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9 Best Bank Options of 2021

By July 12, 2021 September 16th, 2021 No Comments

Bank accounts can be central to meeting your financial goals, and there is no shortage of options available. Digital only banks. Philanthropic banks. Banks for hustlers who earn money on Uber and Fiverr and through other gigs. Choosing the right banking setup can save you money (in fees and service charges), boost your savings, and offer you protection from over-drafting and insufficient funds. It all depends on what you’re looking for. There are even options for those who’ve been unbanked before due to credit challenges or their bank history.  

Here’s a shortlist of some of the best banking options available today, and they come with generous welcome offers. And while a signup bonus should never be the reason you select your bank account, you may be considering several bank accounts that seem pretty evenly matched.

1. Chime Review

Rating: 4.8 of 5 stars on iTunes and 4.6 of 5 stars on Google Play (over 526K total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About Bank: Chime is a free, mobile-friendly banking service that’ll never leave you hanging for cash. Chime has very few fees, and a great interest rate on their savings account, so it’s perfect if you want to cut down your costs without sacrificing any of the benefits offered by traditional banks. Their app will make managing your finances easier than ever before as well with its built-in spending tracker and a debit card and free ATM network. 

Pros: While many big banks will fee you to death, Chime has very few fees. And while savings accounts are notorious for paying scant interest, Chime’s saving accounts pay 0.5% APY, well above the national average of 0.05%. Chime users have access to over 38,000 ATMs in the network where you can withdraw money without any debit card fees. Chime accounts are easy to qualify for. Even those rejected by traditional banks before because of negative banking history can find acceptance with Chime. Unbanked or unbankable consumers open Chime accounts every day. 

Cons: No joint accounts are allowed, so not a great option for married couples or share finances with a significant other. There are limited financial product offerings — no loans, no CD’s, no money market accounts, no IRA’s (Individual Retirement Accounts). Additional drawbacks: Chime has no physical bank locations, and it’s expensive to deposit cash. Chime charges up to $4.95 per cash deposit. 

Best for: Digital natives who won’t miss the traditional banking perks, like having a brick-and-mortar location. Also great for unbanked consumers who are looking to start fresh. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $150 when you sign up as a new Chime bank member through Swagbucks and set up a direct deposit and receive your first paycheck within 30 days of signing up. 

2. Go2bank Review

Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars on iTunes and 4.4 of 5 stars on Google Play (over 21,900 total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About Bank: GO2bank is the perfect bank for those who want a simpler, more streamlined banking experience. With GO2bank you can easily manage your finances from mobile devices and computers with their great features and suite of offerings: automatic bill pay; checking, debit, credit, and payroll cards; and money processing services like tax refunds, cash deposits, and disbursements.  

Pros: Go2bank doesn’t require a credit check or a certain credit score and is a great option for unbanked consumers who have been forced to utilize expensive check-cashing services. Go2bank offers overdraft protection of up to $200 and a window of 24 hours to cover account overdrafts at no charge. After that, the fee is $15, which is still much less expensive than most banks. Members can also access their paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit enrollment, and members have the option to build or repair credit with prepaid credit cards. 

Cons: There is a monthly fee of $5, but this is waived if you have received a direct deposit payment during the previous month. ATM coverage is also more limited. There are 19,000 ATMs within the GO2bank network compared to over 38,000 for its competitor Chime Bank. 

Best for: Unbanked or non-banked consumers who need a streamlined way to receive funds and cash checks, as well as other credit-building help like overdraft protection, no-fee secured credit card options and getting direct deposit fund access up to 2 days early. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $25 when you sign up for GO2bank as a new customer through Swagbucks. You must sign up and fund your account with at least $10. 

3. Lili Bank Review

Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars on iTunes and 4.5 of 5 stars on Google Play (over 5,700 total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About Lili: Millennials who are setting out on their own can now take care of all their money-related needs with a single account. Lili is designed specifically for freelancers, contractors, and other gig economy hustlers, providing the resources necessary to keep track of expenses while also allowing them to save up for taxes or take payments from customers within one convenient location. With no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, easy expense tracking and tax planning tools, and an available app for Android and iOS, this free bank account offers you everything the freelancer needs to manage their money.  

Pros: No monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, no minimum opening deposit. Unlimited fee-free transactions. Fee-free ATM access with the MoneyPass network and cheap (low-fee) cash deposits available through Green Dot. Solid tools to manage expenses (personal vs. business) and taxes. There is also an early payment feature; if you set up direct deposit, you can receive payday funds up to 2 days sooner. 

Cons: Mobile app only banking service, there is no web experience (no website to utilize via your laptop or desktop); everything is done from your phone. You cannot use an EIN (employee identification number) to apply. No checkbooks and you cannot send or receive wire transfers. Additionally, Lili Bank doesn’t offer joint accounts, multiple business debit cards (if your business grows to more employees), and Lili doesn’t support third-party integrations like different invoicing tools. 

Best for: Small business owners and freelancers. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $50 when you sign up as a new Lili customer through Swagbucks. You must sign up and fund your account with at least $25. 

4. Varo Bank Review

Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars on iTunes and 4.6 of 5 stars on Google Play (over 28,600 total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About Varo: Varo Bank has two of the best features out there: no hidden fees and high-yield online savings. The bank’s banking products have no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, plus you can take advantage of a robust, fee-free ATM network. With automatic saving tools, Varo is a great place to start your financial journey without worrying about any extra expenses.

Pros: Varo Bank has several positive attributes, including no monthly fees, good interest rate or APY on their savings account, early paychecks (2 days early) with direct deposit setup, and $100 instant cash loans for emergencies with the Varo Advance feature. 

Cons: Cash deposit limits (dollar amounts, transactions) and fees for cash deposits. Requirements to get the highest savings rates. External transfers are capped at $10,000 per month. 

Best for: Consumers who want mostly online banking with some phone support. (Varo has a toll-free customer service number.) Also a good option for those who want bank savings accounts with higher APY or interest returns. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $75 when you sign up as a new Varo member through Swagbucks. You must sign up and fund your account with at least $25. 

5. Yotta Savings Review

Rating: 4.8 of 5 stars on iTunes and 4.8 of 5 stars on Google Play (over 6,000 total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About Yotta: Yotta Savings offers an innovative way to save for the future with a lottery twist. While a traditional savings account helps you earn interest over time, Yotta account holders can earn large influxes of cash even sooner with their prize system. For each $25 you deposit into a savings account, up to $25,000, you’ll earn 1 recurring ticket. And when you deposit $100 into your brand new Yotta account, you’d get 4 recurring tickets. Additionally, Yotta savings accounts have a 0.20% APY.  Your savings are FDIC insured. 

Pros: While a 0.20% APY isn’t the highest you’ll find, it’s well above the national savings account average of 0.05%. Prize winnings can accelerate your savings growth. The odds of matching all lottery numbers (and getting a multi-million dollar prize) are low, but most account holders can win small prizes every week, and it’s fun to watch these winnings build up over time. 

Cons: Yotta Savings is a mobile-only app, which means you cannot track your account through a web browser (like Chrome or Internet Explorer) or on your laptop. Yotta isn’t a full banking solution in itself. Yotta is a savings only platform where the lure is the lottery prize system. Yotta members link their traditional bank accounts to Yotta so they can transfer funds to earn modest interest and lottery prize tickets. 

Best for: People who dig the thrill of lottery and games of chance. In this instance, however, you’re not losing money. The money you “spend” on tickets is going into your interest-bearing savings account. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $10 when signing up as a new Yotta customer through Swagbucks and deposit at least $10. 

6. Aspiration Review

Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars on iTunes and 3.9 of 5 stars on Google Play (over 28,100 total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About Aspiration: Aspiration offers a cash management account that is like both checking and savings. Aspiration combines the best bank interest rates with mission-driven values. They also offer international ATM reimbursement for the global-minded consumer. 

Pros: Aspiration offers a generous welcome bonus, no-fee monthly savings accounts, up to 10% cash back on certain purchases, and up to a 1.00% APY on savings with a subscription to Aspiration Plus. You also have an optional Planet Protection feature where Aspiration calculates the carbon output of every gas purchase and makes a donation to Planet Protection to offset it. Aspiration also does offer some phone support seven days a week.

Cons: On the downside, Aspiration Bank doesn’t have live chat assistance, no branch or physical locations, and had numerous complaints in the past about slow customer service response times. 

Best for: Consumers with green values who are okay with (or prefer) an online only-banking experience. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $5 when signing up as a new Aspiration Bank customer through Swagbucks and deposit at least $10. 

7. NorthOne Review

Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars on iTunes and 3.6 of 5 on Google Play (over 1,900 total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About NorthOne: NorthOne is an online business bank account that offers unlimited free transactions, fee-free in-network ATM access, and various other digital tools. Unlimited subaccounts (called Envelopes) make it great for freelancers or contractors to manage their personal finances from the same place they do work stuff. You can invoice customers right through your NorthOne app, so you don’t have another thing on your plate.

Pros: Unlimited fee-free transactions, Envelopes to manage your personal vs. work accounts, extended hour customer service via live chat, phone, or email, built-in invoicing hub to create and send unlimited invoices, and ability to integrate with other business apps and tools like Shopify, Square, or QuickBooks. 

Cons: There is a $10 monthly fee (no option to waive it by hitting transaction or balance thresholds), mobile check deposit is provided by a third-party service and comes with separate charges, fees of up to $4.95 per cash deposit, no ability to send or receive international bank wire transfers.

Best for: small business owners who want to connect their banking account to other financial tools they’re already using. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $30 when signing up as a new NorthOne customer through Swagbucks and deposit at least $50. 

8. SoFi Money Review

Rating: 4.8 of 5 stars on iTunes and 4.4 of 5 stars on Google Play (over 96,900 total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About SoFi Money: SoFi Money combines interest-earning capabilities with simple online banking for a seamless experience.  SoFi isn’t a traditional checking or savings account; it’s an FDIC insured cash management account. This means it gives you the everyday spending capabilities of a checking account and the same interest returns you’d see on a savings account. SoFi built its reputation on offering low-interest and low-fee student loans for both parents and students. While SoFi Money doesn’t have as many bells or whistles as other banks, the streamlined, intuitive user experience is tops.

Pros: SoFi has no minimum opening deposit requirement, no maintenance fees or minimum balance fees, no overdraft fees, a large network of free ATMs, a fantastic app with lots of great features, and interest rates of 0.25% (over 5x higher than the national average). SoFi also offers a wealth of other financial products: student loans, personal loans, mortgages, automated investing, insurance, and financial planning resources. 

Cons: On the downside, SoFi has no branches or physical locations, no business checking or savings options, and no cash deposits. Additionally, there is no overdraft protection and no reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees. 

Best for: Consumers looking for a hybrid checking-savings account option and who are able to deposit at least $500 a month to get the higher APY and other perks. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $40 when signing up as a new NorthOne customer through Swagbucks and deposit at least $100. 

9. Current Bank Review

Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars on iTunes and 4.6 of 5 stars on Google Play (over 152,500 total reviews from real users in both app stores) 

About Current: Current Bank is a modern and innovative bank that provides you with all the services you’d expect from an online bank and a few extras. Current’s app has features like faster paychecks, financial tools for teens, instant credits on gas holds, special accounts for parents and their kids’ savings goals, and there are even Savings Pods to make saving money easier.

Pros: Great for teaching your teens and tweens healthy financial habits and being able to link to your kids’ accounts and their spending, daily cash withdrawal limits and daily purchase limits (which could be seen as a positive safeguard or a con), get payday funds two days sooner if you set up direct deposit, and set up special Savings Pods tied to different savings goals. Current Bank also offers overdraft protection, free ATM withdrawals (at 55,000+ ATMs in-network), mobile check deposits, and cash back shopping at select retailers. 

Cons: Current Bank comes with downsides: account maintenance fees of $4.99 a month for premium checking or $36 per year for teen checking, no interest-bearing checking account options, and daily cash withdrawal limits, and daily purchase limits. 

Best for: Parents who want to stay connected to their teens’ spending. Those who want an online bank that offers paycheck funds 2 days sooner and also mobile check deposit options. 

Joiner’s Promotion: Get $120  when signing up as a new Current customer through Swagbucks and deposit at least $200.

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