. Customers must either choose a direct deposit, online transfer or wire transfer or buy a money order and do a mobile check deposit.

Read Full Review

Bank5 Connect High Interest Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Bank5 Connect High Interest Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.20%

With $100 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

The checking account at Bank5 Connect, online branch of Massachusetts-based Bank Five, has a high rate and ATM fee reimbursements of up to $15 per month.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: The rate for High-Interest Checking is 0.20% APY and the minimum to earn interest is $100.

Other pros: Account perks include free checks and no ATM fees by the bank. Bank5 Connect also has a highly rated savings account.

What you should know: Online bank statements are free, but there’s a $1 monthly fee for paper statements.

Read Full Review

Nationwide Interest Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Nationwide Interest Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.10%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Nationwide’s Interest Checking account is serviced by Axos Bank and offers a decent 0.10% APY, which is higher than the national average.

Monthly fee: None

Special features: Customers can access their direct deposit paychecks up to two days early and get up to $30 per month in ATM fee reimbursements.

Other pros: Nationwide’s overdraft fee is $25, which is lower than what some competitors charge.

What you should know: You can make cash deposits at ATMs in the Green Dot network, but the service could cost you up to $4.95. Customers in the Columbus, Ohio, area can use the bank’s one branch.

Read Full Review

TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.10%

With $100 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

TIAA’s Yield Pledge Checking offers a decent 0.10% APY and is part of the large MoneyPass and Allpoint ATMs networks, although it also offers a generous ATM fee reimbursement program.

Monthly fee: None

Special features: For accounts with a daily average balance of less than $5,000, the bank will reimburse up to $15 a month in non-network ATM fees. Reimbursements are unlimited for balances above that threshold.

Other pros: TIAA offers free overdraft transfers from a linked account or line of credit.

What you should know: For customers who overdraft and don’t cover the cost of a transaction from an outside source, the non-sufficient funds fee is $30.

Read Full Review

USAA Bank Classic Checking

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
USAA Bank Classic Checking

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.01%

With $1,000 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

USAA caters to military servicemembers and their families, and its checking account provides great ATM access, no monthly fees and early paydays for active military.

Monthly fee: None

Special features: Active military members can get paid a day early if they have their paycheck direct deposit linked to their USAA account.

USAA customers have access to more than 60,000 USAA-preferred ATMs where the first 10 withdrawals per month are free ($2 after that), or they can use 1,200 USAA-branded ATMs for free. USAA also doesn’t charge an overdraft transfer fee for customers who link another USAA checking or savings account to cover the overdraft.

What you should know: USAA’s Classic Checking account has a low interest rate, the minimum to open an account is $25, and non-sufficient funds fees are $29 and can be charged up to three times a day.

Read Full Review
Discover Bank Cashback Debit
Learn more

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Cashback Debit

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Cashback Debit

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

N/A

Bonus

N/A
Learn more

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC


Bonus

N/A

Why we like it

Discover Bank’s checking account lets you earn cash back on certain purchases, and you’ll also have access to 60,000 free ATMs.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: With Discover’s Cashback Debit account, you’ll get 1% cash back on qualifying debit card purchases of up to $3,000 a month.

Other pros: Discover also has a top-rated high-yield online savings account.

What you should know: There is only one physical branch location, in Greenwood, Delaware, so national customers have to be OK with not having face-to-face customer service.

The company says: “ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, peer-to-peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as Venmo® and PayPal™, which also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple, the Apple logo and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries."

See Discover's website for more details.

Read Full Review

The pros of online checking accounts

  • 24/7 access. With online banking, you can access your account securely day or night.

  • Fewer fees. Online checking accounts tend to charge fewer fees than traditional banks since online providers have lower overhead.

  • User-friendly technology. Online providers typically have well-designed websites and mobile apps for doing your banking, including tasks such as depositing checks and paying bills.

» Looking for online banks with top overall ratings? Check out NerdWallet's list of Best Online Banks

The cons of online checking accounts

  • No in-person customer service. Online institutions typically don’t have branches, which may be a deal-breaker for customers who prefer face-to-face assistance.

  • Cash deposits sometimes can be difficult. Some online banks and nonbanks work with ATM networks to allow cash deposits, but others allow only mobile check deposits, direct deposit or electronic transfer from other banking accounts.

How do I withdraw and deposit cash with an online checking account?

Options for depositing cash at an online provider usually include using a deposit-accepting ATM or putting cash into a traditional bank account and transferring that money to your online account. You could also convert the cash into a money order, which you might be able to deposit electronically using your online provider's mobile app.

Get answers about stimulus checks, debt relief, changing travel policies and managing your finances.

Last updated on July 1, 2021

You may also like these

People often identify opening a savings account as their next money move.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

APY

0.50%
With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Online Savings

APY

0.40%
With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

$200
Requirements to qualify

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings

APY

0.55%
With $100 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at Alliant Credit Union, Federally insured by the NCUA

Methodology

We took a close look at over 70 financial institutions, 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.

Financial institutions surveyed are: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Associated Bank, Axos Bank, Bank5 Connect, Bank7, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA, BMO Harris, Boeing Employees Credit Union, Capital One 360, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIBC U.S., CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens Access, Citizens Bank, Comenity Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, E*TRADE Bank, Fifth Third Bank, First Foundation Bank, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Flagstar Bank, FNBO Direct, GoBank, Golden 1 Credit Union, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, HSBC Bank, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, LendingClub, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Nationwide Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Redneck Bank, Regions Bank, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, State Employees' Credit Union of North Carolina, Suncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony Bank, TAB Bank, TCF Bank, TD Bank, TIAA Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Union Bank, USAA, Varo, Vio Bank, Wells Fargo, Woodforest National Bank and Zions Bank.

Frequently asked questions