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Compare online checking accounts

Manage your money from your laptop or phone.

Updated

Fact checked

Best for high interest: Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank Rewards Checking logo

1.25%

APY

  • No overdraft or NSF fees
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
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An online checking account gives you complete control over your day-to-day transactions without ever having to enter the bank — usually with lower fees.

How we chose the best online checking accounts

Ever wonder what makes an online checking account better than the others? We did the research to determine which accounts give you easy access to your money—without having fees eat into your balance. For our top list of accounts, we focused our research on the following criteria: ATM access, fees, balance requirements and account features to choose the ones that help you spend your money with ease.

What’s changed in 2020

Although TIAA Bank offers a strong rate and tries to keep it in the top 5% of its competitors, its high rate is only introductory. Axos Bank takes the lead for its high consistent APY. Popular accounts remaining include those from Capital One, Charles Schwab and Simple.

Simple changed its APY structure in February 2020. You used to earn 0.01 APY on account balances up to $10,000 and 1.9% on account balances over $10,000. But now you earn a flat 0.6% APY on any balance.

Best for high interest

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank Rewards Checking logo
Finder Rating: 5 / 5

★★★★★

Apply now
at Axos Bank's secure site
Up to 1.25%
APY
None
Fees
$50
Min. opening deposit
  • High APY. Earn up to 1.25% APY on your account balance.
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. Get all domestic ATM fees reimbursed within one business day.
  • Minimal fees. Axos doesn't charge any fees for overdrafts, insufficient funds or monthly maintenance.
  • Opening deposit requirements. You need at least $50 to open this account.
  • APY requirements. You earn 0.42% APY for each of these three conditions you meet, up to 1.25% APY total: receive at least $1,000 in monthly direct deposits, use your debit card at least 10 times a month at a minimum of $3 per transaction, use your debit card at least five more times a month at a minimum of $3 per transaction.
APY 1.25%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $0
ATM transaction fee $0
Foreign transaction fee 1%
Overdraft fee $0

Best for cash back

Discover Cashback Debit

N/A
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • Earn rewards. Get 1% cash back on up to $3,000 eligible debit card purchases each month.
  • Minimal fees. This free account has no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. Plus, you won't pay for incoming wire transfers.
  • Fee forgiveness. Discover reimburses one insufficient fund or stop payment fee a year.
  • No cash deposits. Discover doesn't accept cash deposits or traveler's checks. But you can still deposit checks through your mobile phone, direct deposit, mail or make an online transfer.
  • $510 withdrawal limit. Although it falls within the average withdrawal limit, there are other accounts that have much higher limits.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $0
ATM transaction fee $0
Wire transfer fee $30
Overdraft fee $0
Accout closure fee $0

Best for travel

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking

0.03%
APY
None
Fees
$0.01
Min. opening deposit
  • Worldwide ATM reimbursements. Use any Charles Schwab ATM for free and get unlimited reimbursements at non-network ATMs worldwide.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Charles Schwab doesn't charge any fees for foreign transactions, checks, stop payments and more.
  • Earns interest. While most checking accounts don't earn interest, this one pays 0.03% on your balance.
  • Brokerage account requirements. You must have a brokerage account with Charles Schwab to qualify for this account.
  • No foreign wire transfers. You can't send or receive wire transfers from outside the US with this account.
  • Hard pull. Some banks perform soft pulls on your credit during account opening, but Charles Schwab does a hard pull.
APY 0.03%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $0
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Overdraft fee $0

Best for no fees

Simple

0.6%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • Zero fees. There's no monthly maintenance, overdraft, transfer or card replacement fees and no minimum balance requirements.
  • Large ATM network. Get free access to over 40,000 AllPoint ATMs in Simple’s network.
  • Competitive APYs. Earn 0.6% on your balance when you open a Protected Goals account.
  • No cash deposits. Because it's an online account, Simple doesn't accept cash deposits.
  • Requirements for high APY. The default APY for Simple is 0.01%. To earn the advertised 0.6% APY, you must open a Protected Goals Account.
APY 0.6%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $0
ATM transaction fee $0
Wire transfer fee $0
Overdraft fee $0
Accout closure fee $0

Best overall

Capital One 360 Checking

0.1%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
  • No fees. There's no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements with this account.
  • 0.1% APY. While most checking accounts don't earn any interest, this one earns 0.1% on your balance.
  • Overdraft protection. Choose from four overdraft protection options: auto-decline, next-day grace period, a free transfer from your savings or an overdraft line of credit.
  • Credit checks. If you choose an overdraft line of credit as your overdraft protection option, Capital One makes a hard pull on your credit.
  • Other fees. Be on the lookout for fees for overnight check deliveries, overnight card replacements, stop payment requests and more.
APY 0.1%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? No
Insufficient funds fee $9
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $5
Wire transfer fee $40
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Overdraft fee $35

Compare online checking accounts

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
BBVA Online Checking
$25
No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
$3
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
Axos Bank Essential Checking
$0
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
$50
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
$0
Earn up to 1.25% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
$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.
N26
N26
$0
Fee-free ATM withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs
$0
A digital bank account with no hidden fees, no minimum account balance and no maintenance charges.
Chime Spending account
$0
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$2.50
Get rid of fees with this mobile-first bank offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
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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.

How do I compare online checking accounts?

If you’re thinking of making the jump to digital, compare accounts based on:

  • 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. What functions are available in the bank’s app or online? Can you easily transfer money to another account?
  • Maintenance. How often is the bank’s site down? If the site is down, this will prevent you from accessing your money.
  • ATM network. How large is the bank’s ATM network? Can you easily access cash when you need it?

Pros and cons

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.

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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What are the risks?

If you use an FDIC-insured bank, your money is backed by the US government 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.

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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