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6 best online checking accounts: Get 24/7 access with fewer fees than traditional banks

We researched 160+ checking accounts to help you quickly compare the top six.

The best online checking account gives you complete control over your day-to-day transactions without ever having to enter the bank — usually with lower fees. We researched over 160 checking accounts and dug into factors like ATM access, fees, balance requirements to determine your six best options.

What’s changed in 2021?

We added Bluevine to our list as the best online checking account for businesses because it has no transaction limits, no monthly fees, a 4.25% APY and it accepts cash deposits. We replaced Simple with Chime as it’s being discontinued in the near future.

A closer look at the best online checking accounts

Take a closer look at the best online checking accounts by exploring their pros, cons and features.

Best for high interest

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

4.2
★★★★★

Finder score

Use promo code AXOS300 and apply by June 30th, 2024, to earn up to $300 bonus, $50 each month you meet requirements: Make direct deposits of $5,000+ each month for the first 7 months and maintain an average balance of $7,000.
Go to site Read review

Best for no fees

Chime® Checking Account

4.8
★★★★★

Finder score

Go to site
See terms and conditions
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank.
To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.
Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.
*Out-of-network ATM withdrawal and OTC advance fees may apply. View the Bancorp agreement or Stride agreement for details; see back of card for issuer.
Read review
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
ATMs: Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
Deposit: Once the retailer accepts your cash, the funds will be transferred to your Chime Checking Account. Cash deposit fees may apply if using a retailer other than Walgreens and Duane Reade.
Mobile Deposit: Mobile Check Deposit eligibility is determined by Chime in its sole discretion and may be granted based on various factors including, but not limited to, a member's direct deposit enrollment status.
Chime Savings Account: Chime Checking Account is required to be eligible for a Savings Account.
APY: The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of May 22, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
Get Paid Early: 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.
Credit Builder: The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank. To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.
SpotMe: Chime 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 at least once every 34 days. 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.

Best online business checking account

Bluevine Business Checking

4.6
★★★★★

Finder score

Go to site Read review

Best for cash back

Discover® Cashback Debit

4.8
★★★★★

Finder score

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Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month. See website for details.

Best for travel

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking

4.8
★★★★★

Finder score

Read review

Best overall

Capital One 360 Checking

4.6
★★★★★

Finder score

Read review

How can I find the best online checking account for me?

Consider these factors when trying to find the best online checking account for you:

  • Customer service. You can’t walk into a branch to get help, so check what methods you have to get ahold of a customer service agent. Find out if help is available 24/7 or only during certain hours, or if you can use online chat to get answers. If the bank has a phone number to call for help, try calling it and seeing how long it takes to get through to someone.
  • Fees. This includes monthly maintenance, ATM, foreign transaction and overdraft fees.
  • Access. Check what functions are available in the bank’s app or on its website. Can you easily transfer money to another account or another bank? And if it comes with a mobile app, check to see if you can make mobile check deposits.
  • Maintenance. How often is the bank’s site down? If the site is down, this will prevent you from accessing your money.
  • ATM network. Compare how large the bank’s ATM network is and if you can easily access cash when you need it.

How does an online checking account work?

An online checking account is an everyday bank product that you open and maintain entirely online. You can pay for purchases and access cash with a debit card and manage your funds online or with a mobile app.

Some online checking accounts are operated by completely digital banks or new challenger banks, while others are operated by major banks and credit unions.

Can I withdraw money from an online checking account?

Yes. Online banks operate like brick-and-mortar banks and allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs. Many digital banks partner with ATM networks, including Allpoint and MoneyPass, to let you access your cash at surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. Some online checking accounts will also reimburse you for ATM fees every month so you can withdraw money at any ATM that’s convenient for you.

You can also withdraw money from an online checking account by getting cash back at a store when you use a debit card, using money transfer services and requesting your bank to send you a check.

Pros and cons of an online checking account

Here are a few benefits and disadvantages of an online checking account:

Pros

  • Convenience. An online transaction account provides you with a convenient way to manage your daily spending and account deposits without visiting a local branch.
  • No or low fees. Online checking accounts usually have lower fees thanks to lower overhead costs.
  • Overseas accessibility. Because your bank isn’t tied to a location, you can continue to pay bills and manage your finances while you’re traveling.
  • Mobile banking. Most online checking accounts come with mobile apps that allow you to manage your money from wherever you are.

Cons

  • No branch access. If you have a problem, you can’t walk into a branch to get help in person. If you want to maintain that ability, look at traditional checking accounts that offer online access instead.
  • Check fees. If you want a checkbook for purchases you can’t make online, you may have to order them from your bank and pay a fee.
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Are online checking accounts safe?

Yes, as long as you use an FDIC-insured bank. When you keep your money in an FDIC-insured bank, your funds are backed by the US government for up to $250,000. But to keep your account and personal information secure, be aware of:

  • Security. When you log in to your account online, make sure that the lock symbol appears in your browser. It’s also important to use a secure password for your account and not give it away to anyone or write it down and leave it in an unsecure location.
  • Bank features. Some online banks won’t offer all the features of a traditional bank, such as mortgages, car loans and business accounts. If you need these financial products in the future, you won’t be able to bundle them together with your checking account, and you could miss out on loyalty bonuses.

Compare accounts from online banks and traditional banks

Sort this table by minimum deposit to open, ATMs and ATM fees to find an account that’s right for you. Click the “Compare” box next to your top choices to view them side-by-side.

1 - 6 of 24
Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
SoFi Checking and Savings
Finder Score: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
SoFi Checking and Savings
$0 per month
$0
4.60% on balances of $0+
0.50% on balances of $0+
1.20% on balances of $0+
Get up to $300 cash bonus with qualifying direct deposit. Terms apply. This offer is available until June 30, 2024.
Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings by meeting deposit requirements, and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Members without deposit requirements will earn 0.50% APY on both savings and checking balances. Turn on automatic savings or use the Roundups feature to help you reach your savings goals faster. Get up to $2M of additional FDIC insurance through a network of participating banks.
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Earn up to 2% cashback rewards on everyday purchases. Pay $0 fees for overdraft, domestic wire transfer and monthly maintenance. Member FDIC.
Cash Card by Cash App
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash Card by Cash App
$0 per month
$0
N/A
The Cash App Cash Card lets you pay for goods and services both online and in stores using your Cash App balance. Enjoy features like ATM access, direct deposit, instant discounts at select stores and a customizable card.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
$0 per month
$0
3.30% on balances of $0 to $50,000
Use promo code AXOS300 and apply by June 30th, 2024, to earn up to $300 bonus, $50 each month you meet requirements: Make direct deposits of $5,000+ each month for the first 7 months and maintain an average balance of $7,000.
Earn up to 3.3% APY after meeting rate requirements. Get ATM free reimbursements at all domestic ATMs. Pay $0 monthly or overdraft fees. FDIC insured.
Chime® Checking Account
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime® Checking Account
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Save easily and access your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. Pay $0 monthly fees, and no minimum balance is required. Access 24/7 support and get daily balance and transaction alerts. FDIC insured.
Current
Finder Score: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Current
$0 per month
$0
4.00% on balances of $0.01 to $2,000
Get a $50 referral bonus by inviting your friends to join Current. Once the person receives the invite link and makes qualifying deposits of at least $200 within 45 days of opening the account, you and the referred friend each earn $50
Earn 4% bonus on the first $2,000 in each savings pods. Also get budgeting tools, early direct deposit and up to 15x cashback points. All with no monthly fee or opening deposit requirement. Member FDIC.
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Bottom line

If you’re tech savvy and prefer to manage your finances independently, an online checking account can offer convenience and low fees. But if you regularly get help at your local bank branch, the tradeoff might not be worth it. To make sure you’re choosing an account that’s the right fit for you, compare other checking accounts before making a decision.

Frequently asked questions

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