The Best Online Checking Accounts in 2021
Consumers have grown increasingly frustrated by the checking account options offered by traditional banks. Large banks are continuing to add fees and are not concerned with scaring the less profitable customers away. This is part of a larger plan to increase profitability.
Enter online banks. Banking customers are seeking out the best online checking accounts for better interest rates, service, and lower fees. The key is to is find the best checking account that meets your needs at that particular time.
7 Best Online Checking Accounts
Here are my picks for stable, convenient online checking accounts.
Radius offers checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees and only $100 to open either one. However, their rates aren’t exactly considered competitive among other online banks, but it offers some great features such as no ATM fees (though no fee reimbursements), a free debit card, and cash back on purchases when using your debit card.
Plus, if you use ATMs from the MoneyPass® and SUM ATMs, you won’t be charged a fee. In other words, you can save money and the cash back feature for the checking account is a nice touch and may make up for the lower APY.
- No ATM fees (even internationally)
- No monthly fees
Read more about Radius bank features on our full Radius bank review.
Ally offers a checking account with no monthly fees and no minimum balance. The no-fee, no-minimum accounts are becoming increasingly rare. Very few banks offer interest on a checking account, as Ally Bank does.
While they offer free checking, customers will suffer with a low APY. For accounts with less than $15,000, the APY is 0.10% and for balances greater than $15,000, the APY is 0.60%. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that Ally reimburses up to $10 in ATM fees each statement cycle. That can go a long way in saving money when you need to withdraw funds from non-Allpoint ATM’s.
- $10 per cycle ATM fee reimbursement
- No monthly fees
Empower is an app that has an interest checking account which comes with the Empower Card. The Empower Card has features that will give you access to Cash Advance of up to $250^ when you need it most, and will help you save for your future. There’s no account minimums, no overdraft or insufficient funds fees.
Although you do need to pay a monthly fee after your 14-day trial, the features could be worth it. You get access to intuitive budgeting tools, AutoSave features, and fast cash when unexpected expenses come up.
- $8 monthly fee (includes other money management tools) after a 14-day free trial.
Read our full Empower review for more information.
Empower is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC.
^ Eligibility requirements apply.
Chime offers users a lot of convenience since it uses a mobile app to help you do your banking. There are no monthly fees and the rate for their savings account is 2.00% APY. In addition to being FDIC-insured, Chime offers some extremely enticing features that you probably want to take a second look at.
For one, you may be able to access your direct deposit up to two days earlier compared to other banks. Chime also doesn’t charge foreign transaction or overdraft fees. Plus, you can opt into a savings plan where the app will round up your purchases automatically to the next dollar and put it in a separate savings account.
- No ATM fees
- No monthly fees
Read our full chime review, for more useful information and features.Chime Disclosure - 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.
1Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.
^Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account.
Chime APY Disclosure - The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of October 25, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
Chime ATM Disclosure - Get fee-free transactions at any Moneypass ATM in a 7-Eleven location and at any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. Otherwise, out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply.
Axos Bank offers online banking with minimal fees, competitive rates, no minimum balances for most accounts and no overdraft fees.
Some bank accounts like their Rewards Checking account offer no ATM fees and unlimited ATM reimbursements. Account holders can earn up to 1.25% depending on the account.
- No ATM fees
- No monthly maintenance fees
Read more on Axos Bank in our full Axos bank review.
BBVA Member FDIC offers the Free Checking Account. As the name suggests, there is no monthly Service Charge. BBVA offers free online and mobile banking as well as unlimited free check writing (but not free checks). You also get free mobile and online bill pay. And there are no fees at any of BBVA’s ATMs.
But that doesn’t mean there are no ATM fees. If you use an ATM outside of the BBVA network, you are charged their fee; and while BBVA will not reimburse you for that fee, they do offer a unique ATM fee rebate program. If you agree to a $5 monthly charge, you can be reimbursed for up to 4 ATM fees per month. A typical ATM fee is about $3, but if you’ve ever withdrawn money from an airport or casino, you know that fee is bigger. The $5 monthly charge will save you money if you’re a habitual ATM user, but if not, you should pass.
The biggest drawback to the Free Checking Account is that it is not accompanied by an interest rate. The minimum to open an account is just $25.
- No ATM fee reimbursement (unless you pay a $5 monthly charge)
- No monthly service charge
Capital One 360 combines every good checking account feature into one package. This is a no-fee account with a top-rated mobile app platform that allows you to transfer money, deposit checks and manage your account free of charge. It also offers mobile check deposits and the security of SureSwipe to see all transaction details.
Cap One currently provides a tiered APY structure. For balances less than $50,000, the APY is 0.20%, balances between $50,000 and $100,000 the APY is 0.75% and for balances greater than $100,000 the APY is 0.90%. Their ATM fee structure is very straightforward; charging nothing for using a Capital One ATM (on the AllPoint network) and reimbursing up to $15 in ATM fees per month from other banks. From their website:
For certain banking products we offer, fees assessed at any ATM within the United States and at some ATMs located outside the United States will be reimbursed within 5 business days, up to $15 per statement period.
- $15 per cycle ATM fee reimbursement
- No monthly fees