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5 Easiest Bank Accounts to Open Online


Written by Ken Tumin | Edited by Ali Cybulski | Published on 6/5/2024

 

Many banks have made opening an account online quick and easy. You can often do everything on your computer or mobile device, skipping a branch visit or mailing forms.

The ease of opening a bank account online has limits, however, because all financial institutions are required to verify the identity of each customer with specific information and documentation. Even so, opening a bank account can go quickly once the bank has your personal information and confirms its accuracy.

To simplify opening a bank account online, start here. You’ll find applications that take no more than five minutes and options even for those with less-than-perfect banking records. Here are our picks for the five easiest bank accounts to open online.

Methodology

To compile our list of easiest bank accounts to open online, we considered how quickly and easily you can apply for and fund an account and how quickly you can start using it. We analyzed nearly 115 bank accounts at different banks, credit unions and financial technology companies.

Accounts also needed to have these features:

  • Provide a fully remote application
  • Require no minimum deposit or balance
  • Charge no monthly service fees
  • Offer many free ways to make deposits and withdrawals
  • Function as a primary checking account
  • Come with federal insurance
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What are some of the easiest bank accounts to open online?

Here’s a quick look at some of the easiest bank accounts to open online. All can be opened in minutes without a minimum initial deposit or monthly fees. Some do not use ChexSystems in the application process, which can help you get approved for an account if you have a poor banking history.

5 easiest bank accounts to open online
Bank Account Time to apply Use of ChexSystems Monthly fees Minimum opening deposit
Ally Bank Spending Account 5 minutes or less ChexSystems pulled $0 $0
Capital One 360 Checking account About 5 minutes No ChexSystems $0 $0
Chime Chime Online Checking Account Less than 2 minutes No ChexSystems $0 $0
Discover Discover Cashback Debit A few minutes ChexSystems pulled $0 $0
SoFi Bank SoFi Checking and Savings A few minutes ChexSystems pulled $0 $0

Summary of the 5 easiest bank accounts to open online

These are our picks for the easiest bank accounts to open online. You can establish one of these easily and quickly and use it as your primary checking account, with few fees to eat into your savings. The annual percentage yields (APYs) and account details are accurate as of May 23, 2024.

Ally Bank Spending Account

The Ally Bank Spending Account is a full-featured checking account that can be opened online or on Ally’s mobile app in five minutes or less.

APY: 0.25% ($15,000 or more), 0.10% (less than $15,000)

Account features: Ally’s Spending Account has features common at brick-and-mortar banks, such as writing paper checks and using a debit card without fees at ATMs in the Allpoint network. Ally also has features you might expect from an online bank, such as a robust mobile app that allows you to deposit checks, make Zelle person-to-person payments and manage debit card transactions.

Pros:

  • Order standard paper checks and debit cards without a fee.
  • Use any Allpoint ATM in the U.S. without a fee, and get reimbursed up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide.
  • Pay no overdraft fees or fees for having a negative balance over an extended time.

Cons:

  • You can’t deposit cash.
  • The checking account has a history of low interest rates. Use a savings or money market account for a more competitive rate.
  • You may have to wait up to 10 business days after Ally receives your opening deposit to get your debit card.

Capital One 360 Checking Account

Capital One has branches in several states but has focused on its digital operation over the last few years. You can open a 360 Checking account in about five minutes online or set up an account at a Capital One branch.

APY: 0.10%

Account features: Capital One 360 Checking blends the best of online and traditional banking. Deposit checks, make transfers and receive real-time spending alerts, among other options, in the bank’s mobile app. You can also write a check, access a large national ATM network and deposit cash for free at any CVS or Walgreens store.

Pros:

  • Deposit cash into your account for free at any CVS or Walgreens.
  • Access more than 70,000 fee-free Capital One, MoneyPass and Allpoint ATMs.
  • Get in-person assistance at Capital One branches and cafes.

Cons:

  • Only your first batch of checks is free — additional orders are $20 or $25.
  • You may pay $2 or more if you don't use a Capital One, MoneyPass or Allpoint ATM.
  • You’ll earn a lackluster rate. Choose the 360 Performance Savings account instead if growing your nest egg is your priority.

Chime Checking Account

Chime’s checking account can be opened easily and managed online or through a mobile app. Unlike many financial institutions, Chime does not use ChexSystems and other reports to approve your account application. ChexSystems tracks your banking history, and a blemished record may lead to trouble opening an account.

APY: 0.00%

Account features: Chime is a financial technology company and not a bank. Deposits are insured, but the FDIC has warned of risks with this arrangement. You can sign up for Chime online and download the Chime app to manage your account. You’ll have access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs and the ability to make cash deposits, though fees may apply.

Pros:

  • Deposit cash into your Chime Checking Account at Walgreens without fees. Other retailers accept cash deposits but may charge fees.
  • Pay no overdraft fees. If you don’t have sufficient funds in your checking account, your transaction will be declined. You can overdraw up to $200 on debit card purchases with no fees when you qualify for SpotMe overdraft.
  • Access more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs.

Cons:

  • Chime does not allow joint accounts or payable-on-death accounts.
  • It’s a checkless account. You won’t have paper checks but can use the Chime Checkbook feature to authorize Chime to make payments by check on your behalf.
  • You’ll need to open a checking account before you can get a Chime Savings Account. The account’s 2.00% APY is less competitive than other high-yield savings accounts.

Discover Cashback Debit

Discover Bank offers online and mobile banking for checking, savings, money market and individual retirement accounts as well as certificates of deposit (CDs). The Discover Cashback Debit account allows you to earn 1% back on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases. You’ll also be able to access over 60,000 fee-free ATMs and 24/7 customer service by phone.

APY: 0.0%

Account features: As the name suggests, the Discover Cashback Debit account offers cash-back rewards on debit card purchases. This type of reward, unusual for a debit card, sets this account apart from others. You’ll get paper checks and no-fee reorders, free access to a large nationwide ATM network, and the capability to add cash to your account without fees at any Walmart in the U.S.

Pros:

  • Earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases per calendar month.
  • Access paper checks and check reorders for free.
  • Add cash to your account without fees at Walmart stores.

Cons:

  • The account receives no interest. Choose a Discover Online Savings account instead if earning a competitive interest rate is a priority.
  • You may incur a fee for any out-of-network ATM transaction.
  • Checking accounts have an incoming transfer limit of $10,000 per 30-day rolling period.

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi is an online personal finance company and bank that aims to provide the best of both worlds: customer-focused technology and the safety of an FDIC-insured bank. You can quickly and easily open and manage SoFi’s Checking and Savings online or with the mobile app.

APY: 0.50% on checking (4.60% on savings with qualifying deposits; 1.20% without qualifying deposits)

Account features: SoFi Checking and Savings is a combo checking and savings account. You can’t open a standalone checking or savings account. This hybrid account allows you to write checks, use fee-free ATMs nationwide and deposit cash through certain retail merchants.

Pros:

  • Order paper checks at no cost.
  • Use more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs in the Allpoint network.
  • Receive your paycheck up to two days early when you sign up for direct deposit, plus get free overdraft coverage with a qualifying direct deposit.

Cons:

  • You’ll incur fees when using ATMs outside of the Allpoint network.
  • You can deposit cash into your checking account through retailers participating in the Green Dot Reload @ the Register program, but a fee applies.
  • Sign up for a direct deposit to earn the best rate on the savings account and qualify for no-fee overdraft coverage.

How to choose an online bank

With so many online banks, how can you choose one? As you compare options, consider these important factors to help you decide.

Make sure your money will be insured. Bank accounts are backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). Use the FDIC’s BankFind tool or call 877-275-3342 to verify coverage. The National Credit Union Administration insures credit unions. Confirm coverage with the NCUA’s Credit Union Locator tool. The standard coverage is $250,000 per person, per institution, per account ownership category.

Consider the purpose of the account. To pay for everyday transactions, a checking account may be the best fit. To build savings, a savings account or money market account may be better.

Consider products, rates and fees. Online banks are known for higher rates and lower fees than brick-and-mortar banks, but some have better deals than others. Compare APYs and fees on the products you need, making sure you can meet any minimum balance requirements.

Check out digital banking tools. Can you automate bill payments, for example? Can you use the bank’s mobile app to manage your money? And how can you reach customer service when you need help?

Frequently asked questions

Can you open a bank account with bad credit?

Bad credit can make approval for a bank account difficult but not impossible. You’ll need to consider second-chance bank accounts designed for people who can’t qualify for standard checking accounts. Many banks offering these accounts don’t review ChexSystems reports, which reveal flawed banking histories, to screen applicants.

Can you open a bank account online without an ID?

You will need some form of ID to open a bank account. If you don’t have a valid driver’s license, passport or state-issued ID — considered primary ID sources — then you will have to search for a bank that's flexible with ID. You may be able to provide two secondary ID sources instead, such as a birth certificate, a school ID, a voter registration card, a Medicare card or a major credit card.

Can you open a bank account online and use it immediately?

As soon as your account opening is complete, you should have access to your account. But before you can start using it, you’ll need to fill out an application and fund the account. You may need to wait a few days for a deposit to process and appear.

Related Pages: Internet banks

The financial institution, product, and APY (Annual Percentage Yield) data displayed on this website is gathered from various sources and may not reflect all of the offers available in your region. Although we strive to provide the most accurate data possible, we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The content displayed is for general information purposes only; always verify account details and availability with the financial institution before opening an account. Contact [email protected] to report inaccurate info or to request offers be included in this website. We are not affiliated with the financial institutions included in this website.