The Best Online Checking Accounts

The best online checking accounts offer flexibility, high APYs, and low fees.  Using these factors and more, here are the companies you should consider.

About the Best Online Checking Accounts

Some of the best online banks also offer online checking accounts while others do not.  There is a wide range of APYs, and fee structures with these checking accounts, so it’s important to do your research.

Most of these accounts also offer debit card and ATM capabilities, with little to no fees in order to use these services.  

One of the biggest advantages to an online checking account, as with online savings accounts is the considerably higher interest rates.  This is not true of all the banks, which is why you need to pay attention to the specifics of whatever bank you choose.  Our picks attempt to highlight banks with a decent APY combined with high scores across other factors.

If attaining the highest APY is your primary goal, there are other options offering higher returns.  Just be aware that you may be sacrificing in other areas such as customer service, minimum balance, and fees.

These banks also do not have physical locations in most locals.  You need to be comfortable transferring money from other accounts or having a direct deposit.  You will also need to use online tools to deposit checks.  If technology isn’t your thing, then an online checking account is something you might not be comfortable using.

Below are some of the details for our picks for best online banks.  Click here to see our ratings methodology.



Alliant Bank has been around in one form or another since 1935.  They score highly across the board, not only with great online reviews, but also an A+ rating from the BBB.

Alliant also has a very good APY of 0.65% which has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee.  And if you are also looking to start a savings account, Alliant has an even stronger APY of 2.1% on those accounts.

As with most online banks offering checking accounts, they have a strong network of over 80,000 ATM’s.  These ATM’s are accessible with no surcharge, and out-of-network fees can be rebated up to $20/month.

As expected they have online and mobile banking apps that making it easy to do banking from almost anywhere.


Radius Bank Logo



Radius offers a number of different checking accounts.  This ranking is for their Radius Hybrid checking account which has a 1.0% APY for balances between $2,500-$99,999.99.  Anything over this amount and you bump that rate to 1.2%.

They also offer a network of free ATM’s and no monthly service fee.  No minimum balance is required after the first $100 to open the account but keep in mind the thresholds to earn the 1.0% APY.

With a strong BBB rating and reviews across the web, Radius is an excellent choice for your online checking account.


Axos Bank Logo



Axos is a solid company with strong reviews, and an A- BBB rating.

They also have a number of different checking account types, with the Rewards Checking offering the best returns.

Keep in mind that this is a tiered system based on you meeting certain requirements as follows:

  1. Receive monthly direct deposits totaling more than $1,000 = 0.4166%
  2. Use your Axos Visa Debit card for 10 transactions per month (a minimum of $3/transaction) = 0.4166%
  3.  Use your Axos Visa Debit card for an additional 5 transactions per month (a minimum of $3/transaction) = 0.4166%

Even if you only meet the first condition you still earn a respectable return.  However, the high upside is what helps Axos land in the top three.

Pros of Online Checking Accounts

Flexibility – Online checking accounts can offer people more flexibility if you are comfortable with the technology.  With the ability to deposit checks at most companies within their mobile apps, it beats making trips to the bank.  You also have convenient access to all the information within your account via most any device.
Rates – Another key pro to online checking accounts is the APYs they offer compared to traditional banks.  Online checking accounts can often give you high APYs than savings account at a brick and mortar establishment.  You do need to pay attention to each banks APY when it comes to checking accounts because there is a considerable variation.
ATM Access – It depends on the bank, but most of the excellent online checking accounts have access to an extensive network of no-fee ATM’s.  You may even find the accessibility is more convenient than some of your local banks with physical locations.  Even in the even, you do use an out-of-network machine, many of these banks will refund fees up to a certain amount each month.

Cons of Online Checking Accounts

No Face-to-Face Communication – If you like to sit down an do your banking in person, then online banking isn’t for you.  You won’t be able to walk into a local branch and deposit a check.  For some people, this is a deal-breaker, but if you’re proficient with technology, this shouldn’t be a significant problem.  

Depositing money – Often you will need to transfer funds from a traditional bank to fund your online checking account.  This can be frustrating for some and requires you to use another bank.  Some people might think this defeats the purpose, which is understandable.  Just remember the much higher APY you’re most likely earning can make the inconvenience of funding the account well worthwhile.

Full Comparison List

While our top three banks are great choices, there are other online checking accounts out there worth considering.  If you have your money elsewhere or prefer a service offered by another bank, here is the full list of online checking accounts we reviewed and their scores in different categories.

Best Online Checking Accounts

wdt_IDCompanyOnline ReviewsBBB RatingAPYMinimum Balance for APYATM Fees
2Radius Hybrid24A+1.00% $ 2,500.000
5Ally29A+0.60% $ 15,000.000
6Capital One 36028A+0.20%00
7Charles Schwab27B-0.40%00
8USAA24A+0.01% $ 1,000.000
9TIAA25A+0.71% $ 10,000.000

Online Ratings – We know our site is not the only one who reviews companies.  There are plenty of good review sites that we respect, and we take into account what others on the web are saying about companies.  We also take into account user ratings when we can verify they are unbiased reviews from actual users.  That can be difficult, so we pay more attention to the companies we know and trust.

BBB Rating – We take into account BBB ratings because it is a good indicator of how well a company responds to customer complaints.  All companies with a particular volume of business will have some level of customer complaints.  Those that have a history of dealing with complaints quickly and professionally are the ones we feel most comfortable recommending. 

APY – When it comes to online checking accounts APY is an important differentiator from traditional banks.  Although it is typically not the account most people go to grow their money, every penny you can earn while it sits in your accounts is important.

Fee Structure – Low fees are essential for online banks in general, but even more so for their checking accounts.  For banks to score well, they need to have no monthly maintenance fee, low minimum balances, and access to an extensive network of no-fee ATM’s.

Years in Business – We use the length of time a company has been in business as a factor in how we rank most companies.  If a young company truly shines in all categories, they may still be among our top list, but since they have a limited history to prove longevity, we do discount their overall score.  For this reason, you may not see some of the newest companies in the market at the top of our list.

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