7 best online banks of 2021 | finder.com

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Best online banks for 2021

We researched over 130 banks and credit unions to bring you the best 7 online banks.

The best online banks offer competitive interest rates, low fees and the digital tools you need to stay on top of your money and pay bills. For our best list, we researched over 130 banks and credit unions to find the best 7 online banks available today. This meant digging into factors like mobile apps, website interfaces and online features, as well as the bank’s overall product range, fees and minimum deposits to open.
What’s changed in 2021?

We added a list of the best online banks across various categories, including checking accounts, savings, small businesses, minimal fees and more. We added CIT Bank to our list as the best online bank for CD rates because it has consistently high APYs across all CD terms.

7 best online banks

BankBest for…Recommended accountMore info
SynchronySavingsSynchrony High Yield SavingsGo to site
DiscoverMinimal feesDiscover Online Savings AccountGo to site
Capital OneChecking accountsCapital One 360 CheckingRead review
TIAA BankSmall businessesTIAA Bank Small Business CheckingRead review
Marcus by Goldman SachsHigh interest ratesMarcus by Goldman Sachs Online SavingsRead review
AllyOnline banking overallAlly Bank Interest CheckingRead review
Quontic BankBest for CD ratesQuontic Bank CDRead review

A closer look at the top online banks

Synchrony

Best for savings

Synchrony is an online-only bank offering competitive interest rates and unique perks like identity theft resolution services and travel discounts.
Pros
  • Strong APY. Earn 0.55% APY on your total balance with a High Yield Savings account.
  • Optional ATM card. Synchrony High Yield Savings account comes with an ATM card so you can withdraw cash from anywhere. If you use an out-of-network ATM, Synchrony reimburses up to $5 a month in fees.
  • Synchrony Perks program. As a Synchrony customer, you enjoy no monthly fees and special access to perks such as identity theft resolution services, discounts and more.
Cons
  • Difficult cash deposits. To deposit cash, you’ll need to get a money order and mail it to Synchrony.
  • Limited customer service. While most online banks have customer service hours on the weekends, Synchrony is only available on weekdays from 7 a.m. to midnight ET.

Discover

Best for minimal fees

Discover is the biggest online-only bank in the country. We’ve crowned it best online bank for minimal fees for one good reason — customers never pay fees for monthly maintenance, insufficient funds, expedited check or debit card deliveries, stop payment orders and more.
Pros
  • Special rewards. Checking account holders earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in eligible purchases each month.
  • Large ATM network. Discover is part of the Allpoint and MoneyPass networks, which gives you free access to over 60,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • Competitive APYs. Across the board, Discover has competitive APYs that consistently rank among the top in the industry.
Cons
  • Small line of products. You won’t find a lot of variety at Discover. The bank only offers one checking, one savings and one money market account. Plus, a small selection of CDs.
  • Difficult cash deposits. Discover has one branch located in Greenwood, Delaware. If you live outside of this area, you won’t be able to deposit cash.

Capital One

Best for checking accounts

Capital One has a saving suite of online banking tools that allow you to pay bills online, make peer-to-peer transfers, mobile deposit checks, manage transactions and set up an Automatic Savings Plan for all your financial goals.

Pros
  • Earns interest. With a Capital One checking account, you’ll earn 0.1% on your total account balance.
  • No monthly fees. All of Capital One‘s checking accounts are free of monthly fees and can be opened with as little as $0.
  • Complimentary credit monitoring. Enroll in CreditWise and get the inside scoop on your credit score and how to improve it.
Cons
  • No 24/7 support. Some online banks offer 24/7 support via phone and chat, but Capital One‘s support window is daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Miscellaneous fees. The checking accounts are low on fees, but expect to pay $20 for overnight check deliveries, $25 for overnight card replacements and $25 for stop payment requests. Plus, you’ll pay a $9 fee if a check bounces due to insufficient funds — even with overdraft protection.
  • Only two accounts. Capital One aims for quality over quantity by only offering two personal checking accounts: one for adults and one for teens.

TIAA Bank

Best for small businesses

TIAA Bank has a wide range of business bank accounts for commercial, nonprofit and small business use. The online banking platform goes way beyond simple cash management by giving you the tools and resources you need to stay organized.
Pros
  • Large ATM network. Use your business debit or ATM card to withdraw cash at over 80,000 ATMs in the Allpoint and MoneyPass networks for free.
  • Minimal fees. Some business accounts are completely are free of monthly fees while you can avoid others by meeting certain balance requirements.
  • Earns interest. Unlike other business checking accounts, most of TIAA Bank‘s accounts reward you with interest.
Cons
  • High opening deposits. You’ll need at least $1,500 to open a TIAA Bank business account.
  • Limited free transactions. Similar to other business accounts, there’s a cap on how many free transactions come with each account. If you go over that limit, you’ll pay a fee.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Best for high interest rates

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is the online-only banking arm of Goldman Sachs. Its online banking platform emphasizes security and simplicity. Plus, all accounts have consistently high APYs and minimal fees.
Pros
  • Competitive interest rates. Enjoy a 0.5% APY on its high-yield online savings account and up to 0.6% APY on Marcus by Goldman Sachs CDs.
  • Security. This bank’s mobile app and online banking platform come with multi-factor authentication, SSL encryption, firewalls and more to help keep your money safe.
  • Daily customer service. Get help seven days a week by phone or live chat.
Cons
  • No ATM access. None of Marcus by Goldman Sachs’ accounts come with an ATM card, so you’ll have to transfer money to an external account before you can withdraw it.
  • No checking accounts. You won’t find any checking accounts here, so it may not be a good option if you’re wanting to keep all your banking under one roof.

Ally

Best overall

Ally takes the cake as best overall bank and best online bank for customer service thanks to its 24/7 phone and live chat support, transparent fees, easy account minimums and competitive APYs. You’ll find a wide range of products here, including checking, savings and CDs.
Pros
  • All accounts earn interest. No matter what account you open with Ally, you’ll earn a competitive interest rate on your total balance.
  • Minimal fees. Ally prides itself on transparency with its “Straight Talk Product Guide”. Every account is free of monthly fees, minimum deposit requirements and incoming wire fees.
  • Free security software. Ally keeps your money safe by giving every customer free security software and an online security guarantee.
Cons
  • No business accounts. Ally doesn’t offer any bank accounts for business owners.
  • Limited access. As with most online banks, Ally doesn’t accept cash deposits and its savings account doesn’t come with an ATM card, which may limit your ability to quickly access funds in your account.

Quontic Bank

Best for CD rates

While some banks may offer high CDs rates for one or two terms, Quontic Bank has consistently competitive APYs across all its CDs. Plus, you only need $500 to open an account, which is lower than opening deposits for CDs at other banks.

Pros
  • Competitive APYs. Enjoy 0.6% interest on six-month terms, 0.65% on one-year terms, 0.7% on two-year terms and 0.75% on three-year terms.
  • $500 opening deposit. Most banks require you to have at least $1,000 to open a CD, but you can get started with just $500 at Quontic Bank.
  • Automatic renewal. Once your CD matures, Quontic Bank will renew it for the same term at your current rate.
Cons
  • Fewer term options. Quontic Bank has CD terms ranging from six months to three years, but some banks have terms going all the way up to 10 years.
  • Early withdrawal penalties. As with most CDs, you’ll pay a penalty if you withdraw funds early — and you could lose some of your initial deposit if your penalty is higher than your earned interest.

How to choose the best online bank for you

When shopping around for the best online bank account, weigh factors like:

  • The website. Is it easy to navigate the bank’s website? Look out for speed, accuracy and convenience. After all, you’ll spend a good bit of your time managing your account online.
  • Range of products. Most people want to keep all their bank accounts under one roof so they’re easier to manage. If that’s you, explore the bank’s complete product line to see if there are multiple accounts that suit your needs.
  • Security and protection. Your bank should publish its security measures online, letting you know how it protects your sensitive information from hackers and phishing. Review this information to make sure your funds are guaranteed against cybercrime.
  • Range of features. The top banks allow you to check your balances, pay off bills and sign up for autopay, among other perks.
  • Financial literacy tools. Many banks offer general information and tools that can help you manage your finances, maximize your savings and budget for the future.
  • Customer service. A good online banking platform should offer phone support or live chat during business hours. Some even offer it 24/7.

Are online banks safe to use?

Yes, most banks are federally insured, which means they’re safe to use. You’d get all your money back if the bank were to fail or go under, typically up to $250,000.

What’s the difference between an online bank and a digital bank?

Online banks are built on traditional banking infrastructure, so they look and feel a lot like traditional accounts, but they have fewer fees and higher interest rates. Digital banks are built on brand new infrastructure, and often have more tech-forward features like early direct deposits and the ability to budget and save for certain goals directly in the mobile app.

Alternatives to online banks

If you’re thinking online banks aren’t for you, here are some alternatives to explore:

  • Prepaid cards. Prepaid cards work like debit cards, allowing you to make purchases and withdraw cash at an ATM. But unlike debit cards, you can’t overdraft with prepaid cards, making them a good option if you need to build good spending habits.
  • Digital banks. Unlike online banks, digital banks utilize new technology to create innovative banking solutions. A digital bank account can sync with your budget, analyze your spending habits and help you save automatically.
  • Mobile banking. Want to do all your banking without ever having to log in to your computer? There are several banks that have feature-rich mobile apps that help you manage your finances from anywhere in the world.

Compare online banks

We gathered a list of popular bank accounts and put them in this interactive table so you can quickly sort and compare your options by APY, minimum deposit to open, ATMs and more.

Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Up to 1.00%
$10
55,000 free in-network ATMs
$0
Deposits are fossil fuel-free. A spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC.
Citibank® Account Package
Citibank® Account Package
0.50%
$0
No access to ATMs
$2.50
Earn a $300 bonus after opening new eligible checking and savings accounts and completing required activities.
HSBC Premier Checking
Finder Rating: 2.7 / 5: ★★★★★
HSBC Premier Checking
0.01%
$1
Free to use at all ATMs in the US
$0
Get a 3% cash bonus in the first six months (up to $600) or $450 welcome bonus when you open your account with qualifying activities. Must open HSBC Premier checking account through offer page by June 30, 2021, and set up qualifying direct deposits into the new account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
Chime Spending account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Spending account
N/A
$0
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$2.50
Get rid of fees with this financial app offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
Axos Bank Essential Checking
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank Essential Checking
N/A
$0
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
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Compare up to 4 providers

$
$
months
Name Product Annual percentage yield (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open Interest earned
American Express® High Yield Savings
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
American Express® High Yield Savings
0.40%
$0
$0
Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account. Accounts offered by American Express National Bank, Member FDIC.
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Aspiration Spend & Save Account

1.00% on $0 to $10,000 but you’ll need to be enrolled in Aspiration Plus and make at least $1,000 in debit card purchases a month
$0 per month or $15 per month for Aspiration Plus ($12.50 per month if you pay annually)
$10
Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and a $100 bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first 60 days.
Chime Savings
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Savings
0.50%
$0
$0
Grow your savings automatically with recurring transfers, round-ups on debit card purchases and 0.5% APY.
Axos Bank High Yield Savings
Finder Rating: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank High Yield Savings
0.61%
$0
$250
No monthly maintenance fees. No minimum balance requirements. Interest compounded daily.
Discover Online Savings Account
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Discover Online Savings Account
0.40%
$0
$0
Take advantage of a high-interest online savings account with no fees, no minimums and more.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Choosing the best online bank for your needs will ensure you’re able to manage your money with ease wherever life takes you. Consider these top # picks and learn more about how online banking works so you know what to expect when you open your account.

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