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Best Online Checking Accounts of 2022

Katie Stiner

An online checking account is available as a low-cost banking product that comes with multiple benefits to help manage your day-to-day finances. We’ve evaluated the top options based on fees, minimums, APY, customer service, digital experience, and overall quality.

Get paid up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit*

$0

Monthly Fee

0%

Est. APY

Overview

Chime will not charge you a monthly fee and does not require a minimum balance to avoid maintenance fees.

What we like

  • No maintenance fees
  • Receive deposits up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit*
  • Easy eligibility and quick application process
  • Send paper checks from mobile app
  • Fee-free overdraft up to $200 for eligible members1

What we don't

  • No physical branches
  • No interest on balance

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

1Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

*Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

Easy to use mobile app

$0

Monthly Fee

0%

Est. APY

Overview

Current is a financial technology company that provides banking services through Choice Financial Group, a member of the FDIC.

What we like

  • Free overdraft up to $200
  • No hidden fees
  • Fast direct deposits
  • Cashback rewards
  • Easy to use mobile app
  • Get paid up to 2 days earlier

What we don't

  • Savings account APY limited to first $6,000
  • No physical branches

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by and Visa® Debit Card issued by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

Teen accounts do not earn points

The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for Current Interest is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of April 1, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in Savings Pods to earn Current Interest on up to $2000 in deposits per Savings Pod up to $6000 total. Please refer to Current Interest Terms and Conditions

Out of network cash withdrawal fees, third-party, and adding cash fees may apply.

Faster access to funds is based on comparison of traditional banking policies and deposit of paper checks from employers and government agencies versus deposits made electronically. Direct deposit and earlier availability of funds is subject to timing of payer’s submission of deposits.

Please refer to Overdrive™ Features Terms and Conditions.

Extensive branch and ATM access throughout the nation

$0 - $12

Monthly Fee

0%

Est. APY

Overview

Chase provides you with an easy-to-use online banking and mobile app service to help you manage your account day-to-day. In addition, with branches across the U.S., you can receive personalized support at a location convenient for you.

What we like

  • Extensive branch and ATM network
  • Online banking and mobile app services
  • $0 minimum deposit requirement
  • $12 monthly fee can be waived
  • Send and receive money with Zelle

What we don't

  • No ATM fee reimbursements
  • Overdraft and insufficient funds fee

Full service online banking

$0

Monthly Fee

1.25%

Est. APY

Overview

This checking account is great because you won't have to worry about paying monthly fees if your balance goes to $0. Not only that, Axos Bank reimburses fees charged by domestics ATMs. When opening an account, you only need to deposit $50 to open it but it can be removed without any issues and fees. To get the high APY, you need to deposit $1000+ monthly and make 15 debit card transactions a month.

What we like

  • No monthly service fee
  • No minimum deposit for no fee
  • Competitive interest rate
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements
  • Full service online banking

What we don't

  • No physical branches
  • Conditions to qualify for higher APY

Socially-conscious and sustainable financial services

$0 - $7.99

Monthly Fee

3.00%

Est. APY

Overview

Aspiration guarantees that none of the funds is ever used to fund fossil fuel projects or non-environmentally friendly projects. Aspiration’s acute focus on environmentally friendly practices will align with your views if you are environmentally conscious.

What we like

  • Funds socially responsible projects
  • No hidden fees
  • Up to 5% cashback on select merchants
  • User friendly mobile app
  • High APY

What we don't

  • $1000/m spend required to get APY
  • Cashback limited to few merchants

No monthly service and maintenance fees

$0

Monthly Fee

1.10%

Est. APY

Overview

Quontic helps maximize your savings, while managing everyday finances, by paying a high rate on your entire account balance. To qualify for the interest rate, you have to make a minimum of 10 qualifying point of sale debit card transactions that are at least $10 each, per statement cycle

What we like

  • No monthly service fee
  • No minimum deposit for no fee
  • High interest rate
  • Expansive no-fee ATM network
  • Full service online banking

What we don't

  • Minimum deposit of $100 to open account
  • Condition to qualify for interest

Why should you open an online checking account?

Here are some reasons why you should consider opening an online checking account:

  • Usually, no overdraft fees: If you don’t want to risk overdrawing your account and getting hit with a fee, most online banks don’t charge a fee if you accidentally spend more money than is available in your account.
  • Usually, no ATM fees: Online banks partner with other financial institutions, so you can use their ATMs at no cost to you. In addition, some large banks will reimburse you for ATM fees charged by other banks, and some online banks don’t charge their customers any fees for using out-of-network ATMs.
  • Accessibility: With a traditional checking account, you’re generally limited to your local bank or credit union’s branch locations. Not so with an online account. You can use ATMs, send money and make deposits from anywhere. Most online banks offer an extensive network of surcharge-free ATMs, and many will reimburse you for any ATM fees charged by other banks. Many online banks also have apps that let you manage your accounts, pay bills, and deposit checks using your smartphone or tablet.
  • Better interest rates and lower fees: Online checking accounts usually offer higher interest rates than traditional ones because they don’t need to support physical branches and their associated overhead costs. That can help your funds grow faster when they’re not in use. Since online banks don’t bear the cost of maintaining brick-and-mortar branches, they can pass the savings along in the form of lower fees. Some even offer free checking with no minimum balance requirements.
  • Digital customer service: Online banks focus on providing excellent service over an accessible web interface or smartphone app, not a physical location where you can talk to someone face-to-face.
  • Security: Online banking is extremely secure because of built-in encryption for all transactions and information stored in your account. The biggest risk comes from falling for scams that appear to come from legitimate sources but are intended to steal your identity or money.

What do you need to open an online checking account?

Opening a checking account online is simple and should take less than 10 minutes. You need to provide some basic information about yourself and be at least 18 years old. The information you may be asked for includes your name, address, and Social Security number. You’ll also need a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, or identification card.

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

Every online bank provides multiple ways to get your money into and out of your account. The best options depend on how much cash you have to deposit or withdraw.

Deposits

Deposits can be made in various ways:

  • ATM deposits: It’s possible to deposit cash at some ATMs. Some banks’ ATMs are part of networks that are free for customers.
  • Mobile deposits: You can make mobile check deposits with apps from many banks.
  • Using a teller: Online banks that are part of larger banking organizations also have a network of branches where you can make deposits and withdrawals. But there might be fees if an online-only bank holds your account.

Withdrawals

Online checking accounts usually come with a debit card that you can use to withdraw money from any ATM. You can also visit a branch of your bank or one of its partners if it has any. Online banks also have come up with apps that can make it easy to access your money through digital transfers.

What are the common online checking account fees?

Here are some of the most common fees you might encounter with online checking accounts:

  • Minimum balance fees: Some traditional banks will charge you if your balance drops below a certain amount. An online checking account is typically more flexible when it comes to minimums.
  • ATM fees: Many online checking accounts have free ATM networks or reimbursements for ATM fees.
  • Monthly maintenance fees: Monthly maintenance fees are common with traditional banks but less with online banks. You may be able to waive some or all monthly maintenance fees by maintaining a certain minimum balance in the account or opting out of paper statements and signing up for e-statements instead.
  • Overdraft fees: If your bank lets the transaction go through, it may charge an overdraft fee for each overdraft transaction.
  • Stop payment order fee: This is a common checking account fee that occurs when you request that your bank stop a check from being processed.

Are online checking accounts safe and trustworthy?

Online checking accounts are not different from traditional checking accounts at big banks. You deposit money, get a debit card, and earn interest based on your balance. The only real difference is that online checking accounts operate entirely online.

Online checking accounts are as safe as their traditional counterparts. Most are insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which protects deposits. While all FDIC-insured institutions must follow certain rules and guidelines to receive coverage (and some exceptions), the FDIC covers bank accounts up to usually $250,00.

Do online checking accounts offer debit cards?

You have to check with the bank if they offer debit cards, but most online institutions will provide a debit card. Some banks will offer debit cards linked to your checking account only, and others will offer a Visa or Mastercard debit card. The benefit of having a Visa or Mastercard debit card is the ability to use it at any online retailer and not just the bank’s ATM.

Most online banks will also require you to use a secondary bank for ATM withdrawals from your online checking account because they don’t have their physical branches.

How to choose the best online checking accounts

Here are some factors to consider when choosing an online checking account:

  • Interest rates: Some accounts offer competitive interest rates, but you usually have to meet certain requirements, such as making a certain number of transactions per month or keeping a minimum balance. If you can’t meet the requirements, you won’t earn any interest.
  • Minimum balance requirement: Some checking accounts charge monthly fees if your balance falls below a certain amount. If you tend to keep a low balance, make sure to choose an account with no minimum balance requirement
  • Transaction and withdrawal limits: Online banks often limit the number of withdrawals and transfers you can make per month. If you regularly exceed these limits, choose an online bank that doesn’t place restrictions on your transactions.
  • Fees: Make sure you know the fee structure. Sometimes you can avoid certain fees by keeping certain balances or performing certain tasks such as direct deposit or setting up automatic payments.
  • ATM access: Not all online banks reimburse ATM surcharges or provide access to the same national networks of ATMs. Make sure that your choice has locations convenient for you.