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Best Online Banks of 2022

We reviewed the most popular direct banking options to find the best online checking and saving accounts for you.

Written by Hilary Collins / September 12, 2022

Quick Bites

  • The best online banks stand out for minimizing fees (or doing away with them altogether), offering top-of-the-line interest rates and exciting features.
  • When looking at online banks, it’s also important to have easy access to both cash and customer service in the absence of physical branches.
  • Our winner for best overall online bank is Axos, where checking and savings accounts tout excellent interest rates, free ATM access and 24/7 customer service.
  • Ally is our editor's pick, thanks to its easy-to-use app, competitive interest rates and highly-rated customer service.

Online banks have picked up steam in recent years as the need for a physical branch has declined. In fact, 27% of U.S. banking customers have an online-only bank account.[1] Not surprising considering these banks often use the money they save by foregoing storefronts to offer impressive interest rates, compelling benefits and sleek digital interfaces. In a rising rate environment, online banks could see another surge in popularity as rates for savings accounts may be on the way up. 

That said, an online bank can also make it more difficult to withdraw your cash or get answers to your questions. In the absence of physical branches, things like ATM access and readily-available customer service become even more important.

We reviewed 22 of the most popular online banks, taking into account interest rates, fees, rewards, the application process, minimum balance requirements, customer service availability and quality, apps, websites and more. Here’s what we found.

Best online banks in 2022

Company
Axos bank logoVisit
Best for
Best for
Overall
Key benefit
Key benefit
Competitive APY
Visit
Best for
Best for
Editor's pick
Key benefit
Key benefit
No overdraft fees
Best for
Best for
Checking
Key benefit
Key benefit
Excellent customer service
Best for
Best for
Savings
Key benefit
Key benefit
High interest rates
Best for
Best for
Branch access
Key benefit
Key benefit
Hundreds of brick-and-mortar locations

Best online bank: Axos

Visit
APY for saving:

Up to 0.61%*

APY for checking:

Up to 1.25%*

J.D. Power score for saving:

660*

J.D. Power score for checking:

627

ATM fees:

None

Customer service hours:

24/7

*APY as of Sept. 9, 2022

*Out of 1,000 possible points

Axos’ High Yield Savings and Rewards Checking accounts make a perfect team if you want to earn interest and avoid fees. This bank scored high for no fees, competitive interest rates and always-available customer service. 

The High Yield Savings account offers 0.61% APY compounded daily for balances less than $25,000. After you reach that amount, the interest rate drops to 0.25%, but it will certainly help a beginning saver accumulate a nest egg. While this rate wasn’t the highest we saw, the ATM access, accessible customer service and streamlined app make this account a great choice.

Meanwhile, the Rewards Checking offers a welcome bonus (up to $300)—increasingly rare these days—as well as one of the best interest rates we found. You can earn 0.70% as long as you receive at least $1,500 in direct deposits each month and sign up for their free Personal Finance Manager or use the associated debit card 10 times a month for purchases of at least $3 apiece. If you use Axos to manage a portfolio, do self-directed trading or get a consumer loan, the interest rate climbs for each option. If you do all three, it tops out at 1.25%—the best among the online checking accounts reviewed.

You will need $25 to open a Rewards Checking account and $250 to open a High Yield Savings account—pretty high minimum account balances compared to competitors—but once the accounts are open, there are no minimums or monthly fees. Both include free ATM access as well.

Pros

  • No account minimums or monthly fees for High Yield Savings or Reward Checking accounts
  • Welcome bonus for Rewards Checking account
  • Can earn an extremely competitive interest rate in Rewards checking by meeting certain criteria
  • No ATM fees
  • 24/7 customer service

Cons

  • Not the best interest rate for savings
  • Relatively high minimum opening deposits
  • Below-average customer satisfaction scores with J.D. Power

Editor’s pick: Ally

APY for saving:

2.00%*

APY for checking:

Up to 0.25%*

J.D. Power score for saving:

710

J.D. Power score for checking:

709

ATM fees:

None in-network, up to $10 in out-of-network fees reimbursed per statement cycle

Customer service hours:

24/7 call or chat

*APY as of Sept. 9, 2022

Another great choice for all-in-one online banking, Ally offers an Online Savings and High Interest Checking account with few fees, high rates and excellent customer satisfaction ratings. Their savings account offers an extremely competitive APY and doesn’t charge overdraft fees, while the checking account has multiple free overdraft solutions, including covering up the $250 in overdrafts for 14 days with no fees.

While there’s no minimum balance requirement for either account, you have to keep a minimum of $5,000 in your savings account to earn interest. Similarly, you can earn 0.25% interest on a checking account balance of $15,000 or more, but lower balances earn 0.10% percent—not great.

Overall, Ally is a solid choice with a great app and website and among the best customer service in the game. They also offer a “Round Up” feature that rounds purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits that change in your savings account.

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates for higher balances
  • Above-average customer satisfaction scores with J.D. Power
  • 27/4, bilingual customer support

Cons

  • Must keep a high balance to earn best interest rates
  • No ATM access for savings

Best online bank for checking: Charles Schwab

APY for checking:

0.25%*

J.D. Power score for checking:

713

ATM fees:

None

Customer service hours:

Phone line available for set hours 7 days per week

*APY as of Sept. 9, 2022

Charles Schwab’s High Yield Investor Checking account is a great option for anyone, but especially for world travelers who want to earn a robust interest rate. This account charges no foreign transaction fees and will refund ATM fees anywhere in the world. 

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Schwab doesn’t charge monthly fees or require a minimum balance. You can earn their 0.25% APY on a balance of $0.01 or more. While not the highest interest rate out there, it doesn’t have any fine-print qualifications to achieve that rate.

Charles Schwab checking also received the highest overall customer satisfaction ranking from J.D. Power in 2022, marking the fourth consecutive year they received that honor. J.D. Powers notes that high-ranking banks are easy to do business with, easy ro reach and put the customer’s interest first.[1]

Pros

  • Best customer satisfaction scores with J.D. Power
  • No account minimums or fees
  • Free ATM access
  • Fee-free global transactions

Cons

  • Not the best interest rate

If you are interested in just a checking account, compare other options to find the best online bank for you. Here are our top picks for online checking:

BankSound Dollar ratingNote
DiscoverGoodWith this account, you can earn 1% cash back—up to $3,000 monthly—with no monthly service fees and no account minimums. The account holds an excellent customer satisfaction score with J.D. Power and offers an early paycheck program as well as complimentary help removing your information from people search websites.
American ExpressBetterThis account offers a 0.60% interest rate, allows you to earn points on debit card purchases and offers purchase protection of $1,000 per occurrence and up to $50,000 in purchase protection a year. The app is highly rated and there are no monthly service fees.
Charles SchwabBestSee above

Best online bank for saving: Synchrony

APY for savings:

2.05%*

J.D. Power score for savings:

666

ATM fees:

None for in-network transactions, $5 in out-of-network fees reimbursed per statement cycle

Customer service hours:

Phone line, chat available for set hours 7 days per week

*APY as of Sept. 9, 2022

Synchrony offers an eye-popping interest rate (2.05% for saving) with no balance restrictions. You can also take advantage of their free ATM access to get cash if you need to—there are no fees for in-network ATMs and they’ll refund up to $5 out-of-network transaction fees per month. While other banks we reviewed offered somewhat higher interest rates, they also had more limited customer service hours and no ATM access.

While Synchrony didn’t wow in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction ratings and doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support, you can reach a real person via their phone line seven days a week. Bottom line: They offer a great interest rate with few catches if you want to store your money safely and watch it grow.

Pros

  • Excellent interest rate
  • No minimums or fees
  • Easy ATM access to cash

Cons

  • Low customer satisfaction scores with J.D. Power
  • Limited customer service hours

If you are interested purely in a savings account, compare other options to find the best online bank for you. Here are our top picks for online savings:

BankSound Dollar ratingNote
TAB BankGoodIf you’re looking for a sky-high APY and can do without ATM access, the High-Yield Savings account with TAB offers the 2.16% interest—the highest of all the banks we reviewed. There’s no monthly service fee, no minimum opening deposit and a minimum balance of $1.
Alliant Credit UnionBetterAlliant’s High-Rate savings offers 1.70% APY, no monthly service fees and 24/7 customer service. They also have account options for non-citizens, allowing you to open an account with a foreign passport and an ITIN or W-8BEN. They offer interest-earning accounts for children and teens.
SynchronyBestSee above

Best online bank for branch access: Capital One

APY for saving:

1.90%*

APY for checking:

0.10%*

J.D. Power score for saving:

702

J.D. Power score for checking:

703

ATM fees:

None in-network

Customer service hours:

8 a.m. to 11 p.m. 7 days a week, 24/7 automated help

*APY as of Sept. 9, 2022

Most banks pick a lane, with digital-first models leaning into competitive interest rates, stylish apps and flashy perks—while traditional banks offer remote banking as digital clones of their usual accounts. If you want to dip your toe in the online banking world without fully committing, Capital One has solid interest rates and a robust digital infrastructure while also maintaining hundreds of brick-and-mortar branches. 

Capital One’s 360 Performance Savings and 360 Checking accounts won’t necessarily surprise you in any one category, but they offer solid interest rates with no monthly service fees and no minimum balance requirements. While you will get fees for using out-of-network ATMs, their ATM network offers more than 70,000 locations nationally, so hopefully you can track one down. Also, the savings account doesn’t offer ATM access, but you could easily and immediately transfer funds from your savings to your checking, then withdraw. 

Capital One also wins big when it comes to customer service, with among the best customer satisfaction ratings with J.D. Power. For someone who’s a little nervous about online banking, the 360 accounts can ease you into the digital world while giving you an in-person option to fall back on.

Pros

  • No minimums or fees
  • Above-average customer satisfaction scores with J.D. Power
  • Checking account offers early paycheck access

Cons

  • Not the best interest rates, especially for checking
  • No ATM access for savings
  • Human customer service is only available during limited hours seven days per week

Compare the best online banks

When you’re determining the best online account for you, you’ll need to think about how you want to use it. Do you want to park your money somewhere with a huge interest rate? Do you want a checking account with rewards? Do you just want an easy, no-frills and no-fees experience?

Some of the most important things to consider are  APY, opening deposit minimums, balance minimums, monthly service fees, ATM fees, customer service availability and the usability of the website and app. Also, make sure that your choice is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (up to $250,000 at banks) or the National Credit Union Administration ($250,000 at credit unions) so you know your money is safe.

Best online banks comparison

Company
Winner
Winner
Best overall
APY*
APY*
Up to 0.61% for savings, up to 1.25% for checking
J.D. Power Score**
J.D. Power Score**
660 for savings, 627 for checking
Winner
Winner
Editor's pick
APY*
APY*
2.00% for savings, up to 0.25% for checking
J.D. Power Score**
J.D. Power Score**
710 for savings, 709 for checking
Winner
Winner
Best for checking
APY*
APY*
0.25% for checking
J.D. Power Score**
J.D. Power Score**
713 for checking
Winner
Winner
Best for savings
APY*
APY*
2.05% for savings
J.D. Power Score**
J.D. Power Score**
666 for savings
Winner
Winner
Best for branch access
APY*
APY*
1.90% for savings, 0.10% for checking
J.D. Power Score**
J.D. Power Score**
702 for savings, 703 for checking

*As listed on the website as of Sept. 9, 2022

**Average score of 704 for savings and 701 for checking

How does online banking work?

Online banking isn’t all that different from traditional banking—instead of going to a branch, you just manage your accounts from your phone or computer. Generally, online banks offer lower fees (if any), higher interest rates and the same basic banking options you’d see at your neighborhood bank.

But without physical branches, it can be challenging to access or deposit cash, get your customer service questions answered or deal with ugly financial surprises. A good online bank should offer ways to easily access cash as well as responsive and effective customer service.

How is online banking different from traditional banking?

Traditional banks spend a lot of money on their branches. Without branches, online banks are able to take those savings and use them to provide unique services and better rates to their customers.

How do you choose an online bank account?

To some degree, this will depend on what appeals to you. Whether you want the highest interest rate possible or to earn cash-back rewards, carefully research your options. 

Don’t get so fixated on one thing that you don’t take into account the bigger picture. What if you’re getting a great interest rate on your savings account, but there’s no way to access that money quickly in an emergency? What if you’re lured in by a welcome bonus only to realize that you can never reach customer service?

If you want a suite of products—say, a savings account, a checking account, a credit card and an investing platform—you might be eligible for greater benefits by having them all with the same institution. And make sure any bank you choose is insured by the FDIC. 

How do you open an online bank account?

The process of opening an online bank account is usually short and sweet. Here are some of the common steps:

  • Identify yourself: They’ll want your name and date of birth.

  • Verify your identity: Banks will usually request some combination of a passport, a drivers license or other government-issued ID, Social Security number (SSN), or a bill with your name and address on it (though Alliant Credit Union could be a good choice for noncitizens without a SSN).

  • Submit your contact information: Think address, email and phone number.

  • Fund your account: Often, you’ll be able to enter the account and routing numbers of your current bank account to transfer money to your new account—or you might use mobile deposit to deposit a check. Your opening deposit is often held for a few days to make sure it clears without problems.

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The bank will reach out to you if they have any questions or want further documentation. Once your account is open and funded, remember to switch your direct deposit, auto-drafts and other automated credits and debits you now want to go through your online account.

Frequently asked questions

Are online banks safe to store your money?

When choosing an online bank, make sure the institution is insured by the FDIC. The FDIC will pay you up to $250,000 if your bank goes under, and the NCUA has you covered up to $250,000 Also, read up on these financial institutions’ digital security standards to make sure your information is fully protected. Reputable online banks will offer the same level of security as a traditional bank.

How do you make deposits and withdrawals at an online bank?
When should you get a CD?

How we ranked the best online banks

To recommend the best online banks for Sound Dollar readers, we put 22 popular providers under the microscope. We researched each provider across 16 data points spanning three categories: eligibility; rates, rewards and fees; and consumer experience.

Given that customer service, rates and fees are usually the main concerns for online banking customers, we weighted those two categories more heavily. To evaluate consumer experience, we relied on J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study while also reviewing average reviews of each bank’s app in the Apple Store. Additionally, wee reviewed each bank’s website and spoke to customer service representatives to fill in the rest. Our winning banks scored the highest ratings out of their competitors.

Article Sources
  1. “2022 U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study,” J.D. Power, May 12, 2022, https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2022-us-direct-banking-satisfaction-study.

About the Authors

Hilary Collins

Hilary Collins

Hilary is an experienced finance writer with a passion for turning complicated topics into readable stories with real-world takeaways.

Full bio

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