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5 Best Online Banks For Free Checking and Savings Accounts

The best online banks offer free checking, high-interest savings, functional, clean-looking apps and live customer service.

Online banks have many advantages because they don’t have the costs of maintaining physical branch locations.

The best online banks offer all of the services as traditional physical banks with better savings rates accounts and lower interest rates on credit cards and loans.

People concerned about the safety of online banks should know online banks utilize highly sophisticated security measures such as encryption and fraud monitoring to protect your personal and financial information.

Plus, online banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). When an institution is federally insured, your money is protected against bank failures up to $250,000 per account.

We partnered with the following banks to bring what we consider the best online banks and why we chose them. The banks listed are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for credit unions.

1. BBVA Online Checking – Best Online Banking App

BBVA Bank features an award wining banking app honored 6 years in a row for its ease of use. BBVA's Online Checking Account requires a minimum of $25 deposit to open. BBVA Bank operates brick-and-mortar branches in 7 states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas) and is among the 25 largest banks based on commercial deposits.

Account Details

  • No monthly Service Charge
  • No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
  • Online Banking and Mobile Banking, plus Mobile Deposit and Bill Pay
  • Easily keep track of your purchases and get transaction alerts on the go with BBVA Mobile Banking App
  • Earn cash back rewards for everyday debit card purchases with Simple Cash Back℠

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2. CIT Bank – Best Online Bank for a Checking and Savings Account Rates

CIT Bank offers an interest earning checking account along with a high-rate savings account. It's not uncommon for people to have a checking and savings account at different banks. Considering the national savings rate is 0.05% it can be an advantage to have separate banks for daily transactions and savings account.

CIT eChecking Account Details – Earn up to 0.25% APY

  • Pays 0.10% APY on balances under $25,000
  • Pays 0.25% APY on balances of $25,000 or more
  • No monthly maintenance charges
  • $100 minimum to open
  • Remote check deposit
  • Debit card for spending and cash withdrawals
  • CIT Bank does not charge fees for using ATMs
  • Up to $15 per month in ATM fee rebates (up to $30 for statement cycles ending between April 15, 2020, and July 15, 2020)

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CIT Savings Builder Account Details – Earn 0.50% APY

  • $100 minimum to open
  • No monthly maintenance charges
  • To earn the highest APY in this account, you must meet one of the following requirements: Deposit at least $100 per month
  • Easily keep track of your purchases and get transaction alerts on the go with BBVA Mobile Banking App
  • Earn cash back rewards for everyday debit card purchases with Simple Cash Back℠

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This bank is on the list because they consistently offer higher interest rates than the national average of 0.05% APY.

The best online banks offer better interest rates

Some of the largest brick and mortar banks like Bank of America and Chase offer savings accounts that earn only 0.01% APY. That's not even the national average savings rate of 0.05%. Compare that to some of the best online banks that offer up to 2.10% APY.

Because online banks primarily operate without branches, they tend to offer higher rates for savings products.

A few percentage points difference might not sound like much, but the larger your balance, the more it matters. A balance of $10,000 deposited for a year at 0.01% will earn a dollar; at 2.10%, it earns just over $135.

What features to look for in online banks

When choosing an online bank there are certain banking features that will make banking much easier. Here are a few of those features:

ATM access. online bank will be part of an ATM network, like Allpoint or MoneyPass, with thousands of fee-free machines nationwide. If you need to withdraw cash from a non-network machine, some online banks will also reimburse any fees the ATM owner charges.

Accessibility. Online banking means you can access your bank accounts and 24 hours a day, seven days a week from your computer or mobile device. But you also want access to a live representative when needed. Live contact is even better when an online bank offers live telephone representatives as well as online chat representatives. Radius Bank offers helpful customer representatives via online and chat, Monday through Saturday.

Cutting edge website and app. With an online bank, your primary interactions will take place via the bank’s website and its mobile app. Online customers need to easily perform seamless money transfers and bill pay. If you're the type of banking customer that enjoys built-in financial advice and budgeting platforms, there are many online banks that offer those feature. Some of the best mobile apps even allow you to track accounts from different financial institutions.  BBVA Bank's mobile app has been recognized and awarded for its ease of use.

Skip the fees. Choose a bank account that will charge you no monthly fees. This might depend on your behavior—maintaining a minimum balance, for instance, or linking the account to another account—but you can often avoid fees with the right bank.

Earn higher interest. Online banks tend to pay higher rates, so do some comparison shopping to get the best rate you can. The top online savings accounts currently are paying 1.05% to 1.36% APY, compared to a national average savings account rate of 0.05% as of June 15, 2020.

When the first online banking website was offered by Stanford Federal Credit Union (Silicon Valley, CA) in October 1994, many customers were hesitant. However, by the year 2000, 80 percent of banks in the United States offered online banking services.

Today it's difficult to imagine a world without online banking.

Online Banking has become a way of life to the extent full-service banking products are available completely online. The best online banking apps allow customers to fully-manage their accounts with access to tools that easily allow you to save, budget and instantly transfer money.

Innovation to improve financial lives continues to propel online banks to offer full-service financial products without the need for a traditional bank branch. Plus, with COVID-19, many bank branches are temporarily closed.  More consumers may need access to an array of financial products online.

Here are some financial products offered by full-service banks:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Certificate of Deposit
  • Credit cards
  • Personal, mortgage, car, and business loans
  • Wealth management
  • Investment products

5 Online banking options with full-service products and slick mobile apps

1. Radius Bank – Rewards Checking Account
2. CIT Bank – eChecking and SmartBuilder HYS

5. GTE Federal Credit Union –

How to build a banking relationship through online banking

Ways to keep your money safe with online banking

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Best online savings rates

The national savings rate is 0.47% APY. This online bank pays way more.

CIT Bank

Platinum Savings
5.05% APY
Minimum $5,000 balance
No maintenance fees
Mobile & Online Banking
Deposits are FDIC insured


5.21% APY
Minimum $1,000 balance
No maintenance fees
Mobile & Online Banking
Deposits are FDIC insured

Quontic Bank

4.50% APY
Minimum $100 balance
No maintenance fees
Mobile & Online Banking
Deposits are FDIC insured
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide the most relevant and current information. However, the information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be personal financial advice.

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