The Best Online Checking Accounts for 2024

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Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, banks and credit unions were closing branches at a rate of over 100 per month. Since March 2020, one report says that branch closure rate has doubled as consumers become accustomed to doing more of their financial transactions online. This, coupled with more and more financial institutions with strong online banking and financial management tools, has led another study to find that 45% of respondents said the way they conduct banking has changed permanently due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 public health crisis has introduced more consumers to the benefits of online banking, whether as part of their traditional brick-and-mortar banking relationship or with an online-only bank. Digital and online banking seems to be the new normal.

Today, almost every bank offers online banking options, but did you know that there are banks that operate either solely online or with a very limited branch network? Without the overhead of a large branch operation, they can offer a variety of banking products while passing the savings to their customers, who will enjoy lower fees and added benefits, including protection from bank fraud. Opening an online checking account could be the solution for you.

The Best Free Online Checking Accounts: Our Selection Process

We wanted full-featured checking accounts with all the bells and whistles and without ANY limitations. Importantly, our finalists all offered checking accounts that are truly free: no hidden fees or monthly charges. Our search included banks that required no account balance minimums and all of them had to have an outstanding customer reputation for their online and mobile apps as well as human customer service availability.

The Best Online Checking Accounts

Get an Account Now!

Chime | Over 7 Million Active Users
Fast-growing Chime® is one of our favorite checking accounts. The account has some amazing features and Chime accepts almost all customers who apply… even if you have bad or poor credit or have been blacklisted by ChexSystems or the credit bureaus.

Chime at a Glance

  • NO credit check or ChexSystems
  • NO initial deposit required
  • NO minimum balance required
  • NO monthly or annual fees
  • NO NSF/overdraft fees1
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • NO fees at over 60,000 ATMs2
  • NO fees for mobile and online bill pay
  • FREE cash deposits at 8,500+ Walgreens3
  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit4
  • 700,000+ 5-star reviews for the Chime smartphone app
  • Instantly transfer funds to friends and family without additional apps5
  • FDIC insured account up to $250,000

Savings Made Easy

Chime was one of the first to offer a “round up” option. If you use your Chime card on a purchase of $10.65, Chime gives you the option of automatically rounding up to $11.00 and putting the remaining $.35 in your free Chime savings account. And that adds up over time! Plus, Chime pays 2.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)6 in interest on that savings account.

We don’t think there is another company innovating for their customers like Chime.

Get a Chime Account Today!

Found Business Banking | Our Favorite Business Account
One of the biggest challenges for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and gig workers is finding the right bank account for their growing business.

The Found Business Banking Account solves that problem by simplifying your financial journey. Available only to sole proprietors and single-owner businesses, the sign-up process takes only a few minutes. There’s no credit check or ChexSystems.

Found Business Banking at a Glance

  • No opening deposit required
  • No minimum balance
  • No required monthly fees
  • Free unlimited ACH payments
  • Free unlimited invoicing
  • Free mobile check deposits
  • Free built-in expense management tools
  • Accept bank transfers and card payments
  • Easily connect to Quickbooks, Stripe, Venmo, PayPal, Etsy, etc.
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit1
  • Send money to anyone within the U.S. using their phone number or email address
  • Deposit cash at over 79,000 locations
  • Access your account online or on the free app
  • Found’s core features are free. They also offer a paid product, FoundPlus

Fast Approval Process

Time is money and Found respects both. Apply for your business account online and the streamlined approval process ensures you’re up and running quickly. No lengthy paperwork needed to get swift access to your financial hub.

Easy Bookkeeping and Tax Management Tools

Managing your business finances shouldn’t be a headache. You get intuitive tools such as automated expense tracking, receipt capture, unlimited custom invoices, and the ability to manage 1099 contractor payments. Plus, you get the ability to auto-save for tax payments and automatically generate tax forms.

No Hidden Fees, No Surprises

Say goodbye to unexpected charges. Found.com believes in transparency. They’ve stripped away unnecessary fees, leaving you with a straightforward banking experience. No hidden costs—just clarity and peace of mind.

Found is a financial technology company, not a bank. Business banking services are provided by Piermont Bank, Member FDIC.2

Open a Found account now!

Chase Secure Banking | $100 New Account Bonus
Most people know Chase and with over 15,000 ATMs and 4,700 branches across the country, the Chase Secure Banking account might be a good fit for a second chance bank account.

Chase Secure Banking at a Glance

  • NO credit check
  • NO ChexSystems
  • NO minimum deposit to open
  • NO overdraft fees
  • FREE access to over 15,000 Chase ATMs
  • FREE Chase OnlineSM Bill Pay
  • FREE money orders and cashier’s checks
  • Quickly send and receive money with Zelle®
  • Paper checks are not offered with the account

Earning the $100 Bonus

To earn the $100 bonus, you’ll need to complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of account enrollment. Qualifying transactions include debit card purchases, online bill payments, Chase QuickDepositSM, using Zelle®, or receiving ACH credits.

What to Know About the Approval Process

Chase Secure Banking is the only account offered by Chase that doesn’t use ChexSystems but does use Early Warning Services (EWS). Additionally, if you’ve had an account closed by Chase in the past, your application will not be approved. Past account closures can include missteps such as non-payment of fees, excessive overdrafts, or suspected fraud.

Fees

Chase doesn’t offer overdraft services with this account as you can only spend the money you have available. You should also know that using non-Chase ATMs can cost from $3.00 to $5.00 per transaction. Surcharges from the ATM owner/network may apply.

Chase Secure Banking carries a $4.95 monthly service fee, but it can be waived when you have electronic deposits made into the account totaling $250 or more during each monthly statement period.

Other Account Features

Chase Secure Banking offers several other features we like. This includes:

  • Zero Liability Protection. Get reimbursed for unauthorized debit card transactions when reported promptly.
  • Budgeting Tools. Manage your spending and get daily spending insights with Snapshot in the Chase Mobile® app.
  • Credit and Identity Monitoring. Track your credit score, get a personalized action plan provided by Experian™ to help improve your score and receive identity monitoring for free through Chase Credit Journey®.
  • Early Direct Deposit. Get that “just paid” feeling up to two business days sooner with early direct deposit.

If you’ve wanted to bank with Chase and wondered if you’d qualify, we think you’ll be happy with the Chase Secure Banking account.

Get a Chase Account Now!

Current | Build Credit While You Bank
Current offers an innovative account to consumers who want it all without the costs and hassles.

The Current Build account helps you build credit every time you use the card. Sign-up takes about 2 minutes and Current has extremely high acceptance rates.

Current at a Glance

  • NO opening deposit required
  • NO credit check
  • NO minimum balance
  • NO fees at over 40,000 Allpoint® ATMs in the U.S.
  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days early with qualifying direct deposit
  • Earn up to a 4.00% bonus on your balance up to $6,000 with direct deposit; earn 0.25% without
  • Earn points for unlimited cashback at participating retailers
  • Send money instantly without any added fees
  • An elegant but simple smartphone app
  • 24/7 member support

Swipe The Card and Build Credit

Using your Current Build account to BUILD your credit is simple. Here’s how it works:

  1. You add money to your account
  2. Swipe your card to make purchases, pay bills, or get money from an ATM machine
  3. The funds in your account pay for these transactions
  4. Current reports your payment to build your credit history

Current Works Hard for You

Current offers a really unique service it calls Gas Hold Removals. What’s a gas hold? Some gas stations may apply a hold from $50 to $100 when you use your card to pump gas. If you only pumped $10 of gas, but the gas station places a $100 hold on your funds, you won’t have access to the $90 difference for up to 3 business days! The Current Build card will immediately remove the hold so you have access to all your funds. We haven’t found that benefit anywhere in the marketplace.

We love the features, we love the smartphone app, and we love Current. That makes us think you’ll love them too.

Get a Current Account Now!

SoFi Checking & Savings | Earn a $325 Welcome Bonus
The SoFi Checking & Savings account is offered by SoFi Bank. It’s a checking AND savings account and we love that. Plus, they don’t use ChexSystems or your credit report to approve accounts.

SoFi Checking & Savings at a Glance

  • FREE SoFi debit MasterCard
  • FREE smartphone app. Manage your account online, too
  • No opening deposit required
  • No monthly minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No fees at 55,000+ ATMs
  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit

How to Earn the $325 Bonus

As soon as you get your SoFi Checking & Savings account and deposit $10 or more, you’ll earn $25. When you set up direct deposit from an employer, SoFi will credit your account up to an additional $300 (depending on the amount of your direct deposit).

Using the SoFi direct deposit option unlocks additional benefits, too. First, if you overspend a bit, SoFi will cover up to $50 with no overdraft fees. Second, you’ll receive a much higher interest amount of 4.60% APY on savings account balances and .50% APY on checking account balances. If you decide not to utilize direct deposit, you’ll receive 1.20% APY on savings balances.

The sign-up process can take less than 60 seconds. With over 6 million members, SoFi is a bank you can count on!

SoFi has been great! The account was easy to open and I got my debit card a few days later. The smartphone app is easy to use and I can check everything from my computer, too. SoFi seems to be the perfect bank.
Claire M., SoFi Customer

Get a SoFi Account Now!

Lili | Quick Approval Small Business Banking
Lili was custom made for freelancers and independent contractors who are operating as sole proprietors and single member LLCs and we really like their offering. Lili aims to approve most accounts within 2-3 days, but some accounts are approved in 2-3 hours.

Lili offers a checking account and Visa debit card with no initial deposit or minimum balance requirement, no hidden fees, no credit check, and no ChexSystems. Lili makes getting your account easy!

Lili at a Glance

  • FREE business VISA debit card
  • FREE (and very user-friendly) mobile app
  • NO minimum balance
  • NO NSF charges or fees
  • NO credit check or ChexSystems
  • NO fees for incoming wire transfers
  • Receive direct deposit funds 2 days earlier than many banks
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Unlimited fee-free transactions
  • Takes 3 minutes to apply

Application Process

You can set up an account online. If you’re a freelancer, you should receive approval and account access almost instantly. All others (Sole Proprietor, Single-Member LLC, Multi-Member LLC, General Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, or S Corp) can take a couple of days to get approved. You can fund your account using a mobile check deposit, direct deposit, ACH transfer, or by linking your Venmo, PayPal, or Cash App account.

Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC.

Open a Lili account now!

Acorns
Acorns is making a name as a place to invest money for the long term, but what we really like is that they offer both checking and savings accounts. That makes Acorns another of our favorite bank accounts. As a company built to compete with the largest banks, Acorns offers some extraordinary benefits.

We love the heavy metal tungsten Visa debit card and the world-class smartphone app that allows you to manage every aspect of your new checking account such as budgeting, spending, and security.

Another nice option is the ability to round up on every purchase and Acorns will take that money and automatically put it in a savings account. This really helps build a nest egg.

It takes about 2-3 minutes to sign up and not only do you get a checking and savings account, but you also have access to an investment account once you’re ready to consider that. And, it’s free. Here’s more:

  • FREE Visa® debit card
  • FREE bank-to-bank transfers
  • FREE physical check sending online or through the mobile app
  • FREE mobile check deposits
  • FREE access to 55,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • NO minimum balance or overdraft fees
  • NO credit check
  • $3 monthly fee
  • FDIC insured

Acorns was built to give everyone the tools to manage their finances which makes it one of our top picks.

Get an Acorns Account!

GO2bank
GO2bank is an offering of pre-paid card giant GoBank and we think it’s a step in the right direction. Like some of the newer “challenger banks” GO2bank will deposit your direct deposit check up to 2 days early and has cashback rewards on several categories of purchases. This account also makes you eligible for the GO2bank credit card, which has no annual fee or required credit check.

One significant drawback to many online-only bank accounts is that they have no way to accept cash deposits. But GO2bank accepts cash deposits at over 90,000 Green Dot locations nationwide. However, participating retailers may charge you a fee.

If you direct deposit over $500, your monthly maintenance fee of $5.00 is waived. And, they offer a pretty sweet overdraft protection program, but it has a gotcha charge of $15 if you don’t replace the funds within 24 hours.

Account-holders will appreciate the ability to budget their money with the help of a mobile app, budgeting tools, and a savings vault. In fact, they pay 1% on all money in the saving vault up to $5,000.

Get a GO2bank account

Varo Bank
Varo Bank is another internet-only bank with services based on their mobile apps for Apple and Android devices. Varo doesn’t charge fees at 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs and offers strong budgeting tools and automatic savings programs.

Opening an account is easy and Varo doesn’t check your credit or use ChexSystems. Varo doesn’t even require an initial deposit to open an account, either. There are never any monthly maintenance fees, account balance minimums, overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees, transfer fees, or debit card replacement fees.

Varo’s recent bank charter has them innovating more than ever. They have a very strong cashback program, a payroll advance option, and have started to offer their customers a secured credit card called Varo Believe.

Finally, if Varo receives a payroll notification before your payday, it can deposit your money more quickly than many banks.

Get a Varo Account Now!

10 Features of The Best Online Checking Accounts

Comparing online banks can be confusing and downright frustrating. We tried to simplify the process by removing financial institutions that had confusing offers, monthly balance or usage minimums, gimmicks to get you to use your account, and a host of other nonsensical add-ons. Instead, we chose institutions that help you keep your finances simple and understandable. Most of all, these banks don’t charge fees or engage in silly promotions. The best free online checking accounts offer:

  1. Free debit card
  2. No NSF/overdraft fees
  3. No or low monthly or annual fees
  4. No account balance minimums; no opening deposit
  5. Free use of ATMs
  6. Powerful mobile tools
  7. Free online banking and bill pay
  8. Strong customer service
  9. Very high acceptance rates, no matter your financial history
  10. Available in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Banks offering the most features and lowest fees rose to the top of the list, as did those with a low minimum deposit, low or no balance requirements, and a broad ATM network. Banks with high customer satisfaction and an intuitive digital banking experience also earned higher scores. To appear on this list, the bank must be available in all 50 states.


Additional Chime Disclaimers:  Back to Chime Review Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

1Eligibility requirements apply. Overdraft only applies to debit card purchases and cash withdrawals. Limits start at $20 and may be increased up to $200 by Chime. See chime.com/spotme.

2Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. Cash deposit or other third-party fees may apply.

3Customers are limited to three $1,000 cash deposits at Walgreens each day and $10,000 each month.

4Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

5Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed. The recipient must use a valid debit card to claim funds. Once you are approved for a Chime Checking Account, see your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Pay Anyone Transfers details. Please see the back of your Chime debit card for your issuing bank. See Terms and Conditions.

6The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 20, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

Additional Found Disclaimers:  Back to Found Review

1Direct deposit funds may be available for use for up to two days before the scheduled payment date. Early availability is not guaranteed.

2Found is a financial technology company, not a bank. Business banking services are provided by Piermont Bank, Member FDIC. The funds in your account are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor for each account ownership category. The Found Mastercard Business debit card is issued by Piermont Bank pursuant to a license from Mastercard Inc. and may be used everywhere Mastercard debit cards are accepted.

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