3 Top Online Banks and 8 Banking Security Tips

Money Girl reviews her 3 favorite online bank accounts - see how yours stacks up! Plus, she offers 8 tips for staying safe when dealing with money online.

Laura Adams, MBA
6-minute read
Episode #396

It’s hard to imagine a world without online access to your bank account. Making a deposit or simple transfer used to entail making a trip to the bank during weekday “banker’s hours,” filling out a paper slip, and waiting impatiently in line.

Whew, I’m glad those days are over! Now, thanks to banking technology, you can complete just about any transaction remotely, whenever you want.

In this episode, I’ll review several of the best online bank accounts—plus, give you 8 tips for staying safe when you’re banking online.


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Trends in Online Banking

Although online banking began in the mid-1990s, it really didn’t catch on until after 2000. Now, it’s so widespread that many banks exist only online, and have no brick and mortar locations for customers to visit.

Not only is online banking more convenient for customers, it cuts overhead costs for banks. That’s a win-win, because online banks can offer higher interest rates and lower fees to customers, and still remain profitable.

Resource: Online Bank Comparison Chart (PDF) free download

And now, the trend is moving from desktop to mobile banking. According to a 2014 Federal Reserve survey, 61% of the U.S. adult population has a smartphone, and 51% used mobile banking in the past 12 months, up from 48% a year earlier.

According to a 2014 Federal Reserve survey, 61% of the U.S. adult population has a smartphone and 51% used mobile banking in the past 12 months, up from 48% a year earlier.

The most common mobile banking activities were viewing account balances and transferring money between accounts. The number of smartphone owners who made remote deposits (by snapping photos of paper checks) was 38%, up from 21% the prior year. However, the number of smartphone owners who made mobile payments remained flat from 2013 to 2014, at 24%.

The survey found that consumers who haven’t made the switch to mobile banking said it was because their banking needs were already being met, they saw limited benefits to mobile banking, or they had concerns about security.

At the end of this article, I’ll cover 8 tips for staying safe when you’re banking online.

Review of the Best Online Banks

Since banks have so many different features and services, it can be difficult to know how they really stack up. I created the Online Bank Comparison Chart (PDF) to give you a detailed, a side-by-side comparison of 7 of the best online banks. It’s a free, one-page download that will really help you make a fair comparison.

Here’s a summary of 3 top online banks that are leading the pack with terrific benefits and innovative features:


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.