It can be mind-boggling to look at all your options for opening a checking account. With choices ranging from online accounts to no-fee accounts to interest- and rewards-checking accounts, it’s tough to zero in on the best bank for your needs.
To make it easier for you to find the best checking account, GOBankingRates conducted its annual Best Bank ranking and surveyed data from the 110 largest banks by asset size, according to the FDIC, excluding investment banks. Bank of Internet USA won the Best Checking Account award because of its high marks in the following categories:
- Minimum deposit to open an account
- Monthly service fee
- Annual percentage yield
- Minimum balance to avoid a fee
Online banking is more popular these days. Because online banks don’t have to pay for overhead expenses like brick-and-mortar banks, they typically pass savings on to their internet banking customers — in the form of lower fees and higher interest rates. Read on to find out more about why Bank of Internet USA might be your best checking solution if you’re willing to open a bank account online.
Why Bank of Internet USA Won the Best Checking Account of 2018 Award
Because Bank of Internet USA offers interest-bearing checking accounts, it’s already at the head of the pack — many banks don’t offer interest on checking accounts. Add to that: no fees, ATM reimbursements and cash-back rewards — and you’ve got yourself a great deal.
An interest-bearing online checking account is like a hybrid of a checking and savings account. You can write checks and use your debit card to make purchases and earn interest like you would on your savings. Bank of Internet USA’s interest rate on its Rewards Checking account will allow you to watch your money grow — quickly. Open your account and start earning interest right away, regardless of your balance.
See Who Rounded Out the Top 10: Best Checking Accounts of 2018
Low fees, Low Minimums and Competitive Interest Rates
The bank offers some of the best interest rates available. At the time of ranking, Bank of Internet USA’s Rewards Checking enabled you to earn up to 1.25% APY on your account balance. To earn that rate, you must meet two conditions:
- Receive direct deposits of at least $1,000 or more per month.
- Make 15 transactions of at least $3 per month with your Bank of Internet USA Visa debit card.
For comparison’s sake, the second runner-up in the ranking, Nationwide Bank, offered 1.00% APY on its checking account at the time of ranking. If you have more than $10,000 in your account, the rate jumps to 1.15% APY as of Jan. 4, 2018.
Bank of Internet USA also makes it easy for customers to bank by charging no monthly maintenance or service fees and providing overdraft protection — with no associated fees — if you link your checking to your savings account. In addition, you never have to worry about minimum monthly account balance requirements. Plus, you can open an account for as little as $1 — and even earn interest on that.
If you want a free bank account, Bank of Internet USA has one that might fit the bill. Although this is a free checking account, some services do have a cost:
|Bank of Internet USA’s Low Account Fees|
|Checking account paper statement||$5|
|Outgoing domestic wire transfers||$35|
|Outgoing international wire transfers||$45|
|Check copy from archive||$10|
|Levies or garnishments||$100|
See Last Year’s Winner: Best Checking Account of 2017 — Bank5 Connect
Rewards and Free Offerings
Bank of Internet’s Rewards Checking offers perks and benefits above and beyond the interest rate and freebies. It offers customers unlimited domestic ATM reimbursement, a debit card with chip technology for security and cash-back purchase rewards.
To start earning cash-back rewards with your checking account debit card, it’s easy. Here’s how:
- Sign in to your Bank of Internet account and browse the available purchase rewards.
- Click on the cash-back offers you want to activate.
- Use your debit card to shop online or in person and earn cash back.
- Take your cash back amount, which Bank of Internet USA automatically deposits into your account at the end of the following month.
Convenient Online and Mobile Banking
When you open a free checking account at Bank of Internet, you’ll gain access to a host of digital tools, including online and mobile banking. Deposit checks with your phone, check your balance, pay bills, make transfers and receive email and text alerts — all while you’re on the go.
Other digital tools you’ll be privy to include FinanceWorks, a budgeting program by by Quicken, and free person-to-person money transfers with Popmoney. You can even use Green Dot’s “Reload @ the Register” to deposit cash into your account with your debit card.
Check Out All the Finalists: Best Banks of 2018
Methodology: To compile its list of the top 110 banks, GOBankingRates surveyed the FDIC’s list of banks sorted by asset size, excluding non-active institutions, investment banks and any institutions that require customers to use investment services to access commercial bank accounts. This list of 110 banks includes 82 brick-and-mortar banks and 28 online-only banks according to the GOBankingRates database. For brick-and-mortar financial institutions, the asset threshold was a minimum of $10 billion. No asset threshold was consulted for online-only banks.
Criteria for ranking: To determine its Best Checking Accounts category ranking, GOBankingRates scored each bank’s basic, personal checking account from most to least favorable on the following factors: (1) minimum deposit to open the checking account, (2) monthly maintenance fee, (3) minimum balance to avoid a fee, (4) annual percentage yield and (5) nonsufficient funds fee. Monthly maintenance fee and APY were weighted more heavily than other ranking factors, and accounts were then ranked by overall score.
Data for the Best Banks of 2018 was compiled from and verified against the individual institutions’ websites between Sept. 12 and Sept. 21, 2017. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of the individual financial institutions. APY was based on the minimum deposit required to open the account. Some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.
GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some banks mentioned in the Best Banks of 2018 are clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement.