10 Best Online Bank Accounts For Free

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Online bank accounts for free offer the convenience of digital banking without the need to visit a physical bank branch and often have higher savings rates than traditional banks.

List of Best Online Bank Accounts For Free

Here are the best free online checking accounts available online in every state though some fees, like out-of-network ATM fees, may be unavoidable.

SoFi Bank: $325 Welcome Bonus and Earn 4.60% APY on Savings Account
Upgrade Banking: Up to 2% Cash Back and Earn 5.21% APY on Savings Account
CIT Bank: 4.65% APY Savings Connect; 025% APY eChecking
First Citizens Bank: Free Digital Banking, bill pay and mobile deposits
Quontic Bank: 1.10 APY High Interest Checking
OneUnited Bank Checking: $1,000 No-Credit Check Cash Advance
Consumers Credit Union: Free Rewards Checking, Earn up to 5.00% APY
Axos Bank: Free Rewards Checking
Live Oak Bank Savings:: 4.50% APY Savings

A closer look at free online banks

1. SoFi Bank - Best for $325 Welcome Bonus

SoFi Checking/Savings Account is a solid choice for individuals who want an all-in-one free online bank account. It's an online bank account with both checking and savings capabilities where customers can earn 4.60% APY.

What's more, new customers can earn a welcome bonus up to $325 with qualified direct deposits. SoFi's visually pleasing app makes it the easiest bank account to open online (takes 10 minutes or less). Customers can deposit cash at over 90,000 participating retailers across the U.S.

2011 marks SoFi's (short for Social Finance) founding by a group of Stanford Business School students. Their initial focus was student loan refinancing. In 2022, SoFi Bank officially launched after acquiring Golden Pacific Bank and rebranded it as SoFi Bank, N.A. This launched their full range of banking products, including Checking and Savings, loans, investments, insurance, and more.

Customers can set up multiple savings vaults These are like sub-accounts within your Checking and Savings. You create Vaults for specific savings goals (e.g., rent, utilities, vacation, emergency fund). SoFi has unlimited, no-fee savings account withdrawals.

2. Upgrade Banking - Best for up to 2% cash back

Rewards Checking Plus Account offers impressive benefits for customers that set up a $1,000 direct deposit.² Those benefits include, access to a 5.21% APY savings account⁴, up to 2% cash back on everyday expenses¹, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases and ATM fee reimbursement³. The rewards checking plus account is a free bank account no deposit required to open.

Upgrade is a financial technology (fintech) company, not a bank. They specialize in providing lending products, credit cards, and banking services. Upgrade partners with Cross River Bank, a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to provide FDIC insurance for funds in an Upgrade checking and savings account.

3. CIT Bank - Best for high interest savings

Overall, CIT Bank's Savings Connect Account is a solid choice for those who want to earn 4.65% APY with no monthly maintenance fees and convenient online and mobile banking services. A minimum $100 deposit is required to open.

CIT Bank's Platinum Saving Account is also a monthly maintenance free bank account that earns 5.05% APY but it does require a minimum $5,000 opening deposit.

CIT Bank's eChecking account earns 0.25% APY with a $25,000 minimum balance and 0.10% APY on balances under $25,000. If you choose to open both a checking and savings account, customers can easily transfer funds between their linked accounts to get access to funds with a debit card.

CIT Bank's history dates back to 1908 when it was founded in St. Louis, Missouri. Currently CIT is an online-only bank and merged with parent company First Citizens BancShares, Inc. in January 2022. As a bank with no physical branches, CIT can offer the most competitive rates in the industry.

»See Full CIT Bank Review

4. First Citizens Bank - Best for online banking and branch locations

First Citizens Bank offers a good mix of checking and savings accounts. While some accounts have monthly maintenance fees, the free online checking account has a low opening deposit requirement and an online application process to open a bank account immediately. Customers in the following states also have access to in-person banking: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, KS, MD, MS, NB, NV, NM, NC, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WV, WI.

First Citizens Bank was originally founded as the Bank of Smithfield in 1898. Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, First Citizens Bank has branches in 21 states. They offer a wide range of financial services to individuals, businesses, and organizations including checking, savings, trust services, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services, insurance, and more.

5. Quontic Bank - Best for high-yield checking account

Quontic High-Interest Checking Account earns 1.10% APY on all balance when you make at least 10 qualifying debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle. Customers don't have to worry about overdraft or monthly service fees. 

Quontic works with Zelle, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, making it easy to send and receive money. The optional Quontic Pay Ring gives you access to debit card payment transactions without having to carry your debit card.

The Quontic Bank High Yield Savings earns a competitive 4.50% APY with a minimum $100 deposit.

Quontic Bank is a digital community bank with headquarters in New York City offering checking, savings and CD products with competitive interest rates across all 50 states. Quontic was founded in 2009 with a focus on underserved communities to help people achieve their goal of homeownership with fair home loan and mortgage refinancing options. There is one brick-and-mortar location in New York City.

»See Full Quontic Bank review

6. OneUnited Bank - Best for $1,000 No-Credit Check Loan

OneUnited Bank's Online Checking Account is available to people in ALL STATES. The CashPlease product offers an impressive no-credit check, short-term loan to checking account-holders. Customers that typically rely on payday loans for quick cash emergencies will find the CashPlease loan feature less expensive plus it reports monthly payments to the credit bureaus that may help improve credit.

Customers can add cash to the OneUnited Bank Debit Card at over 90,000 locations across the country through a partnership with Green Dot®. To get started go to the “Get the Card” button, enter your name, email address and cell phone number. Choose the Black Wall Street Checking account option along with the opening deposit, then complete your identification details (name, address, SSN, and employer).

OneUnited Bank is the largest Black-owned bank in the US, and emphasizes financial services for the Black community. However, anyone can open an account at OneUnited. The founding of OneUnited Bank began in 1968 as Unity Bank & Trust Company in Boston, MA. Over the years, several mergers occurred with banks sharing a similar focus on serving Black communities with the name OneUnited Bank adopted in the early 2000s to reflect this combination of institutions.

»See Full OneUnited Bank Review

7. Consumers Credit Union - Rewards Checking, Earn up to 5.00% APY

Consumers Credit Union is available to people in ALL STATES and operates 15 branches in the Chicago suburbs. Membership is open to anyone for a one-time $5 fee. The Rewards Checking account pays 0.10% to 5.00%.
The basic requirements for Rewards Checking accounts include:

  • 12 debit card purchases per month
  • ACH deposits, direct deposits or mobile check deposits totaling at least $500 each month
  • Enrollment in eDocuments

If the basic requirements are not met, the APY is 0.10%.

Consumers Credit Union (CCU) was founded in Waukegan, Illinois, during the Great Depression, originally serving employees of a local manufacturer, Johns Manville. CCU's “associational” charter allows for greater membership flexibility than some credit unions, as they are not restricted to specific employment groups or geographic areas.

8. Axos Bank - Best for Cash Back Checking

Axos Bank offers a wide range of banking products and services including checking, savings, CDs, money market accounts, loans and investment options. Cash back checking customers don't have to worry about monthly fees and can get up to one percent cash back on debit card transactions.

Axos Bank is considered a pioneer in digital banking. It was founded as the Bank of Internet USA in 2000.

9. Live Oak Bank - High-Yield Savings

Live Oak Bank does not require a minimum that means your money grows, no matter how much you have. Currently customers earn 4.40% APY with no strings attached.

Live Oak Bank is headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, however, they serve customers across the entire United States. Live Oak is an online only bank and customers manage their accounts, transfer funds, and perform most banking tasks through their website and mobile app.

How safe are free online banks?

Online banks are generally very safe. Most free online banks are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor in the unlikely event your bank fails.

As an online bank customer there are certain precautions that can help keep your money safe that include:

  • Creating unique, complex passwords for your online bank account and avoid using the same password across different websites and services.
  • Keep your devices updated with security software and avoid banking on public Wi-Fi.
  • Don't click on suspicious links or give out personal information in response to unsolicited emails/texts.

Due to the nature of banking digitally, online banks prioritize security, often using the same or even more advanced technology as traditional banks that include:

  • Data encryption that scrambles information during transmission, making it unreadable to unauthorized parties.
  • Multi-factor authentication involves extra verification steps (i.e., a code sent to your phone) besides just your password, making it harder for hackers.
  • Fraud monitoring used by banks to detect unusual activity that might indicate fraud.

Benefits of online free banks

Online-only banks have experienced significant growth over the last ten years, particularly driven by new challenger banks like Chime that currently has over 14 million customers.

SoFi Bank is another challenger bank that boasts a generous bank bonus offer for new customers along with high-interest savings, loans and investment products. Both are considered “challenger banks” but there are a few important key differences in Chime vs. SoFi Bank.

Here are several benefits of online banks that are free:

  • Higher interest rates. Online banks don't have the overhead costs of physical branches, so they often offer better interest rates on savings accounts and CDs.
  • Lower fees. Many online banks waive common fees like monthly maintenance fees or ATM fees.
  • Convenience. Manage your finances from anywhere, anytime, with online access and mobile apps.


The bottom line is a free online bank account can be a good choice when it saves you money, offers high-yield savings accounts as well as key features offered at traditional banks.

If you’re comfortable managing your finances digitally and don't mind banking without physical branches, the innovative features online banking offers adds value and time to your lifestyle.

Upgrade Disclaimers

1 Rewards Checking Plus customers who set up monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more earn 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card purchases. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers earn 1% cash back on all eligible debit card purchases for the remainder of the year. Rewards Checking Plus accounts with less than $1,000 in monthly direct deposits 60 days after account opening will earn 1% cash back on common everyday expenses and 0.50% cash back on all other eligible debit card purchases. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

Active Accounts with a monthly direct deposit of $1000 are eligible for additional benefits on Rewards Checking Plus such as additional cash back rewards, ATM fee reimbursement, and more. See the Active Account page for more information.

3 There are no overdraft fees or annual fees associated with Rewards Checking Plus accounts. Rewards Checking Plus charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. For Active Accounts, Upgrade will rebate ATM fees charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month on a Rewards Checking Plus account, the account must be an Active Account in the prior calendar month. See the Active Account page for more information. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for 60 days after account opening regardless of account user status. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Checking Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

4 The 1.5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for the Performance Savings account is effective as of June 1, 2023. The APY for the Performance Savings account is variable and may change at any time. Active Accounts qualify for 5.21% APY with monthly $1000 direct deposit. The APY for Active Accounts is effective as of February 26, 2024, is variable, and may change at any time. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Performance Savings Deposit Account Agreement and Truth in Savings Disclosure.

To earn APY, you must open and fund a Performance Savings account. Rewards Checking Plus accounts do not earn APY.

5 The interest rate on a new loan or credit line through Upgrade may be lower than would otherwise be applicable without this discount, as long as you have an active Rewards Checking Plus account as described here. Other terms and conditions may apply. Please refer to the applicable Truth-in-Lending Disclosure and Loan Agreement.

Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Checking and savings accounts provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.


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