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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.
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
|Bank||Best for…||Recommended account||More info|
|Synchrony||Savings||Synchrony High Yield Savings||Go to site|
|Discover||Minimal fees||Discover Online Savings Account||Go to site|
|Capital One||Checking accounts||Capital One 360 Checking||Read review|
|TIAA Bank||Small businesses||TIAA Bank Small Business Checking||Read review|
|Marcus by Goldman Sachs||High interest rates||Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings||Read review|
|Ally||Online banking overall||Ally Bank Interest Checking||Read review|
|Quontic Bank||Best for CD rates||Quontic Bank CD||Read review|
A closer look at the top online banks
Best for savingsSynchrony is an online-only bank offering competitive interest rates and unique perks like identity theft resolution services and travel discounts.
- 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.
- 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.
Best for minimal feesDiscover 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Best for small businessesTIAA 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.
- 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.
- 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 ratesMarcus 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Best overallAlly 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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