Find the Best Online Banking

Being able to control and track your banking account from anywhere can help you understand how you spend money. Learn how you can find the best online banking!

What makes the best online banking accounts? The answer is always one that allows the user to earn money with higher interest rates and save money by skirting around fewer fees. Another great feature is bank’s ability to save on their own finances by not operating traditional brick and mortar branches. However, with so many options in our tech-focused age, what are some of the best online banks you can go with and how do you know what exactly to look for?

First and Foremost: Fewer Fees

Bottom line is you should be on the look out for as few fees as possible for your new online bank. Fortunately, online banks have the ability to cut down on their fees because they aren’t paying the salaries for bank tellers or funding storefronts in hundreds of cities. All of their business happens on the virtual web. With most online banks, you can avoid things like monthly fees, ATM fees, overdraft fees and other pesky charges that weigh down the statements from traditional banks. The last thing you need from your online bank is to be spending more in their fees than saving more by using their products.

Keep the Customer Service

Just because you’re sacrificing heading to the bank and talking to a bank teller doesn’t mean you have to opt out of all and total customer service. The best online banks will be highly rated in customer service and strive to maintain excellent relationships with their customers, perhaps even more so because of the lack of face-to-face interactions. An online bank with a reputation for excellent customer support will stand out, and when you’re in need of assistance, it’ll be there as an invaluable resource.

Weighing Security

The security of your finances should always be a consideration, regardless of what type of banking you choose. As we become a society reliant on technology and virtual financing, the dark balance will always be in the hands of those looking to take it for their own. Thinking of the recent hacks of big name corporations like Target’s 2013 data breach and banks like JP Morgan Chase in 2014, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for any online banking to fall victim to malicious hackers. When finding the best online banking, you don’t have to be an expert in security protocol in making your selection, but certainly do your research to see if the online bank has all of their ducks in a row when it comes to data protection.

Do Your Research

Are you still unsure if a certain online bank is right for you? Ask around - or even if your trusted colleges, friends or family don’t have the answer, a quick Internet search surely will. From financial websites to Google reviews, the Internet is a really an endless expose into companies, banks, credit unions and everything imaginable. 

Conducting even just a few brief moments of background research on your potential contenders for online banks can be immensely helpful. Here, you’ll here the good, the bad and everything in between, giving you the reader’s digest version of the online banks out there vying for your business. You’ll be able to gather information from how easy it’s to start with certain online banks to how beneficial their checking or saving account products are for their customers.

There are also companies that exist solely to analyze and review the performance of American banks and credit unions like BauerFinancial. They are a third party, independent research firm that compiles financial data to render ratings. These ratings are a helpful way to conduct your own research into the best online bank for you, and on the scale put forth by BauerFinancial, you’ll want to find one that ranks at least three stars as “Good”, or above.

Ask Yourself What You Need

What kind of banking products are you looking for? Are you simply after a good, reliable checking account or are you interested in doing more with your money? The best online banking will offer both and allow their customers to move their money around without being slammed with ridiculous fees. There should be an inherent level of trust with their customers because good products will ultimately encourage people to keep their money at that particular bank, but not punish them when they want to move it around.

Think of what your future self will need and not just the products that will suite your current lifestyle. Will you need a stable, high-yielding savings account further down the line? Then consider an online bank that offers this product as well so you don’t have to make a switch later. Much of being financially smart is simply thinking of your future and being a few steps ahead. This way, you’ll save by not just avoiding fees and charges but also on the headaches.

Ease of Use

You don’t want an overcomplicated online bank - who does? Sweet and simple should be your mindset when seeking out your perfect fit for an online bank, and you’ll want to definitely check out the potential candidate’s mobile phone apps to make sure they smoothly integrate with your lifestyle. Most Americans bank on their mobile phones, and part of having a superior online banking platform these days is the app that allows them to do so.

However, it’s not just the mobile app that matters when it comes down to ease of use. You’ll want to consider things like how easy it’s to communicate with the bank, to use any of their products and even how simple their setting up process will be. When starting out with a new online bank and you’re seeing a slew of rules, regulations and a list of qualifications you must meet to avoid fees and charges, it’s going to be time to move on to the next one. The best online banks are no-frills, minimum fees, with platforms made for ease of navigation.

The Best Online Banks

Are you still unsure of where to start? Here are a few online banks that have been widely reviewed and rated as among the best:

Ally Bank

With low fees, superior customer service and high interest rates, Ally has much to offer in the way of online banks. Their checking account has interest with zero monthly fees, with free use of their specified ATMs.

Capital One

You can’t go one with the ubiquitous Capital One, a full-service financing company with hundreds of products and equally numerous branches for customer support. Its 360 checking account is top rated, as is its 360 savings account, all with great interest rates and low fees.

Charles Schwab Bank

As one of the largest and most renowned brokerage firms in the U.S., Charles Schwab is truly an excellent choice if you frequently travel as it offers unlimited reimbursements of other bank ATM fees - including international ones.

Discover

Not just a credit card company, Discover holds its own as an online bank with Discover Cashback Checking - 1% cash back on up to $3,000 per month in debit card purchases. For those looking for rewards, Discover has you covered.