Best online banking accounts?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
CULater
Posts: 1909
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:59 am

Best online banking accounts?

Post by CULater » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:30 pm

I'm looking to open an interest-paying bank account that I can use for automatic payments of bills, credit card balances, etc. via EFT as well as checking and cash withdrawals. Local banks pay no interest. What are some of the best online bank accounts paying interest right now?
Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

TheDDC
Posts: 323
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:11 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by TheDDC » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:52 pm

Ally comes heavily recommended here. Ally Savings account rate just went up to 2.00% APY. I have one myself. Many others here use them for their checking account as well and like their phone bill pay.

I have been pleased. Transfers are next business day for me.

Have you also looked at local credit unions? My main checking account is with a large credit union in my state and I have been relatively pleased.

-TheDDC

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 3144
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:59 pm

Ally. Posted often.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

hotpancakes
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:25 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by hotpancakes » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:02 pm

In my opinion, the best option is a Fidelity CMA account, though it's not a bona fide checking account, rather a brokerage account with checking features. Here's why I think it's the best:

1) 100% free. No fees. No minimums.

2) You can purchase Fidelity Money Market funds, which Fidelity considers liquid cash and will auto-redeem as needed to cover any debits. If you purchase SPRXX, for instance, your "checking" account would currently have a 2.09% yield. You can make as many transactions as you'd like in a given month and are not limited to 6 transactions per month like a traditional savings account.

3) 100% free bill pay. Fidelity doesn't debit the funds from your account until the recipient cashes the check.

4) Debit card with no foreign transaction fee at international ATMs, and unlimited ATM service charge refunds worldwide.

5) Free ACH *and* wire transfers.

6) Better customer service than most other banks. You can talk to a live, knowledgeable person 24/7.

7) High mobile check deposit limits (mine was initially $10k per day, and was quickly raised to $100k. I know of no other bank that has limits this high, though YMMV.)

8) Free paper checks if you need them.

I'm struggling to think how this account could be improved.

trueson1
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:40 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by trueson1 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:05 pm

Also, Marcus by Goldman Sachs - 2.05%

https://www.marcus.com

Beatle Boots
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:28 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Beatle Boots » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:35 pm

Alliant Credit Union.

Highly rated! Changed there in last 9 months and love it.

https://www.nerdwallet.com/banking/bank ... edit-union

Rates:

Savings = 2%

Checking = .65%

https://www.alliantcreditunion.org/rates

retiredflyboy
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:02 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by retiredflyboy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:38 pm

+1 Ally Bank. I have savings and checking. Very pleased over several years time.
Facts are stubborn things. Everything works until it doesn’t.

Lastrun
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 6:46 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Lastrun » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:58 pm

I looked at this hard a while back when I moved most everything from a brick and mortar bank to online. I was less interested in brokerage linkage and more interested in just traditional banking products--checking, higher yield savings, and CDs, all in one place.

The final four, in no order, where Ally, Fidelity, Schwab and CapitalOne360. They all looked good.

I chose Ally and have been pleased.

Also Marcus has no checking.

DIFAR31
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:51 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by DIFAR31 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:01 pm

hotpancakes wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:02 pm
7) High mobile check deposit limits (mine was initially $10k per day, and was quickly raised to $100k. I know of no other bank that has limits this high, though YMMV.)
USAA has mobile check deposit limits at least this high, although the interest rates for their standard bank accounts suck by comparison.

baliktad
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:13 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by baliktad » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:40 pm

hotpancakes wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:02 pm
In my opinion, the best option is a Fidelity CMA account, though it's not a bona fide checking account, rather a brokerage account with checking features. Here's why I think it's the best:

(...snip...)

I'm struggling to think how this account could be improved.
I agree with your points in that the Fidelity CMA is a very useful, flexible account with many great features. One feature you didn't mention is the ability to hold FDIC insurance on up to $1.25M in cash. Fidelity will 'syndicate' your cash amongst up to 5 different banks for you so you get maximum FDIC coverage with no extra hassle. My cash position is usually 2 commas away from needing this, but perhaps it may be useful someday!

The only real downside I have noticed with a Fidelity account is that at its heart it really is a brokerage account, not a consumer banking account. This means that as consumer banking evolves, you may or may not have access to newly introduced banking features. For example, Zelle is a bank-sponsored quick, convenient, person-to-person money transfer service offered on most consumer checking accounts, but Zelle is not available with a Fidelity brokerage account or CMA.

I use and prefer Zelle over alternatives like PayPal or Venmo because Zelle is a true bank-to-bank transfer: there is no intermediary or separate account requiring a manual sweep to your real account. Transfers are free and instant, and you can send or request money. Unlike ACH transfers, you don't have to know your friend's bank routing and account number, just their email or cell number. And on your bank statement, instead of showing an vague/incomprehensible "ACH NAMEOFBANK" description, you simply see "Zelle: Name of Person" memo. It's a super easy way to split a dinner bill, or chip in your share of a group gift. Lack of access to Zelle might be the one thing holding me back from switching everything to Fidelity.

Whether you find Zelle useful or not, I bring it up as an example of consumer banking features that are unlikely to be made available on a brokerage account. Wells Fargo now has a 'cardless' ATM option, so you can get a code from your phone to use the ATM without your physical ATM card. Many banks offer the ability to instantly lock and unlock your debit card right from your phone in case you lose your card. I'm sure there are and will be more of these modern conveniences in the future - just be aware that the Fidelity CMA isn't likely to add or adopt any new features.

hotpancakes
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:25 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by hotpancakes » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:05 pm

baliktad wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:40 pm
hotpancakes wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:02 pm
In my opinion, the best option is a Fidelity CMA account, though it's not a bona fide checking account, rather a brokerage account with checking features. Here's why I think it's the best:

(...snip...)

I'm struggling to think how this account could be improved.
I agree with your points in that the Fidelity CMA is a very useful, flexible account with many great features. One feature you didn't mention is the ability to hold FDIC insurance on up to $1.25M in cash. Fidelity will 'syndicate' your cash amongst up to 5 different banks for you so you get maximum FDIC coverage with no extra hassle. My cash position is usually 2 commas away from needing this, but perhaps it may be useful someday!

The only real downside I have noticed with a Fidelity account is that at its heart it really is a brokerage account, not a consumer banking account. This means that as consumer banking evolves, you may or may not have access to newly introduced banking features. For example, Zelle is a bank-sponsored quick, convenient, person-to-person money transfer service offered on most consumer checking accounts, but Zelle is not available with a Fidelity brokerage account or CMA.

I use and prefer Zelle over alternatives like PayPal or Venmo because Zelle is a true bank-to-bank transfer: there is no intermediary or separate account requiring a manual sweep to your real account. Transfers are free and instant, and you can send or request money. Unlike ACH transfers, you don't have to know your friend's bank routing and account number, just their email or cell number. And on your bank statement, instead of showing an vague/incomprehensible "ACH NAMEOFBANK" description, you simply see "Zelle: Name of Person" memo. It's a super easy way to split a dinner bill, or chip in your share of a group gift. Lack of access to Zelle might be the one thing holding me back from switching everything to Fidelity.

Whether you find Zelle useful or not, I bring it up as an example of consumer banking features that are unlikely to be made available on a brokerage account. Wells Fargo now has a 'cardless' ATM option, so you can get a code from your phone to use the ATM without your physical ATM card. Many banks offer the ability to instantly lock and unlock your debit card right from your phone in case you lose your card. I'm sure there are and will be more of these modern conveniences in the future - just be aware that the Fidelity CMA isn't likely to add or adopt any new features.
That's a very fair point. I use Venmo/Cash.app for all my person-to-person transfers, so the lack of Zelle support has never crossed my mind. I suppose if you need Zelle, use a real bank, but otherwise I think Fidelity is superior.

nalor511
Posts: 368
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:00 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by nalor511 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:13 pm

Beatle Boots wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:35 pm
Alliant Credit Union.

Highly rated! Changed there in last 9 months and love it.

https://www.nerdwallet.com/banking/bank ... edit-union

Rates:

Savings = 2%

Checking = .65%

https://www.alliantcreditunion.org/rates
I much prefer Alliant over Ally, Ally took a really long time to do every little step (for me) and took much longer to get anyone on the phone. YMMV

mrmass
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:35 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by mrmass » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:18 pm

nalor511 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:13 pm
Beatle Boots wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:35 pm
Alliant Credit Union.

Highly rated! Changed there in last 9 months and love it.

https://www.nerdwallet.com/banking/bank ... edit-union

Rates:

Savings = 2%

Checking = .65%

https://www.alliantcreditunion.org/rates
I much prefer Alliant over Ally, Ally took a really long time to do every little step (for me) and took much longer to get anyone on the phone. YMMV
I got the 3% Visa from Alliant, all my interactions with them were handled promptly and efficiently. The opening of the Visa took a what seemed like 2 weeks but I'm happy.

averagedude
Posts: 596
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 3:41 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by averagedude » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:38 pm

I use Synchrony. I recommend them, Ally, or Marcus which is Goldman Sachs. There are others that are just as good. Beware of some of the lesser known names as some of these offer a teaser rate, knowing you won't go to the trouble of switching when they dont offer competitive rates in the future.

Beatle Boots
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:28 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Beatle Boots » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:54 am

Regarding Free Checking and High Interest Online Banks: If the hi interest banks you are interested in do NOT offer free checking, don't let this be a "deal killer". Work around: Use 2 banks. I have a USAA free checking account where USAA provides free postage and checks. I write about 5 checks a year and I receive about 5 checks a year. I pay all other bills out of my Allied Credit Union checking account.

My main hi interest saving and checking accounts are at Allied Credit Union. I try to pay most of my bills from Allied Normally, these payments are automated bank payments (monthly payments for reward credit card (CC) companies, Utilities that charge absorbant fees for CC charges, etc.).

I try to always keep about $100 in my USAA free checking account (basically this account is non-interest bearing & that is why they probably offer the services for free). When I know that I need to pay a bill by check (usually a once year event such as the annual property tax bill that I paid today), I simply auto transfer enough cash out of Alliant checking to USAA checking to cover the bill so I can write the check against my USAA checking account.

USAA checking works nicely for this limited role. It allows me to take advantage of its "award winning" checking account services without being penalized for the low interest. However, USAA has some strict membership requirements mostly related to prior military service or your affiliation to relatives with military service. If you do not qualify for USAA checking, I am sure you can find another bank that offers free checking.

Also, if you are interested in Alliant Credit Union, go to their website for qualifications. Basically, anyone can join.

Good luck!

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 9166
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:59 am

I use a Redneck Megamoney account (found them through another Boglehead post). They pay 2.25% up to $50k. They have a checking account that pays 2.75% but requires things like direct deposit, use of a debit card and other hoops I'm not willing to do. They tend to be a month or 2 behind whoever is the leader at any one time with rates....but the leader is always someone different.

Oh, and it's funner to bank there.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

mountainsoft
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:39 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by mountainsoft » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:59 am

I have been happy with my Discover Online Savings account which is paying 2% right now. It usually takes 2-3 business days to transfer money between savings and my local checking account.

IMhooked
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:02 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by IMhooked » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:17 am

trueson1 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:05 pm
Also, Marcus by Goldman Sachs - 2.05%

https://www.marcus.com
+1 Have had multiple accounts and CD's with Marcus over the past year and have been very pleased so far!
24 hour transfers to my US bank account if needed.

Gadget
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:38 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Gadget » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:06 pm

hotpancakes wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:02 pm
In my opinion, the best option is a Fidelity CMA account, though it's not a bona fide checking account, rather a brokerage account with checking features. Here's why I think it's the best:

1) 100% free. No fees. No minimums.

2) You can purchase Fidelity Money Market funds, which Fidelity considers liquid cash and will auto-redeem as needed to cover any debits. If you purchase SPRXX, for instance, your "checking" account would currently have a 2.09% yield. You can make as many transactions as you'd like in a given month and are not limited to 6 transactions per month like a traditional savings account.

3) 100% free bill pay. Fidelity doesn't debit the funds from your account until the recipient cashes the check.

4) Debit card with no foreign transaction fee at international ATMs, and unlimited ATM service charge refunds worldwide.

5) Free ACH *and* wire transfers.

6) Better customer service than most other banks. You can talk to a live, knowledgeable person 24/7.

7) High mobile check deposit limits (mine was initially $10k per day, and was quickly raised to $100k. I know of no other bank that has limits this high, though YMMV.)

8) Free paper checks if you need them.

I'm struggling to think how this account could be improved.
+1

tman9940
Posts: 143
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:44 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by tman9940 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:02 pm

I transferred from CapitalOne360 to ALLY in July--Ally's rates have increased 3 times (I think) since then. They are at 2% now. They also have a nice online chat feature I use often, which I prefer to calling on the phone. Nothing bad to say about Ally.

nalor511
Posts: 368
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:00 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by nalor511 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:56 pm

tman9940 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:02 pm
I transferred from CapitalOne360 to ALLY in July--Ally's rates have increased 3 times (I think) since then. They are at 2% now. They also have a nice online chat feature I use often, which I prefer to calling on the phone. Nothing bad to say about Ally.
I agree the chat feature is nice, except for the fact that none of my concerns could ever be done over chat, and they always wanted me to call, which took forever.

User avatar
Artsdoctor
Posts: 3846
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:09 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Artsdoctor » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:28 pm

I think it all depends on how you define "best." For me, I've discovered that simplification is worth quite a bit. I used to have separate online savings and checking accounts which earned among the "most" in interest but I folded everything into the Vanguard Advantage Account in order to keep things simple. I gave up a few dollars but between taxes and ease, it was the best move for me.

dacalo
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:09 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by dacalo » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:29 pm

We use Alliant Credit Union, been with them for ~3 years now.

We still have Fidelity CMA and Ally Savings but we split our cash between Alliant and Vanguard PMM. The reason we moved to Alliant was the ability to deposit cash via ATM which wasn't available through other online only bank services.

Dandy
Posts: 5732
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Dandy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:22 am

Check ratings and reviews on depositaccounts.com. I have used Ally, Discover, Alliant Credit Union and all have been great for Savings (all currently pay 2%), Alliant has a better checking account that pays 0.65% on all balances and has many other nice features e.g reimburses ATM fees up to $20/month. Ally Bank has a No penalty CD and sometimes has interesting offers. Recently, a 1% bonus on new money ( don't remember the details). I have used Discover and Alliant mobile check deposit app with no problems. They all have 24/7 service which is nice compared to brick banks.

Don't overlook Vanguard for it's Prime or Fed Money Market funds paying more than 2%. And their brokerage CDs pay pretty high rates but plan to hold them to maturity.

Triple digit golfer
Posts: 3291
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 5:57 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:52 am

I have been using Ally savings and checking for almost a decade and I am very satisfied. I have also had a couple CDs throughout the years as well and have been happy with them as well.

MnD
Posts: 4233
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:41 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by MnD » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:57 pm

If you have accounts at Fidelity or Schwab I'd recommend Schwab Investor checking or Fidelity CMA services that matches where your investments are. The financial complexity of having yet another institution just for banking accounts seems very unnecessary in this day and age if your brokerage has a decent offering.

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 3144
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:00 pm

Artsdoctor wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:28 pm
I think it all depends on how you define "best." For me, I've discovered that simplification is worth quite a bit. I used to have separate online savings and checking accounts which earned among the "most" in interest but I folded everything into the Vanguard Advantage Account in order to keep things simple. I gave up a few dollars but between taxes and ease, it was the best move for me.
I was waiting to see if anyone mentioned Vanguard Advantage. I brought it up with my Flagship rep recently, and asked why I should consider it. He paused, and said "you shouldn't". He said "if you're using Ally or another top bank, they offer capabilities that surpass ours. And, there are 3 people at Vanguard that support Vanguard Advantage. 3.".

If Vanguard would put some money and effort behind it, it could be a leader. But would that grab anymore business? And even if it did, they aren't trying to generate more profits like a Fidelity.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

informal guide
Posts: 239
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:26 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by informal guide » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:43 pm

Artsdoctor wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:28 pm
I think it all depends on how you define "best." For me, I've discovered that simplification is worth quite a bit. I used to have separate online savings and checking accounts which earned among the "most" in interest but I folded everything into the Vanguard Advantage Account in order to keep things simple. I gave up a few dollars but between taxes and ease, it was the best move for me.
For the VanguardAdvantage Account, Vanguard does provide bill payment and a debit card, but they decided not to reimburse outside ATM fees charged by the ATM provider or actively market the accounts, unlike Fidelity and Schwab. To have an Advantage Account, one must be "Voyager Select," " Flagship" or an "Asset Management Services" account. To me, that is a rational business decision. On a standalone basis, accounts like this generate, at most, minimal revenue and have higher servicing requirements and operating expenses; the costs and ATM reimbursements would have just been adds to Vanguard's expenses.

I'd rather have better returns and use another provider, like Fidelity or Schwab, with a substantive services team..

dallasjava
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:50 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by dallasjava » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:52 pm

I'm in the process of moving from USAA to Alliant. They have a really cash back Visa plus good savings and checking rates. The only downside I've seen compared to USAA is mobile deposits have to be reviewed instead of instantly process on USAA and the deposit check images are not displayed.

User avatar
Artsdoctor
Posts: 3846
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:09 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Artsdoctor » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:04 pm

I think all of the points relating to Vanguard Advantage are valid. If I had most of my investments at Fidelity, I may well use the Fidelity option.

I have had no problems with the Advantage account since it was rolled out, and I've been using them since the beginning. They are reliable and the account is interest bearing. All of my Vanguard accounts can feed into the Advantage account, and back-up investments serve as virtually unlimited overdraft protection.

Then again, my needs are very specific. I don't need an ATM card because I must maintain an account locally, and I have my business through a brick and mortar bank where I work.

Dandy
Posts: 5732
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Dandy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:01 pm

As a Vanguard Advantage Account holder I'm surprised that they have such little support. I wonder if they will discontinue it since they certainly don't promote it and make it hard to find on their web site. I like having check writing on the Fed Mondy market account. Awhile ago I was going to use it as our main checking account but the MMKT rates were almost zero.

The certainly don't need me telling them how to run their business but I thought it was another way to attract and keep customers (and their assets). Lots of inertia when you have your savings/checking etc at an institution. People send their pay, pension, SS to their bank instead. Funny how other firms seem to promote it.


radiowave
Posts: 2229
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by radiowave » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:57 pm

A couple additional points about Ally

- the online CD management is excellent, you can change what happens at maturity, select where the money goes, what happens to interest, etc. I don't know of any other online or B&M bank that allows that flexibility.

- The Ally no penalty 11 mo CD is currently at 2.25% (for minimum 25K), works like a savings account after the 6 day hold period.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

bryansmile
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:14 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by bryansmile » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:13 pm

+1 for Alliant Credit Union.

Besides a high savings rate, they have super friendly and efficient customer service reps. I was overseas this year and encountered some odd banking problems, so I emailed Alliant. Alliant reps went the extra mile to help me, promptly, not in 24-48 hours.

Also, nothing beats the ATM fee reimbursement feature. They reimburse up to $20 per month, pretty high limit, not a trivial benefit in our case. When my son went to college, we found that no ATM on campus is in the CO-OP network. Fortunately, with his Alliant teen account, he can get cash from any ATM on campus safely and not having to worry about fees. Alliant is truly a life saver.

If you want to keep your banking simple and at one place, go with Alliant.

User avatar
sunny_socal
Posts: 1918
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by sunny_socal » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:51 pm

Another +1 for Alliant. I initially applied for their excellent credit card, now have other accounts there as well. The CC rewards go directly into a 2% savings account :mrgreen:

The only downside is that the initial application feels much like getting a new mortgage :|

Iridium
Posts: 390
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:49 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Iridium » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:56 pm

Dandy wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:01 pm
As a Vanguard Advantage Account holder I'm surprised that they have such little support. I wonder if they will discontinue it since they certainly don't promote it and make it hard to find on their web site. I like having check writing on the Fed Mondy market account. Awhile ago I was going to use it as our main checking account but the MMKT rates were almost zero.
They only allow you to open an advantage account if you have a half million dollars in Vanguard funds. I think part of the problem is that Vanguard really doesn't have any revenue sources from people using them like a bank to make up for the cost of offering the service. Most other broker-banks are putting money into their own bank and profiting from the spread or putting people in high fee money markets (last time I looked at Schwab's earnings, they were making more off banking net interest margin and money market expense ratios than everything else they did combined). Meanwhile, Vanguard has no bank operation and runs its MMFs at cost.

Milujo
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:18 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Milujo » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:36 pm

On my way home from Thanksgiving, I was driving through Memphis and saw a billboard for Orion FCU offering 4% APY interest on balances up to 30k. That's $1,200 a year in interest. As soon as I got home, I set up an account online and have been happy thus far. You can find out the details here: https://orionfcu.com/checking/ Other observations:
  • They have online and mobile apps. You can deposit checks via the app.
  • To get the 4% APY, you must have an electronic deposit of at least $500 per month and 8 debit card transactions. Each month, I deposit $501 from my other bank account, spend around $20 on coffee each month to satisfy the debit card criteria, and then auto withdrawal back to my other bank around $480 each month. I auto invest the $100 in monthly interest payments into my M1 Finance taxable account. This keeps the account total at the 30k amount.
  • If you live outside of Memphis, you have to give a one-time $10 donation to one of the charities they list when you signup online.
  • They provide free debit MasterCards, and free checkbooks.
  • I had to call them to make the account a joint account; the staff picked up the phone right away.
  • Unfortunately, there is, at least initially, a low maximum for transferring money from one of your other bank accounts into your Orion account. $2,500 at a time. It will take a month or two to fill the account with $30k.
Hope this is helpful for others.

Cash
Posts: 1392
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:52 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Cash » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:30 pm

baliktad wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:40 pm
Whether you find Zelle useful or not, I bring it up as an example of consumer banking features that are unlikely to be made available on a brokerage account. Wells Fargo now has a 'cardless' ATM option, so you can get a code from your phone to use the ATM without your physical ATM card. Many banks offer the ability to instantly lock and unlock your debit card right from your phone in case you lose your card. I'm sure there are and will be more of these modern conveniences in the future - just be aware that the Fidelity CMA isn't likely to add or adopt any new features.
Meh, history has shown otherwise. Take mobile check deposit as an example. Fidelity has a profit incentive to innovate.

I personally don’t like Zelle all that much. It’s basically just the large banks’ response to PayPal/Venmo.

User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 4003
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:52 pm

radiowave wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:57 pm
A couple additional points about Ally

- the online CD management is excellent, you can change what happens at maturity, select where the money goes, what happens to interest, etc. I don't know of any other online or B&M bank that allows that flexibility.

- The Ally no penalty 11 mo CD is currently at 2.25% (for minimum 25K), works like a savings account after the 6 day hold period.
there's a 2.75% 14 month cd until 2/28/19:
https://www.ally.com/learn/selectcd-14m/
"May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live" -- Irish Blessing | "Invest we must" -- Jack Bogle

User avatar
747driver
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:15 am
Location: Dallas, TX
Contact:

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by 747driver » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:53 pm

Another happy CapitalOne 360 member here.
A clear conscience is a great pillow.

radiowave
Posts: 2229
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by radiowave » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:58 pm

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:52 pm
radiowave wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:57 pm
A couple additional points about Ally

- the online CD management is excellent, you can change what happens at maturity, select where the money goes, what happens to interest, etc. I don't know of any other online or B&M bank that allows that flexibility.

- The Ally no penalty 11 mo CD is currently at 2.25% (for minimum 25K), works like a savings account after the 6 day hold period.
there's a 2.75% 14 month cd until 2/28/19:
https://www.ally.com/learn/selectcd-14m/
Thanks.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

Trism
Posts: 561
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:34 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Trism » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:50 am

Cash wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:30 pm
baliktad wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:40 pm
Whether you find Zelle useful or not, I bring it up as an example of consumer banking features that are unlikely to be made available on a brokerage account. Wells Fargo now has a 'cardless' ATM option, so you can get a code from your phone to use the ATM without your physical ATM card. Many banks offer the ability to instantly lock and unlock your debit card right from your phone in case you lose your card. I'm sure there are and will be more of these modern conveniences in the future - just be aware that the Fidelity CMA isn't likely to add or adopt any new features.
Meh, history has shown otherwise. Take mobile check deposit as an example. Fidelity has a profit incentive to innovate.

I personally don’t like Zelle all that much. It’s basically just the large banks’ response to PayPal/Venmo.
I use Zelle to move nominal sums of money instantly between our own accounts 3-4 times per month. Works great.

To not like something simply because it competes with something else seems pretty arbitrary.

User avatar
danielc
Posts: 535
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:48 am
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Contact:

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by danielc » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:56 am

+1 for Fidelity CMA.

mrmass
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:35 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by mrmass » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:13 am

danielc wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:56 am
+1 for Fidelity CMA.
I do the Fidelity thing too but I have less confidence in their ability to pay out. Here's my example

I have a credit card with Alliant. Within Alliant I added Fido as an account to pay from. I entered my routing number and account number and setup a payment-On Dec 18th Alliant pulled the money.

Still nothing came out of my Fido account yet.

I have $0 in my CMA and have OD setup (had it setup from day 1) I expected money to be pulled from my brokerage but it hasn't.

I chatted with Fido support and they claim the "pull" needed money in my CMA---I thought OD protection would handle that.

I'll be chatting with Fido Monday to clarify as I want get a handle on this.

Gadget
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:38 pm

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Gadget » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:42 am

mrmass wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:13 am
danielc wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:56 am
+1 for Fidelity CMA.
I do the Fidelity thing too but I have less confidence in their ability to pay out. Here's my example

I have a credit card with Alliant. Within Alliant I added Fido as an account to pay from. I entered my routing number and account number and setup a payment-On Dec 18th Alliant pulled the money.

Still nothing came out of my Fido account yet.

I have $0 in my CMA and have OD setup (had it setup from day 1) I expected money to be pulled from my brokerage but it hasn't.

I chatted with Fido support and they claim the "pull" needed money in my CMA---I thought OD protection would handle that.

I'll be chatting with Fido Monday to clarify as I want get a handle on this.
Your exact scenario is working for me. Fidelity CMA with $0 in it, money in overdraft brokerage account SPRXX, and paying credit cards from CMA. I have 4 credit cards this is working for. No money is needed in the CMA for paying bills or ATM withdrawals.

User avatar
sperry8
Posts: 1749
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:25 pm
Location: Miami FL

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by sperry8 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:36 am

hotpancakes wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:02 pm
In my opinion, the best option is a Fidelity CMA account, though it's not a bona fide checking account, rather a brokerage account with checking features. Here's why I think it's the best:

1) 100% free. No fees. No minimums.

2) You can purchase Fidelity Money Market funds, which Fidelity considers liquid cash and will auto-redeem as needed to cover any debits. If you purchase SPRXX, for instance, your "checking" account would currently have a 2.09% yield. You can make as many transactions as you'd like in a given month and are not limited to 6 transactions per month like a traditional savings account.

3) 100% free bill pay. Fidelity doesn't debit the funds from your account until the recipient cashes the check.

4) Debit card with no foreign transaction fee at international ATMs, and unlimited ATM service charge refunds worldwide.

5) Free ACH *and* wire transfers.

6) Better customer service than most other banks. You can talk to a live, knowledgeable person 24/7.

7) High mobile check deposit limits (mine was initially $10k per day, and was quickly raised to $100k. I know of no other bank that has limits this high, though YMMV.)

8) Free paper checks if you need them.

I'm struggling to think how this account could be improved.
Really interesting option. I currently use Vanguard Prime MM (2.41% APY) and transfer monies to Ally via ACH monthly when I need to pay credit cards. So I pick up extra interest by using VG over Fido. That said the Fido solution is more seamless.

Does VGs checking account via PNC (at least they used to have that feature and relationship) still exist? Is it similar?
BH contest results: 2018: #150 of 493 | 2017: #516 of 647 | 2016: #121 of 610 | 2015: #18 of 552 | 2014: #225 of 503 | 2013: #383 of 433 | 2012: #366 of 410 | 2011: #113 of 369 | 2010: #53 of 282

Gleevec
Posts: 294
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:25 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Gleevec » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:38 am

hotpancakes wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:02 pm
In my opinion, the best option is a Fidelity CMA account, though it's not a bona fide checking account, rather a brokerage account with checking features. Here's why I think it's the best:

1) 100% free. No fees. No minimums.

2) You can purchase Fidelity Money Market funds, which Fidelity considers liquid cash and will auto-redeem as needed to cover any debits. If you purchase SPRXX, for instance, your "checking" account would currently have a 2.09% yield. You can make as many transactions as you'd like in a given month and are not limited to 6 transactions per month like a traditional savings account.

3) 100% free bill pay. Fidelity doesn't debit the funds from your account until the recipient cashes the check.

4) Debit card with no foreign transaction fee at international ATMs, and unlimited ATM service charge refunds worldwide.

5) Free ACH *and* wire transfers.

6) Better customer service than most other banks. You can talk to a live, knowledgeable person 24/7.

7) High mobile check deposit limits (mine was initially $10k per day, and was quickly raised to $100k. I know of no other bank that has limits this high, though YMMV.)

8) Free paper checks if you need them.

I'm struggling to think how this account could be improved.
Very interesting. How does ER of 0.42 for SPRXX factor in here relative to others?

Cash
Posts: 1392
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:52 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by Cash » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:47 am

ER is already factored into the yield.

28fe6
Posts: 386
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:01 am

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by 28fe6 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:56 am

I would switch to Fidelity but the Ally app is really good and I have many accounts set up with auto-transfers for budgeting. It's been a while since I was able to make a single checking account system work out. I could transfer just my "hub" checking account and my main savings account to Fidelity and keep everything else at Ally but it probably wouldn't gain me much. I don't know why but Fidelity app's fingerprint authorization never worked on my phone but Ally does.

User avatar
mister_sparkle
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:58 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Best online banking accounts?

Post by mister_sparkle » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:01 am

Useful thread.

I just returned from a trip to France and Italy and after dealing with some mega-b.s. from Capital One I am switching banks ASAP.

The Capital One 360 website practically brags that you no longer need to notify them in advance of travel to another country thanks to the chip technology in their debit cards, so imagine my frustration in trying to get cash when I landed in Paris and striking out, with no explanation for why. The first ATM I tried was at Charles de Gaulle airport and it said it "could not complete my request." I was in Paris a year ago and this exact same ATM ran out of cash, so I assumed that's what happened again. The second ATM I tried at a bank in the city just rejected my request without any explanation. Capital One sent me an e-mail about the first request saying they had noticed some unusual activity on the debit card and asked me to either respond "Everything's OK" or "There's an issue." Not wanting to be charged the $372.30 because I did not receive any cash, I replied There's an issue. I had no way of contacting them, as I had not yet bought a sim card for my phone (and their debit card had a 302 area code number for international issues). Fortunately, my traveling companion had an ATM card and managed to get some cash, but if I were by myself I would have been SOL. The trip was a gift from me, so I was going to be paying for everything, so I wasn't happy about her having to dip into her cash.

By this point I was extremely ticked off at them, and it only got worse.

After I checked in to my hotel, I placed a call to them via wifi and explained the situation. The rep said they just needed more verification of who I was (even though their website bragged that you didn't need it) and asked me a bunch of security questions. But they couldn't verify me unless I sent them a picture of my driver's license or passport, so they sent an e-mail and asked me to use their verification system to upload a photo of my passport. I tried this no fewer than 7 times from various locations with varying strengths of wifi signal over the next 2 days, and every single time their verification system failed. Great system, guys! After that, I just gave up and my traveling companion was our source for spending money the next 8 days.

Super infuriating experience all around, so I am done with Capital One. I am also planning on filing a complaint with the CFPB as well, as this situation could have been much worse if I was traveling by myself. Caveat emptor.

Post Reply