The Best Online Banks to Manage your Money – June 2017
There are dozens of highly recommended online banks that offer everything from basic checking to deposits, savings, investments, loans and more. The best online banks worthy of your money are obviously those that offer the features you need. With competition becoming stiffer than ever, more brick and mortar and online-only institutions are vying for your money but who should you trust?
As always, I’m not going to tell you what to do. I will merely give you the information necessary to make informed decisions on your own. So here are what I think are the online banks worthy of your money in 2017.
Ally Bank is very highly regarded thanks to great customer service, no-fee checking, decent interest rates and hassle free operation. I like Ally because it offers multiple ways to connect. Many in this list are online only in all aspects of operation but you can call, have an online chat, use the mobile app and deposit checks. So all the advantages of a brick and mortar bank without the need to go into town.
Ally Bank has no minimum balance and no deposit requirements. There are no monthly fees and can reimburse you up to $10 a month for ATM fees. With good savings rates (currently 1%) and okay checking interest rates (0.10%), you get a return on your money too.
Bank5 Connect has one of the best checking accounts around. It doesn’t have the same level of customer service or the same features as Ally but does pay more interest. You can chat online, use a mobile app or user remote deposit but cannot call the bank. Aside from that, the quality of service seems to be comparable so if you don’t generally talk to your bank anyway, Bank5 Connect could be worthy of your money.
There are no monthly fees for a checking account and Bank5 Connect pays 0.76% on balances and 1% on a CD. It will also reimburse you up to $15 for ATM fees too.
Bank of Internet USA
Despite the dumb name, Bank of Internet USA is well regarded in the industry for playing fair and customer service. The bank provides a decent checking account with no fees and 24/7 phone support should you need it.
The Bank of Internet USA pays a mere 0.61% interest on checking balances and 1% on CD if you meet certain conditions. The bank also offers unlimited ATM reimbursements, their own mobile app like the others and other benefits too.
Synchrony Bank has the widest network of ATMs of any bank that I know of. Customer service also gets positive feedback which is always a good indicator. The downside is that the bank specializes in savings and not checking. There is no checking account currently available for Synchrony Bank.
On the plus side, savings pay up to 1.05% and a CD up to 1.25% but the CD needs a minimum balance of $2,000. You also get a free ATM card and remote checking. Synchrony Bank does not have its own mobile app or online chat but does offer 24.7 automated phone support.
Discover Bank offers checking and savings and requires no minimum deposit to use. The downside is that there is no ATM reimbursement features for any of the accounts. We know Discover Bank best for its range of credit cards but the checking account is pretty good.
Discover Bank has its own mobile app and online chat. It pays 0.95% APY on balances and 1.15% on a 12 month CD if you open it with $2,500. As mentioned, there is no reimbursement for ATM costs but there are 60,000 machines within the network so you should rarely incur a fee.
iGObanking.com offers checking and savings as well as investments, loans and other products. Customer service is said to be good while interest rates aren’t the best, they aren’t bad either.
This online bank is worthy of your money thanks to the 1% APY on savings but the 0.15% on a 12 month CD isn’t the best. It pays 0.15% on checking balances which is not quite as competitive as others. There are no fees or minimum balances to contend with though.
Capital One 360
Capital One 360 provides a range of online-only products and services. One significant one to bear in mind is overdraft. With few fees including no monthly fee for checking, these bank accounts are pretty good options if you use an overdraft.
The checking account pays 0.20% and savings pays 0.75%. There are no minimum balance requirements to access interest of the accounts and interest is tiered so the more you save the more you earn. Capital One offers chat and phone support too which is a significant benefit. The downside is that you have to visit a brick and mortar location to deposit a check.
Nationwide Bank charges fees for some accounts and doesn’t pay very much interest except on long term CDs. On the plus side, it does have a wide range of products available online. It offers three checking accounts, credit products, loans, auto loans, savings and credit cards so will cover most needs you might have.
All accounts need an opening balance of $25. There is no maintenance fee on the checking account and you get 0.30% interest up to $500 then 0.50% after that up to 1%. The bank also provides a mobile app, chat and telephone support for account holders.
What to look for in your online bank
We all require different things from our online banks but there are a few universal qualities that we can all benefit from. They are security, products, interest and customer service.
Security is a huge issue especially as you won’t have a brick and mortar bank to visit should anything go wrong. The more protection you have from your bank, the more secure your money will be.
At the very least the bank should be FDIC insured to protect your money if the bank fails. Two-factor authentication should be mandatory for online banking to keep your account secure. This will involve a username and password and other form of verification be that an SMS or a security keypad which gives you a code.
Some banks are also introducing voice-stress and voiceprint analysis as an extra layer of security. As not all online banks offer telephone support, this may not be relevant. This voice security should be offered as well as these other steps not instead of.
Online banking products
The reason I have not been able to say ‘the best online banks worthy of your money in 2017’ is because we all want different things from our bank. For me it’s all about security and interest. For others, the breadth of products and customer services might be the priority.
A good online bank will offer a range of financial products that match your needs. They should ideal offer checking and savings and then potentially credit products or insurances. A couple of banks in this list also offers credit cards, loans and other products too.
Let’s be honest, interest rates have been pitiful since 2007 and aren’t likely to increase anytime soon. It makes sense to maximize what little banks will pay if you can also satisfy your other needs. Interest on savings is more important to me, whereas interest in checking may be more important to you.
There isn’t a whole lot to choose between online banks but if you can score decent interest as well as the other features you’re looking for, all the better. Be aware of minimum balances, maximum transactions for a given period and any specific conditions for earning that interest. Some banks like to make you jump through hoops to get your money.
Customer service is the measure of all organizations but none more so than financial ones. Any bank you trust with your money has to repay that trust with good customer service and multiple methods of contact. There is no use having only email response if you are trying to report a stolen card. There should be multiple contact methods, at least one of which should be instantaneous.
Those are what I consider to be primary concerns when selecting an online bank. You may prioritize free statements, free ATM, remote deposits or something else, which is equally valid.
All details and interest rates paid are correct as of 06/07/17. All are subject to change by the respective bank. I’m not a financial advisor so make no recommendations here. I merely suggest banks you can look at when considering your next online bank. Check out the bank itself and read detailed reviews that are available online before you make your decision.
Got anything good or bad to say about any of the online banks in this list? Any horror stories or good news stories? Anything else to say about online banking? You know what to do.