A recent survey shows that 73% of people say the number one most important checking account feature is a lack of monthly fees. Americans are already paying enough each month in streaming services, utility bills, and subscriptions, so adding another monthly fee can have a considerable impact.
Digital banks like Axos Bank recognize the need for affordable and versatile checking accounts that help you take on the banking challenges of the 21st century. Predominantly available through mobile apps and online platforms, these digital banks are changing the face of banking.
If you’ve heard of Axos Bank before but aren’t sure if it’s legitimate or worth investigating, you’re not alone. Many people are skeptical of digital banks, especially since you can’t visit a physical branch to check it out for yourself.
Among its competitors, Axos Bank offers convenient access to the lion’s share of financial products and services most traditional banks offer. From personal deposit accounts to business banking, Axos could be your one-stop shop for all your banking needs.
We’ve compiled the following guide to help you decide if Axos Bank is right for you. Compare Axos to your current bank to see where the two diverge, and you might find you benefit more from switching over.
Are you ready to dive into our Axos Bank review? Let’s get started!
What is Axos Bank?
Axos Bank was founded in 1999 by Jerry Englert and Gary Lewis Evans. It was originally called Bank of Internet USA, but rebranded to Axos Bank in 2018. Axos Bank was one of the first banks to operate fully online. It launched as a digital bank on July 4, 2000.
Axos Bank is based in San Diego, California. It offers a full range of banking services for individuals and businesses, including checking, savings, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts. It also offers loans and investment services.
Available in all 50 states, it also offers live 24/7 customer service you can connect with.
This technology-based digital bank is FDIC-insured and offers little to no monthly fees for its deposit accounts. Axos also offers competitive interest rates on savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts.
You can access Axos Bank (and take advantage of several Axos Bank promotions) through their website or mobile app. Axos has no physical branches but offers ATM access through one of the largest networks nationwide.
In addition to personal banking services, Axos offers small business and commercial banking services. You can also take out several loans or invest through managed or self-direct investment accounts.
Axos Bank has an A+ rating through the Better Business Bureau. It’s one of the more popular digital banks that offers customers convenient access to many of the major financial products traditional banks offer.
How to Open an Axos Bank Account
Opening an account with one of the best digital banks is easy. You can navigate to the Axos Bank website or download the mobile app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
Eligibility requirements to open an Axos Bank account include the following:
- A valid form of government ID, such as a driver’s license
- Your Social Security Number
- Phone number
- Mailing address (cannot be a P.O. Box)
You must also be at least 18 years old and a legal citizen or resident alien to apply. Axos will ask if you want to open a Best Savings Account to obtain a higher interest rate, but most account holders don’t because the minimum required deposit is $10,000.
However, you can open an account within minutes. Axos Bank offers a variety of checking accounts, including fee-free Essential Checking, interest-bearing Rewards Checking, and CashBack Checking. You can also open a savings, CD, IRA, or other online bank account.
Axos Bank’s Rewards Checking account has no monthly maintenance fees, overdraft or NSF fees, or minimum monthly balance requirements. It also offers unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements and online debit card management. You can open an account for only $50.
Axos Bank Checking Accounts
You can choose from several of the best checking accounts with Axos Bank. The Rewards and Essential Checking accounts are the most popular.
To open this account, you must deposit $50. However, you don’t have to maintain a minimum balance once you deposit this amount.
In addition to no monthly fees, Rewards Checking features no overdraft or non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees. You can also earn up to 3.3% APY when you meet the following qualifying factors:
- Receive $1,500 or more in direct deposits each month
- Make at least 10 transactions of $3 or more each month with your Axos Visa debit card or sign up for Personal Finance Manager (PFM) “Account Aggregation” in Online Banking
- Maintain a $2,500 average daily balance in your Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Account and Self-Directed Trading Account
- Use your Rewards Checking account to make a payment on your mortgage, auto, or personal loan through Axos Bank
This account also comes with unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. You can also manage your debit card online, including locking or unlocking it if necessary.
Earn $300 bonus
Axos Bank® Rewards Checking
A free account with unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. You don’t have to worry about keeping a minimum balance with Axos’ Rewards Checking. As with the bank’s other checking accounts, there are no monthly fees, and all fees charged by domestic ATM operators are reimbursed. Axos doesn’t charge any ATM fees itself.
If you don’t have any trouble meeting the direct deposit requirements above, Essential Checking could be your better bet. It doesn’t require a minimum deposit, monthly fee, or minimum balance requirement.
This checking account also does not charge for overdrafts or NSF transactions. Through Direct Deposit Express, you can also get paid up to two days early.
Additional features for the Essential Checking account include peer-to-peer payments, bill pay, unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, and online debit card management. You can also earn $20 for each referral you make.
Axos Essential Checking
Open a free account and get paid two days earlier with direct deposit. You don’t have to worry about keeping a minimum balance. As with the bank’s other checking accounts, there are no monthly fees, and all fees charged by domestic ATM operators are reimbursed. Axos doesn’t charge any ATM fees itself.
As the name implies, this checking account offers 1% cashback on purchases. Though you must deposit $50 initially, this account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
However, Cashback Checking doesn’t bear interest. You still retain access to the additional features listed under Essential Checking, including a $20 referral bonus.
Axos CashBack Checking
This account offers you the chance to earn up to 1.00% cash back on all your signature-based purchases. Earn up to $2,000 in cash back each month, deposited directly into your checking account. All you need to get started is a minimum balance of $50.00 to open the account.
Teens can open their First Checking account at the age of 13. A parent or guardian must co-own the account.
This checking account comes with daily debit card limits, with $100 in daily cash and $500 in debit card purchases. Teens can earn 0.1% APY on their balance without worrying about monthly, overdraft, or NSF fees.
First Checking account holders can earn up to $12 in monthly domestic ATM fee reimbursements. If you want to help your child learn about managing money, Axos Bank’s First Checking account can give them a positive learning experience.
On the other side of things, the Axos Bank Golden Checking account caters to account holders 55 and older. This interest-bearing account matches the First Checking rate but requires $250 to open.
This account comes with free personal checks, peer-to-peer payments, debit card management, and bill pay. You also get up to $8 in ATM fees reimbursed monthly.
Golden Checking has no monthly fees. You can also earn $20 for every referral you make.
Axos Bank Savings Accounts
Axos Bank offers various savings accounts to cater to your goals. International travelers can also open World Checking and Savings accounts for financial services abroad.
Deposit $250 into your new Axos High Yield Savings account, and you can earn up to 0.61% APY on balances less than $25,000. The APY rate decreases for amounts over $25,000, so it’s probably best to find accounts that offer higher rates of return if you want to deposit more than $25,000.
This high-yield savings account has a free ATM card and digital money management tools. You don’t have to worry about minimum balances or monthly fees either.
You must deposit $1,000 to open an Axos High Yield Money Market account, which earns 0.25% APY. Though the account has no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees, it doesn’t quite match the APY rate you’d get with the High Yield Savings account.
However, the money market account may better suit your needs, as it comes with check-writing privileges and a debit card. You can also manage your debit card and pay bills online, initiate peer-to-peer payments, and earn a referral bonus with this account.
Axos Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Choose CD term lengths from three to 60 months, with $1,000 required to open the CD. Axos offers a 0.2% APY regardless of your balance.
Unfortunately, Axos’ CDs aren’t as competitive as they could be. Nonetheless, you won’t pay any setup or maintenance fees, and the CD auto-renews after a 10-day grace period.
World Checking & Savings
Axos Bank offers a World Checking and a World Savings account that allows you to access your funds anywhere in the world. It also provides access to customer service in several languages, including Spanish and Mandarin.
The World Checking account has a Visa debit card and a $30 monthly fee. You can waive this fee with a $150,000 minimum daily balance.
You’ll need at least $75,000 to open a World Checking or World Savings account. The checking account offers unlimited check writing, U.S. ATM fee reimbursements, and fee waivers for international wires you receive.
You earn up to 0.25% APY on your balance with the World Savings account. You can also waive the fee for your first outgoing international transfer.
Axos Small Business and Commercial Banking
Axos Bank offers several small business and commercial banking products, including checking and savings accounts, and a Business Money Market Account.
Axos offers two main business checking accounts:
- Basic Business Checking: This account is free and doesn’t earn interest. It has no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance requirement. It also offers unlimited item processing, including up to 60 remote deposit items a month.
- Business Interest Checking: This account offers up to 1.01% interest. It has a $10 monthly fee, but this fee is waived if you maintain an average daily balance of at least $5,000. It also offers a sign-up bonus worth up to $200.
Axos Bank has two business savings accounts: Business Savings and Business Premium Savings.
$200 welcome bonus
Axos Bank Business Savings Account
Open a savings account with a $1,000 minimum deposit and enjoy variable interest that compounds daily. Benefit from online and mobile banking, and remote deposit capabilities. Avoid monthly maintenance fees by maintaining a minimum average daily balance of $2,500. Additionally, new business owners can receive a $200 welcome bonus.
Both accounts offer a 0.20% variable interest rate and digital banking options. The Business Premium Savings account is designed for small businesses with a lot of cash on hand. It offers a 0.20% APY on balances above $24,000.
A business savings account is similar to a personal savings account, but it’s specifically for business use. Businesses may need to meet deposit or balance requirements or pay a monthly service fee to maintain a business savings account or earn interest.
Other business banking services from Axos include:
- Merchant services
- HOA banking and lending
- Payment processing
- Global fiduciary banking
- Treasury management
- IntraFi network deposits
Axos also offers equipment financing, commercial real estate loans, and lines of credit. Visit this digital bank’s website to learn more about what business banking products you can apply for.
You can obtain personal, auto, and mortgage loans through Axos Bank. Mortgages come with no lender fees and can be used on purchases or refinancing.
To qualify for up to $100,000 in auto loans, the vehicle you want to purchase must have less than 125,000 miles and have a value of at least $8,500. You can also take out auto loans as low as $10,000, all without paying out-of-pocket expenses or making your first payment for 90 days.
Personal loans are unsecured through Axos Bank. You can borrow between $5,000 and $50,000 for three to six years.
Axos Bank personal loans come with fixed rates and payments and no prepayment penalties. You can prequalify online in just a few minutes without impacting your credit score.
Choose between self-directed trading and managed portfolios with Axos Bank.
You can choose from two self-directed accounts with Axos Bank: Self-Direct Trading or Axos Elite. Self-Directed is free, but you must pay $10 monthly to access the Axos Elite features.
Axos Self-Directed investment accounts often have a welcome bonus but always offer commission-free trades on stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There are no monthly fees or inactivity fees associated with this investment account.
This free account also comes with contracts on options trading starting at $1. Trading is available during standard market trading hours, but that’s not true with the Axos Elite account.
The Elite account offers real-time market analysis through TipRanks. You get the same commissions-free trading and $1 options trading contracts perks, in addition to extended trading hours.
Axos Elite also offers margin trading and instant trade settlement contracts. If you’re looking for an investment account that provides more, $10 a month for the Axos Elite account is relatively affordable.
If looking after your investment account is too much of a hassle, you can also choose robo-advising through Axos managed portfolios. These accounts have a 0.24% advisory fee and require a $500 minimum investment.
When you link your managed portfolio to an Axos checking account, you can earn extra interest on your balance. You can create as many portfolios as you like and make manual changes when necessary.
Designed for long-term investing, Axos Bank’s managed portfolios offer automatic portfolio rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting. You can use Axos for individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and taxable investment accounts.
Pros and Cons of Axos Bank
Axos Bank offers a near-comprehensive suite of banking products and services. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of owning an Axos Bank account.
- High-interest checking accounts available
- Low to no monthly fees on most accounts
- 91,000 free ATMs to choose from nationwide
- Personal and small business banking
- 24/7 live customer service
- Commercial banking and additional services
- Self-directed and robo-advisor investment accounts
- International checking and savings accounts
- CD rates aren’t as competitive as they could be
- No credit cards
- International accounts require a hefty opening deposit
- You must meet several requirements for the highest checking account interest rate
- No physical branches
Axos Bank Alternatives
Axos Bank is not the only digital bank on the market. Here are a few others that you can use to compare and contrast.
Acorns offers similar banking services to Axos Bank, with a focus on micro-savings and it’s invest account. Acorns doesn’t require a minimum balance, monthly fees, or overdraft fees.
You can access your Acorns bank account from over 55,000 free ATMs. You can fund your savings or investment accounts with round-ups or choose a robo-advisor to invest for you.
Like Axos Bank, Chime does away with monthly and overdraft fees. You can even use Chime SpotMe to cover up to $200 in overdrafts.
A Chime high-yield savings account comes with 2% APY, and you can use the secured Visa credit card to build your credit. Where Axos Bank covers much ground, Chime offers credit-building opportunities to help you recover.
There are no credit checks when you open a Varo account, in addition to a lack of monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, or overdraft fees. You can also earn up to 6% cashback, which is automatically transferred to your checking account when your balance reaches $5.
Varo also offers a 3% APY high-yield savings account, which increases to 5% APY on up to $5,000. You can also obtain a $100 cash advance if you meet eligibility requirements.
Is Axos Bank legitimate?
Yes, Axos Bank is a legitimate digital bank that offers a suite of financial products and services. You can download the Axos Bank app on your Apple or Android device or log into your account online.
How are digital banks different?
Digital banks differ from traditional banks because they do not operate physical branches. Many digital banks offer lower fees, some even waiving monthly fees altogether for many of their accounts.
Can you add cash to your Axos Bank account?
You can add cash to your Axos Bank account by visiting CVS, Walgreens, or Dollar General. Ask the cashier to load cash into your account.
Banking in the Digital Age
Axos Bank offers several popular personal and business banking services, from deposit and investment accounts to small business and commercial banking. If you’re looking for a digital bank that rivals established national banks, Axos Bank fits the bill.
We hope this article helps you learn more about Axos Bank and decide if it’s right for you. Many digital banks offer superior perks and rewards that customers continue to flock toward.
Knowing what deals are out there can help put your bank account in context, even if you’re not ready to make a change. It never hurts to put things in perspective, especially regarding your finances.
How can Axos Bank help you achieve your financial goals?