The way people bank is changing in a big way. As of 2022, 27% of US adults use a digital-only bank as their primary account and report greater satisfaction than people who use traditional banks. The best online banks are highly competitive with their branch-based counterparts.
Online banks offer perks that traditional banks often lack, including lower fees, higher interest rates, and above all, convenience. The best digital banks combine these advantages and more.
We’ve put together a list of the best online banks on the market so you can find the right digital bank for you.
What Is an Online Bank?
Online-only banks are financial institutions that operate almost entirely on the internet, without brick-and-mortar branches. Very few digital banks have physical locations, and if they do they’re limited in number.
Customers of online banks can handle all their finances through online or mobile banking platforms. For example, they can pay their bills, open accounts, deposit checks, transfer funds, and perform most transactions traditional banks would allow them to.
Because everything is online, customers need to be comfortable with online banking technology. Luckily, digital banks have online platforms that are easy to use, as well as ATM access and a number of customer support options.
Online banks don’t have the cost of operating physical locations, which means their savings are passed on to the customer in the form of lower fees and higher interest rates on savings accounts.
The Best Online Banks of 2023
The best online bank is the one that meets your unique needs. If you’re looking for a digital bank, we’ve put together a list of the best online banks out there to help you narrow your search.
- Best Overall: Discover
- Best for checking accounts: Quontic
- Best for savings accounts: CIT Bank
- Best for checking and savings accounts: SoFi
- Best for cash deposits: Alliant Credit Union
- Best for the range of services provided: Ally
Learn more about how we choose the best online banks below. 👇
With stellar customer reviews, competitive rates, and excellent account offerings, Discover is our pick for the best overall online bank.
- No monthly fees
- No overdraft or insufficient fund fees
- Competitive APYs
- High customer ratings
- Doesn’t accept cash deposits
- No physical branches
Discover is a digital bank that offers something for everyone. Its products include some of the best credit cards on the market and savings accounts that can earn you 5x the National Savings Average.
Discover makes banking and managing money easy for its customers. Its highly-rated mobile app has an impressive 4.9 out of 5 stars on the App store and 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google Play. It also offers over-the-phone customer support available 24/7 — a significant benefit when there are no physical branch locations.
The checking and savings accounts have no monthly or maintenance fees and offer competitive rates and rewards. Discover’s Online Savings Account offers a 4.30% APY, while its checking account gets you 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases.
The online bank also offers convenient, easy access to a large ATM network nationwide. However, cash deposits are not currently accepted, which can be a major downside if you intend to deposit cash frequently.
|APY||4.30% APY savings account, 1% cash back checking account|
|Banking experience||High user ratings and 24/7 customer support|
|Accessibility (ATM networks)||60,000+ no-fee ATMs nationwide|
BEST FOR CHECKING ACCOUNTS
Quontic is a strong choice if you’re looking for an online checking account that earns a very competitive interest rate at no extra cost.
- High interest on checking account
- No monthly maintenance fees
- Quontic Pay Ring feature
- Minimum POS transactions required to qualify for high APY
- No customer support on weekends
Quontic’s High-Interest Checking account can earn you up to 1.10% APY without charging any monthly or overdraft fees. To qualify for this high yield, you’ll need to make at least 10 debit card transactions of $10 or more each statement period. If you use your card regularly, this minimum requirement shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you’re an infrequent debit card user, failure to make the minimum number of transactions will result in a mere 0.01% APY.
A unique feature offered by Quontic is the Quontic Pay Ring — a wearable payment ring that allows you to make contactless purchases by tapping it. For those who value convenience and don’t like to carry their debit card around everywhere, the ring may prove to be a game changer.
Quontic also offers two other types of checking accounts, including a Cash Rewards Checking that earns 1.0% cash back on eligible purchases and a Bitcoin Rewards Checking that gets you 1.5% bitcoin on purchases.
The online bank offers an extensive ATM network and 24/7 access to online and mobile banking. Apple users rate the Quontic app 4.4 stars out of 5, while Android customers are not as impressed, giving it only 3.3 stars. If you need assistance, their customer service agents can be reached by phone from 9 am-6 pm on weekdays, but they’re not available on weekends.
|Banking experience||Monday-Friday customer support|
|Accessibility (ATM networks)||90,000+ no-fee ATMs nationwide|
BEST FOR SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
CIT’s savings account pays one of the highest yields in the country. And unlike some online banks, it doesn’t ask you to meet strict criteria or put down a large minimum deposit to qualify for it.
- High APY on savings account
- No monthly service fees
- Doesn’t accept cash deposits
CIT Bank has a range of savings accounts that offer competitive rates and don’t charge any service fees. The Savings Connect account pays you a high 2.10% APY and only requires a $100 minimum opening deposit. Its other savings accounts also have competitive yields, but they’re certainly not the best on the market. For instance, the Savings Builder account offers only 0.85% APY and requires a minimum balance of $25,000 or a monthly deposit of $100.
Like other online banks, CIT is a great fit for people who like the convenience of banking on their phone or computer. The app receives 4.6 out of 5 stars on App Store and 3.0 stars on Google Play. If you have any banking questions, telephone support is also available with extended hours from Monday to Saturday and is closed on Sundays.
Unlike other digital banks on our list, CIT doesn’t have a network of no-fee ATMs. However, you can use other banks’ ATMs and CIT will reimburse you up to $30 of those fees per month. If you use the ATM regularly to withdraw money, for example, any fees you incur above $30 will be an out-of-pocket expense.
|Banking experience||24/7 online access + Monday-Saturday telephone support|
|Accessibility (ATM networks)||No free ATM networks, but CIT will reimburse you up to $30 in ATM fees each month|
BEST FOR CHECKING AND SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
SoFi has a unique product offering — a 2-in-1 checking and savings account that comes with a competitive rate and a generous sign-up bonus.
- High APY
- No account fees
- Up to $250 sign-up bonus
- No overdraft fees
- No minimum deposit required
- 15% cash back at local establishments
- Checking and savings accounts are combined
- Cash deposits cost $4.95 at Green Dot retail locations
If you’re looking for checking and savings accounts that offer a competitive rate, SoFi is a strong candidate, as long as you’re okay with combining your accounts.
SoFi’s new online banking account is a checking-savings account hybrid that earns a very competitive 4.40% APY. On top of that, you can get up to 15% at local establishments when you pay with your SoFi debit card. As a sign-up bonus, SoFi is also giving customers up to $250 when they set up a direct deposit. However, your direct deposit needs to be $5,000 or more if you want to receive the full $250 bonus.
Like its competitors, it doesn’t charge any account fees or other hidden fees most traditional banks usually charge.
SoFi is not an ideal choice for customers who make regular cash deposits to their accounts. Cash deposits are only available at participating retail locations and each deposit will cost you $4.95.
The customer experience is something SoFi excels at. SoFi has a highly rated mobile app (4.8 and 4.1 stars on the App Store and Google Play respectively), and an exemplary customer support system. There’s a 24/7 virtual chat assistant, a Twitter account dedicated to customer support, and each product offering has a designated customer support line.
|Banking experience||Strong customer support via phone, Twitter, and online chat.|
|Accessibility (ATM networks)||55,000+ no-fee ATMs nationwide|
BEST FOR CASH DEPOSITS
Alliant Credit Union
Alliant’s cash-deposit ATMs aren’t the only feature that makes it a solid digital banking solution — it also offers competitive rates and excellent customer service support.
- Cash-deposit ATMs available nationwide
- Competitive APYs
- No fees
- $20/month in ATM fee rebates
- Cash-deposit ATMs are limited if you live in a rural area
Online banks are not exactly known for making it easy to deposit cash. Alliant is one of the few digital banks (credit union to be exact) that allow customers to deposit money through one of their many cash-deposit ATMs.
While Alliant has more than 80,000 ATMs nationwide, not all of them are cash-deposit friendly.
You can find one near you by searching for deposit-taking ATMs through their website, but you may have trouble finding one if you live in a remote area or far from a big city.
Alliant is a reputable credit union with a range of products, including online checking and savings accounts that earn above-average rates and don’t charge any fees. It also offers a user-friendly online banking platform, a highly rated mobile app (4.7 out of 5 stars on the App Store and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Play), and 24/7 customer support.
|APYs||3.10% APY for savings account, 0.25% for checking account|
|Banking experience||Highly rated digital experience & 24/7 over-the-phone customer support|
|Accessibility (ATM networks)||80,000+ no-fee ATMs nationwide|
BEST FOR THE RANGE OF SERVICES PROVIDED
Ally is a top choice among online banks for a reason: it combines a robust product offering, strong rates, and a customer-centric digital banking experience.
- Robust product offering
- High APYs on checking and savings accounts
- No monthly fees
- No way to deposit cash
Ally offers customers a full range of banking products like checking accounts, Robo portfolios, auto loans, mortgages, and more. It also offers accounts with high interest rates, like its 4.00% APY online savings account.
The online bank also doesn’t charge any monthly or overdraft fees and offers a chat option or 24/7 telephone banking support. The convenience of a 24/7 customer support line is a significant advantage, considering Ally, like most digital banks, doesn’t have any physical branches.
Ally’s digital banking platform is very user-friendly and uses simple, jargon-free language to help customers navigate it. The app gets 4.7 out of 5 stars on the App Store and 3.6 stars on Google Play.
|APYs||4.0% APY for a savings account, 0.25% APY for checking account|
|Banking experience||Customer-centric online experience and 24/7 live agent support|
|Accessibility (ATM networks)||43,000+ no-fee ATMs nationwide|
The Pros and Cons of Online vs. Traditional Banks
Both online banks and traditional banks are safe places to keep your money and handle your finances. Just like “old-school” banks, most digital banks are FDIC-insured, meaning your money is safe and secure. While both types of banks help you manage your money, they differ when it comes to features and capabilities.
Traditional banks have been around for much longer and offer in-person customer support through their nationwide network of branches. They also offer a wider range of financial products like mortgages or auto loans. As of now, many digital banks offer fewer options than big banks provide.
That being said, online banks offer plenty of other features that make them an increasingly popular choice among US consumers.
👍 Pros of Online Banks
👉 Fewer and lower fees compared to traditional banks — As we mentioned before, online banks don’t have the same overhead costs that traditional banks do. This advantage allows them to charge little to no monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, or any other pesky hidden fees.
👉 Higher APYs — According to the FDIC, the national average interest rates are 0.13% on savings accounts and 0.03% on checking accounts. Online banks offer up to 5x the national average (sometimes even more), giving customers a chance to earn more on their savings.
👉 A better quality online experience — Because online banks operate entirely online, they typically offer a better, user-oriented digital experience to customers than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
Not convinced yet? Here are some other benefits of online banks:
- Convenience and flexibility
- Built-in features like automatic savings and budgeting tools
- 24/7 or extended customer support hours
- Easy and speedy account opening process
- Easy to keep track of your finances from anywhere in the world
- Little to no paperwork involved
If you’re comfortable in the digital world, an online bank may be the best choice for you.
👎 Cons of Online Banks
Digital banks come with an array of advantages, but they’re not for everyone. Here are some of the major downsides of digital banking:
- Lack of cash deposit options
- No physical locations or face-to-face service
- Lack of personal relationships
- Limited range of products and services
If you’re someone that deposits cash frequently and values personal interaction, you may opt for the traditional bank route.
Online-only banks offer a range of significant benefits that make them a great alternative to traditional banks. Before choosing a digital bank, consider what features are most important to you.
Ultimately, the best online bank for you is the one that offers the right combination of features and products that meet your unique needs.