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8 Best Online Checking Accounts of 2024

The best online checking accounts offer special features and good remote customer service.

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Written by Chanelle Bessette
Lead Writer
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Edited by Sara Clarke
Assistant Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

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To open an online checking account, you'll want to look at what's offered by online banks, credit unions and nonbank financial institutions. The best online checking accounts have low or no fees and higher interest rates than traditional banks do, in part because of the money online banks save by not operating branches.

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.)

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.

Here are our favorite online checking accounts.

APYs shown are current as of July 22, 2024. All other information is current as of Jan. 5, 2024.

To open an online checking account, you'll want to look at what's offered by online banks, credit unions and nonbank financial institutions. The best online checking accounts have low or no fees and higher interest rates than traditional banks do, in part because of the money online banks save by not operating branches.

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.)

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.

Here are our favorite online checking accounts.

APYs shown are current as of July 22, 2024. All other information is current as of Jan. 5, 2024.

Best Online Checking Accounts

ELIGIBLE FOR REWARD

Our pick for

Online Checking Accounts

ELIGIBLE FOR $100 IN REWARDS
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
SoFi Checking and Savings
Learn more

at SoFi Bank, N.A., Member FDIC

APY

0.50%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$300

Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

Monthly fee

$0

Overdraft star rating

5.0/5

Why We Like It

SoFi offers a strong interest rate in addition to cash-back opportunities and a bonus.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: A strong 0.50% APY on all balances and an opportunity to earn a bonus between $50 and $300 depending on your direct deposit total in your first 30 days.

Other pros: Customers can also earn up to 15% cash back when they make purchases with their SoFi debit card, and they can use more than 55,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs. SoFi customers can insure their deposits on up to $2 million by enrolling in the SoFi Insured Deposit Program, which is a much higher limit than the typical $250,000 of FDIC insurance offered by banks.

What you should know: SoFi’s account is a combination of checking and savings features, so you can’t open an individual checking account or individual savings account with SoFi. However, the checking and savings balances can be separated, and customers can create subaccounts called Vaults.

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
Axos Bank® Rewards Checking
APY

3.30%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$500

Earn up to $500 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

Monthly fee

$0

Overdraft star rating

4.5/5

Why We Like It

Axos Bank Rewards Checking has 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 3.30% APY on balances up to $50,000, but you'll have to jump through some hoops.

Other pros: Axos has another checking account that you could open in addition to Rewards Checking: CashBack Checking. This account has a rewards program that gives you up to 1% cash back (up to $2,000 per month) on debit card transactions that require your signature, if you keep an average daily balance of at least $1,500. 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 0.99% for each of the following: having average daily balance of $2,500 in a managed investment portfolio and having an average daily balance of $2,500 in a self-directed portfolio. You'll earn another 0.60% for making a monthly Axos consumer loan payment from Rewards Checking.

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
Discover® Cashback Debit
Learn more

at Discover® Bank, Member FDIC

APY

N/A

Bonus

$360

Up to $360 per year. See website for details.

Monthly fee

$0

Overdraft star rating

4.5/5

Why We Like It

Discover® Bank offers a strong cash-back benefit and large ATM network.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: Discover® Cashback Debit customers can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.

Other pros: Customers also have access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs and direct deposit up to two days early. Discover also offers a free overdraft protection service.

What you should know: If you haven’t set up overdraft protection, Discover will decline any transaction that would overdraft your account.

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
Ally Bank Spending Account
APY

0.10%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Monthly fee

$0

Overdraft star rating

5.0/5

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. 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, solid mobile apps and exceptional customer service. You can contact Ally via phone, real-time chat and email.

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 to do a mobile check deposit.

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
nbkc bank Everything Account
APY

1.75%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Monthly fee

$0

Overdraft star rating

4.0/5

Why We Like It

NBKC has a strong APY, a large ATM network and a solid ATM fee reimbursement program.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: Customers earn 1.75% APY on all balances.

Other pros: Customers have access to more than 37,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATMs as well as $12 a month in out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements.

What you should know: NBKC doesn’t have an overdraft program, which means you aren’t able to make any transactions that would result in an overdraft.

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
LendingClub Rewards Checking
APY

0.10%

With $2,500 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Monthly fee

$0

Overdraft star rating

4.0/5

Why We Like It

LendingClub offers a strong cash-back rate and customers get unlimited ATM fee rebates.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: Customers earn unlimited 1% cash back on all qualified, signature-based “credit” purchases as long as they maintain an average monthly balance of at least $2,500 or receive at least $2,500 in direct deposits each month.

Other pros: Customers receive unlimited ATM fee rebates.

What you should know: There’s a $25 minimum opening deposit for this account.

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
American Express Rewards Checking
APY

1.00%

Bonus

N/A

Monthly fee

$0

Overdraft star rating

3.5/5

Why We Like It

American Express checking customers can earn a strong interest rate, and they have access to a large free ATM network.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: American Express Rewards Checking customers can earn 1.00% APY.

Other pros: American Express is part of the MoneyPass ATM network, so customers have access to more than 37,000 fee-free ATMs. Customers can reach AmEx customer service 24/7.

What you should know: This account is only available to credit card customers who have had an American Express U.S. Basic Consumer credit card for at least three months. Also, American Express does not offer overdraft protection; if you try to make a transaction without enough funds in your checking account, American Express will decline it.

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
Schwab Bank Investor Checking™
APY

0.45%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

N/A

Monthly fee

$0

Overdraft star rating

4.5/5

Why We Like It

Charles Schwab Bank’s checking account offers one of the best ATM fee reimbursement programs, and customers can earn some interest on their balances.

Monthly fee: None.

Special features: Charles Schwab Bank offers unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide and no foreign transaction fees, which makes the account an excellent option for frequent travelers.

Other pros: Customers can earn 0.45% APY on this checking account, and Charles Schwab Bank doesn’t charge overdraft fees.

What you should know: There is no way to make cash deposits. Customers can add money to their account via direct deposit, mobile check deposit, electronic transfer, wire transfer or by mailing a check.

The pros of online checking accounts

  • 24/7 access. With online banking, you can access your account securely anytime.

  • 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? See 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 can sometimes 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 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.

Last updated on July 22, 2024

Methodology

We took a close look at over 90 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.

Financial institutions and providers surveyed are: Affirm, All America Bank, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, Amalgamated Bank, America First Credit Union, American Express National Bank, Andrews Federal Credit Union, Associated Bank, Axos Bank, Bank of America, Bank5 Connect, Bank7, Barclays, Bask Bank, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, BMO, BMO Alto, Boeing Employees Credit Union, Bread Savings, BrioDirect, Capital One, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, Chime, CIBC U.S., CIT Bank, Citibank, Citizens, Citizens Bank, City First Bank, Climate First Bank, Commerce Bank, Community First Credit Union of Florida, ConnectOne Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Current, Delta Community Credit Union, Discover Bank, E*TRADE, EverBank (formerly TIAA Bank), Fifth Third Bank, First Foundation, First National Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Flagstar Bank, FNBO Direct, Global Credit Union, GO2bank, Golden 1 Credit Union, Greenwood, Hope Credit Union, Huntington Bank, Industrial Bank, Ivy Bank, KeyBank, Lake Michigan Credit Union, LendingClub Bank, Liberty Bank, Live Oak Bank, M&T Bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBKC, One, OneUnited Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Popular Direct, Quontic Bank, Regions Bank, Revolut, Salem Five Direct, Sallie Mae Bank, Santander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Securityplus Federal Credit Union, Self-Help Credit Union, Service Credit Union, SoFi, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, Suncoast Credit Union, Synchrony Bank, TAB Bank, TD Bank, Truist Bank, U.S. Bank, UFB Direct, Upgrade, USAA Bank, Varo, Vio Bank, Wells Fargo and Zynlo Bank.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Online Checking Accounts of 2024

Frequently asked questions