Chime® is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services, credit, and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

Features and Advantages of Online Banking

In this article

  1. 7 top features of online banking
  2. Online banking features and advantages
  3. Is online banking right for you?
  4. FAQs

Common features of online banking include high-yield accounts, user-friendly online and mobile banking, and low or no fees. Learn more about the most useful online banking features.

A smiling, young businessman sits on a desk talking on a cellphone and using a digital tablet while working alone in a modern office.

Rebecca Safier • June 30, 2023

The steady rise of online banking apps and accounts has made banking easier, safer, and more convenient. Many online-only banks don’t have brick-and-mortar locations but often come with many useful features and services that traditional banks may not have.

If you’re interested in switching to an online bank, check out the top modern features of online banking to look for when picking an account.

7 top features of online banking

Not all bank accounts are created equal. While most online-only banks offer the same services and features as a traditional bank — often more — every online bank is different. Look for features of online banking that will save you time and money and give you peace of mind that your money is safe and secure.

1. Safety online banking features

You may be wondering, are online banks safe? The short answer is yes. Online financial institutions come with many safety features to protect you and your money. When considering an online-only bank, look for the security measures it has in place.

Many online banks use tools like multi-factor authentication, encryption, and firewalls. They may also require using secure browsers to protect your data from hackers. Along with looking for features like these, make sure the bank is FDIC-insured, which covers each of your accounts up to $250,000.

2. Mobile banking app

Many online bank accounts come with intuitive mobile banking apps that allow you to easily access your account on your phone. These apps should be able to handle everything from tracking your spending and savings to paying friends on the go.

Look for an app that works on all smartphone devices and allows you to transfer money, check your account balances, deposit a check, and even grow your savings automatically.

See if the app accepts mobile check deposits, offers fee-free mobile payments and money transfers, and includes online bill pay. You should also be able to set up app notifications, like transaction alerts, and get customer support if you run into any issues.

Some other handy features of online banking apps include spending and savings trackers and other budgeting tools.

3. Early direct deposit

It’s usually a wise decision to sign up for direct deposit. Direct deposit minimizes paperwork and hassle and allows you to get your paycheck faster. Many online banks offer direct deposit, but only a handful allow their customers to receive their paychecks early.

Look for an account that has early direct deposit. For example, when you open an account through Chime, we help you Get Paid Early.

4. ATM withdrawals

Despite the move to handle your finances online, you might still need to access cash. Luckily, switching to an online-only bank doesn’t mean you lose out on ATM and debit card services. Several online banks and financial institutions maintain relationships with ATM networks and offer a method of quickly locating ATMs via their banking app.

Many online banks don’t charge in-network ATM fees, or they offer fee reimbursements.

Keep in mind, though, that not all online banks offer a way to deposit cash back into your account.

5. Built-in automatic savings

When switching to an online banking service, look for one with an automatic savings feature. This feature allows you to automatically set up fund transfers from your checking account to your savings account. You can also transfer a portion of your paycheck directly into your savings account.

For example, Chime offers two features to help you save money automatically. Chime’s automatic Round Ups transfer spare change to your savings account every time you use your Chime Visa debit card.1 You can also sign up for Save When You Get Paid to automatically transfer 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more into your savings account.2

6. Credit-building features

Building credit can take time, but if you look for an online account with built-in credit-building features, you can speed up the process. Look for features that turn your everyday purchases into credit-building opportunities.

A few online banks and financial institutions offer credit-building support. For example, Chime offers the secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card that helps you build your credit. Members see an average increase of 30 points.3,4

When you’re on the hunt for credit-building features, look out for things like cash-advance features, automatic balance payments, and credit bureau reporting.

7. Fee-free overdraft

Brick-and-mortar banks have considerable operational expenses that online banks don’t. With an online bank or online financial institution, fees can be kept to a minimum because of the lower overhead costs associated with an online business. You can potentially save on fees that most traditional banks would charge their customers, like overdraft fees.

Consider switching to an online account with fee-free overdraft protection. Some online accounts, like those through Chime, offer their own version of overdraft protection that safeguards members from any payments or withdrawals that would result in a negative balance. Chime’s SpotMe feature allows users overdraft up to $200 on debit card purchases with no fees.5

Deposit checks from anywhere* and get paid up to two days early with direct deposit† – just use the Chime online banking app.

Online banking features and advantages

Along with the features and services, online-only banks offer several advantages over traditional brick-and-mortar banks, including potentially lower fees and higher interest rates, 24/7 customer support, and easier access to your money.

Here are some of the most useful features of online banks:

  • 24/7 account and service access
  • Online bill payment
  • Higher interest rate offers
  • Lower fees
  • High-yield accounts
  • Automatic savings features
  • Mobile deposits
  • Immediate access to your bank statements
  • Money transfers between accounts
  • Alerts can be set up to monitor fraud
  • Alerts can be set up to inform you of transactions and balance activity
  • Enhanced security
  • Early tax refunds
  • Check deposits
  • Customer service over the phone, web chat, and email

Is online banking right for you?

When switching to a new bank account, look for the features and services that will ultimately make your life easier and better support your financial wellness. There are accounts out there that can meet all your financial needs — all you have to do is look for them.

For more banking options, check out these four types of bank accounts for storing and saving money.


Are online banks safe?

Yes, online banks are safe. With standard security measures, online banks are just as safe as traditional ones. Look for safety features like encryption, multi-factor authentication, and fraud monitoring. Before you open any bank account, make sure the FDIC insures the bank or financial institution. You can also take measures to ensure secure online banking, like avoiding public Wi-Fi networks, using a strong password, and keeping anti-virus software up to date.

How does online banking work?

An online-only bank is not much different from a traditional bank e fact that it doesn’t have a physical brick-and-mortar location. All your banking needs are managed exclusively via the web or mobile app. With a simple internet connection or data from your phone, you have access to all your banking needs at any time of the day.

How do I open an online-only bank account?

Opening an online bank account is simple and can be done instantly using a computer or smartphone. Each account might vary, but, in general, you’ll want to do the following:

  1. Apply for an online bank account and download their mobile app. Go to the site or app of the online bank account, fill out the application, and then provide your personal information and verification.
  2. Once you apply, you’ll want to set up direct deposit to fund your account.

What are the features and benefits of online banking?

Some features of online banking you might come across include early direct deposit, fee-free overdraft, 24/7 account access, mobile banking, high-yield accounts, automatic savings, and online bill payment. You may find different online banking features from other banks, so review each bank’s offerings to ensure its account features fit your needs.

What are 3 advantages of online banking?

Three advantages of online banking that you can find at many online banks are 24/7 account access, online bill pay, and high-yield accounts. Since online banks don’t have to pay for physical branches, they can often funnel these savings back to customers through high-interest checking and high-yield savings accounts. These accounts offer higher-than-average interest rates, allowing you to earn money on your balance over time.

What are two common online banking features and services?

Two common features of online banking are high-yield accounts and online bill payments. Online banks usually offer user-friendly mobile banking apps and low (or no) fees.

Chime® is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card and the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card are issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit and credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your Card for its issuing bank.

While Chime doesn’t issue personal checkbooks to write checks, Chime Checkbook gives you the freedom to send checks to anyone, anytime, from anywhere. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Chime Checkbook details.

By clicking on some of the links above, you will leave the Chime website and be directed to a third-party website. The privacy practices of those third parties may differ from those of Chime. We recommend you review the privacy statements of those third party websites, as Chime is not responsible for those third parties' privacy or security practices.

Third-party trademarks referenced for informational purposes only; no endorsements implied.

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A. (“Banks”). Banks are not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

* Mobile Check Deposit eligibility is determined by Chime in its sole discretion and may be granted based on various factors including, but not limited to, a member's direct deposit enrollment status.

†Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

1 Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account.

2 Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account.

3 To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

4 On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.

5 Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month and Visa debit card activation. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See terms and conditions.

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