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An online checking account beats a traditional checking account for the same reason as email beats the postal system and online shopping beats brick-and-mortar stores. Online checking accounts are based on traditional checking accounts, but with more convenience, less cost, and less hassle.
Online checking accounts have been around since the early days of the internet, but at first were quite limited in terms of functionality. In recent years online checking accounts have become more sophisticated. In fact, many online checking accounts now include a free mobile app that lets people do their banking from their phone.
These days, consumers can do virtually all their banking online or on their mobile banking app, from bank-to-bank transfers, to depositing checks, to scheduling bill payments. Many online banks even offer add-ons like ID theft insurance, roadside assistance, and retail rewards programs.
|Savings Account||Checking Account||Business Checking Account |
|Earns interest||✓||✓ (varies by bank)||✗|
|ATM access||✓||✓||✓ (varies by bank)|
|Debit card access||✓||✓||✓|
|Check writing access||✓||✓||✗|
|Our Top Choice:|
No 2 checking accounts are equal, so it’s worth doing a comparison shop before settling on an online bank. The following is a checklist of things to focus on when comparing online checking accounts.
|Bank||APY/Rewards earning||24/7 Support||Explore|
|Earn up to $2,000 cash bonus when you open a new eligible checking account with required activities||Yes|
Online checking accounts offer all the same functions as traditional checking accounts—and more. Online checking accounts have revolutionized banking, allowing users to do everything they would have previously done in-branch from the comfort of their own home, or from on the go.
Here are some of the features usually offered with an online checking account:
Domestic and international wire transfers - Send and receive money between your account and another person’s account.
Multiple account integration - Keep your accounts organized and easy to access.
Bill payment - Stay on top of your bills and set reminders so you never miss a beat.
Digital check deposit - Instantly scan and deposit a check with your smartphone and get access to the funds straight away.
Digital/downloadable account statements - Great for managing your budget, and for instantly sending records to your accountant.
Mobile banking app - Manage your accounts from your mobile device.
Mobile payments - Make purchases straight from your account with Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay.
Sophisticated security and encryption - Keep your data safe with multi-factor authentication and extra-strong encryption.
FDIC Insurance - Deposits insured up to at least $250,000 (and sometimes as high as $1.5 million, depending on the bank).
SMS / email alerts - Notifications whenever any unusual or suspicious activity occurs in relation to your bank account.
ATMs - Withdraw money from thousands of ATMs in the US and around the world, and get reimbursements from third-party ATM withdrawals.
Credit card rewards - Get points for making purchases with your account-linked credit card
*Earn up to $400 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and a Standard Savings account and complete qualifying activities. Subject to certain terms and limitations. Offer valid through June 20, 2023. Member FDIC.
Applicant must reside in AZ, AR, CA, CO, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, SD, TN, UT, WA, WI, WY to be eligible for Checking account.
1 Annual Percentage Yields (APY) are accurate as of December 1, 2022. Rates may change at any time without prior notice, before or after the account is opened. You can earn 5.00% on your first $5,000 if you meet these requirements: Make sure that you Varo account balances are above or equal to $0 at the close of the month. Receive total direct deposits of $1,000 or more each qualifying period. Additional balances over $5,000 will earn 3.00% APY. The requirements must be met within the Qualifying Period which begins on the first calendar day of the month and ends at the close of business (4:25 pm MST/ 3:25 pm MDT) on the last business day of the month. Meet the requirements in the current month to qualify to earn 5.00% APY for the following month. Qualifying direct deposits are electronic deposits of your paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security or unemployment) from your employer or government agency. Tax refunds and government stimulus payments, Person-to-Person payments (such as Venmo) and funds deposited using a Varo routing number are not considered a direct deposit. Be aware that interest is paid in whole cents only.
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. Chime Checking Account is required to be eligible for a Savings Account.
˜ Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. Cash deposit or other third party fees may apply.
*Eligibility requirements apply. Overdraft only applies to debit card purchases and cash withdrawals. Limits start at $20 and may be increased up to $200 by Chime. See chime.com/spotme.
^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
⁺The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of October, 25th, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
¹ Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Spending Account into your savings account. Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more into your savings account.
² FDIC deposit insurance limit to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, per ownership category. For Stride Savings Account depositors, funds are eligible for FDIC insurance when it arrives at the bank. Please visit www.chime.com/savings-apy-and-program-banks/ for more details on FDIC insurance.
³ Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed. The recipient must use a valid debit card to claim funds. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Pay Friends Transfers details.
⁴ The average national savings account interest rate of 0.17% is determined by FDIC as of September 19, 2022 based on a simple average of rates paid (uses annual percentage yield) by all insured depository institutions and branches for which data are available. Visit National Rates and Rate Caps to learn more.
⁵ Chime will be offering members a chance to get their federal tax refund up to 5 days early when they file directly with the IRS and direct deposit with Chime. Getting your federal tax refund early is simple, just sign up for a Chime Checking Account, file your return with the IRS, and set up your tax refund to direct deposit into your Chime Checking Account. After setting up direct deposit, members will also be eligible to get regular paychecks up to 2 days early^.