Online Bank Accounts For Free

The Best Online Bank Accounts For Free (2022)

Why pay hefty monthly fees to a brick and mortar bank when you don’t have to?

We are spending more and more time online. We shop online, we talk to friends online, we bank online…

There are a ton of new online only banks popping up where there are virtually no fees involved. You can open these online bank accounts for free. Yes, really!

When you don’t have to pay a whole staff to run a physical location, the operating costs end up being pretty low. This results in an affordable banking solution that almost anyone can get behind.

So, what are the best online bank accounts for free? Here is what we’ve found::

1. SoFi

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SoFi is one of the best online bank accounts for free that offers both checking and savings as well as loan refinancing and credit cards.

Pros:

One of the best aspects of the SoFi Checking/Savings account is the high interest rate. Customers will enjoy a 1.25% APY rate when they set up direct deposit (0.70% if not, which is still quite high).

Withdrawing cash is easy with SoFi. Customers are given free access to over 55,000 ATMs in SoFi’s ATM AllPoint network. Most free online accounts will not have such a large ATM network which is why SoFi is definitely one of the best online bank accounts for free out there.

There are no monthly fees associated with SoFi’s checking.savings account.

The SoFi free online banking app has a cool feature called “Roundups” where you will have the option to round up your purchases and add the difference to your savings account.

When you sign up for free online banking with SoFi and submit for direct deposit, you will receive a $300 bonus, which we think is a great plus.

Cons:

One of the things to watch out for with this free online bank account is that you can only open an individual account or a joint account, but not both.

In order to receive the 1.25% APY rate, you need to have a monthly $1000 direct deposit connected to the account. It’s not a super high amount, but it could be a problem for people who are self-employed or don’t get paid a set amount of money each month.

If you want to deposit cash, you will have to pay $4.95 at a “Green Dot” retailer. These are stores that SoFi has partnered up with to accept cash or physical cheque deposits from their customers.

A regular, physical bank would not usually charge anything to make a deposit, so…even though SoFi has no monthly fees, they do have some other fees to watch out for.

If you are someone who rarely deposits cash or physical cheques and has a steady income of $1000 or more per month, then the SoFi bank account could be a great option! It tops our list of the best online bank accounts for free.

2. Upgrade

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Next on our list of online bank accounts for free is Upgrade. Upgrade is a fully digital bank similar to SoFi. They offer a checking account, personal loans and a credit card. Their Rewards Checking is a great option for people looking for online bank accounts for free.

Pros:

One of the really cool things about Upgrade’s checking account is that it offers rewards. With the Upgrade “Rewards Checking” you will receive 2% cash back on essential purchases like food, pharmaceuticals, gas, utilities, TV subscriptions and phone. You will also get 1% on everything thing else you buy.

Most checking accounts do not give rewards or any type of cash back especially if they fall in the category of free online banking accounts. The fact that Upgrade gives you cash back on your purchases is really impressive.

People who sign up for an Upgrade Rewards Checking account will not have to pay any monthly fees or overdraft fees.

Cons:

SoFi provides free access to their AllPoint ATM network, whereas Upgrade does not. If you want to withdraw cash, you will have to pay the withdrawal fee charged by the ATM.

You WILL be able to receive a refund on 5 ATM withdrawals per month as long as you have deposited at least $1000 in the previous month or hold a daily balance of $2500.

There are no options whatsoever to deposit physical cash or cheques (not even at a store). The only way to move money into the account is through direct deposit, email transfer or direct transfer from an external account.

Upgrade would be a great option if you have a secondary account to deposit cash in if needed and will be holding a balance of $2500 or more (or will be using direct deposit).

Getting charged for withdrawing cash could get cumbersome after awhile; however, if you don’t often use cash (or deposit cash), then you may not even notice!

3. Axos

Axos Checking App 1
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Axos Bank offers a rewards checking account that has no monthly fee. Similar to the other banks we’ve already mentioned in our list of “the best online bank accounts for free”, Axos is fully digital and does not have a physical location.

Pros:

When we compare Axos to the other free online banking options, it definitely stands out.

Similar to SoFi bank, Axos offers a 1.25% APY rate in its Rewards Checking account, however; this is only provided if the customer opens an investment account and connects their direct deposit.

Axos charges no monthly fees and provides unlimited reimbursements on ATM withdrawal fees. This means that you can use any domestic ATM (only in the US) and Axos will reimburse you.

Upgrade only allows for 5 reimbursements per month IF you keep a certain balance or connect your direct deposit, so this is definitely a plus.

Axos Rewards Checking also gives 1% cash back on all purchases that require a signature.

Cons:

One thing that is a little annoying when it comes to Axos, is that their qualifications for getting 1.25% APY are pretty extensive.

You need to have a whole laundry list of Axos products and services like an Axos investment account, make ten transactions on your debit card per month, sign up for the Axos Personal Finance Manager, use Axos to make loan payments and connect direct deposit.

It seems like a lot just to get a good APY rate. SoFi is a lot more generous with their APY and only requires that you connect direct deposit.

If you are planning on using your Axos bank account for all of your banking needs then it might be worth signing up! It’s a perfect option for someone looking for online bank accounts for free.

4. CIT Bank

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CIT bank is a fully digital bank that offers a range of banking products including an eChecking account, Savings, Loans and CDs.

Pros:

It’s not common that a checking account offers APY but CIT’s eChecking account will give you 0.10% APY for balances under $25000 and 0.25% APY for balances over $25000 and there are no strings attached.

We like how CIT does not have any qualifications for obtaining a certain level of APY, it’s simply defined by how much money you already have in your account.

One of the best parts about having a checking account with CIT is that there are no monthly fees, or any fees for that matter including for overdraft and wire transfer. There are a few things you might be charged for like a card replacement or a rushed wire transfer but all in all CIT Bank’s eChecking account is 100% free.

Cons:

CIT does not have their own unlimited access ATM network like some of the other banks in our list of “the best online bank accounts for free”, however…they do offer $30 of reimbursement each month. So, if you are someone who is constantly withdrawing cash, you might want to go with a different free bank account that gives access to an ATM network.

CIT requires that you put down a $100 balance in order to open their eChecking account, whereas other banks allow their customers to open one with a much lower or no minimum deposit.

Unfortunately, CIT does not allow any physical deposits of cash or cheques, although you CAN deposit cheques digitally through their mobile app. If you are someone who needs the option of depositing cash, you might want to either have a secondary bank account to then transfer the money over to CIT or go with a different online bank.

Their APY rate is not as high as some other free online banks, although it’s pretty good to offer APY for a checking account regardless.

CIT would be a great choice for someone who doesn’t care too much about APY and doesn’t withdraw or deposit a huge amount of cash.

5. Current

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Current has dubbed itself “the future of banking” and once you read through their website, you’ll definitely see why.

Pros:

Current offers two different bank accounts, a “spend” account and a “save” account.

What’s really great about Current is that they don’t charge a monthly fee for their spend account and even include rewards. When you spend money with your Current card at certain retailers you can earn points which can then be reimbursed for either cash or other rewards.

Current also gives their customers access to their AllPoint ATM network. So you can withdraw cash for free from over 40,000 machines across the USA.

Their “spend” account features something called “Savings Pods” which are mini accounts where you can store a limited amount of money ($2000) for future purchases. The money stored in the Savings Pods will earn 4.00% APY. Yes you heard that right! That’s incredible.

Cons:

One thing that might become a barrier as a Current account holder is that they don’t provide physical cheque books to their customers. If this is something you need, then going with another bank on our list of the best online bank accounts for free might be in order.

When it comes to depositing cash, it will cost you $3.50 each time and you must do it at participating retailers like Walmart and CVS. At least they have the option to deposit cash, which other banks on our list of “the best online bank accounts for free” do not even offer.

Current is one of the few online banks that doesn’t offer customer support by phone. If this is something you prefer, then you might want to go with a different bank.

Current bank would be a really good choice for someone looking for online bank accounts for free that gives you the option to withdraw and deposit physical cash and have no monthly fees.

Takeaways: The Best Online Bank Accounts For Free (2022)

Banking has officially entered the digital age. These days you can get a free online bank account with no minimum balance, no monthly charges and no surprise fees down the road.

Keep in mind that these banks have no storefront so their operation costs are much lower than a traditional brick and mortar bank would have to deal with. This is why they are able to offer bank accounts for free with high APY rates.

The only real downside is that if you need to deposit or withdraw cash, there might be fees involved, however; if you aren’t someone who often uses cash, then go fully digital! It will save you loads of money in the long run.

Are you also looking for a bank that doesn’t require a credit check? Click here to read our article on the best banks that don’t do credit checks.

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