There are hundreds of different types of checking/savings accounts that can be opened, but which one is right for you? I feel that the answer to this question totally depends on the type of person that you are, and how often you need access to your accounts. Some of the major personal attributes that will effect which type of account you should have are as follows, are you mobile (do you use a cell phone that has a link to the internet), do you feel safe being able to do all of your transactions with no physical location, how often do you need to access your checking account, and what is your preferred method of payment when you are purchasing something. Depending on which of the above characteristics fits you best, scroll down to find the best online checking accounts that are a possible fit for you.
photo credit: oblivion9999
Different Online Checking Accounts for Different People
If you are constantly on the move and have a “smart Phone” which gives you access to the internet at all times, then chances are you trust the internet and would not mind doing all of your banking online. There are a variety of choices for you if you think that you trust a totally online bank, and by totally online it means that there is no physical location that you can walk into to do any of your banking. The options for this type of banking are as follows.
Top Online Checking Account Options:
FNBO Direct Online Bill Pay:
This account is a good option for those who typically will have a lower balance in their account. There is no minimum balance and you are able to receive a free debit card when you open the account. They offer a competitive interest rate on their checking as well as savings accounts compared to other online banks. However, there is a very limited amount of free cash withdrawals from ATM machines. On this account there is also no monthly fee.
Perk Street Financial:
Perk Street is a great option for those who enjoy getting rewards for their shopping. They offer a variety of “perks” such as a cash back plan, as well as a variety of other rewards that are on a dollar based system. Like FNBO, there is no monthly fee or minimum balance attached to the account but there is a 25$ minimum when you would like to open an online checking account. There are more free ATM’s that can be accessed, but there will still be a fee charged for foreign ATM’s.
Ever Bank offers one of the highest interest rate checking accounts available, but there are a few requirements to bank with them. You will need to have a minimum balance of $5,000 in the account at all times. They will however give you the great option to scan your checks and deposit them through their online system. This feature is relatively new in the banking industry. If checks is your preferred method of payment, then Ever Bank is the right choice for you because they have free unlimited check writing.
Ally bank is the new kid on the block in the online banking industry and is putting a strong hold on the community. Ally offers a free checking account with no minimum balance as well as no monthly fees. Ally has its strong points in their CD area. They offer a variety of No Penalty CD’s that allow you to withdraw your money from a CD without paying the early termination fee’s that apply on all other CD’s. If you use ATM’s frequently and are on the move a lot, Ally offers free ATM usage because they will refund all of your ATM fees.
These Online Banks are FDIC Insured
All the above banks are FDIC insured so you know that your money up to $250,000 is safe. One subject I did not mention much in the above descriptions is an interest rate. I left this out on purpose because a checking account is not used as an investment security. Most checking accounts will have an interest rate under 2%, this rate is only competitive to other checking accounts, not to virtually any investment grade security. Even a 10Yr treasury bond will offer you a 2.8% interest rate and is totally RISK FREE. A checking account is only to be used for money that you will need to use within the next year, if you were to invest in a treasury bill/bond, you still maintain liquidity because these investments are traded on a daily basis. That is why if you will not need the money for more than 6 months to a year, DO NOT put the money into a checking account. If you would like assistance in gaining access to a security such as an insured bond such as a treasury bill, consult your local financial advisor.
Accounts that are only partially online
If you are one of those people who do not feel completely safe with leaving your money in a location where you can not physically see or walk into, you are definitely not out of luck in the online banking industry. If you are like me, and like all of your accounts to be with a single bank (and by all accounts I mean checking, savings, mortgage, credit card as well as kids savings plans), then in my mind the best option for you is JP Morgan Chase. Chase will be the name that you see on the side of the building, but Chase offers a variety of great products for banking online. Chase has thousands of locations scattered across the United States as well is in foreign countries. They also offer the no minimum balance checking accounts with no monthly fee. If you hold all of your accounts with chase and become a premier member, then you also have the right to free credit cards as well as more advantageous account options. The online segment is also very integrated and easy to use. There are even mobile chase applications that you can buy for your I-Pod, Android or any smart phone out there. You will have the luxury of having all of your accounts on a single screen, where transferring money is free and instantaneous. You will have no issues with or hoops to jump through to access any of your funds no matter what account they are in. They offer great rewards for their accounts that also include cash back as well as plenty of other rewards. You have the luxury with chase of having almost all the same options of any online account, but also the ability to walk into a physical location for customer service issues.
Managing your Kids Money with Chase
Chase also gives you the ability to manage your kid’s money no matter where they are. You can link their accounts right to the same main screen that you look at for all of your personal accounts. This way you will be able to access all of their transactions, and even provide overdraft protection (hooking their account to any of your accounts) so that they will not be loaded with fees. If your child is away at college, with Chase you will be able to transfer money into their account from any of your accounts in seconds, this will save you and your child lots of time, also letting you feel safe knowing that he/she will have money when they need it.
Chase is not the only bank that offers great service like this but it is however the bank I am most familiar with. A variety of other banks offer similar services to what I have mentioned above.
Conclusion on Online Checking Accounts
There are plenty of banks out there for you to choose from that will be able to fit your exact needs. Whether you would like a high yielding checking account, or a check scanning service, there is always an option for you. All of the online banks are FDIC insured so you know that your money is safe, and if you are truly a mobile person an online account is great for you. If you are a little more traditional and like making infrequent appearances to your bank, but also want the ability to take care of business online, then a bank such as Chase is right for you.