When searching for the best bank for your money, don’t overlook online banks. Most online checking accounts come with ATM access, a free debit card and a high APY. To help you choose the best online bank of 2018, GOBankingRates evaluated 28 online banks using a methodology centered on these four criteria:
- Checking account fee
- Savings account annual percentage yield
- 12-month CD APY
- BauerFinancial Star Rating for overall financial strength
Further consideration was given as to whether or not banks offered the following services:
- 24/7 customer service by phone
- Live chat service via website with a real person
- Mobile app
- Remote check deposit
All top 10 online banks offer free checking accounts and a variety of helpful services, including a mobile app. It might be time to switch to one of the best banks of the year if your current bank lacks the rates and services offered by these online banks.
Here are the 10 best online banks of 2018, according to GOBankingRates’ Best Banks ranking:
- Ally Bank
- Nationwide Bank
- CIT Bank
- Bank of Internet USA
- Synchrony Bank
- Barclays Bank Delaware
- Discover Bank
- Sallie Mae Bank
- Incredible Bank
- AloStar Bank of Commerce
|10 Best Online Banks of 2018|
|Bank||Savings Account Interest (APY)||12-Mo. CD Interest (APY)||24/7 Phone Customer Service||Live Chat Customer Service||Remote Check Deposit|
|Bank of Internet USA||1.05%||1.00%||No||No||Yes|
|Barclays Bank Delaware||1.20%||1.45%||No||No||Yes|
|Sallie Mae Bank||1.00%||1.50%||No||No||Yes|
|AloStar Bank of Commerce||1.05%||1.35%||No||No||No|
|Rates accurate as of Sept. 21, 2017.|
Why: Ally Bank offers one of the best savings rates with its online savings account, with a 1.20% APY at the time the ranking was conducted but has since increased to 1.25% APY as of Jan. 4, 2018. The bank also has no-fee checking and a variety of customer service options.
Review: In addition to having no monthly maintenance fees, Ally’s high interest compounds daily in your account. The bank offers a remote check deposit service, known as Ally eCheck Deposit, and requires no minimum deposit to open. Ally Bank also doesn’t charge a fee if you order an official or cashier’s check.
On the customer service front, Ally Bank offers all four of the additional features reviewed by GOBankingRates in the ranking for Best Online Bank: 24/7 telephone customer support, a convenient mobile app, remote check deposit and live chat with bank representatives.
How to Open: You can open an account online at Ally by providing your personal information, including Social Security number, date of birth and a valid ID. You can also call customer service 24/7 at 877-247-2559.
More About the Best Online Bank of 2018: Ally Bank
Why: A high 1.30% APY on its online savings account, along with a no-fee checking account, both help to push Nationwide Bank into the top 10.
Review: The bank requires a $25 opening deposit and charges a $3 monthly service fee for its savings account, but you can avoid the fee with a $300 daily average balance or a monthly direct deposit of at least $25. The account allows for two free non-Nationwide ATM withdrawals per statement cycle, and access to 77,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Member checking pays between 1.00% APY and 1.15% APY, depending on your balance, but you must have another qualifying Nationwide Bank account.
How to Open: You can open a Nationwide account online, but you’ll need Adobe Reader to view account documents. The bank requires similar personal, financial, and contact information as other banks, including Social Security number, valid ID and funding bank account number.
Don’t Miss: Best Savings Accounts of 2018
Why: The CIT Premier High Yield Savings Account offers the top savings account interest rate on the GOBankingRates list, with a 1.35% APY at the time the ranking was conducted, which has since increased to 1.55% APY as of Jan. 4, 2018, along with high CD rates.
Review: The CIT Bank savings account receives top billing at this bank; in addition to its high rate, it doesn’t require an ongoing minimum balance, nor does it charge any fees. The account’s interest is compounded daily, and you can access the account 24/7 via the web or a mobile device. The bank also pays a high 1.32% APY on its 12-month CD.
How to open: You’ll need your Social Security number, a valid phone number, email address and primary home address to open an account with CIT Bank, but you can open your account online in about 15 minutes. To make a deposit, you’ll need to provide your bank account number.
Bank of Internet USA
Why: Bank of Internet USA pays respectable rates but really stands out with its zero-fee structure.
Review: Bank of Internet USA’s Smart Savings Account comes with free online bill pay, mobile banking apps, mobile deposit, remote deposit capture via its proprietary MyDeposit, and free FinanceWorks money management software. Additionally, the account pays a 1.05% APY, all with $0 in fees, a $0 minimum account balance and a $0 opening deposit requirement. The bank’s Rewards Checking Account has the same fee and minimum structure and pays up to 1.25% APY, making it perhaps the best online checking account.
How to Open: Account opening can be done online by U.S. citizens or resident aliens with a Social Security number, a valid form of ID and a valid street address.
Why: At the time the ranking was conducted, Synchrony Bank’s 1.30% APY offered one of the best savings account rates, and its 12-month CD of 1.50% APY was one of the best in the top 10 list. The savings account rate has since increased to 1.45% APY and the 12-month CD to 2.00% APY as of Jan. 4, 2018.
Review: Synchrony Bank reigns supreme in the CD category, with rates going as high as 2.40% APY for its five-year CD. The Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings account is one of the best high-interest savings accounts on the list if you prioritize interest rates, and it comes with no minimum deposit, no fees and no minimum balance requirements. The account also offers easy withdrawals via an ATM card, online or by phone. The bank has a rewards program known as Synchrony Perks, which provides various discounts.
How to Open: You can open an account online with some basic information. You’ll need your date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license or other ID, along with a valid physical address and phone number. You can transfer funds electronically to Synchrony if you provide your funding bank account and routing numbers.
Barclays Bank Delaware
Why: The global bank consistently garners awards for its high savings rates that are 14 times the national average, sitting at a 1.20% APY at the time the ranking was conducted but has since increased to 1.30% APY as of Jan. 4, 2018. The bank also excels in its CD rates, paying a 1.45% APY on its 12-month CD at the time of the study’s ranking, which has risen to 1.65% APY as of Jan. 4, 2018.
Review: Online transfers, direct deposit, 24/7 access to your money and a high interest rate all serve to put Barclays Bank Delaware on the GOBankingRates list of Best Banks 2018. The savings account and CD products also come with no maintenance fees or minimum balances to open. Online financial and savings tools are also provided.
How to Open: The online account opening process is as with other banks, accomplished by providing personal information about yourself and your bank account, if you wish to make an opening deposit.
Related: Best Bank Account Interest Rates
Why: Discover Bank offers a broad range of products, including checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, and CDs with maturity dates between three months and 10 years. Rates are competitive, and fees are essentially nonexistent.
Review: Although rates on its CDs are good — 1.50% APY on the 12-month CD and 2.40% APY on the 10-year CD, at the time rankings were conducted, which have since increased to 1.60% APY and 1.76% APY, respectively, as of Jan. 4, 2018. Discover Bank does require a minimum investment of $2,500. The online savings account pays 1.15% APY, at the time the ranking was conducted but has since risen to 1.30% APY as of Jan. 4, 2018. That’s five times the national average, plus the account has no minimum and no fees. Discover’s Cashback Checking Account pays 1 percent cash back on monthly debit card purchases of up to $3,000, provides fee-free access to over 60,000 ATMs and carries no fees or monthly balance requirements.
How to Open: Provide your address, phone, email, and Social Security number to open an account online. To fund the account, you can either send a check or transfer funds from your existing bank.
Sallie Mae Bank
Why: Sallie Mae knocks the ball out of the park with its great CD rates, highlighted by the top 12-month CD rate on the top 10 list, with a 1.50% APY at the time the ranking was conducted, which has since increased to 1.72% APY as of Jan. 4, 2018.
Review: Sallie Mae Bank is a new entrant on the 2018 GOBankingRates list, largely based on the strength of its CD rates. The opening deposit of $2,500 is relatively high, but the bank charges no fees and pays high rates. The bank’s high-yield savings account is free of charge, has no minimum deposit requirement and offers a respectable 1.00% APY. Sallie Mae, true to its heritage, also offers a variety of college-planning products and student loans.
How to Open: Opening an account is a simple process through the Sallie Mae website. Your name, email address and telephone number are enough to start the application.
Read: Best CD Accounts of 2018
Why: With a high savings yield of 1.21% APY — that can jump to 1.55% APY for deposits of $25,000 and above — Incredible Bank’s High Yield Savings Account lives up to its name. The bank also offers a free checking account.
Review: Although Incredible Bank offers high yields, you do have to deposit at least $2,500 to open an account that earns interest. Bank-to-bank transfers are available starting 60 days after you open the account, and there is no monthly service fee.
The bank’s free checking account has no account fees and offers a number of free services, including online banking, mobile banking and bill pay, a smartphone app, a Visa debit card, and the reimbursement of domestic ATM fees, all for a $500 minimum deposit.
How to Open: A physical mailing address, Social Security number, and some form of official identification, such as your driver’s license, state ID or passport, is enough to get your account opened online.
AloStar Bank of Commerce
Why: Competitive savings rates, a fee-free checking account and a 12-month CD rate of 1.35% APY put AloStar Bank of Commerce in the GOBankingRates’ Best Online Banks ranking.
Review: AloStar’s interest checking account pays a 0.40% APY if you have a balance of at least $500. Both the interest checking and the free personal checking account offer the following free services: first order of checks, unlimited check writing, online account access, online and mobile banking, online bill pay and a debit card. A $50 minimum gives you access to the free savings account, which pays a 1.05% APY.
How to Open: You can apply online with your Social Security number, a photo ID, and a U.S. checking or savings account to fund your AloStar account.
Check Out Last Year’s Ranking: 10 Best Online Banks of 2017
Methodology: To determine its Best Online Banks ranking, GOBankingRates examined 28 online-only banks that offer products nationally according to the GOBankingRates and FDIC databases, excluding online products offered by institutions with a physical, retail banking presence. No asset threshold was consulted for online-only banks.
Criteria for ranking: GOBankingRates scored each online-only bank from most to least favorable on the following factors: (1) checking account fee, (2) savings account annual percentage yield, (3) 12-month certificate of deposit APY and (4) BauerFinancial Star Rating for overall financial strength. Banks were then scored according to whether they offered the following services, all of which contributed to a single weighting: (5) 24/7 customer service available by phone, (6) live chat service via website with a person, (7) mobile app and (8) remote check deposit. Banks were ranked according to their overall score.
Data for the Best Banks of 2018 was compiled from and verified against the individual institutions’ websites between Sept. 12 and Sept. 21, 2017. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of the individual financial institutions. APY was based on the minimum deposit required to open the account. Some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.
GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some banks mentioned in the Best Banks of 2018 are clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement.