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Compare online checking accounts

Manage your money from your laptop or phone.

Updated

Fact checked
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.

Editor's pick: HSBC Premier Checking

  • Up to $700 in cash back
  • Earn 3% cash back on qualifying direct deposits
  • Bank with a world leader

Editor's pick: HSBC Premier Checking

Get up to $700 (max. $120 per month) for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Premier checking account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.

  • 24/7 priority phone assistance
  • Emergency cash at branches across the globe
  • Free international account opening

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 1.2% APY on any balance.

Discover Cashback Debit account

Best for cash back

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account

Best for travel

Simple Online Checking account

Best for no fees

Axos Bank Rewards Checking account

Best for high interest

Capital One 360 Checking account

Best overall

Compare online checking accounts

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Chase Total Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
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
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
$10
Fee-free ATM withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs
$0
A spend and save combo account with no monthly service fees, free access to every ATM in the world, unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC. The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is a cash management account offering of Aspiration Financial, LLC, an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Aspiration is not a chartered bank.
Chime Spending account
$0
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
$2.50
Linked checking and savings accounts from a mobile-first bank that’s light on fees.
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.
Radius Bank Rewards Checking
$100
More than 20,000 ATMs + unlimited ATM surcharge rebates
$0
Earn cash back with this high-interest checking account, plus get free ATM access worldwide.
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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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