The Internet provides us almost limitless choices, especially when it comes to finances. These days, you can choose to keep your money at almost any bank in the nation rather than limit yourself to the brick-and-mortar choices in your local area.
If you aren’t happy with your local offerings, turn to the Internet. There are plenty of online checking accounts with no fees, and some that even pay yields on your account balance. With low overheads, online checking account providers can afford to be more generous in their terms, and that benefits consumers.
How to Choose an Online Checking Account
The first thing you should look for is FDIC or NCUA protection — you want to make sure that your money is safe. You should also check into the reputation of the bank or credit union, since you don’t want to end up with a fly-by-night operation.
Consider your individual needs. Think about whether or not you can handle maintaining a large account balance. Will you use the checking account as your primary account, or is it more of an emergency fund? Paper checks, remote deposit of checks you receive, ATM access, and other perks are also things to consider.
You can also compare yields, but it’s important to recognize that yield isn’t everything. If you have to maintain a high balance to get a high yield, it might not be worth the trouble — especially if you can get a great account with a little lower yield, but fewer restrictions.
Here are a few great options for online checking accounts.
Capital One 360
Capital One 360 offers an interest bearing checking account with a 0.10% APY along with no fees and no minimums. Get access to 70,000 fee-free Allpoint and Capital One ATMs. You’ll also get a MasterCard debit card for purchases.
Simple is an online bank with all the features you’d expect from a traditional bank without any of the fees. You get a Visa debit card for making transactions anywhere Visa is accepted and at more than 50,000 fee-free ATMs. A variety of budgeting and saving tools are built into your account, including advanced record keeping, separate savings pools for your goals, and the Safe-To-Spend feature, which subtracts upcoming bill payments and pending transactions to give you an accurate idea of how much money you actually have on hand.
Discover Cashback Checking
Discover’s Cashback Checking offers up to 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit purchases each month. There are no monthly fees or monthly balance requirements, and you have access to over 60,000 free ATMs.
Ally Interest Checking Account
Ally offers a checking account yield that is very competitive (currently up to 0.25%). You receive unlimited checks for check writing if you want, and there is free online bill pay. You don’t have to pay any monthly fees, and you can open an account without a deposit.
Ally also reimburses you for ATM fees, offers great customer service, as well as eCheck Deposit to remotely add funds to your account.