Best Online Banks of 2020

The best online banks combine service and low fees.

At one time, consumers looked down on online banks for not having any physical locations. The top online banks took this disadvantage and turned it into a positive, channeling their cost savings into enhanced interest rates, products and services for banking customers. The best online banks now offer a full range of personal financial products and banking services, including checking and savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs, with most having ATM access and a high APY.

However, this doesn’t mean that all online banks are created equal. Rather, there is a large gulf between average online banks and the very best ones. To help you choose from among all the available options, GOBankingRates conducted a study to identify the best banks.

If you’re looking for specific information about the best online banks of 2020, click on one of the following links to jump ahead to your section of interest:

Here are the highlights of the 10 Best Online Banks of 2020:

Best Online Banks of 2020
BankChecking FeeSavings APY12-Month CD APYATM Access
Ally Bank$01.70%2.00%Use any Allpoint ATM in the U.S. for free; reimbursements of up to $10 per statement cycle for other ATM fees
Discover Bank$0 1.70%2.00%60,000 no-fee ATMs
Synchrony Bank$01.80%2.05No ATM fees in the U.S. or abroad at terminals with Plus or Accel logos; up to $5 in third-party fees reimbursed per statement cycle
FNBO Bank$0  1.80%0.31%Surcharge-free access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
Axos Bank logoAxos Bank$01.30%12-month CD: 1.01%No charge at any domestic ATM, with unlimited ATM reimbursements
Radius Bank$0 1.25%-1.65%1.55%No ATM fees and unlimited third-party ATM reimbursements
Bank5 Connect$0 1.85%24-month Investment CD: 2.10%Bank5 Connect will never charge an ATM fee and will reimburse up to $15 per month in ATM fees charged by terminal operators outside the SUM network 
 Bank Delaware$0 (savings) 1.80%2.10%No ATM access
Citizens Access$0 (for savings) 1.85%2.10%No ATM access
TIAA logo 2017TIAA Bank$01.10%2.10%No fee at any ATMs; third-party ATM fees reimbursed up to $15 per month for all accounts, with unlimited reimbursements for balances of at least $5,000
Rates are updated weekly.

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Best Online Banks of 2020

To determine the Best Online Bank of 2020, GOBankingRates evaluated online banks using a methodology centered on the following criteria:

  • Checking account fee
  • Savings account annual percentage yield
  • 12-month CD APY
  • BauerFinancial Star Rating for overall financial strength

Further consideration was given as to whether banks offered the following services:

  • 24/7 customer service by phone
  • Live chat service with a real person via a website
  • Mobile app
  • Remote check deposit

All of the top 10 online banks offer competitive accounts that come with the best online banking services, such as a mobile app and mobile deposit. One of these banks might be the best bank for you, especially if your current bank lacks the generous rates and services offered by these online banks.

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Ally Bank

Why We Like It: Ally Bank offers a high savings APY and a wide variety of no-fee products, along with 24/7 customer service.

Products Offered: Checking, savings, CDs, money market, IRAs, home and auto loans, self-directed investments, managed portfolios.

Benefits:

  • No minimum deposit to open
  • No fees for official or cashier’s checks
  • Diverse product lines available
  • 24/7 live customer service

Drawbacks:

  • No cash deposits

Fees: $0 

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $0
  • 12-month CD: $0

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $0
  • 12-month CD: $0

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 0.50%
  • Savings: 0.50%
  • 12-month CD: 2.00%

Access (ATM): Use any Allpoint ATM in the U.S. for free; reimbursements of up to $10 per statement cycle for other ATM fees

How To Open an Account: You can open an account online at Ally by providing your personal information, including Social Security number, date of birth and a valid ID. You also can call customer service 24/7 at 877-247-2559, or open an account by mailing in an application.

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Discover Bank

Why We Like It: Discover Bank offers a good range of products, from checking and savings accounts to money market accounts, CDs and IRAs, with competitive rates and generally nonexistent fees.

Products Offered: Checking, savings, money market, CDs and IRAs

Benefits:

  • High rates and low fees on a deep product roster
  • Cashback Checking pays 1% back on monthly debit card purchases of up to $3,000, with no fees or balance requirements
  • Fee-free access to over 60,000 ATMs

Drawbacks:

  • $2,500 minimum to open CD accounts

Fees: $0 on all accounts 

Minimum Deposit: $0 on all accounts 

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: $0
  • Savings: $0
  • 12-month CD: $2,500

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 1% cash back on first $3,000 in debit card purchases monthly
  • Savings: 1.70%
  • 12-month CD: 2.00%

Access (ATM): 60,000 no-fee ATMs

How To Open an Account: Provide your address, phone, email and Social Security number to open an account online. To fund the account, you can mail in a check or transfer funds from your existing bank.

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Synchrony Bank

Why We Like It: Synchrony Bank’s high-yield savings account offers a 1.90% APY, and CD rates reach as high as 2.30% APY.

Products Offered: Savings, money market, CDs and IRAs

Benefits:

  • ATM refunds up to $5 per cycle
  • Rewards program “Synchrony Bank Perks” that provides various discounts
  • Winner of numerous awards for products, rates, safety and technology

Drawbacks:

  • $2,000 minimum deposit on savings
  • No online checking account

Fees: $0

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: $0
  • 12-month CD: $2,500

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: $0
  • 12-month CD: $2,000 to open, $0 to maintain

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 1.80%
  • 12-month CD: 2.05%

Access (ATM): No ATM fees in the U.S. or abroad at terminals with Plus or Accel logos; up to $5 in third-party fees reimbursed per statement cycle 

How To Open an Account: You must be a U.S. resident to open a Synchrony Bank account online. You’ll also need a valid ID and a Social Security number, along with a funding source.

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FNBO Direct Bank

Why We Like It: In addition to a high APY on its no-fee savings account, FNBO Direct Bank offers an interest-bearing checking account that’s also free of charge.

Products Offered: Checking, savings, CDs and 529 plans

Benefits: 

  • High savings APY
  • High checking APY for a no-fee account

Drawbacks:

  • Low CD rates

Fees: $0

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: $1
  • Savings: $1
  • 12-month CD: $500

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: $0.01
  • Savings: $0
  • 12-month CD: $500

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 0.65%
  • Savings: 1.80%
  • 12-month CD: 0.31%

Access (ATM): Surcharge-free access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs

How To Open an Account: You can open an FNBO Direct account online in about 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll need your Social Security number, driver’s license or ID card issued by your state DMV, employment information, information about loans or mortgages you currently have, and current bank account and routing numbers to fund your new account.

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Axos Bank

Why We Like It: No-fee checking and savings accounts, along with unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements, help push Axos Bank onto the list of best online banks.

Products Offered: Checking, savings, money market and CDs

Read: Money Market Accounts vs. Savings Accounts: What’s the Difference?

Benefits: 

  • No fees or minimums
  • Get paid up to two days early with Direct Deposit Express
  • Online bill pay
  • Mobile check deposits
  • No ATM fees
  • Unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements

Drawbacks:

  • No interest on checking account

Fees: $0 

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: $0 
  • Savings: $250
  • 12-month CD: $1,000

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: $0 
  • Savings: $0
  • 12-month CD: $1,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 1.30%
  • 12-month CD: 1.01%

Access (ATM): No fees at any ATM nationwide, with unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements.

How To Open an Account: You can open an Axos account online in about 15 minutes with your Social Security number and a valid ID.

Learn: How to Open a Bank Account Online: Everything You Need to Know

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Radius Bank

Why We Like It: Radius Bank offers fee-free versions of the most popular types of accounts, all with decent rates; the unlimited ATM fee reimbursement is a significant additional perk.

Products Offered: Checking, savings, CDs, loans and insurance

Benefits:

  • Free ATMs, including unlimited ATM fee reimbursement
  • No-fee checking and savings accounts

Drawbacks:

  • High minimum deposits to earn interest
  • Not all accounts can be opened online

Fees: $0

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: $100; $2,500 to earn interest
  • Savings: $100; $2,500 to earn interest
  • 12-month CD: $500

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: $100; $2,500 to earn interest
  • Savings: $100; $2,500 to earn interest
  • 12-month CD: $500

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 1.00% on balances of $2,500-$99,999.99; 1.20% on balances of $100,000-plus
  • Savings: 1.25% on balances of $2,500-$99,999.99; 1.65% on balances of $100,000-plus
  • 12-month CD: 1.55%

Access (ATM): No ATM fees and unlimited third-party ATM reimbursements

How To Open an Account: You can open most Radius Bank accounts online. Certain CD maturities cannot be opened online, including the 3-month, 6-month, 9-month, 2-year, 4-year and 5-year options.

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Bank5 Connect

Why We Like It: Great customer service options, low fees and high rates make Bank5 Connect a top contender for the Best Online Bank of 2020.

Products Offered: Checking, savings and CDs

Benefits:

  • No-fee checking
  • Free in-network ATM withdrawals
  • Reimbursement of up to $15 per month in non-network ATM fees
  • 24/7 live chat

Drawbacks:

  • $10 minimum to open online savings, with a $100 minimum to earn interest

Fees: $0

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: $10, $100 to earn interest
  • Savings: $10, $100 to earn interest
  • 12-month CD: $500

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: $10, $100 to earn interest
  • Savings: $10, $100 to earn interest
  • 12-month CD: $500

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 0.76%
  • Savings: 1.85%
  • 12-month CD: 2.00%

Access (ATM): Bank5Connect will never charge an ATM fee, and will reimburse up to $15 per month in ATM fees charged by terminal operators outside the SUM network 

How To Open an Account: Accounts can be opened online in about 10 minutes. You’ll need your Social Security number, valid ID, previous address if you have moved in the past two years and a funding source.

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Barclays Bank Delaware

Why We Like It: Barclays Bank Delaware boasts a savings account rate that is 21 times the national average, currently sitting at a 1.90% APY. The bank also has some of the highest CD rates available, with the 12-month CD offering a 2.10% APY. However, its lack of ATM access is a major drawback.

Products Offered: Savings, CDs

Benefits:

  • High, no-fee CD and savings accounts with no minimums

Drawbacks:

  • Limited product line, including no checking account
  • No ATM access

Fees: $0 (savings) 

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: $0  
  • 12-month CD: $0

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: $0 
  • 12-month CD: $0

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 1.80% 
  • 12-month CD: 2.10%

Access (ATM): No ATM access

How To Open an Account: You can open your Barclays account online in a matter of minutes. You’ll need your Social Security number, personal information such as your address and date of birth, and information on your external bank, including account and routing numbers.

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Citizens Access

Why We Like It: Citizens Access has a streamlined product portfolio but provides what customers need in those accounts: high APYs and zero fees.

Products Offered: Savings, CDs

Benefits:

  • High savings APY
  • High 12-month CD APY

Drawbacks:

  • No checking account
  • High $5,000 minimum for all accounts

Fees: $0 (for savings) 

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: $5,000
  • 12-month CD: $5,000

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: $5,000 
  • 12-month CD: $5,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: N/A
  • Savings: 1.85%
  • 12-month CD: 2.10%

Access (ATM): No ATM access

How To Open an Account: You can open an account online in about five minutes. You’ll need to provide personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth, along with information about how you will fund the account.

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TIAA Bank

Why We Like It: With one of the highest CD yields available and a guarantee of good rates from its checking account, TIAA Bank ranks among the very best online banks.

Products Offered: Checking, savings, CDs, money market and credit cards

Benefits:

  • Yield Pledge checking and CD products guaranteed pay is among the top 5% of rates available
  • Good 12-month CD APY of  2.10% APY
  • No-fee checking 
  • Mobile app and remote checking deposit

See: 9 Types of Checking Accounts

Drawbacks:

  • Basic Savings account only
  • Yield Pledge products require a high minimum of $5,000 to access best features

Fees: $0

Minimum Deposit:

  • Checking: $100
  • Savings: $25
  • 12-month CD: $5,000

Minimum Balance:

  • Checking: $100
  • Savings: $25
  • 12-month CD: $5,000

Rates (APY):

  • Checking: 1.01%
  • Savings: 1.10%
  • 12-month CD: 2.10%

Access (ATM): No fee at any ATMs; third-party ATM fees reimbursed up to $15 per month for all accounts, with unlimited reimbursements for balances of at least $5,000

    How To Open an Account: Accounts can be opened easily online, with the ability to add additional accounts or features throughout the process. Help is a phone call away at 877-259-9050.

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    How To Choose an Online Bank

    Choosing any type of bank is a personal decision that should match your financial needs. However, there are some general characteristics that you should look for in any bank. Here are some suggestions to help guide you toward the best online bank for you.

    Check the Fees

    Banks will loudly promote their $0 monthly-fee accounts but look behind the scenes to determine if there are additional fees for services you typically will use, such as check writing or ATM withdrawals.

    Read the Fine Print

    Some rates or fees might be promotional in nature; read the details to ensure you won’t run into any surprises down the road.

    Check the APY

    Banks usually publish their highest APYs right on their home webpage, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they have high APYs across their entire product line. Always check the APY to make sure it applies to the products you’re interested in now or might be in the future.

    Check Out the Website and App

    Great rates and low fees are important, but if you can’t understand or don’t like an online bank’s user interface, you might not enjoy the experience over the long run, especially since there are no in-branch options. Take the website and mobile app out for a spin before you commit serious money to an online bank.

    FDIC Insurance

    All banks on this list have FDIC insurance, and indeed most banks do. However, some fintech institutions that seem like banks don’t technically have their own FDIC insurance. Although they work with partner banks that offer FDIC insurance, your deposits aren’t technically insured until they reach those partner banks. Always check to make sure you understand your financial institution’s FDIC insurance policies.

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    Online Bank vs. Traditional Banks

    Both online and traditional banks aim to provide financial services to customers, but they accomplish this in different ways, with different features and benefits. Here’s a look at a few of the important differences.

    Advantages of Online Banks

    • Low fees, often $0 for certain accounts
    • Generally higher APYs than traditional banks
    • Typically focus on providing enhanced mobile experiences

    Disadvantages of Online Banks

    • No in-person interaction with a financial advisor or bank teller
    • Often, no way to deposit cash
    • May not have the breadth of services of a traditional bank

    Related: Pros and Cons of Online Savings Accounts

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    Summary

    Online banks sometimes have sparse account offerings, but they typically deliver high-quality products with what they offer. The best online accounts have zero fees and high rates, so if your bank is coming up short in any of those areas, take a look at one of the above Best Online Banks of 2020.

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    FAQ

    Are Online Banks Safe To Use?

    Legitimate online banks, such as the ones on this list, all share the same FDIC insurance as traditional, brick-and-mortar banks. This means your accounts are insured up to at least $250,000 by the FDIC at your online bank. Cybersecurity is an additional safety issue, however.

    According to a GOBankingRates study, Americans’ greatest fear when it comes to banking is that someone will steal their account or personal information. The top online banks have advanced security measures in place, including two-step authentication and SSL encryption. Some online banks, such as Ally Bank, go so far as to provide an online and mobile security guarantee, protecting you from any unauthorized transactions as long as you notify the bank within 60 days.

    What Banks Are Giving Money for New Accounts?

    Banks occasionally offer promotions for new account holders, from cash payouts to higher interest rates. Search the homepage of the banks you’re interested in to see if there are any current promotions ongoing.

    See: 15 Best New Bank Promotions and Bonuses: November 2019

    How Can I Open an Online Bank Account?

    Each individual online bank has its own facility to open new accounts on its website. In some cases, you may also be able to open an account over the phone.

    More From GOBankingRates

    Methodology: GOBankingRates identified the Best Online Banks of 2020 based on the following factors: (1) monthly checking account fees, (2) APY for savings accounts, (3) APY for a 12-month certificate of deposit and (4) BauerFinancial Star Rating for overall financial strength. Banks were then scored according to whether they offered the following services: (5) 24/7 human customer service availability, (6) mobile app availability and (7) remote or mobile check deposit availability. Banks were ranked according to their overall score. In order to be considered a Best Online Bank of 2020, all banks must be online-only and not have any physical bank branch locations. GOBankingRates’ rankings for the Best Banks of 2020 were based on rates and other information compiled from individual institutions’ websites and/or conversations with representatives from the financial institutions throughout September 2019 and October 2019. Rates are subject to change. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 3rd, 2019. All costs, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of each financial institution. For more information, see the complete methodology for the rankings.

    About the Author

    After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.