Quite simply, online banking has never been easier for both customers and banks. It is poised to continue to grow and outpace traditional banking as we know it. Increasingly, online banks are becoming more competitive as a result of the services they offer, so you can expect a new approach to old ways of doing banking. But don’t just sign on to the first online banking service you come across. This is still a new area for many banks and a number of them still haven’t quite got their heads around it and in some cases, their use-ability could be a lot better.
Further to that, some banks are light years ahead with bold and highly innovative ideas but remain mostly unknown, while some more established banks are dragging their knuckles, hesitant to invest in new features and improve their platform.
Before we start, a key piece of advice: Look for features you know you will need or use, like a mobile app, and essential features, such as security. Check out reviews and forums of different online bank accounts before you sign up and commit.
Top 5 online bank accounts:
1. Ally Bank
- Account type: Online Checking Account
- APY: 0.60%
Ally Bank’s checking account happens to be one of the best we’ve ever seen, which has earned the top spot on our list. They have mastered online and mobile banking, simplifying it and still giving their clients options at the same time.
Clients with Ally Bank can benefit from a wide variety of features, which includes making payments via email or text message, and Ally eCheck Deposit, which allows clients to electronically deposit a check wherever they are as long as they have a computer and a scanner, and no working hours restraint.
They are also a great option for those looking to save some funds, particularly young people who don’t have savings. Ally Bank doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees. But perhaps the best feature to expect is the incredibly high 0.60% APY. Your money is basically working for you! This is truly a bank account for the digital age.1
2. Capital One
- Account type: 360
- APY: Ranges from 0.20% to 1.00% depending on your available balance
Coming in at a close second place is Capital One’s 360 online checking account. Capital One has strived to strip away as many fees as possible, claiming not to charge any
Its mobile app is one of the best we’ve ever come across. It’s well-designed, easy to use and has a number of exceptional features other online bank accounts don’t have, such as making a deposit from your phone. Clients can also benefit from being able to track personal spending and receive alerts to avoid getting into their overdraft.
This is also a good option for those who are on a small income, having no minimum deposit and flexible overdraft options.2
3. Radius Bank
- Account type: Radius Hybrid
- APY: 1.00% for accounts with an available balance of $2,500 or higher
Radius Bank’s Radius Hybrid checking account comes with some truly great features that are perfect for the digital age. Its range of financial tools is unprecedented with a key focus on money management.
Some of these features include: depositing checks with a picture on your phone; sum up your net worth; analyze your spending habits; make a budget; set alerts and restrictions to spending; splitting bills with friends is also made easy.
If you are someone who is looking to implement strict control over your account or trying to get better at regulating regular spending, the Radius Hybrid account is a great choice.3
4. Synchrony Bank
- Account type: Online Savings Account
- APY: 2.00% for accounts opened with no minimum deposit
Synchrony Bank is a great alternative for those who don’t need too many features and just want a solid, easy-to-use platform. Its online savings account avoids complicated features and gets straight down to business.
With Synchrony Bank’s online savings account, clients can do all their usual banking tasks, such as make same-day payments, cancel or change payments, utilize Autopay, and schedule up to 12 payments to be fulfilled at a later date. Users can still use an ATM card and they do not charge a monthly fee.
If all you need to do is make online payments and check your balance, Synchrony Bank is a great option for you. The bank made it as a winner on the list of NerdWallet’s 2018 “Best Saving Accounts”, and Nerdwallet is a reputable reviewer of financial services.4
5. TIAA Bank
- Account type: Online Checking Account
- APY: Ranges from as low as 0.25% to as high as 1.21%
TIAA Bank’s online checking account is a nice middle ground between Radius Bank and Synchrony Bank offering advanced features such as tracking your account and setting budgets but still keeping online banking simple and easy to use.
Clients can also speed up payments, receive payment alerts, send money via text or email, and deliver funds without fees. The bank also has a mobile banking app too.
TIAA Bank is the perfect choice for those who want more options, but also don’t want complicated technical distractions which they will not use.5
The world of online bank accounts is thriving and highly competitive. While one option may be the top dog today, it can quickly be replaced by another in a short period of time.
Banks are also learning that different clients need different things. Some tools may be especially appealing to young, tech-savvy adults but be useless to older users who simply just want to make payments and check their balance.
Remember to narrow down what it is you are looking for before signing on. Don’t get distracted by all the different gadgets, especially if you have no real intention of using them. What works for your friends, may not be ideal for you.
Finally, keep in mind that online banking is only one aspect of the banking experience. When browsing for a new bank account, you also need to look at the overall service available. Specifically, look into customer services, compare fees, and be sure of any restrictions that may apply.