The Best Online Checking Accounts in April

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A checking account is the centerpiece of your financial life, so you should look for a great one. The best checking accounts have high yields, low fees and an exceptional user experience. Whether you keep your checking account loaded as a rainy-day fund, or you’re just breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, we’ve got the best online checking accounts for you.

Using data from DepositAccounts.com, a LendingTree company, we looked at the interest rate and fee structures of standard checking accounts. We excluded accounts from credit unions with restrictive membership requirements and institutions with health ratings below a B. We also excluded checking accounts with a monthly service fee.

We prioritized accounts that offered $0 third-party ATM fees and unlimited ATM fee refunds along with interest on checking. We also included accounts that offered higher yields with limited ATM fee refunds or higher yields with lower overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees. All accounts included in this article are insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) up to $250,000.

Aspiration

Spend and Save Account

APY

0.00%

Min to earn APY

None

LEARN MORE

on Aspiration's secure site

BankPurely

CheckingPurely

APY

0.25%

Min to earn APY

None

LEARN MORE

on BankPurely's secure site

Alliant Credit Union

High-Rate Checking

APY

0.25%

Min to earn APY

None

LEARN MORE

on Alliant Credit Union's secure site

FNBO Direct

Online Checking Account

APY

0.25%

Min to earn APY

$0.01

LEARN MORE

on FNBO Direct's secure site

Learn More About the Top Online Checking Accounts

When you’re shopping for a new checking account, a great interest rate shouldn’t always be your top concern. After all, earning a high interest rate isn’t that important when you pay a monthly maintenance fee, or you end up paying overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees every few months.

None of the accounts we’ve select require a monthly maintenance fee, nor do they require a minimum balance. However, that doesn’t mean that every account has equal benefits for you. If you always have a high account balance, you’ll want to focus on a great interest rate. On the other hand, if you drift into overdraft territory from time to time, you’ll want to avoid accounts with overdraft and insufficient-funds fees.

How Much Interest Can You Earn on a Checking Account?

Right now, the best yields on online checking accounts are just over 1.00% APY. While this isn’t enough money to make you rich, it’s nearly eight times higher than 0.15% yield that you’ll see on average checking accounts nationwide, according to DepositAccounts.com data.

When you have a high-interest checking account, you earn daily interest based on your average balance that day. Most banks pay the actual interest you earn once per month.

If you are hoping to find a bank that consistently offers high-yield checking, consider searching for lenders that only have an online presence. Online-only banks tend to offer higher interest rates than their brick-and-mortar counterparts because they have lower costs or a different business model than standard banks or credit unions. Among all the financial institutions offering the highest-yield checking accounts, only Alliant Credit Union and Nationwide Bank have physical branch locations.

Benefits of an Online Checking Account

Other than high interest rates, online checking accounts can offer a number of advantages over traditional banks and credit unions. Most online banks have excellent banking apps that offer remote deposit, online bill pay, easy connections to high-yield savings accounts and debit card access.

On top of that, many of the banks reviewed here have extensive ATM networks that actually make the banks as easy to access as banks with branches. Some online-only banks even refund some or all out-of-network ATM fees charged by other banks.

People who want instant access to their accounts, high yields, low fees and a great digital experience should look to online banks first.

Drawbacks to an Online Checking Account

Of course, banking with an online-only institution has drawbacks, too. Most of these banks allow you to deposit cash into your account using an in-network ATM, but that can be a hassle. You may also be required to wait several days for your deposits to clear.

You also may not have access to the full suite of checking services offered by banks with branch locations. For example, not all online banks offer inexpensive money orders, cashier’s checks, the ability to exchange currency or even traditional paper checks. If these are important to you, be sure to check out a bank’s offerings before you set up a new primary checking account.

Checking with an online-only institution may also limit your ability to establish a bank that offers every banking product. For example, you might want to have checking accounts, loans and investments all at the same bank. A few internet banks offer the full range of financial products, but many do not (including a few of the top-yielding checking accounts mentioned in this guide).

Some people may be worried about the security of banking with an online-only institution. In general, online checking accounts are as safe as traditional checking accounts. All the accounts recommended in this guide are, as we noted at the outset, FDIC- or NCUA-insured. This means you will not lose your deposits and the interest you earn (up to $250,000) if the bank or credit union fails. However, as with a traditional checking account, you may be on the hook for covering some losses if someone steals money from your account. The amount you’re expected to cover depends on when you report the theft.

Reporting Time
Maximum Loss
Before charges are made
$0
Up to two business days after you learn about theft
$50
Between two and 60 business days after you learn about the loss of theft
$500
More than 60 calendar days after your banking statement that includes loss
All the money taken from
your account.

The CFPB offers guidelines for enhancing your security when using mobile banking. Some often overlooked guidelines include always using a bank’s mobile app, and never store banking passwords in your phone. If you notice fraudulent activity, report it to your bank right away. Following these guidelines will help you have a much safer online banking experience.

Using Online Checking and Savings Accounts Together

One of the best uses of an online checking account is to hold it at an bank that also offers high-yield online savings. Most online banks offer instantaneous transfers between accounts at the same bank. That means you can keep maximize your interest yield in a savings account, and then transfer money to your checking account as you need it. For example, if you realize you need extra money to cover your credit card bill for the month, you can transfer the required cash from your savings account. Just a minute or two after initiating the transfer, you’ll have the funds needed to pay your credit card bill on time and in full.

Having both an online checking and savings account also makes it easy to save for particular goals. For example, you can set up an automatic transfer for a few hundred dollars each month to save for a debt-free vacation, a car down payment or another mid-term savings goal. This option can help you make rapid progress toward your savings goals.