The 20 Best Digital Banks In The USA

digital banks usa

By researching dozens of mobile challenger banks from the US and from around the world, we have come up with a list of the best digital-only banks in the country. We’ll start with the best banks for each category and move on to see what are the best digital banks in general.  

With so much competition in the banking market, the customer is finally the king. We can pick and choose what suits us the most. 

When choosing a mobile bank, always make sure to check websites such as TrustPilot and the Better Banking Bureau to see what the existing users are saying and what are the pain points of these banking apps. 

Each of the following challenger banks has a standalone review on our website that you can check out as well. 

  • Best USA digital bank for checking accounts – Axos
  • Best USA digital bank for savings accounts – Varo
  • Best USA digital bank for combined checking and savings – One
  • Best USA digital bank for credit cards – SoFi
  • Best USA digital bank for cashback rewards – OnJuno
  • Best USA digital bank to get paid early – N26
  • Best USA digital bank for credit building and second chance banking – MoneyLion
  • Best USA digital bank for metal cards – OnJuno
  • Best USA digital bank for cash advances – MoneyLion
  • Best USA digital bank for investing – Axos
  • Best USA digital bank for international money transfers – Wise
  • Best USA digital bank for bitcoin and crypto – Cash App
  • Best USA digital bank for freelancers – Lili
  • More Digital Banks in the USA

Best digital bank for checking accounts

Axos

axos bank

If you want all the bells and whistles of big banks but don’t want to pay all the fees they charge, Axos Bank is your choice. It’s a full-blown bank without branches and exorbitant fees.

Axos Bank is offering competitive interest rates, low to no fees, and convenient access to their personal, small business, and commercial banking accounts as well as commercial lending.

Axos has five checking accounts on offer:

  • First checking
  • Essential checking
  • Cashback checking
  • Golden checking
  • Rewards checking

It’s the Rewards Checking account that is the best one. It comes with no monthly fees, no monthly minimum balance, no overdraft and NSF fees, ATM fee reimbursements, and up to 1.25% APY. 

>> Go to Axos Bank review

Best digital bank for savings accounts 

Varo Bank

varo money

In addition to their checking account, Varo offers a savings account, ideal for those who prefer to have their checking and savings accounts in the same place. The savings account also has no fees and is notable for its high APY.

Their highest APY of 3% is exclusively available for those with savings below $50,000. There are a few other requirements customers have to meet to receive that specific APY. With this savings account, customers are allowed up to six withdrawals for every statement cycle to maintain the APY earnings. 

Unlike some traditional banks, there is no minimum balance required for a Varo Savings Account. You need just $0.01 to start earning interest.

Varo’s APY is one of the highest of its kind, making this an excellent option for savers who meet the criteria.

>> Go to Varo review

Best digital bank for combined checking and savings

One Finance

one finance

In the sea of big banks and digital banks, One is trying to differentiate itself by giving you more for your paycheck. It’s giving you interest rates that aren’t seen often these days, and you can access your money at any time as it isn’t tied down in a savings account for months or years.

One has two types of accounts, a deposit or checking account and a credit line. Save and Auto-Save pockets might feel like savings accounts. Still, they’re technically high-interest checking accounts that give you a whopping 3.00% APY.

>> Go to One review

Best digital bank for credit cards

SoFi

sofi

In a sea of credit cards, SoFi’s is an exciting one. Not only does it not have an annual fee, but you also earn 2% unlimited cashback that you can redeem into crypto, pay down a SoFi loan, or invest in stocks. 

If you make 12 monthly on-time payments of at least the minimum payment due, you’ll even lower your APR by 1%.

Other benefits include no foreign transaction fees for worry-free traveling, Mastercard ID theft protection, spending and budgeting tools, and cell phone insurance of up to $1,000. 

Best digital bank for cashback rewards

OnJuno

onjuno

OnJuno is a great neobanking platform that offers excellent APY, no minimum opening deposit, no monthly service fees, and an instant virtual card or a cool black metal card. But the list of brands or merchants on which you get a 5% cashback is extensive. Here they are: 

  • Shopping: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and The Home Depot.
  • Subscriptions: Netflix, HBO Go, Prime Video, Spotify, Disney Plus, and also Headspace, Calm, and Peloton.
  • Groceries and Health: Whole Foods, CVS, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, and Patel Brothers.
  • Food and Drink: Dunkin, Starbucks, Blue Bottle, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Doordash, Postmates, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, and In-n-out.
  • Transportation: Uber, Lyft, and Shell.
  • Travel: Airbnb.

You can choose any 5 from the list and qualify for the 5% cashback. I’m not going to lie, it’s a difficult choice to choose only five of these.

>> Go to OnJuno review

Best digital bank to get paid early

N26 

n26 bank

There are many digital banks that offer this feature to their customers but we’ve decided to choose N26. With this neobank, you can get your paycheck up to 2 days early, if you set up a direct deposit, of course.

You can set it up by filling in a form in the app. Easy peasy.

>> Go to N26 review

Best digital bank for credit building and second chance banking

MoneyLion

moneylion

MoneyLion is a second chance bank account because they let you open an account with them without checking your credit history or score. And, applying for a RoarMoney account won’t affect it either.

Plus, their Credit Builder Program, or loan, to be more exact, is a great way to get some money and build credit history with each on-time payment. You can get a loan of up to $1,000 that you’ll repay over 12 months. 

MoneyLion will report each on-time payment to all three credit bureaus each month to help you boost your credit score.

Good alternatives are SoFi, Varo, Chime, and Current. See the overview of second chance banks here

>> Go to MoneyLion review

Best digital bank for metal cards

OnJuno

onjuno

OnJuno black metal card can be yours for free, at least for the first 6 months, if you set up a direct deposit of $500 per month and you maintain it for the whole duration. After 6 months, the cost of the Metal checking account is $9.99 per month.

With the metal card and account you’ll get a high APY of 2.15% on balances up to $30,000, contactless mobile payments via Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay, a huge network of ATMs, and 3 out-of-network withdrawals. 

You also get 5% cashback from 5 brands that range from Netflix to Target. The list includes major brands and it will be hard to choose only 5 of them. There are also no deposit or withdrawal fees and no foreign transaction fees.

Revolut, Chime, N26, and Apple, all have metal cards on offer as well. See the leading metal card programs from digital-only neo banks around the world.

>> Go to OnJuno review

Best digital bank for cash advances

MoneyLion

moneylion

MoneyLion’s cash advance is typically up to 15% of your anticipated recurring direct deposit amount, $250. If they can’t detect any recurring income, you’ll have access to a lower amount, with a minimum of $25.  

You can unlock higher amounts by setting up direct deposits into a RoarMoneySM account, by signing up for a Credit Builder Plus membership, or by completing certain tasks in your MoneyLion App to qualify for Boosts. In this case, your cash advance will be up to 30% of your recurring deposit or up to a maximum of $1,000.

Varo and Chime offer cash advances as well. 

>> Go to MoneyLion review

Best digital bank for investing

Axos

axos bank

Axos lets you invest money through the Axos Invest Managed Portfolios. The account minimum is $500. The flat 0.24% annual advisory fee is calculated monthly based on your average account balance of non-cash assets. 

There are no other hidden charges for trading commissions, transaction fees, or rebalancing fees.

The second option for investing is to do Self-Directed Trading. All customers start out with a margin account, although you need to subscribe to Axos Elite to activate margin trading capability. 

>> Go to Axos Bank review

Best digital bank for international money transfers

Wise

wise

Wise simply uses the best exchange rate that you can get and adds a really small fee on top. This is in stark contrast to big banks and other money transfer services like PayPal that add a huge markup to their supposedly “free” transfers.

Wise use their technology to link their bank accounts all over the world. In practice, that means that you’re not sending money directly to the recipient but to a Wise account that then transfers money in local currency to its destination. 

The sender saves on fees, and the recipient gets the money for free in their local currency.

>> Go to Wise review

Best digital bank for Bitcoin and crypto 

Cash App

cash app

There are no good digital banks in the US that offer crypto trading. MoneyLion is going to offer it soon, and Cash App is offering Bitcoin trading. And that’s it. 

It’s no secret that Jack Dorsey, the founder of Square, Inc. and Cash App, is a big proponent of Bitcoin. It also came as no surprise when, in early 2019, the app enabled its users to trade Bitcoin. In fact, in 2020 alone, there was $4.57 billion worth of Bitcoin sold through the app. That’s a fantastic figure, and we’re sure that the trend will only continue. 

Unlike trading stocks, Bitcoin trading does incur two kinds of fees; a service fee for each transaction and an additional fee determined by price volatility. But, at least sending and receiving Bitcoin to and from others is free.

Buying and selling Bitcoin is really straightforward; you need to tap the Investing tab in the app, press buy or sell, enter the amount and confirm with your pin or touch ID.

>> Go to Cash App review

Best digital bank for freelancers

Lili

lili bank

We are impressed with the benefits and features that Lili users receive. The free account offers essential tax planning tools, an easy “swipe left or right” expense management process, and an extensive ATM network. Although the bank does not have invoicing tools, it is an excellent “beginner” program for freelancers looking to get on the right track.

Apart from the simple sign-up process, no hidden fees, and helpful financial resources, there are many other reasons why Lili Bank stands out.

>> Go to lili review

Best digital banks in the USA

Ally

ally bank

About 

  • Founded: 2009
  • CEO: Jeffrey J. Brown
  • Parent institution: Ally Financial
  • Personal accounts (spending, saving, CDs, stocks, bonds, ETFs, mortgage, loans)

Features:

  • Free online sign-up
  • Checking and Savings accounts
  • Stocks & ETFs investing
  • Mortgage
  • Vehicle financing
  • Personal loans

We love that Ally eliminated overdraft fees, and we’re sure that eventually, the big banks will have to do this as well. Although, it might take some time because those fees are a significant generator of pure profit for them.

Ally is a reliable way to avoid account fees and increase your deposits’ interest rates if you have previously been with a traditional main street bank. If you are an investor or are just entering the world of trading, the features on the Ally app can be very handy, allowing you to combine more of your income and outgoing controls in one place.

>> Go to Ally review

Axos

axos bank

About 

  • Founded: 2000
  • Founders: Jerry Englert, Gary Lewis Evans
  • CEO: Gregory Garrabrants
  • Personal accounts (checking, saving, joint, mortgages), business accounts

Features:

  • Free to sign up
  • Current account
  • Savings account
  • Business account
  • Commercial account
  • Mortgages and loans
  • Investing

Axos Bank is a pioneer of digital banking. They were doing this while CEOs of some other digital banks were still in pre-school. They have low to no fees and offer competitive interest rates and convenient access to their SME, commercial, and of course, personal checking accounts. 

Axos is a big bank in digital clothing. But, as they’re mobile-only, you won’t have to pay fees for everything.

>> Go to Axos Bank review

Chime

About 

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Chris Britt (CEO) and Ryan King (CTO)
  • Partner banks: The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank
  • Personal accounts (spending, saving, credit builder)

Features:

  • Free to sign up
  • No monthly fees
  • Get paid early (paycheck)
  • Overdraft $100 with no fees
  • Free Chime to Chime payments
  • Credit builder card
  • Savings account

Chime provides a consolidated, easy-to-use banking platform to let you improve and reclaim your financial health. Unlike big banks, which require in-person consultations, minimum deposits, and other monotonous actions and complications, Chime Bank is best for those looking for a simple, completely mobile, low-maintenance bank account.

Big banks will charge you for over-drafting your account. These charges can add up to significant amounts and negatively affect your financial record. Chime doesn’t do this. Instead of charging you for over-drafting your account, Chime allows up to $100 worth of overdrafting without penalty.

>> Go to Chime review

Cash App

cash app

About 

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey
  • Partner banks: Sutton Bank and Lincoln Savings Bank
  • Personal accounts (checking account, stocks, bitcoin)

Features:

  • Fast online sign-up
  • Send and receive money with everyone
  • Receive paycheck two days early
  • Invest in Bitcoin and Stocks
  • No monthly fees
  • Instant transfers

Cash App has become a ubiquitous mobile payments service that is represented in all walks of life and used, beloved, and hated by many people.

The Cash App is a great tool to transfer or receive money, without fees, from people you know, first of all. It should not be viewed as a bank account, and you shouldn’t let your money, or at least, a great deal of money, sit on it.

Its simplicity begs for a comparison to Twitter. No fluff, and straight to the point. A sense of community makes users come back to it over and over. You might love it, or you might hate it, but you will use it (because everyone else is).

>> Go to Cash App review

Cogni

cogni digital banking

About 

  • Founded: 2018
  • Founder: Archie Ravishankar (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Community Federal Savings Bank
  • Personal accounts (spending)

Features:

  • Fast online account opening
  • Cogni Pay (instant internal transfers)
  • Single-Use Cards
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Deposit at stores

Launched only in March 2020, Cogni is a US-based digital bank created to offer a people-driven service. Intending to provide a bank-level service without the additional costs to its users, Cogni is one of the latest generations of online-only banking solutions offering flexible, effective, and convenient payments and transfers.

Users can perform instant transfers to other Cogni accounts within the app, deposit cash into their account using Visa ReadyLink locations, and even create checks using the digital checkbook service.

>> Go to Cogni review

Current

current

About 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founder: Stuart Sopp (CEO)
  • Partner banks: Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank
  • Personal accounts (spending, teen)

Features:

  • Free online sign-up
  • Fast Direct Deposit
  • Free overdraft $100
  • Points and cashback
  • Instant Current transfers
  • Cash deposits at 60,000 stores
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Gas hold refunds
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Teen Banking

Current is really easy to use and easy to sign up for online. If you’re ready to ditch your dinosaur bank for a digital account, the no-frills Current accounts might just be your best choice.

Current does not currently offer a full-fledged savings account; however, they offer their innovative “Savings Pods” to encourage better saving behavior. These savings pods work like individual savings goals.

If you have problems sticking to your monthly budget, Current is offering a somewhat simple budgeting tool that will (try to) keep you in line with notifications when you approach the limit.

>> Go to Current Review

Lili 

lili bank

About 

  • Founded: 2018
  • Founders: Lilac Bar David (CEO), Liran Zelkha
  • Partner bank: Bank of Choice Financial Group Inc.
  • Business accounts (tax tools, invoices)

Features:

  • Free to sign up
  • Nonexistent fees
  • No minimums for opening deposits or balance requirements
  • All-inclusive tools for taxes and expenses
  • Cash deposits and ATM access
  • 38k+ ATMs
  • No foreign exchange rate adjustment

Lili Bank helps freelancers of all industries build a solid foundation for money management. Its sign-up process is quick and easy. We also liked that there are no hidden fees, which other competitors pass on to the customer. 

However, it might not be the best option for someone who enjoys managing their finances through a computer.

>> Go to lili review

Majority

majority

About 

  • Founded: 2019
  • Founders: Johan Dahlqvist, Johan Granlund, Magnus Larsson (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Sutton Bank
  • Personal accounts (spending, mobile top-ups, international calling)

Features:

  • Free to sign up
  • 30-day free trial
  • Get paid early
  • FDIC insured
  • Discounts
  • Freephone calls
  • Multilanguage live support

Majority is marketed as an all-in-one mobile banking account for migrants, but you don’t have to be a migrant to take advantage of this mobile account. No-fee transactions, 55k+ free ATMs, no overdraft fees, and the ability to get paid early are all features of an excellent digital bank account.

Although the company was founded only in 2019, it already offers some excellent benefits to its customers in their simple checking account.

>> Go to Majority review

Marcus

marcus bank

About 

  • Founded: 2018
  • Founder: Goldman Sachs Bank USA
  • CEO: Peeyush Nahar
  • Parent bank: Goldman Sachs Bank USA
  • Personal accounts (saving, loans, CDs)

Features:

  • High-Yield Savings
  • High-Yield CDs
  • No-Penalty CDs
  • Debt consolidation loans
  • Home improvement loans

Marcus is an online bank set up by Goldman Sachs, a multinational investment bank. Its primary offerings are savings accounts, personal loans, and liquid certificates of deposit.

Marcus offers you a solid savings account that gives you more for your money. Nevertheless, be aware that it doesn’t come with many of the bells and whistles that other digital banks have. 

The same can be said for their app. The Marcus app is certainly ‘simple but sweet’ and will not provide some other digital banking apps’ functionality.

>> Go to Marcus review

Mercury

mercury bank

About 

  • Founded: 2017
  • Founders: Immad Akhund (CEO), Jason Zhang, Max Tagher
  • Partner bank: Evolve Bank & Trust
  • Business accounts (built for startups)

Features:

  • Digital banking for startups
  • For US registered companies
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • Virtual cards
  • Mercury Raise program
  • API access

Mercury offers digital banking services aimed at start-ups and tech-based businesses. It provides all the usual digital banking services, including a checking account and savings account automatically to each user, various financial tools, and full developer API access to customize their account.

Geared towards tech companies and start-ups, Mercury Bank focuses on businesses that don’t use physical cash. For that reason, companies that rely on digital transactions will get the most out of the Mercury Bank account. 

>> Go to Mercury review

MoneyLion

moneylion

About 

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Diwakar Choubey (CEO), Chee Mun Foong (CTO), and Pratyush Tiwari (CIO)
  • Partner institution: Drive Wealth LLC
  • Personal accounts (spending, saving, credit builder, loans, cashback, crypto investing)

Features:

  • Free online account
  • Early paycheck
  • Zero ATM fees at Allpoint
  • Price protection
  • Rewards on spending
  • $250 fee-free overdraft
  • $19.99/mo Credit Builder Plus
  • $1,000 Credit Builder loan
  • ETFs investing

MoneyLion has made a stellar all-in-one financial service that has you spending, saving, budgeting, investing, and even building up credit. If you’re still on the fence about getting a mobile-only bank, MoneyLion might just tip you over.

We love that MoneyLion has barely any fees. So, how do they make money then? The answer is simple – they make money through their loan business, lead generation, and monthly subscription service.

>> Go to MoneyLion review

Monzo USA

monzo

About 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founders: Tom Blomfield, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon, Gary Dolman, Jonas Huckestein
  • CEO: Carol Nelson
  • Partner bank: Sutton Bank
  • Still in beta

Features:

  • Free to sign up
  • No monthly minimums
  • No overdraft fees
  • No Monzo to Monzo fees
  • No ATM fees
  • No markup on the exchange rate

Monzo USA is still in beta and new users can only join the waitlist without a hard date for the launch. Nevertheless, Monzo USA offers much-needed simplicity to the US market and a sense of community. 

Once out of beta, Monzo customers will enjoy no monthly minimums, no account charges, no overdraft fees, no Monzo to Monzo fees, and no fees at 38,000 ATMs nationwide.

Its ease of use via an all-encompassing app and no fees will lure in new US customers. It lacks more than a few features that it offers on its home market, but the future looks bright for Monzo.

>> Go to Monzo USA review

N26 Bank

n26 bank

About 

  • Founded: 2013
  • Founders: Valentin Stalf, Maximilian Tayenthal
  • CEO: Nicolas Kopp
  • Partner bank: Axos Bank
  • Personal accounts (checking, sub-accounts)

Features:

  • Free online sign-up
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Early paycheck
  • Cashback and exclusive discounts
  • Instant N26 transfers

N26 is a German fintech that has made a successful touchdown in the US, but only time will tell if enough customers enroll in their service. It certainly is an excellent account for frequent travelers, and once lockdowns end, they might see a surge of customers.

Many of the features and services offered by N26 will particularly appeal to frequent travelers. Mastercard debit card is accepted worldwide with zero foreign transaction fees when spending abroad, with no markups or extra charges.

N26 lets you instantly receive, send, and even request money for free to and from your existing N26 contacts or contacts you add by their email or phone number. They call this service MoneyBeam.

>> Go to N26 review

One

one finance

About 

  • Founded: 2019
  • Founders: Bill Harris and Brian Hamilton (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Coastal Community Bank
  • Personal accounts (checking, sub-accounts)

Features:

  • Free to sign up
  • No monthly fees
  • High APY
  • Early payday
  • No ATM fees
  • No minimum deposit
  • Savings pockets
  • Credit line

One has a simple structure with one account for checking and saving. You’ll benefit the most with their account if you set up a direct deposit which opens up benefits and raises the limits.

One offers an optional feature to access overdraft without paying fees. There are no per-transaction fees, and all you need to do is not carry the balance over to the next month because there’s a 1% interest a month.

People who look for a simple account that will earn them interest and are ready to make a direct deposit of their paycheck will have the most benefits from the One account. With built-in overdraft protection and auto-save feature, One is an excellent addition to the digital banking space.

>> Go to One review

Onjuno

onjuno

About 

  • Founded: 2019
  • Founders: Ratnesh Ray, Siddharth Verma, Varun Deshpande (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Evolve Bank and Trust
  • Personal accounts (checking with interest rate)

Features:

  • Free to sign up
  • APY of 2.15% on balances of up to $30,000
  • 5% cashback on up to $3,000 a year
  • Interest compounded monthly and paid monthly

From our experience, OnJuno is a great neobanking platform that offers great APY, no minimum opening deposit, no monthly service fees, and an instant virtual card or a cool black metal card. 

It’s great for anyone that wants to earn high interest on their deposits without tying up their money in a savings account.

>> Go to OnJuno review

Oxygen

oxygen bank

About 

  • Founded: 2018
  • Founders: Hussein Ahmed (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Bancorp Bank
  • Personal and business accounts 

Features:

  • Free to sign up
  • Mobile-only
  • Personal and business accounts
  • Almost no fees
  • Cashback
  • Coverage for damage, theft, and more
  • 40K+ Fee-free Allpoint network ATMs

Oxygen offers full banking service to personal customers and small businesses. It has paid and free tiers, and there are almost no fees that you have to worry about. In fact, all the features that are crammed into paid accounts far outweigh the one-off fee that you need to pay for them.

Oxygen’s service can rub shoulder to shoulder with more established players in the digital banking space, such as Chime or Revolut, with who it draws many similarities. And even adds more to the table.

>> Go to Oxygen review

Payoneer

payoneer

About 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founders: Yuval Tal
  • CEO: Scott Galit
  • Business accounts 

Features:

  • Easy to sign up online
  • Good choice for SMEs and freelancers
  • Free prepaid Mastercard
  • Connects to a wide range of marketplaces
  • Flexible withdrawal options
  • No account fees if used fairly regularly

Payoneer is a popular option for businesses and freelancers. They offer a prepaid Mastercard so you can spend your money directly from the account.

They’ve partnered with so many e-commerce marketplaces that it’s easy to get paid for your services, products, or rentals, for example. Airbnb, Amazon, Booking.com, Fiver, Upwork – you name it, Payoneer has got it.

Payoneer is universally accepted that nearly everyone that has some kind of business online has a Payoneer account as well. The Payoneer app works great, and if you need a debit card, you can order one free of charge, although the card is not the cheapest one to use in some cases.

>> Go to Payoneer review

Quontic Bank

About 

  • Founded: 2009
  • Founder: Steven Schnall (CEO)
  • Personal accounts (checking, saving, mortgages, loans, CDs)

Features:

  • Free online sign-up
  • Up to 1% APY on checking account
  • Bitcoin rewards checking
  • Community Development Loans
  • Interest compounded daily
  • 90k+ ATMs

Quontic Bank offers high-interest checking and savings accounts but also lends to economically disadvantaged individuals and communities, and also to gig workers and small business owners.

The company is proud to be a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the U.S. Treasury for its continued work on elevating the financial strength of low-income people.

Sofi

sofi

About

  • Founded: 2011
  • Founders: Mike Cagney, Ian Brady, James Finnigan, Dan Macklin
  • CEO: Anthony Noto
  • Partner bank: The Bancorp Bank
  • Personal accounts (loans, crypto, ETFs, credit card, mortgage)

Features:

  • Easy to set up online
  • No credit check
  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees
  • Up to 0.25% APY
  • 55,000+ ATMs
  • Federal deposit insurance up to $1.5 million

Sofi is a jack of all trades; a cash management account that earns interest. It also does stock, ETF, and crypto investing and offers all kinds of insurances and loans, including mortgages. You name it, Sofi has got it. 

SoFi has 1,8 million members with $50+ billion in funded loans and $22+ billion in debt paid off by members. 

You might have noticed that I’m mentioning members and not customers. That’s because even though SoFi offers many of the same products and services as traditional financial institutions, SoFi is not a bank. 

SoFi’s Money account has no overdraft fees, no minimum balance fees, no monthly fees, and you can withdraw cash at 55,000+ fee-free ATMs. SoFi keeps your money secured in partner banks, and for that reason, it is FDIC insured up to $1.5 million.

Revolut

revolut

About 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founders: Nikolay Storonsky (CEO) and Vlad Yatsenko
  • Partner bank: Metropolitan Commercial Bank
  • Personal accounts (spending, saving, junior, crypto), business accounts

Features:

  • Budget & Analytics
  • Get paid early
  • Crypto trading
  • Savings Vaults
  • Up to 4.64% interest rate
  • Donations

Revolut is a challenger bank that made a ripple effect in the stale banking markets across the world. It has now expanded to all corners of the world and is finally profitable.

They’re already up to 15 million customers worldwide with additional 500,000 businesses onboard. They expanded to the US and Japan in 2020 and are looking to create “the world’s first truly global financial super app”. 

Although their offering is a bit limited in the States, Revolut still has a lot to offer. 

>> Go to Revolut review

Varo

varo money

About 

  • Founded: 2015
  • Founders: Assaf Guery, Colin Walsh (CEO), Mykola Klymenko, Roger Van Duinen
  • Personal accounts (checking, saving)

Features:

  • Free online sign-up
  • No monthly fees
  • Checking account
  • Debit card
  • Savings account
  • Early Direct Deposit
  • $100 Instant Cash
  • Free ATM Withdrawals

Varo was the first neobank bank to get a national banking license. This happened in 2020 and marked the way for Varo to become a fully-fledged bank. 

Varo’s bank account has no fees and is for that reason great for everyday banking, spending, and traveling at home and abroad. It offers an excellent savings account, early payday, and more for $0. 

There is no minimum balance required to open an account with Varo, and you won’t pay any fees even if your account is empty. Plus, there are no ongoing minimums necessary to maintain your fee-free status.

>> Go to Varo review

Wise

wise

About 

  • Founded: 2011
  • Founders: Kristo Käärmann (CEO) and Taavet Hinrikus (CEO)
  • Partner bank: Community Federal Savings Bank
  • Personal and business accounts, money transfer

Features:

  • Free online account
  • International bank details
  • Send money to more than 70 countries, always with a low and transparent fee
  • Direct Debits in the UK, Europe, and the US
  • Spend in local currency with your card
  • Receive your salary, pension, and more
  • Pay at the real exchange rate
  • Pay online securely with instant notifications
  • Use your card in more than 200 countries and withdraw money from 2.3 million ATMs

Since its launch in London in 2011, Wise has focused on making international money transfers cheaper and more transparent. 

By charging extremely low fees compared with high street banks and other online payment providers and using the real exchange rate when converting currencies, Wise has quickly become a top choice for both personal and business international bank transfers.

>> Go to Wise review

Benefits of digital banking

Digital banks are also called mobile banks, neobanks, challenger banks, online banks, and other similar versions of names. We’re living in a golden age of digital-only banking because these new challenger banks offer many benefits to those willing to take the leap from American big institution banks. However, people are still reluctant to sign up for one of the challenger banks. 

Let’s see what mobile-only banks bring to the table.

Low to no fees

If you’re sick of paying exorbitant fees every month for banking services that you mostly don’t use and don’t even need, you’ll be glad to know that US challenger banks but also international ones such as Revolut or Wise charge little to no fees for their financial products and services. 

Digital-only banks still make money, but their business model doesn’t include ripping off their customers with excessive fees.

Higher interest rates

It’s a recognized fact that big banks will give you appalling interest rates if any. How does 0.05% sound to you? Digital banks can provide their customers higher interest rates on savings accounts because they save on overhead costs like retail space and bank cashiers. 

You can even get an interest rate on your checking account balance in some cases.

Easy to apply

Is there anything worse than going to the bank? I put it up there with visiting the dentist. Luckily, with mobile banks, you get to open your account online without visiting the bank office and paying for fuel and parking. 

Simply fill out the online form, upload your ID, take a selfie, and you can start banking. 

Convenient

The ability to apply for a bank account online is not the only convenient thing. Pretty much everything else that involves your finances can be done from your sofa as well, including applying for a mortgage. Open your banking app, find the menu, and you’re halfway there.

Budgeting and analytics

Many digital banking apps have a more or less advanced budgeting and analytics system and even reports that give you a complete overview of your spending and saving. See which categories are siphoning money out of your account and make a change in your spending habits. 

If you turn on the autosaving feature in the app, your transactions will round up to the nearest dollar, and the change will go into a savings account. 

Cashback 

You don’t need a credit card anymore as some mobile-only banks offer cashback on everyday purchases. It was about time you got something back! You can even get cashback rewards in cryptocurrency now. 

Drawbacks of digital banking

Digital banking isn’t perfect, and most of the independent fintech companies were only founded less than 10 years ago (some only a couple of years ago). So, there are still some teething problems.

Nevertheless, let’s look at some of the drawbacks to digital banks in the US. 

Customer service 

This is arguably the most significant disadvantage over big banks. Because there are no physical branches, you have to do all your troubleshooting online. This can be a less than perfect solution, especially if you have a time-sensitive and costly problem to deal with. 

Although all the apps have a chat function, sometimes there might be a substantial waiting period, or there’s only a chatbot available to answer your questions. Granted, some big banks are offenders as well.

Fewer financial products 

Some digital banks have a barebones account with just a few add-ons and that’s it. That doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. Not everyone needs savings, investing, mortgages, loans, and so on from their bank account. Sometimes, simpler is better.

Fewer options for depositing

This one comes down to the lack of physical branches. If you have cash on your hands that you want to deposit into your account, you might find yourself at a dead end. The same goes for cheques, as all neobanks can’t scan a cheque with your phone.

How safe is digital banking?

Security is predominant when it comes to banking, and some may be concerned about how secure digital banks are. However, digital banks are at the cutting edge of innovation, and this includes security. 

Fintech companies continue to develop new hi-tech methods of security and privacy, including identity authentication. Signing up for mobile banking app involves your identity being authenticated by rigorous techniques, such as voice recognition, facial recognition, and fingerprint scanning. 

In many cases, the traditional banks are taking a leaf out of the digital bank book regarding security, which should put your mind at ease.

What features do US digital banks offer that traditional banks don’t?

  • Quick and easy online application
  • Approval within minutes 
  • No tedious paperwork required
  • Advanced analytics features
  • No hidden fees
  • Fewer to no fees for transactions and ATM withdrawals abroad
  • Savings accounts or non-savings accounts with interest
  • Monthly reports and forecasting
  • In-app customer service
  • Bill splitting

How to get started with digital banking

The best thing about digital-only banks is that you can apply for most online accounts in 5-10 minutes or even less. Visit your mobile bank’s website and click or tap ‘Get started’. You can also download the banking app from Google Play or Apple’s App store yourself. 

To open an online personal banking account, you have to have a Social Security Number (SSN), be over 18, and have a valid photo ID (Drivers License, State ID). You also need to have a valid US address (no PO box) and be a US citizen or Resident Alien.

The bottom line

Digital banks are bringing a lot to the table with low to no fees, free ATM withdrawals, free or cheap transfers, and, above all else, convenience and ease of use. 

Although it might seem that digital banks resemble each other like an egg to an egg, that is actually a good thing because the things that make them alike are the most beneficial to their customers. 

The American market is blessed with some of the best digital banks in the world. From a range of financial products and services to investing, mortgages, loans, and FDIC insurance of up to $250,000, the world should pay attention. 

There are few, if any, reasons to stay with one of the big banks at this point. Yes, I’m aware that they have digital branches as well, but at least you aren’t paying them excessive and unnecessary fees by joining them. And you are sending a message.