Checking accounts can be a valuable tool for consumers, as they provide a safe place to keep your money while still making it easy to make payments and withdraw cash. Traditionally, checking accounts have been offered by branch-based financial institutions but are increasingly being offered by online-based banks as well. There are many great online and regional banks with extremely great services and benefits. With online banks, you have the opportunity to enjoy features and benefits than that of regional banks. The best checking accounts should make it easy to access your money and be flexible in how you can spend your money. So, here are the best rated online and regional banks operating in 2021.
Best Online Banks
Ally is an online-only bank offering an array of banking, auto, home loan, and investing products. The company’s key products include savings accounts, checking accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) certificates of deposit (CDs), and money market accounts. It’s no wonder it’s one of the best banks in 2021.
Ally’s online savings account boasts a 0.50% APY that comes without monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. But this account comes with a $25 overdraft fee and an excessive transactions fee of $10, nothing out of the norm like regional banks. The bank’s website also shows it charges users for expedited delivery, outgoing domestic wires, account research, and returned deposit items.
Ally makes up for its lack of physical presence through its mobile offerings, online banking tools, and 24/7 customer service support. The bank’s mobile app, which has a 4.8 rating on the iOS app store, allows users to make transfers, deposit checks, and much more.
- Relatively high rates on savings accounts and CDs
- No minimum opening balance requirements or monthly fees
- Access to over 43,000 Allpoint ATMs in the U.S.
Capital One 360
If you want a fee-free checking account that pays interest and offers a good app and good customer service, this may be the best option for you.
Capital One has physical locations in the form of ‘Capital One Cafés,’ something Capital One markets as a factor setting itself apart from other online banks. That said, most cities don’t have the cafés, and the reviews on them are decidedly mixed.
However, this is a well-rounded checking account option that is set up for mobile banking and payments. Capital One also offers free incoming wire transfers and lets you send and receive money for free through Popmoney. Capital One 360 has been on the top of the list for years and made it to the best banks of 2021 as well! Pretty awesome!
- Competitive rates on savings and CDs
- A highly-rated app makes it easy to manage accounts
- A broad range of credit cards with a variety of perks
Do you find it difficult to save money? Simple motivates its checking account holders to save money by offering 1% APY for Protected Goals. You can open this checking account with a $0 minimum balance and nil maintenance charges. Any funds in a Simple checking account earn an APY of 0.01%, but as soon as you transfer these funds into Protected Goal Account, the transferred amount starts earning 1.00% APY.
Simple checking account comes with a smart money management feature, safe-to-spend. The account tracks your spending pattern and creates category-wise expense lists. Any amount above your regular expenses is marked as safe to spend.
- Safe-to-spend feature for better money management
- A huge Allpoint ATM network (40,000)
- Supports all online banking features
Best Regional Banks
Charles Schwab Bank
If you’re a Schwab customer or have always wanted to get into investing, the Schwab Bank High-Yield Investor Checking account is a good start for its unlimited ATM rebates. This checking account is available only as a linked account with a Schwab One® brokerage account. Neither of the accounts have minimum balance requirements or charges.
This duo allows you to take advantage of any ATM with the checking account’s linked Visa® Platinum Debit Card, as well as Schwab’s investing platform. You don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees either when using the linked debit card.
The Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account also earns interest at 0.03% APY on all balances.
- Monthly fee: $0
- Balance to waive: N/A
- Opening minimum: $0
Discover is best known for their credit card products, but they put together a strong checking account offer as well. They have a Cashback Debit account that includes the unique feature of 1% cash back for the first $3,000 in debit card transactions per month. Those transactions do not include things like withdrawals and money transfers but do include things like purchases at the pump, retail outlets or at the grocery store.
The Discover Cashback Debit account charges no monthly fee and has no balance requirement to remain open. Some of the nicer features include free checks (including reordering checks) free online bill pay and free official bank checks, should you require them. Their ATM policy is straightforward: if you use one of their 60,000+ ATM’s there is no fee; however if you wander outside their network, they will not reimburse you for other banks ATM fees.
To assist in finding a fee free ATM, they have an ATM finder online and on their mobile app.
- No ATM fee reimbursement
- No monthly fees
Physical Branches Will Become a Thing of the Past
With a heightened focus on mobile apps, contactless payments, and other digital services, banks will be better able to meet their customers virtually. But even as successful vaccines for COVID-19 are developed and distributed, the convenience and speed of virtual banking will make consumers less likely to visit physical bank branches for their financial needs.
What Bank Should I Bank With in 2021?
So, which type of bank would work best for your situation? It all depends on what you are looking for. If you are seeking higher interest rates and lower fees, web-based banks may be the way to go. Likewise, if you need fast access to lots of cash and the ability to make cash deposits, you may want to stick with your traditional bank. Either way, these are the best banks in 2021.