Online banks have many advantages because they don’t have the costs of maintaining physical branch locations. The best online banks can offer all of the services you need the same as traditional banks, plus they offer better rates on accounts and loans and lower fees.
People concerned about the safety of online banks should know highly sophisticated security measures such as encryption and fraud monitoring are in place 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.
This bank is on the list because they consistently offer higher interest rates than the national average of 0.06% 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 0.06%. Compare that to some of the best online banks that offer up to 1.35% 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 1.35%, 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 0.06% as of June 15, 2020.
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