Finder may earn compensation from partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

6 best online checking accounts for 2021

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

This article was reviewed by Marguerita Cheng, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning advocate for ethical financial planning for over 20 years.

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 1% 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

Finder rating 5 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Axos Bank's secure website

Best for no fees

Chime Spending account

Finder rating 4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Chime's secure website
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

Best online business checking account

BlueVine Business Checking

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

Best for cash back

Discover Cashback Debit

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Best for travel

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Best overall

Capital One 360 Checking

Finder rating 4.2 / 5 ★★★★★

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.
Back to top

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 online checking accounts

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.

Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
5.00% on balances of $0 to $10,000
$10
55,000 free in-network ATMs
$0
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.
OnJuno
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
OnJuno
1.20% on balances of $0 to $50,000
0.25% on balances of $50,000.01+
$0
more than 85,000 ATMs nationwide
$0
OnJuno embraces an open banking system for everyone, regardless of their age, location, or income.
Chime Spending account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Spending account
N/A
$0
60,000+ fee-free ATMs
$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.
Chase Total Checking®
Finder Rating: 3 / 5: ★★★★★
Chase Total Checking®
N/A
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and more than 4,700 branches nationwide
$2.50
Chase Total Checking is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and more than 4,700 branches. It offers a $225 signup bonus to new Chase customers
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.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
1.00% on balances of $0 to $50,000
$50
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
$0
Earn up to 1.00% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

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

Image source: Getty Images

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site