The Best Online Banks for Staying on Top of Your Finances

The banking industry has undergone a revolution in the last few years in which online banks have replaced traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Online banks offer all the same features as traditional banks, but with more convenience, lower fees, and innovative features. Unless you genuinely enjoy waiting in line to speak 1-on-1 with a teller, now is the time to deposit your money in an online bank. With dozens of great online banks to choose from, it can be hard figuring out the best one for you. To assist you in your decision, we went out and selected the 10 best online banks. These online banks stood out from the crowd for a variety of reasons, including lower fees, higher APYs, innovative features, quick registration, and ease of use. These are the best online banks we tested and ranked: 1. Best for hybrid banking: BBVA 2. Best for high-interest savings: Barclays US 3. Best for cashback: Discover 4. Best for easy-access savings: American Express 5. Best for automatic savings: Chime Bank 6. Best for full service banking: Chase 7. Best for cash management: SoFi Money 8. Best for fee-free banking: CIT Bank 9. Best for saving & budgeting: Empower 10. Best for rewards checking: Radius Bank
The Best Online Banks for Staying on Top of Your Finances

The banking industry has undergone a revolution in the last few years in which online banks have replaced traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Online banks offer all the same features as traditional banks, but with more convenience, lower fees, and innovative features. Unless you genuinely enjoy waiting in line to speak 1-on-1 with a teller, now is the time to deposit your money in an online bank. With dozens of great online banks to choose from, it can be hard figuring out the best one for you. To assist you in your decision, we went out and selected the 10 best online banks. These online banks stood out from the crowd for a variety of reasons, including lower fees, higher APYs, innovative features, quick registration, and ease of use. These are the best online banks we tested and ranked: 1. Best for hybrid banking: BBVA 2. Best for high-interest savings: Barclays US 3. Best for cashback: Discover 4. Best for easy-access savings: American Express 5. Best for automatic savings: Chime Bank 6. Best for full service banking: Chase 7. Best for cash management: SoFi Money 8. Best for fee-free banking: CIT Bank 9. Best for saving & budgeting: Empower 10. Best for rewards checking: Radius Bank

1

American Express

High-interest savings with easy access to funds

American Express Review

Everyone knows American Express. They offer superior cashback offers and great customer service around. So, …
  • FeesNo fees
  • 24-hour customer serviceYes
  • Maximum APY0.60%

American Express is our second example of a major credit card company that also offers online banking. In Amex’s case, it offers one online banking product only: a high-interest savings account. Although American Express doesn’t offer checking, the high APYs and ease of access to funds make the savings account worth your consideration. Amex also offers a range of CDs; these guarantee you a higher APY in exchange for parking your money for a fixed period of time.

The first thing you need to know about the American Express online savings account is it comes with one of the best APYs on the market: 0.60%. The second thing to know is it comes with no obligations—that means no fees and no minimum balance. Finally, it’s also worth noting how easy the Amex savings account is to use. You can link your savings account to up to 3 external bank accounts and make up to 6 withdrawals each month—with funds available 24/7.

Positive
  • 24/7 access to funds
  • Up to 6 withdrawals per month
  • Free savings tools
Negatives
  • No checking accounts
  • Not linked to a debit card
2

BBVA

Checking and savings with virtually zero fees

BBVA Review

BBVA is a hybrid physical, online and mobile bank. It offers online checking and savings accounts plus a range of …
  • Fees$0-$25 per month
  • 24-hour customer serviceNo
  • Maximum APY0.01%

BBVA is a great example of a hybrid online, mobile, and physical bank. It is one of the 30 largest banks in America, with branches in 7 states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Texas) and a highly acclaimed digital platform for residents of all 50 states. It also has an award-winning mobile app packed full of features, including personal finance tools to help you manage your money and achieve savings goals.

All BBVA’s customers pay the same low fees and get access to the same features as in-branch customers. The basic standard online checking account has no fees. The premium checking account—which earns you 0.01% interest and rewards from BBVA partners—also has no fees if you’re a student, serve in the military, or meet the $4,000 minimum balance requirements. In addition to checking, BBVA also offers a range of savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificate of deposits (CDs) accounts. In addition, it offers access to low-interest mortgages, loans, and credit cards.

Positive
  • No fees for students, military
  • Free withdrawals at 64,000 ATMs
  • Full-feature mobile app
Negatives
  • Branches only located in 7 states
  • Below-average APYs
3

Chase

Big Four bank with superb digital platform

Chase Review

JP Morgan Chase, or Chase for short, offers entirely online checking accounts through its Chase Online Banking …
  • Fees$0-$25 per month
  • 24-hour customer serviceYes
  • Maximum APY0.01%

Although primarily a brick-and-mortar bank, Chase makes this list because of its excellent online banking platform. Known as one of the “Big Four” banks, Chase offers its digital customers access to a full suite of banking products. This includes full-service checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, and credit cards, as well as a range of loans, investing tools, and business banking tools.

Chase lets you open a checking or savings account online, with no need to go into a branch. Once you have an account, you can use it for things like paying bills, sending and receiving money (with just a mobile number or email address), securely depositing checks, and automatically depositing paychecks. If you prefer to do some things at a physical location, the good news is Chase has an extensive network of branches and ATMs around the country. 

Positive
  • Full suite of banking products
  • Lets you send money by mobile or email
  • Refer-a-friend bonus
Negatives
  • Low APYs on savings accounts
  • Not strictly an online bank
4

Chime Bank

Checking account that pays you for spending

Chime Review

Chime is a new online banking platform that offers individual checking accounts packed with a range of cool …
  • FeesNone
  • 24-hour customer serviceNo
  • Maximum APY1.00%

Chime Bank is an online/mobile banking platform for the digital age. Forget all those traditional banking concepts like annual percentage yields and minimum balances. Chime Bank has devised a unique way of banking that revolves around a hybrid checking-savings account where you get paid for spending activity.

Here’s how it works: when you open a Chime Spending Account, you receive a free Debit Visa Card that gets linked to your account. Whenever you spend, Chime automatically rounds up the amount and deposits the difference in your Chime Savings Account. For example, if you buy a coffee for $4.55, Chime rounds it up to $5 and pops the extra 45 cents in your savings account. This way, you grow your savings automatically—with no limits to how much you can save.

Positive
  • Pays your salary early with direct deposit
  • Zero-fee overdraft (up to $100)
  • Daily alerts and notifications
Negatives
  • No fixed savings
  • Lack of other features
5

SoFi Money

Mobile-first cash management account

SoFi Review

SoFi Money is a cash management account that functions as a hybrid – with the emphasis on mobile accounts. It is …
  • FeesNo fees
  • 24-hour customer serviceNo
  • Maximum APY0.25%

Of all the accounts on this list, SoFi Money is probably the most unique. As a mobile cash management account, it is designed for people with smartphones; the website is very basic and is really only there to provide information. As a cash management account, it offers the same convenience as a checking account—but with higher interest. A cash management account is really just a fancy name for a brokerage account where you can manage your cash, make payments, and earn some interest.

What really makes SoFi Money stand out is its rewards scheme. Each time you spend, you get cashback deposited straight back into your account. Additionally, all SoFi Money members automatically get access to exclusive member benefits like events, experiences, career services, third-party discounts, and financial planning tools. Lastly, SoFi Money is part of the SoFi network of banking services, which includes home loans, personal loans, and student loan refinancing.

*SoFi Money is a cash management account not a bank account, and is offered by a broker dealer. Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.

Positive
  • Takes 60 seconds to sign up
  • Full-service mobile app
  • Exclusive member benefits
Negatives
  • Not a traditional bank with checking & savings accounts
  • New product
6

CIT Bank

Savings plans to suit different lifestyles

CIT Bank Review

CIT Bank is an online bank offering savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit. It is a …
  • FeesNo monthly fees
  • 24-hour customer serviceNo
  • Maximum APY0.50%

CIT Bank is an online bank offering savings accounts, money market accounts, checking accounts and certificates of deposit. It is owned by CIT Group, a major financial services company. As a native online bank, CIT Bank spends very little money on overhead, allowing it to pass on savings to customers through virtually zero fees and extremely generous APYs. CIT Bank’s maximum APY of 0.50% is among the best savings rates on the market.

With CIT Bank’s Premier Savings account, you can get 0.50% APY with no minimum requirements aside from a $100 minimum to open an account.

Positive
  • Offers very high APYs
  • Lets you send money by mobile or email
  • Wide range of CDs
Negatives
  • No 24 hour customer service
  • $100 minimum opening balance
7

Empower

Mobile banking app with Cash Advance

Empower Review

Empower is a mobile banking app that empowers you to save money. Its app offers 3 superb features: Cash Advance, …
  • Fees$8 per month
  • 24-hour customer serviceNo
  • Maximum APY0.25%¹

As its name suggests, Empower is a mobile banking app that empowers its users to save money. It achieves this with 3 features: an Interest Checking account, Automatic Savings account and Cash Advance.

Empower essentially gives you a financial expert in your pocket. The thing we like most is their Cash Advance feature which gets you up to $250* direct to your bank account with no interest, no late fees and no credit checks. 

* Eligibility requirements apply. Minimum direct deposits to an Empower Checking Account, among other conditions, are necessary to qualify for instant delivery and advances greater than $50. 

¹ Banking services provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC. 0.25% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) may change at any time. APY as of Oct 28, 2020. Empower charges an auto-recurring monthly subscription fee of $8 for access to the full suite of money management features offered on the platform after your first 14 days.

Positive
  • Get up to $250 Cash Advance
  • Helps you work toward savings goals
  • 100% mobile platform
Negatives
  • Requires iOS 9.0+ or Android 5.1+
  • Not for use on desktop
8

Discover

Generous cashback and rewards

Discover Review

Discover is a trusted name for finance solutions and known for being a top credit card issuer. The company is also …
  • Fees$0 – no monthly fees except for outgoing wire transfers
  • 24-hour customer serviceYes
  • Maximum APY0.50%

Discover is best-known for its credit cards, which come with generous cashback and low introductory rates. As it happens, Discover also has an online banking platform with a full range of account options and no monthly maintenance fees. From checking to high-interest savings to CDs to debit cards with cashback, Discover’s online banking platform has it all. What’s more, Discover has a sleek mobile app that lets you take a range of actions, e.g. temporarily freeze a lost debit card, locate a no-fee ATM near you.

With Discover online banking, you have the option of opening a single account or creating a hybrid checking-savings account. The checking account comes with a free debit card and 1% cashback on up to $3,000 in purchases each month. The savings account comes with a fixed 0.50% APY (regardless of balance), which is about 18x better than the national average. There are also generous CDs and money market accounts on offer.

Positive
  • 1% Cashback on debit card purchases
  • Free tools to guide you to best account
  • User-friendly mobile app
Negatives
  • No interest earned on checking
  • Only one physical branch location
9

Radius Bank

Checking and savings with cashback

Radius Bank Review

Radius Bank is a full-feature online bank that matches the big banks for products and beats them on rates. It …
  • Fees$0-$10 per month
  • 24-hour customer serviceNo
  • Maximum APY0.15%

Radius Bank is a full-service online bank that matches the big brick-and-mortar banks for products and beats them (slightly) on rates. It offers a choice of checking account, savings account, and certificates of deposit. It also has a range of other banking products such as credit cards, personal loans, and student loans.

The APYs here are lower than at other online banks, although that’s not the only reason to consider Radius Bank. The checking account comes with a debit card that earns you 1% cashback on most purchases. Add this to the fact that Radius Bank covers all ATM fees around the globe—and you can see that Radius deserves its place in our list of top 10 online banks.

Positive
  • 1% cashback on most purchases
  • No ATM fees – ever
  • No monthly fees or balance requirements
Negatives
  • APYs are fairly average
  • $25k minimum balance for max APY
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