While some brick-and-mortar banks also offer online-only accounts, online accounts are generally available at online banks, which don’t have physical branches you can visit. These types of checking accounts offer the features of basic bank accounts but require you to be comfortable with handling your finances over the internet and the phone since you can’t visit a bank representative in person.
If you need to make deposits, you can set up direct deposit with your employer. You may be able to deposit checks by taking a photo with your mobile device or mailing the check to the bank.
You can typically access the funds in your online account in a number of ways:
- Use your debit card
- Withdraw cash from an ATM
- Pay bills online with Bill Pay
- Send an electronic transfer or wire
- Send a P2P payment
However, online checking accounts are usually missing some features of basic checking accounts (ATM deposits, for example).6 But because they also lack the overhead of brick-and-mortar locations, they can pass along the savings to customers in the form of no monthly maintenance fees and higher interest rates on their deposits.
Brick-and-mortar banks that offer online checking accounts may allow you to open the online account in person, although you’ll have to manage the account online going forward.