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Compare the Best Online Checking Accounts of May 2024

  • An online checking account allows you to deposit funds, pay bills and perform other transactions right from your computer or mobile device.
  • Several banks offer online checking accounts with competitive interest rates, cash back and other benefits.
  • Before you choose an account, it’s important to consider your spending habits and general banking needs.
  • Online banks are subject to the same regulations as brick-and-mortar banks, giving you extra peace of mind.

Online checking eliminates the need to visit a bank branch for every transaction, making it one of the most convenient banking services available. But with all the options out there, it can be tough to find the best online checking account for your unique needs.

To make it a little easier, we reviewed some of the best-rated online banks, paying close attention to how their online checking accounts stack up against each other.?

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Which banks have the best online checking accounts for customers with specific needs
  • Why you should consider opening an online checking account
  • How to choose the right online account

Our top picks for the best checking accounts

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Chime Checking Account

Our top picks for the best online checking accounts

Axos Rewards Checking: Best for rewards

Axos Rewards comes with a generous welcome bonus if you meet certain qualifications, making it the best online checking account for consumers who want to maximize their banking rewards. To earn the $300 bonus, you must enter code AXOS300 during the sign-up process, have qualifying direct deposits of $5,000 per month for the first 7 months of account ownership and maintain a minimum average daily balance of $7,000.

Even if you don’t qualify for the bonus, Axos Rewards Checking has many valuable features. For example, you can build your own APY by taking advantage of certain account services, such as receiving at least $1,500 per month in direct deposits or using your debit card for 10 or more transactions per month. We also love that Axos charges no maintenance fees, minimum balance fees or overdraft fees.

Axos Rewards Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
Up to 3.30% depending on account usage None $0

Axos Rewards Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? No maintenance fees
? No minimum balance fees or overdraft fees
? Reimburses fees for all domestic ATMs
? Offers $300 bonus if you meet certain account requirements
? High daily balance required to earn $300 welcome bonus
? Low APY unless you use other Axos services, such as managed portfolios or self-directed trading
? Requires a minimum deposit of $50

Discover Cashback Debit Checking: Best for cash back

The Discover Cashback Debit checking account gives you 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in credit card purchases per month. If you earn the full bonus every month, you’ll get $360 per year in free money, making it easier to meet your financial goals. Discover’s online checking account also has no fees, making it a great fit for budget-conscious consumers.

When you open a Discover Cashback Debit account, you get all the benefits of banking with Discover, including enhanced fraud protection, FDIC insurance protection and the ability to use Google Pay?, Apple Pay? and/or Samsung Pay?. One reason we love this online checking account is that Discover has more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs in its network. Plus, Discover is one of the most trusted banks in the nation, giving customers extra peace of mind.

Discover Cashback Debit Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
N/A $0 $0

Discover Cashback Debit Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? 60,000 fee-free ATMs
? 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases per month (potential earnings of $360 per year)
? Fee-free overdraft protection
? Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit
? No interest earnings
? Limit on cash back
? Doesn’t reimburse account holders for out-of-network ATM usage

Quontic Cash Rewards Checking: Best for account security

Quontic Cash Rewards Checking comes with a slew of security features to protect your hard-earned money. Once you open a Quontic virtual checking account, you can lock and unlock your debit card at any time. For example, if you misplace your card, you can lock it immediately to prevent someone from using it to make unauthorized purchases. Quontic also allows you to log in with facial recognition or fingerprint technology, making your account even more secure.

This digital checking account also gives you 1% cash back on all qualified purchases. For example, if you spend $1,500 in one month, you’ll get $15 cash back. It may not seem like much, but it adds up quickly. Depending on your spending habits, you could earn several hundred dollars per year just for doing your regular shopping. Quontic Cash Rewards Checking also comes with a free credit report, credit monitoring and access to Zelle.

Quontic Cash Rewards Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
N/A $100 $0

Quontic Cash Rewards Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? No monthly maintenance fee
? No minimum balance required to earn cash back
? Robust account security features
? 1% cash back on all qualified debit card purchases
? Doesn’t earn interest
? No brick-and-mortar locations
? No overdraft protection available

SoFi Checking and Savings: Best for earning interest

SoFi Checking and Savings is best for consumers who want to earn as much as they can in interest. If you receive at least $5,000 per month in qualifying direct deposits, you can earn an APY as high as 4.60% on your savings balance and 0.50% on your checking balance, which is much higher than the APYs offered by other online checking banks.

SoFi also makes it easy to save money, as it automatically rounds up every debit card transaction amount, making it a great option if you’re looking for a student checking account. For example, if you spend $4.53, SoFi will round up to $5.00 and deposit the extra 47 cents into your savings account. Every little bit helps, especially when you’re trying to reach specific financial goals. We also love that SoFi covers up to $50 in overdraft charges with no fee as long as you receive a $1,000 direct deposit.

SoFi Checking and Savings: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
Up to 0.50% for checking and 4.60% for savings $0 $0

SoFi Checking and Savings: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? Combines checking and savings, making it easier to manage your money
? APY of up to 4.60% on savings and 0.50% on checking
? 55,000 ATMs in SoFi’s network
? Automatic roundups on all debit purchases
?Charges fees for cash deposits
? No brick-and-mortar locations
? Must receive qualifying direct deposits of $5,000 or more per month to earn highest APYs

LendingClub Rewards Checking: Best for no fees

LendingClub charges no monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees or insufficient funds fees, making it one of the best online banks for checking accounts. Rewards Checking is designed to help your balance grow, as it’s an interest-bearing account that also gives you cash back on qualified purchases. Many banks allow you to earn interest or cash back but not both, making the LendingClub Rewards checking account something special.

Every time you use your debit card to make a qualified purchase, you’ll earn 1% cash back, provided you maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500 or receive at least $2,500 in qualifying direct deposits each month. LendingClub doesn’t cap your cash back, either, so you get 1% back on all qualified purchases. For example, if you spend $5,000, you’ll get $50 back. We love that LendingClub Rewards Checking allows you to earn interest and cash back at the same time.

LendingClub Rewards Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
Up to 0.15% $25 $0

LendingClub Rewards Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? No maintenance fees, minimum balance fees or overdraft fees
? Reimburses ATM fees charged by other banks
? Doesn’t limit the amount of cash back you can earn
? No brick-and-mortar branches
? Can’t earn cash back unless you maintain a $2,500 average daily balance or receive $2,500 per month in direct deposits
? APY is somewhat low

PenFed Credit Union Access America Checking: Best for account management features

If you’re looking for an internet checking account that gives you access to a brick-and-mortar credit union, take a look at PenFed Credit Union Access America Checking. There’s a $10 monthly fee, but PenFed will waive that fee if you maintain a $500 daily balance or receive at least $500 per month in direct deposits. Accounts with balances under $20,000 earn an APY of 0.15%, while accounts with balances of $20,000 to $50,000 earn 0.35%.

We especially love that Access America Checking comes with several tools to help you manage your account. For example, you can use the mobile app to check your balance, deposit checks and view recent transactions. PenFed also has 85,000 fee-free ATMs and 50 brick-and-mortar locations.

PenFed Credit Union Access America Checking: An overview

APY Minimum deposit required Monthly maintenance fee
0.15% to 0.35%, depending on account balance $25 $10; waived with $500 minimum daily balance or $500 per month in qualifying direct deposits

PenFed Credit Union Access America Checking: Pros and cons

Pros Cons
? 50 brick-and-mortar locations in case you prefer to do some banking in person
? Excellent account management features, including a mobile app
? Easy to avoid monthly service fee
? Access Checking customers earn 2% cash back with the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature? credit card
? Low APY for balances below $20,000
? Monthly service charge if you don’t meet the balance/direct deposit requirement
? No sign-up bonus

What is an online checking account?

An online checking account is a bank account that allows you to perform transactions online instead of having to travel to a bank branch or ATM location. It works just like a regular checking account, as you can deposit funds, transfer money to other accounts, write checks and complete other transactions.

Online checking accounts often include the following features:

Pros and cons of online checking accounts

Like any other banking product, online checking accounts have several pros and cons. Keep these in mind to help you choose the best checking account for you.

Pros
  • 24/7 access to your account
  • Some accounts earn interest or offer cash back
  • Lower fees than traditional bank accounts
  • May come with free credit monitoring or other personal finance tools
  • No need to visit a bank branch
  • Covered by FDIC insurance
  • Typically have higher APYs than brick-and-mortar banks
Cons
  • No face-to-face customer service
  • Increased risk of security breaches due to frequent logins
  • May be difficult to deposit cash
  • Some banks offer limited account options, so you may have to use multiple banks to get the combination of services and rates you need

How to choose the best online checking account

Ultimately, the best online checking account depends on your banking needs and personal preferences.

Consider the following when you’re shopping for an online checking account:

How to open an online checking account

The application process varies from bank to bank.

However, you typically fill out an application, provide some personal information and make your opening deposit. You may have to provide your driver’s license, passport or another document to verify your identity. Additional documentation may be needed to open a joint online checking account or an online business checking account.? The application takes just a few minutes, but it may take several days for the bank to verify your information and process your initial deposit.

How do I deposit cash with an online checking account?

Some online banks allow you to deposit cash at ATMs. Other banks don’t allow cash deposits, so you’ll have to transfer money from a linked account or deposit a check instead. If you are looking for a checking account where you can deposit cash, you may be better suited to a checking account from a brick and mortar bank such as a Chase checking account.

Our top picks for the best checking accounts

FAQ: Best online checking account

Who has the best online checking account?

It depends on your needs and personal preferences. A bank that offers a high APY may offer a limited number of personal finance tools. Conversely, a bank with robust account management features may offer a low APY or no APY at all.

Are online bank accounts trustworthy?

Yes. Online banks must follow the same regulations as brick-and-mortar banks. Many online banks also qualify for FDIC coverage, giving customers extra peace of mind.

Can you open a checking account entirely online?

Yes, it’s possible to open a checking account entirely online. You may have to submit identity documents via email, but you shouldn’t have to visit a branch.

Do online banks offer debit cards?

Yes, many online banks offer debit cards, including Axos and SoFi.

How do I get cash with an online bank?

Many online banks have thousands of ATMs in their networks. If you need cash, simply visit an ATM and use your debit card to make a withdrawal.

Leigh Morgan
Leigh Morgan Personal Finance

Leigh Morgan is a seasoned personal finance contributor with over 15 years of experience writing on a diverse range of professional legal and financial topics. She specializes in subjects like navigating the complexities of insurance, savings, zero-based budgeting and emergency fund development.

In the last five years, she’s authored over 300 articles for credit unions, digital banks, and financial professionals. Morgan is also the author of “77 Tips for Preventing Elder Financial Abuse,” a book focused on helping caregivers protect the elderly from financial scams.

In addition to her writing skills, she brings real-world financial acumen thanks to her previous experience managing rental properties as part of a $34 million real estate portfolio.

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