What Are the Best Online Checking Accounts of 2023?
The checking account may be the most common and most useful type of bank account. With a checking account, you — or your employer — deposit money into the account, then take it out as you need it. It used to be that you wrote checks for your monthly expenses, but now most expenses are debited directly from your checking account. In fact, many checking accounts no longer offer physical checks.
Online banks — and brick-and-mortar banks that feature online banking — have a wide variety of checking accounts, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. They all offer a free debit card, mobile app — which includes mobile deposit, and funds transfer with Zelle, Popmoney or some other method.
Here are some of the best online checking accounts.
Best Interest-Bearing Checking Account: Ally Bank
Ally Bank offers one of the highest interest rates of any checking account. For balances under $15,000, this account pays APY, and for a minimum daily balance of $15,000 or more, you’ll earn APY.
Ally Bank charges no overdraft fees. It also offers two solutions if you do accidentally overdraw your account. If you have a linked savings account, Ally will move money from your savings account to your checking account in $100 increments to cover the overdraft. These transactions count as part of your six-transaction limit on savings account withdrawals. Ally will also cover up to $250 in overdrafts, giving you 14 calendar days to cover the overdraft before withdrawals are restricted.
Best Checking Account With a Cash-Back Debit Card: Discover
“Cash back” is a term often associated with credit cards. Most credit cards give you points for each purchase you make, which you can then redeem for a credit to your statement.
Discover gives you cash back when you use your debit card, which you get with your checking account. When you use your debit card to make a purchase, either online or in a store, you get 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases each month. So, if you spend $3,000 on your debit card every month, you’ll get $30 back, or a total of $360 a year. Cash back is earned on purchases only, so ATM withdrawals, loan payments, and payments to third-party providers like PayPal and Venmo don’t count.
The Discover checking account has no maintenance fees, no overdraft fees and includes access to over 60,000 ATMs nationwide.
Best Youth Checking Account: Capital One Money Teen Checking Account
Capital One offers a joint account for teens and their parents. Each has their own login on the mobile app, letting teens manage their money while parents maintain visibility. Parents can link any account — even one at another bank — so they can transfer money as the teen needs it.
Teens get a free debit card they can use at over 70,000 ATMs with no fees. There are no maintenance fees or minimum balances, and kids earn APY on any balance.
Children as young as eight years old — along with a parent — can open a Money account.
Best Checking Account for College Students: Chase College Checking
Chase is not a 100% online bank, but its College Checking account has all the features college students expect: no monthly service fee, no minimum balance, free ATM transactions, a mobile app and free transfers.
College students ages 17-24 will pay no monthly maintenance fee until they graduate — up to five years. After that, the $6 monthly maintenance fee is waived if you have direct deposit or if you maintain a $5,000 average daily balance.
Students can earn a bonus of $100 when they open a new Chase College Checking account and complete 10 transactions within 60 days. Transactions include online bill payments, debit card purchases, mobile deposits, Zelle transactions or ACH credits.
Best Relationship Checking Account: Citizens Quest Checking
Citizens Bank has brick-and-mortar branches but has also embraced online banking. The Citizens Quest Checking account is a relationship account, meaning it’s intended for those who keep all — or most — of their accounts at the same bank.
With this account, Citizens won’t charge you any ATM fees when you use another bank’s ATM, although the other bank may charge you a fee. You’ll also pay no fees for personal style checks, bank checks, money orders, stop payments, wire transfers and more.
You’ll pay no fees on overdraft plans, and no overdraft fee on the first overdraft or non-sufficient funds occurrence each year. And if your account is overdrawn, you have until 10 p.m. ET the following day to deposit the funds to cover the overdraft. If you do so, any overdraft fees will be reversed.
The Citizens Quest Checking account is subject to a $25 monthly maintenance fee, but it will be waived when you do either of the following:
- Make $5,000 in deposits in a month
- Maintain a combined balance of $25,000 in all your Citizens deposit and investment accounts
The Citizens Quest Checking account pays APY interest regardless of balance.
Best of Checking Accounts
- Best Checking Accounts
- Free Checking Accounts With No Minimum Deposit
- Best Free Checking Accounts With No Minimum Balance
- Best Rewards Checking Accounts
- Best Student Checking Accounts
- Best Checking Accounts for Seniors
Online Checking Account FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about online checking accounts.
- What is a checking account?
- A checking account is a deposit account at a bank or credit union. The account holder deposits money into the account and takes it out when it's needed. Money can be taken out by writing a check, including the date and the name of the person or institution to whom or to where the money should be paid. Also included should be the amount and the account holder's signature. Money can also be withdrawn from a checking account via an ATM or at a bank branch.
- Can I open a checking account with no money?
- Many banks indicate that their checking accounts have no minimum balance or no minimum opening deposit, but you do need to have some money to deposit into a checking account when you open it. If you don't deposit money into a new account within a certain time frame, the bank will simply close the account.
- What is a free checking account?
- A free checking account has no monthly maintenance fees. In other words, you won't pay a fee for simply having the account. A free checking account may incur other fees, however, such as overdraft fees or charges for bank checks or to stop payment on a check you wrote.
- Can I get free money by opening a checking account?
- Some banks will offer bonuses as an incentive to open a new account. To qualify, you usually need to open an account and then deposit a certain amount of money within a specific time frame or sign up for direct deposit.
Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.
Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 26, 2023.
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.