5 Best Online Bank Accounts With Instant Debit Cards

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 31, 2023

Benzinga readers often choose SoFi Checking and Savings or Axos Bank Rewards Checking as the best online bank accounts with instant debit cards.

Online bank accounts offer simple financial management and budgeting tools to help you manage your money. Instant debit cards mean you can start using the account right away. Whether you've got an urgent payment or prefer the simplicity of a digital wallet, online bank accounts can make managing your funds and paying easy. Read on to choose an online bank account with an instant debit card for your financial needs. 

5 Best Online Banks With Instant Debit Card Offers

1. Best for Combined Savings and Checking Account: SoFi Checking and Savings

  • SoFi Savings
    Best For:
    Best for Variety of Banking Services
    securely through SoFi Savings's website

    SoFi members with Direct Deposit or $5,000 or more in Qualifying Deposits during the 30-Day Evaluation Period can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate. Members without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits, during the 30-Day Evaluation Period will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

The SoFi account offers a strong interest rate, cash back, and bonuses. You can instantly fund and start using the account via a digital wallet. With a 0.50% APY on all balances, it's not the strongest interest-earning option, but it is a strong contender, especially if you maintain a lower account balance. 

With the SoFi account, you can earn a bonus between $50 and $250, depending on your direct deposit total in the first 30 days. And you'll earn up to 15% cash back on purchases with your SoFi debit card.

Pros

  • Earn some interest
  • Signup bonus
  • Combined checking and savings account
  • Use card instantly by digital wallet
  • Access to 55,000 fee-free
  • Allpoint ATMs
  • Up to 15% cash back
  • Create sub-accounts called Vaults
  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposits

Cons

  • Lower interest rates than other options
  • No option to separate checking from savings 

2. Best for Customer Service: Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank checking accounts stand out for having no overdraft fees and no monthly fees. Plus, you can use the debit card at over 91,000 domestic ATMs and get fee reimbursements from out-of-network ATMs. You also can earn up to 3.30% APY on balances up to $50,000, although interest for smaller balances is relatively low. 

As a well-established online bank, Axos offers flexibility, all-around service, and online debit card management. While the physical debit card should arrive within 7-10 business days after you open your new account, you can start using the account immediately. Plus, they're offering a $100 signup bonus right now. 

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates up to 3.3% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursement
  • Highly rated mobile app
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Full-service bank
  • 91,000 ATMs in the network
  • Online debit card management

Cons

  • Interest rates are tiered and start low
  • You'll need monthly deposits of over $1,500 to earn interest
  • No physical branches

3. Best for International Use: Chime Checking Account

  • Chime
    Best For:
    Online banking
    securely through Chime's website

    *Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of payer’s submission of deposits. Chime generally posts such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer’s scheduled payment date.

The Chime checking account is one of the best picks, although this online-only financial technology company isn't technically a bank. Instead, it partners with two banks to offer checking and savings accounts that have FDIC insurance. You can immediately start paying with your phone with the instant digital debit card.

Chime stands out for the little extras. For example, you can receive paychecks up to two days early with a direct deposit. More importantly for international travel, Chime doesn't charge fees to use your card abroad. Chime allows you to deposit cash at over 90,000 partner locations, including stores like 7-Eleven and Walmart. 

Pros

  • Multiple cash deposit locations
  • No international transaction fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free access at 60,000 ATMs
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum opening deposits
  • Early direct deposits
  • Real-time transaction alerts

Cons

  • No joint accounts
  • You'll be charged a cash deposit fee at most locations
  • No branch access 

4. Best for Credit Building: Current

Current is an online banking app that offers no monthly fee. As another financial technology company, Current's banking service is offered through Choice Financial Group. When you sign up for a Current account, you can get an instant Visa debit card with free withdrawals at over 40,000 ATMs. 

You could also earn up to 4% APY on up to $6,000 in savings in Current's "savings pods".  These rewards debit cards offer an excellent mobile app and a potentially high savings rate. Current has no credit checks, and unlike other options on this list, it may issue you a secured credit card to build a credit history with each expense.

Pros

  • No overdraft fees
  • No monthly fees
  • Earn points for cash back
  • Large, free, nationwide ATM network
  • No minimum opening deposits
  • Build credit
  • Competitive rate on savings accounts

Cons

  • No branch access
  • Fees for cash deposits
  • Limit on the amount that earns a high savings rate

5. Best for Savings Tools: Varo Bank

Varo Bank is another online contender with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. It has a large fee-free ATM network. Varo offers useful automatic savings tools that can make reaching financial goals easier. 

While not all customers can access a digital card before the physical card arrives, this is an option for some Varo clients. For all others, you can start using the physical card when it arrives in the mail after seven to 10 business days. 

Pros

  • No overdraft fees
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum opening deposits on some checking and savings accounts
  • Competitive savings account rates
  • Large, free, nationwide ATM network

Cons

  • No physical locations
  • Customers must meet certain requirements to earn the best savings rates
  • Fees for cash deposits 

What is an Online Bank Account With an Instant Debit Card?

An online bank account with an instant debit card is usually a checking account that instantly gives you a digital debit card. A virtual debit card functions like a traditional debit card. Usually, you can add the digital debit card to Google Pay, Apple Pay, or other accounts. Sometimes you receive a number to enter for online payments.  

As the name says, an instant virtual debit card online allows you to access funds immediately and link the debit card to a virtual wallet to make payments. In many cases, the bank will also send a physical debit card the same day, and it should arrive in the mail within a week to 10 days. 

How Does an Online Bank Account With an Instant Debit Card Work?

An online bank account with instant virtual debit card works like a regular bank account. You can deposit funds via bank transfer, check deposit, or digital wallet transfer and then use the funds to make debit card payments or withdraw cash.

An instant debit card is a digital card you receive for immediate account access. You can use this card to make payments online. If you link it to a digital wallet, you can use it like you would a regular debit card. Instead of swiping a card, you'll use your smartphone. Some bank accounts also offer a physical card you'll receive in the mail. 

How to Choose an Online Bank Account With an Instant Debit Card

Choosing an online bank account with an instant debit card comes down to security and features that meet your needs. Ensure that the account is FDIC or NCUA insured, and then look for an account that meets these criteria:

Account Features and Fees

Evaluate the account features and fees associated with the online bank account. Look for factors such as no or low monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, and any additional perks or benefits provided with the account.

Debit Card Functionality

Consider the functionality of the debit card itself. Check if it supports contactless payments, online transactions, international usage, and compatibility with mobile wallets. Look for features that align with your preferences and needs.

ATM Access and Fees

Assess the availability of fee-free ATM access or reimbursement of ATM fees. Look for an online bank that has a wide network of ATMs or provides reimbursements for fees charged by other banks or ATM networks.

Security Measures

Ensure the online bank has robust security measures in place to protect your account and debit card. Look for features such as two-factor authentication, transaction alerts, and the ability to temporarily freeze or lock the card in case of loss or theft.

Funding Options

Assess the ease and convenience of funding your account. Check if the online bank allows direct deposits, bank transfers, mobile check deposits, or offers other funding options that suit your preferences.

Why You Should Consider A Mobile Bank with Virtual Debit Card

Most of the options on this list are free online banks with virtual debit cards. That means you can open the account without any fees. They also have no overdraft fees and very low minimum balances. With large ATM networks, they can also make sense as a backup debit card. Online bank accounts with instant debit cards have much to offer if you're looking for a new way to manage your money and earn more on everyday payments. Consider also some of the best online checking accounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

How can I open an online bank account with an instant debit card?

A

You should be able to open an online bank account with an instant debit card in minutes. You’ll need to apply online and provide basic information like your name, address, and social security number.

Q

What are the benefits of an online bank account with an instant debit card?

A

An online bank account with an instant debit card allows you to make debit card payments immediately. These accounts are usually highly insured, highly secure, and may include additional features or bonuses like cash back or interest savings.

Q

How quickly can I get my instant debit card after opening an online bank account?

A

You can usually get a digital debit card immediately after opening an online bank account. A physical debit card may take two to three business days to arrive in the mail.

About Alison Plaut

Alison Plaut is a personal finance writer with a sustainable MBA, passionate about helping people learn more about financial basics for wealth building and financial freedom. She has more than 17 years of writing experience, focused on real estate and mortgage, business, personal finance, and investing. Her work has been published in The Motley Fool, MoneyLion, and she is a regular contributor for Benzinga.