Not only can you earn much higher interest rates than those offered by standard brick-and-mortar banks, but you’ll suffer far fewer and smaller fees. In many cases, virtual banking is fee-free. Combined with industry-leading mobile apps and generally positioned on the cutting edge of what’s possible in personal finance, virtual banks have a compelling value proposition.
Rory Brown, the Managing Partner of Nicklaus Brown & Co., shares the top virtual bank choices for 2019. You can’t go wrong with any of the banks on this list.
SoFi currently offers a generous 1.6% on its SoFi Money cash management account. This isn’t the highest interest rate available, but it’s close. However, some of the account’s other features effectively offset this tiny interest rate gap.
A SoFi Money account is free of fees. There are no monthly fees, transaction fees, or ATM fees. SoFi will also reimburse you for any ATM fees you’re charged by other banks to use their machines.
They also offer free person-to-person payments directly from within the banking app. If the recipient is also a SoFi member, the money will appear in their account instantly.
Discover, the credit card bank also offers an online banking service with favorable terms for account holders. A savings account will let you 1.7% interest currently, with no minimum opening deposit, no minimum balance requirements, and no monthly fees.
Their checking accounts operate a bit differently. Instead of an interest rate, you’ll receive 1% cashback on purchases up to $3,000 each month made using a debit card attached to the account. There are no fees either, and free access to over 60,000 ATMs around the country.
Ally is a full-featured online bank, offering many of the services commonly associated only with classic banking institutions. Not only do they offer checking and savings accounts, but you can also open CDs and IRAs, get a home or auto loan, and invest with a variety of self-directed trading accounts or managed portfolios.
The interest rate on their savings accounts is a competitive 1.7%. There are no monthly fees and no minimums. Ally’s accounts aren’t fee-free, however. You can expect overdraft fees, excessive transaction fees, and a few others.
However, you’ll save money if you are a stock investor because Ally charges no commissions for self-directed trades. Overall, it’s a strong choice that balances low fees with extra services, making Ally a great replacement for someone that needs full-service banking.