What Makes a Reliable Online Banking Experience?

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Digital banking services have been on a rapidly expanding growth curve over the past decade, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated its adoption. In the United States, for example, during the past four years, the number of traditional bank branches has shrunk by 9 percent. Although most traditional banks today provide digital services along with access to a branch, an increasing number of people are choosing digital banks with no physical branches owing to the fact that they provide customers with enticingly high yields and next to zero bank charges.

Although there are many advantages of online banking, simply depending on an Internet-based provider comes with numerous drawbacks. Some of the handicaps include being 100 percent dependent on online connectivity, difficulty in depositing cash, and limited account options, such as only checking and savings. You will find it extremely difficult to speak with a representative as well since online banks keep costs low by hiring fewer people and cutting on real estate.

Some key statistics about typical digital banking practices:

  • Around 65 percent of the American population use digital banking services.
  • There has been a 4 percent increase in the number of people using digital banking since 2018.
  • Eighty percent of millennials execute most of their financial transactions through digital banking.
  • Around 27 percent of Americans do their banking through online-only banks and 88 percent of them reported a good experience.

Which Is the Most Reliable Online Bank?

A reliable online bank can provide higher interest rates and charge lower fees for their services owing to the fact that they don’t have to deal with maintenance costs of property and staffing. However, not all online banks provide the same level of advantage. Depending on your specific needs, whether it be a checking or savings account, investment solutions, or simply a salary account, it is best to check across different online banks to decide what works best for you.

The most reliable online bank needs to provide the highest level of security for its customers. Apart from having SSL encryption, top-of-the-line firewalls, and multi-factor authentication, you need your online bank to be ahead of the game and reassure customers that their money and personal information are safe. You also need to have a solid understanding of what your liability would be in the scenario of any kind of unauthorized breach in security.

Another key advantage that you should be getting with an online bank over a traditional brick-and-mortar bank is easier and quicker access to customer service. Apart from 24/7 access to a representative over chat/phone/e-mail, the most reliable online banks have a well-maintained website with an easy user interface. You should have the ability to check your account balance, make check deposits, execute money transfers, or open a new account from anywhere in the world at any time of the day.

Your online bank should be covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). All reliable financial associations are covered by the FDIC. Everyone who deposits money into a bank covered by FDIC is protected against any kind of bank failure for up to $250,000.

Again, compared to conventional banks, online banks tend to provide customers with innovative money-management tools. From apps that help you manage spending habits better, automatic investment tools, and apps that provide reminders for credit card payments, you should be able to choose from a plethora of curated financial technology (“fintech”) solutions that help you do more than just hold your salary.

Which Online Bank Is Best in Europe?

There has been a flurry of online banks making steady inroads into the conventional banking sector. In terms of providing innovative financial solutions, reliable customer service, ease of opening a new account, history of security incidents, and AML measures put in place, what follows are some of the best online banks currently operating in Europe.

  • Revolut—Founded in the United Kingdom, this fintech firm currently runs operations in 33 countries. It has extremely low banking charges, quick and reliable customer support, good transparency in terms of pricing, no fees for currency exchange, the ability to trade stocks and exchange-traded funds in-app, and an extremely user-friendly interface.
  • Monese—Also based in the United Kingdom, Monese is the superstar among European neo-banks. Monese provides a comparatively higher interest rate for savings accounts. It provides features such as salary advances, the ability to create dedicated sub-accounts for recurrent bills, and helps customers to save easily through round-up of purchases and automatic transaction categorization.
  • Bunq—The Dutch neo-bank company provides customers with a novel approach to banking services. Every user gets the opportunity to plant an actual tree for every £100 spent. Customers have the power to make the choice for their investment, giving them the option to invest only in sustainable companies. Bunq also provides a sizable platter of joint banking features along with an impressive array of mobile apps. Bunq added the option recently to open sub-accounts with International bank account numbers (IBANs) in several countries. Moreover, the customer gets the advantage of being able to save and carry out transactions in more than 15 currencies.

Best Online Banking With No Fees

A free checking account is something that holds high value today. This is attributed to the fact that there has been a steep decline in the number of traditional banks that provide free checking accounts to customers. To put this into perspective, around 76 percent of banks in the United States provided free checking accounts in 2009. In 2018, the figure dropped to 38 percent. Traditional banks have always found new ways to glean charges from customers by way of overdraft fees, maintenance fees, ATM fees, and more.

This is where having a checking account with an online bank can be advantageous. Owing to the fact that they have no overhead costs of operating physical branches, they can afford to give customers freely serviced checking accounts. Here are some of the best online banking solutions with no fees.

  • Ally—This online bank charges no fees in the name of monthly maintenance. It does not require the customer to maintain a minimum balance for their checking or savings accounts. Ally provides free access to more than 43,000 ATMs, and doesn’t charge overdraft fees, while providing a reasonably higher interest rate for savings accounts.
  • CapitalOne—Although CapitalOne provides access to physical branches, it provides a wide range of benefits through its online portal. The bank provide a substantially higher rate for savings as well as high certificate of deposit (CD) rates. It charges no monthly fees nor does it demand a minimum balance to be maintained. CapitalOne also provides substantially higher interest rates
  • Quontic—A purely digital bank, Quontic is known to be a community development bank out of New York City, and its services are accessible anywhere in the country. Quontic provides highly appreciable rates on savings accounts and CDs. The bank provides free access to more than 90,000 ATMs. It charges no overdraft or monthly fees.

Free Online Checking Account, No Opening Deposit

When you open a bank account, it is imperative that you have a comprehensive idea of what kinds of features provided by a bank actually fit your requirements. While most traditional banks charge you for maintaining a checking account, the major share of online banks do not demand this from customers nor do they require any deposit to open an account. Here are two options for starting an online checking account without needing to make a cash deposit.

  • Axos—This is a purely a digital banking solution, and you can open a checking account with no money. The advantage its online app holds over other banking providers is the fact that it integrates well with third-party money apps.
  • Monorail—Monorail provides a no-deposit required policy for opening a checking account. This bank is distinguished from other online banking solutions by the fact that it encourages customers to make their wish-lists a reality through saving. It also provides customers with face-to-face customer support, which is one feature that most online banking solutions do not provide.
Naveen Athrappully


Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.

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