When you think of online banking, you probably think of it as an extension of your brick-and-mortar bank. Over recent years, however, banks have cropped up that are solely online; they don’t have physical buildings. While this means you don’t get face-to-face interaction, the benefits often outweigh this downside. Online-only banking generally means fewer fees and lower interest rates, not to mention the handy apps and the ability to do your banking wherever you have an internet connection. And even though there isn’t a building where you can go and talk to tellers, these banks usually have extended (if not 24/7) customer support hours. Here are a few of our favorite online-only banks.
Chime (Android and iOS)
With Chime, you get two bank accounts in one: a spending account and a savings account. When you use the Visa card that’s attached to your spending account and activate automatic roundups, your spending account will start transferring money to your savings account with each purchase you make. For example, if you spend $15.26 on a purchase, $.74 will be transferred to your savings account to make it an even $16. As an added bonus, Chime will pay you a 10% bonus on your roundups for the week. You can earn up to $500 in bonuses each year just by turning on automatic roundups and using your card like you normally would.
Other benefits include cash back rewards, direct deposit capabilities, free transfers between your old bank and Chime, bill paying, and fee-free withdrawal at thousands of ATMs. Chime will even print out and send checks for you whenever you need.
You don’t need to worry about privacy, either; your Chime accounts are FDIC-insured and have bank-level encryption. In other words, your personal info is safe and Chime won’t lose your money. You can even temporarily block your debit card if you notice suspicious activity.
Simple Bank (Android and iOS)
With Simple, you get one account. Seems simple, right? This is where it gets fancy. Simple implements the envelope budget method in the form of goals, where each of your dollars has a place to go. For example, $1,000 of your monthly income goes to rent, $100 to groceries, $50 to your phone bill, etc. You can set those amounts aside all at once or set a due date and the money will automatically accumulate in each of your goals daily. What’s left is your Safe-to-Spend money, AKA your play money. Now if your friend asks you out for lunch or to a movie you don’t have to add up in your head to see whether you can afford it; you can just check your Safe-to-Spend number.
Simple has many of the same features as Chime, like checks, direct deposit, fee-free ATMs, a Visa card for your account, and more. It’s also FDIC-insured and has bank-level encryption. What Simple has that Chime doesn’t have integrated into the app is photo check deposits. So if you get a check from Mom for your birthday, you can deposit it into your account right in the app.
If your friends or family have Simple as well, sending and receiving money is a lot easier, although Simple plays nice with PayPal, Square Cash, and Venmo too. Simple also just introduced shared accounts, so you can manage money with your partner (or even roommate) more easily. You can keep some things private or share everything, and you’ll both get a notification on your phone when someone spends from the shared account. Goals work pretty much the same way as they do for individual accounts, but you have someone saving right along with you.
While many people still trust big banks, there are a lot of people now (particularly millennials) who don’t trust them as much anymore and would rather go a different, less traditional route. Others just want more features from their online banking, especially if it helps them save money. Because isn’t that what we all want? More money to do the things we love?