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Years ago, finding a bank meant heading downtown and choosing from whichever options were available there. The Internet dramatically lessened the importance of physical branches and made it possible to bank from anywhere at any time.
Virtually all banks with physical locations have online portals, but a growing number now do the bulk of their business online. Some have ties to community banks and may have physical branches in select regions. Others exist only in the digital realm and have no physical branches.
What follows is a list of the best online banks on the market today.
Best Online Banks of March 2023
These are the best online banks on the market right now.
Each does at least one thing really well, whether it’s offering a potent lineup of budgeting and money management tools or delivering savings and CD rates well above the national average. Our top pick offers the most value for the greatest number of potential customers, in our opinion.
Unless otherwise noted, all the accounts on this list come with FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per account.
Best Overall: American Express® National Bank, Member FDIC
The American Express® High Yield Savings Account has a solid yield on all balances with $0 maintenance fees, a $0 minimum opening deposit, and a $0 minimum balance. The current savings yield is 3.75% Annual percentage Yield (APY). This rate is current as of March 16, 2023.
Want to tie up your money for a while at a higher interest rate? Choose from seven CD options ranging from six months to five years.
CD yields are very good across the board: 3.25% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on the longest-term product (60 months or 5 years) and 4.50% on the 12-month CD. Early withdrawal penalties are:
- 90 days’ interest for terms under 12 months
- 270 days’ interest for terms between 12 and 48 months (four years)
- 365 days’ interest for terms between 48 and 60 months (five years)
- 540 days’ interest for terms of 60 months or longer
- Extensive lineup of personal credit products, including premium credit cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Move money between up to three external bank accounts in short order
- 24/7 customer service
Best Credit Union: Alliant Credit Union
When is an online bank not an online bank? When it’s an online credit union.
There’s no better branchless option than Alliant Credit Union. As a credit union, Alliant exists for its members rather than stockholders so they will always put you first.
Alliant has a comprehensive lineup of checking and savings accounts, like:
- High-Rate Savings, a high yield savings account for goal-oriented savers (currently 3.10% APY¹)
- High-Rate Checking, a checking account with competitive interest rates
- Certificates of Deposit, which help you earn more with set interest rates for a fixed period of time (currently yielding 4.60% APY)
- Kids Savings, a custodial account that helps you teach sound money management concepts to kids 12 and younger
- Teen Checking, a joint account for kids aged 13 to 17 — there when you’re ready to loosen the reins
- Get access to over 80,000 in-network ATMs with Alliant
- No monthly service fee with eStatements
- Low minimum deposit and balance requirements
- Bank anywhere, anytime with the Alliant mobile app
Insured by NCUA
(¹For important additional disclosures, please refer to the corresponding footnote at the Sign Up link directly above.)
Best for High Yields: CIT Bank
CIT Bank offers several different accounts with category-leading yields:
- Savings Connect has one of the best yields of any bank account, online or off: 4.20% APY.
- Platinum Savings has an outstanding yield when you maintain a balance of $5,000 or more (4.40% APY) and a so-so yield when you don’t (0.25% APY).
- Savings Builder yields up to 1.00% APY for accountholders who can meet minimum balance or deposit requirements.
- The CIT Bank Money Market account has a very good yield on all balances (currently 1.55% APY) with no monthly maintenance or service fees.
- Multiple CIT Bank CDs offer above-average yields, led by the 11-month CIT No Penalty CD at 4.15%
- No monthly service fee
- No early withdrawal penalty for No Penalty CDs
- No ATM fees in-network
- CIT may reimburse up to $30 in outside ATM fees
- Earn interest on eligible eChecking funds
Best for Investors: Wealthfront
Wealthfront is a next-generation banking service that’s ideal for day-to-day money management. Its Cash Account features high-interest checking, no account fees, and a host of value-added features — and you can open an account with just $1.
But Wealthfront made its name in the investment business, and there’s where it continues to shine. Key features include:
- Build semi-customized, automatically rebalanced, globally diversified portfolios of low-cost index funds optimized with daily tax-loss harvesting
- Just $500 minimum to invest
- Pay an annualized management fee of 0.25% assets under management (AUM) on all balances
- Choose from individual and joint taxable accounts, IRAs, and 529 college savings plan accounts
- Portfolio line of credit that lets you tap up to 30% of your account value once you have $25,000 or more under management
- Consolidated view of all your accounts through Wealthfront’s free DIY financial planning tool
Additional features of the Wealthfront Cash Account include:
- 4.30% APY (variable) on all balances
- $1 minimum opening deposit
- No account fees
- No overdraft fees
- FDIC insurance on balances up to $1 million
- Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit
- Put your money to work in the market within minutes when you use your Cash Account to invest in a Wealthfront Investment Account
- Mobile check deposit
- Free bill pay and peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers
- Complimentary debit card and free in-network ATM access
- For a limited time, get $30 bonus cash when you open a Wealthfront Cash Account and fund your new account with at least $500 in new money. Terms apply.
Money Crashers, LLC receives cash compensation from Wealthfront Advisers LLC (“Wealthfront Advisers”) for each new client that applies for a Wealthfront Automated Investing Account through our links. This creates an incentive that results in a material conflict of interest. Money Crashers, LLC is not a Wealthfront Advisers client, and this is a paid endorsement. More information is available via our links to Wealthfront Advisers.
Best for Customer Support: Albert
Albert is a powerful financial app that makes spending, saving, and investing easy. It’s among the growing crop of financial solutions that offer early payday with eligible direct deposit, and its automated savings and investing features put it well ahead of the pack.
But where Albert really shines is on the customer service front. The platform has a dedicated team of in-house financial experts — called Geniuses — to help you make sense of your money. That puts it heads and shoulders above its crop of fellow digital money management apps.
- Albert Cash. This is the place to manage your day-to-day spending money with Albert. Earn up to 20% back on eligible debit card purchases and get paid up to two days early with qualifying direct deposit. Use the Albert Instant cash advance feature to get up to $250 from your next paycheck with no hidden fees.
- Albert Savings. Albert’s Smart savings engine sizes up your cash flow and sets aside funds automatically so that you’re always moving toward your financial goals. Set specific goals within the app, such as building an emergency fund or saving for your next vacation. And get cash bonuses on your Albert Savings every year.
- Albert Investing. Start investing with as little as $1 using Albert’s guided investment platform. Choose your own stocks or themes, or have Albert do it for you.
Best for Debit Card Rewards: GO2bank
GO2bank is a low-friction online bank with a mobile-friendly bank account (no monthly fee with eligible direct deposit) and impressive yields on savings (4.50% APY2 on savings up to $5,000).
Eligible electronic gift card purchases in the app earn up to 7% cash back; Amazon eGift Card purchases in the app earn 3% cash back. Terms and conditions apply.
- No minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance requirement
- Avoid the $5 monthly fee with an eligible direct deposit
- Get paid up to two days early with ASAP Direct DepositTM 3
- Deposit cash at participating retail stores, subject to fees and deposit limits
- Enjoy up to $200 in overdraft protection with opt-in and eligible direct deposit.*
- Earn 4.50% APY paid quarterly on savings up to $5,000 — over 10 times the national average savings rate2
* $15 fee may apply to each purchase transaction not repaid within 24 hours of authorization of the first transaction that overdrafts your account. Overdrafts paid at GO2bank’s discretion.
1Active GO2bank account required to receive an eGift Card. eGift Card merchants subject to change.
2GO2bank, Member FDIC. Interest paid quarterly on the average daily balance of savings during the quarter up to a $5,000 balance and if the account is in good standing. 4.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of January 2021. APY may change before or after you open an account. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.05% is determined by the FDIC as of 12/14/20. Visit https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/ to learn more. Fees on your primary deposit account may reduce earnings on your savings account.
3Direct deposit early availability depends on the timing of the payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period. The name and Social Security number on file with your employer or benefits provider must match your GO2bank account exactly or GO2bank will decline your deposit.
Best for No Account Fees Ever: Rewards Checking via Upgrade
Rewards Checking via Upgrade4 has a slew of user benefits, but its defining feature couldn’t be simpler: no account fees, ever.
That’s right. As a user, you pay no account fees — no annual fees, overdraft fees, transfer fees, or ATM fees charged by Rewards Checking by Upgrade1.
There’s more, of course. Additional features of Rewards Checking via Upgrade include:
- 2% cash back on purchases at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars, and on utility bills and certain monthly subscriptions2
- Earn up to $500 cash back per year at the 2% rate
- Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
- Get up to five third-party ATM fee rebates each month1
- You may receive discounts on loans and cards through Upgrade3
- FDIC Insured up to $250,000 through Cross River Bank, Member FDIC
Sign Up for Rewards Checking via Upgrade
1 There are no account fees, overdraft fees, annual fees, or transfer fees associated with Rewards Checking accounts. Rewards Checking charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. Upgrade will rebate any ATM fee charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month, customers must have (i) an open Rewards Checking account and (ii) either maintained an average daily balance in their account of at least $2,500 in the prior calendar month or made direct deposits into their account totaling at least $1,000 during the prior calendar month. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for up to the first 2 calendar months after account opening regardless of account activity. Some limitations apply and terms and conditions may change. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.
2 Rewards Checking customers accrue 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card charges. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers accrue 1% cash back on all eligible debit card charges for the remainder of the year. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.
3 The interest rate on a new loan or credit line through Upgrade may be up to 20% lower than would otherwise be applicable without this discount, as long as you have an active Rewards Checking Account. Additional terms may apply. Please refer to the applicable Truth-in-Lending Disclosure and Loan Agreement.
4 Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Rewards Checking services provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Upgrade VISA® Debit Cards issued by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Personal Loans made by Upgrade’s bank partners. Personal Credit Lines are issued by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. The Upgrade Card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
Best for Automated Budgeting: Douugh
Douugh is a money management app that makes it easy to stay on top of your day-to-day financial obligations while saving for a rainy day — and happier days too.
A single mobile-friendly dashboard makes it all possible.
How? That’s down to Salary Sweeper, an AI-enabled feature that automatically allocates income to two protected “jars”:
- Your Bill Jar, complete with a virtual card of its own
- Your Savings Jar, which is actually a customizable array of single-purpose savings buckets
The rest is yours to spend as you please using a debit card accepted by millions of merchants worldwide. Best of all, you never have to give manual budgeting a second thought.
- Enjoy a free checking account with a Mastercard debit card
- Use Apple Pay, PayPal, and other payment apps to make purchases online and IRL
- Lock and unlock your card and change your PIN within the app — without calling customer service or visiting a branch.
Best for Debt Refinancing: SoFi Checking and Savings
Need to refinance the student loans you’ve been carrying for years with no end in sight?
Open a SoFi Checking and Savings account, then head over to SoFi’s student loan refinancing portal to check out your options. SoFi is a category leader in the education loan refinancing business, with incredibly low rates, flexible terms, and an array of reasonable repayment options.
And since you’re also in the market for a new online bank, you’ll enjoy these great SoFi Checking and Savings perks and features:
- No minimum opening deposit or balance requirement
- Rate discounts on SoFi loans
- Free peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers
- Customized financial planning
- Member-exclusive offers from SoFi partners
- A referral program that pays up to $310 per successful referral
- Up to 3.75% APY on eligible balances
Plus, for a limited time, sign up for SoFi Checking and Savings and earn a $250 opening bonus when you set up direct deposit of at least $1,000 into your account
Sign Up for SoFi Checking and Savings
Best for Teens and Young People: Copper Banking
Copper is a banking solution for teens age 13 and older — and their parents too.
It’s built around the Copper Card, a personalized debit card that leverages Apple Pay technology to facilitate seamless online and in-person transactions.
The Copper App allows parents to monitor spending and instantly send money in seconds. For teens, its Automatic Saving feature encourages saving — a lifelong financial habit — by automatically setting aside a portion of each paycheck or inflow.
- Copper has a wealth of financial literacy content for parents and kids alike — it’s one of the best financial education tools around
- Withdraw cash for free at over 55,000 ATMs
- All Copper Accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 through Evolve Bank & Trust
Best for Potential Returns on Savings & Spending: PrizePool
PrizePool is a truly unique financial app — the only FDIC-insured deposit account provider that offers users the chance to earn serious money based on your saving and spending habits.
PrizePool offers two ways to win:
- Savings Balances: Get 1 ticket for PrizePool’s prize drawings for every $1 on deposit in your savings account, every day. So if you have $1,000 in your account, you get 1,000 tickets every day.
- Debit Card Purchases: Earn 30 tickets for every $1 spent, plus get the chance to have your purchases reimbursed.
PrizePool holds a weekly drawing every Friday. There are almost 6,000 cash prizes every week, including a $10,000 grand prize drawing at least once every six weeks.
- Earn 0.30% APY on eligible savings balances
- Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000
- Refer new users to PrizePool and get 10% of their prize winnings forever
Best for Freelancers and Self-Employed People: Lili
Lili offers a totally free checking solution with a slew of value-added features designed to simplify your financial life.
Its core product is built with freelancers in mind, but it’s appropriate for a range of use cases, from solopreneurs to folks who supplement 9-to-5 income with side hustle revenue.
With powerful, automated tax savings and expense categorization tools, Lili eliminates the need to juggle separate bank accounts for business and personal needs — it’s just one deposit account for your entire financial life.
- No minimum opening deposits or ongoing balance requirements and no account fees
- Pay virtually anywhere with a Visa debit card that’s accepted worldwide
- Lili’s Tax Bucket tool automatically sets aside funds earmarked for income tax payments
- Utilize expense management and categorization tools that simplify business budgeting, cash flow management, and year-end accounting
- Get real-time alerts for every transaction (and other account activities too)
- Make mobile check deposits through the Lili mobile app
- Make cash deposits at more than 90,000 retail locations across the U.S., including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid
- Get paid up to two days early with early direct deposit
- Enjoy fee-free withdrawals at about 38,000 ATMs nationwide
For $9 per month, Lili Pro adds even more valuable features:
- A premium Visa Business Debit Card that delivers cash-back rewards
- BalanceUp, a fee-free overdraft solution that covers up to $200 in would-be overdrafts
- Advanced expense tracking that helps business owners maximize their tax deductions
- A savings account that pays interest
Best for Savers: Quontic Bank
Quontic Bank got its start as a New York City community bank that catered to thrifty types.
Today, Quontic’s branch-based banking options represent just a small fraction of its offerings. With a nationwide digital footprint, Quontic delivers category-leading checking and savings yields for consumers and small-business owners from all walks of life — all with no monthly service fees:
- Cash Rewards Checking: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on qualifying debit card transactions after meeting the $100 minimum opening deposit.
- Bitcoin Rewards Checking: Earn 1.5% Bitcoin on qualifying debit card transactions. The minimum opening deposit is $500. This account may not be available in all states.
- High Interest Checking: Make 10 or more qualifying debit card point-of-sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle to earn interest at competitive rates based on account balance. The minimum opening deposit is $100.
- High Yield Savings: Earn interest at category-leading rates (currently 3.70%) after meeting the $100 minimum opening deposit.
- Money Market: Earn solid yields (currently 3.50%) after meeting the $100 minimum.
- CDs: Quontic CDs have terms ranging from six months to three years and competitive yields that generally increase in proportion to term. The minimum opening deposit is $500. Early withdrawal penalties may apply.
- Tap to pay with the Quontic Pay Ring — the first wearable debit card
- Choose from an array of home loans, including community development loans that go beyond your traditional credit profile
- Take advantage of special loans for foreign nationals and recent immigrants
Best for Borrowers: Discover Bank
Discover Bank is a full-service online bank with a wide range of deposit accounts. It’s a great (almost) one-stop shop for your digital financial needs.
Discover Bank’s real differentiator is its comprehensive lineup of secured and unsecured credit products. That includes unsecured personal loans, which many online banks don’t bother with due to perceived risk.
You’ll find home loans, home equity products, student loans, credit cards, and personal lines of credit here too.
Discover Bank’s deposit account options include:
- Cashback Debit: This checking account has no yield, but you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card spending each month. There’s no monthly maintenance fee.
- Online Savings Account: This account has a very strong yield on all balances — currently 3.60% APY as of March 17, 2023. There’s no maintenance fee or minimum to open.
- Money Market Account: With a minimum opening deposit and balance requirement of $2,500, this account has competitive yields on all balances. Its two balance tiers cleave at $100,000, but yields on higher balances barely exceed those on lower balances. Enjoy a free, optional debit card, and no maintenance fee. There’s also no minimum balance fee, despite the minimum balance requirement.
- Traditional CDs: CD terms range from three months to 10 years. Yields range widely, peaking on longer-term CDs. You need $2,500 to open any CD.
- Structure any money market or CD as a traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA
- Or roll over your 401(k), 457 deferred compensation plan, annuity, or IRA from another institution
- Enjoy a coast-to-coast network of 60,000 fee-free ATMs
- Enjoy 24/7 support by phone, live chat, and email
- Make mobile check deposits from anywhere
- Enjoy free, instant P2P money transfers
Methodology: How We Select the Best Online Banks
We use several key factors to evaluate online banks and surface the very best ones for our readers. Each relates in some way to the overall user experience, and you’ll see many represented in our “Best For” categories above.
Available Account Types
The best online banks offer a range of different deposit account types: free checking, savings, CD, and money market accounts, among many others.
Truly comprehensive online banks go even further, with less-common account offerings like savings IRAs, jumbo CDs, and more. More accounts doesn’t necessarily mean a better banking experience, but it’s helpful if you’re looking for a one-stop financial shop.
Online banks tend to have higher yields — interest rates paid to the account holder — as well as lower interest rates on certain types of loans, if offered.
You shouldn’t count on that though. It’s important to shop around and choose an online bank that consistently offers significantly better rates. Not all do.
The best online banks have low or no minimum balances and low or no minimum opening deposit requirements on checking, savings, and money market accounts.
CDs generally do have minimum deposit requirements, even at the best online banks, but there’s lots of variation. Look for deposits at or below the $1,000 mark, if possible.
Monthly Maintenance Fees
Free is always better than not free, right?
Not necessarily. Some of the best online banks around charge modest monthly fees. In exchange, they offer a wealth of value-added features and services that can earn or save you money (and sometimes both at the same time).
That said, we do give preference to banks that don’t charge monthly fees at all. Because everyone could use a break.
Other Account Fees
The trusty monthly maintenance fee is just the most visible bank fee. Others include:
- ATM fees (in-network and out-of-network)
- Wire transfer fees
- Excess transaction fees
- Early withdrawal penalties
- Minimum balance fees
Traditional banks are notorious for nickel-and-diming their customers. By contrast, most online banks do charge at least some fees, but they’re predictable and clearly disclosed on their websites and applications.
For example, many online bank CDs come with early withdrawal penalties. These can be equivalent to as little as one month’s interest on shorter-term CDs but may range up to 24 months of interest on very long-term CDs.
All else being equal, we prefer online banks that charge few if any fees — and hidden fees are a dealbreaker.
Investment and Tax-Advantaged Options
Many online banks stick to core banking services, like checking and savings. But a growing number of online banks offer a wider array of options for people who’d like to be able to do all their banking in the same place.
We’re particularly fond of online banks that offer tax-advantaged account options, such as savings IRAs and CD IRAs. We also like online banks that have in-house investment platforms — whether they’re self-directed brokerages like Ally Invest or low-cost robo-advisors like Wealthfront.
All online banks have at least one deposit account product. That’s what makes them online banks.
A smaller but growing number make loans or issue lines of credit — including credit cards — as well. Common online bank credit products include:
- Mortgage loans, including purchase loans and refinance loans
- Home equity products, including home equity loans and lines of credit
- Auto loans
- Student loans and student loan refinancing products
- Personal loans
- Credit cards and other types of credit lines
We don’t hold it against online banks that don’t make loans — it’s a big step for many a lean bank. But we do look out for banks that have taken the leap.
Budgeting and Money Management Features
Budgeting is hard to do right. That’s why we’re big fans of online banks with built-in budgeting and money management tools.
The more automated these tools are, the better. In fact, some make our list of the top budgeting apps on the market. Truly “set it and forget it” money management saves the typical consumer hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year.
Online Banking FAQs
Still have questions about online banks and managing money online? We have answers.
How Much Does Online Banking Cost?
Online bank rates, yields, and fees are subject to change at banks’ sole discretion. For up-to-date information about specific accounts and bank policies, check their websites or call customer service.
That said, online banks are generally more affordable than traditional banks. They’re less likely to charge monthly maintenance fees on checking and savings accounts, and many have fewer hidden fees too.
What’s the Interest Rate on an Online Bank Account?
That also depends on the individual bank. But many online accounts feature higher yields relative to those of traditional banks.
That’s because online banks have less overhead than traditional banks. They don’t need to pay to keep big, centrally located branches open or pay people to work at them. Their operations are more efficient, which allows them to pass the savings on to customers via higher rates and lower fees.
How Do You Enroll in Online Banking?
It depends on the bank and how its website or app is structured, but it’s usually straightforward. In fact, with an online-only bank, enrollment is usually automatic. You don’t have to complete a separate application or even click a button to activate your account.
However, you will need to create a unique username and password to get started. You may be asked to do this as part of the initial application process or once your account is approved. You’ll also need to link at least one external funding source to transfer money into your account.
Can You Get a Mortgage From an Online Bank?
Some online banks offer home loans (mortgages) and other credit products. These banks tend to be larger online banks with high name recognition, like Ally Bank and Capital One Bank. Look for a “Mortgages” or “Home Loans” tab on the homepage or in your account dashboard.
Be aware that some online banks outsource mortgage origination to other companies. In other words, if you apply for a mortgage through your bank, your loan officer might actually work for someone else. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it could mean a different level or style of service than you’re used to.
And don’t expect your online bank to offer better mortgage rates than other lenders. The mortgage loan business is highly competitive, and direct lenders with even lower overhead may be able to undercut online banks.
How to Choose the Best Online Bank — Or Several
The institutions on this list offer a great combination of FDIC-insured banking products, solid yields, open access, and helpful customer service.
Before choosing one, take a closer look at the features that set it apart from the competition: rewards checking, flexible withdrawal terms for CDs, particularly high account yields, a socially responsible corporate philosophy, and so on.
And remember that, unlike in the old days, your banking choices aren’t bound by geography or other restrictions. If you can’t settle on a single online bank, why not open accounts at multiple banks and compare your experiences?