Best Online Checking Accounts

We’ve seen a lot of recent activity in the online checking world as more and more people are getting comfortable with having a checking account without any physical branches. I personally still use two checking accounts, one online and one with Bank of America. However, my BOA account has long been just a place to make my deposits and write checks. Everything gets transferred over and our daily spending comes out of our Capital One 360 Checking account.

In the past I simply referred readers to the 360 Checking account as the place to go for online checking. Well, there are some new online checking accounts you should be aware of. Here’s the current list that I’m aware of (old and new included).

FNBO Direct Online BillPay Account – I’ve used this account in the past and had positive results. They are currently offering the highest rate besides EverBank, who only serves higher balance accounts. Great web interface and comes with a Visa Checkcard (Debit Card) for your purchasing beyond paying the bills. Free ATM use is limited.

Capital One 360 Checking Account – This is the account I currently use. It’s attached to a great savings account. Has an excellent website and online bill pay features. Similar to PerkStreet in terms of number of ATMs.

EverBank FreeNet Checking – A solid rate, especially for the first 6 months. You must maintain a minimum account balance of $50,000 to to get their top rate though, and at least $5,000 to avoid fees. They have award-winning online banking, live customer service 24/7, and unlimited check writing.

For a limited time, EverBank is offering a $60 cash bonus for new FreeNet Checking accounts.

PerkStreet Financial – They have a unique thing going on: cash back checking. So you are essentially earning your rewards on your daily spending versus your running balance. There’s an opportunity to rack up good rewards here. The initial cash back bonus rate is nice too. A large network of free ATMs. Free checks and bill pay.

Ally Interest Checking – This account just rolled out. It’s the newest available. Has some nice features: free bill pay, free ATM use on all ATMs, free checks, unlimited check writing, no fees or minimums.

What to Look for in an Online Checking Account

I thought I’d jot down some things to keep you eye on if you’re considering an online checking account.

Debit Card and ATMs – It’s important to have access to your money with an online checking account. There needs to be a solid debit card attached to the account, along with plenty of free ATMs to utilize.
A Great Website Interface – It’s all online, so it better be good. A good online interface will respond quickly and be easy to understand and navigate. And it needs to be up 24/7.
Free Bill Pay and Checks - Most of these banks have free bill pay and checks. This is pretty standard now. Look out for limits on the number of checks you can write though if that’s a big thing for you.
Access to an Attached Savings Account – How easy will it be for you to move your spending account money to your savings and vice versa. Online bank transfers can take a long time. If there’s a connected account, you can take some of this headache away.
FDIC Insured – As with any cash account, the main goal is usually security. So ensure your online checking account is FDIC insured to the full $250,000. All that I list here are.

Interest Rate
Ally Bank
All Fees Refunded
All Fees Refunded if Balance >$5,000
FNBO Direct
FNBO Direct
840,000 PLUS locations - 4 Free Withdrawals Per Month
Up to 5% Cash Back
37,000+ free ATMs through STARsf®

Which online checking account are you using and why?

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Last Edited: March 8, 2014 @ 10:51 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.