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Axos Bank Review

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Finding a new bank can be a challenge. You have to look at the different accounts on offer, their customer service track record, and more.

We make it our mission to give you all the information that you need to make such an important decision. Axos Bank offers a wide variety of the services that online banking customers want, all with more than two decades of experience.

What is Axos Bank?

Axos Bank was founded as a digital bank in 2000. Since then, it’s grown to hold nearly $10 billion in assets and is FDIC-insured.

Axos Bank offers both personal and business banking services, including checking accounts, a savings account, a money market account, certificates of deposit (CDs), mortgages, personal loans, and auto loans.

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Competitive APYs — With lower infrastructure costs than brick-and-mortar banks, Axos can offer high yields on savings accounts and often has more competitive rates on other markets, too.
  • A variety of account options — Rather than treating checking accounts as one-size-fits-all, Axos offers different structures to fit various banking needs.
  • Low fees — A transparent structure and options for no-fee accounts make Axos a good place to avoid the maintenance fees and other costs sometimes obscured in other banks’ terms.
  • Intuitive mobile application — Axos has been refining its mobile app for a while, making it easier to deposit checks, monitor finances, and even analyze spending patterns.

Cons

  • Not always the highest savings rates — As the online bank space has grown, even the major players don’t always have the top savings rates. Shop around before committing if your savings account rate is the top priority.
  • Online-only bank — A lack of physical branches means customer service isn’t with a personal banker who works in your neighborhood.

Axos checking accounts

Each of Axos’ checking accounts is designed to cater to particular financial needs. Their flagship offering is an interest-earning checking account, Rewards Checking, but you should evaluate all their accounts to find the one that is best for you.

Rewards Checking

Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos Bank offers a variety of banking accounts with leading rates, low to no monthly maintenance fees, and easy-to-use software to make your personal banking experience efficient.

Their flagship offering is their Axos Bank Rewards Checking account that offers a tiered, variable interest rate based on how many Axos products and services you use.

Offer: Earn up to a $300 welcome bonus†!
Pros:
  • Up to 3.30% APY*
  • Zero minimum monthly balance requirements
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements
Cons:
  • Multiple rate requirements to earn max APY
  • Online-only bank
Get Started

The Rewards Checking account offers tiered, variable interest rates based on how many Axos products and services you use. For instance, currently:

  • You unlock 0.40% APY for receiving monthly direct deposits of $1,500 or more. This “level” of rewards is required to access the other options.
  • You unlock another 0.30% APY for either using a debit card 10 times per month or signing up for Personal Finance Manager “Account Aggregation” in your Online Banking. This online banking feature lets you look at your accounts across institutions and manage money in a central place. Be aware you can’t swipe 10 times frivolously; each transaction needs to be at least $3.
  • You unlock 1.00% APY when you maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 in an Axos Invest Managed Portfolio Account.
  • You also can unlock 1.00% APY when you maintain an average daily balance of $2,500 in an Axos Invest Self Directed Trading Account.
  • Finally, an additional 0.60% APY applies if you make a full monthly payment on an Axos Bank consumer loan payment (mortgage, personal, or auto) from your Rewards Checking account.

As you can see, this can get you up to up to 3.30% APY*, a respectable interest rate for even a savings account. However, you’ll get the best use out of this account if you genuinely want the other services and will be making these kinds of transactions anyway, so you may want to decide on this checking account at the same time that you evaluate your investment, loan, and direct deposit needs.

Essential Checking

The Essential Checking account is a great way to feel reassured that you don’t have fees on your account, no matter if you pay a lot of attention to your money or only a little. It offers a variety of features that make it painless and easy to use:

  • Use ATMs anywhere and get all your fees reimbursed each month
  • If you don’t have sufficient funds or you overdraft your account, there is no fee
  • No minimum balance or monthly maintenance fees
  • If you have direct deposit, you can use Direct Deposit Express to receive your paycheck earlier than it would typically arrive
  • Peer-to-peer payment system in the app
  • Pay bills directly from your account online
  • $20 bonus when you refer friends to Axos

This account, like all Axos checking accounts, offers a thorough, secure app that helps you manage your money and do things like pause your debit card when it’s lost and reactivate it when you find it.

Cashback Checking

If you’ve loved cash back features on a credit card but prefer spending money that’s already in your account, Cashback Checking can be a structure that makes sense. Rather than earning interest on your account’s balance, you get up to 1% cash back when you have signature-based purchases on your account.

You’ll get the great ATM fee reimbursement (U.S. only), check writing, and no maintenance fees that come with Axos accounts, as well as access to a great app. If you frequently have money flowing into checking and being spent, you may appreciate a cash back account over a more traditional account that offers interest on your account balance.

First Checking

For teens who are ready for their first checking account, First Checking offers a joint account for bankers aged 13 to 17. It reimburses up to $12 in ATM fees each month.

Note there are daily transaction limits, with only $100 in cash or $500 in debit being allowed.

Golden Checking

If your parents are seeking a new bank, the Golden Checking account is focused on customers aged 55 and older. With free checks, some ATM reimbursement, and the classic lack of maintenance fees, it’s a great option for senior citizens who know they’ll be making check purchases but don’t want an account that could yield surprise fees.

Axos savings accounts

Combining your Axos checking account with a savings account or two can help you to grow your money while you save for short-term or medium-term goals, such as a down payment for a home or to help a child with their educational expenses.

High Yield Savings

The account offers flexibility like the option of an ATM card, no maintenance fees, and no monthly minimums.

If you want a high APY but don’t use all the services needed to get higher APYs through Rewards Checking, this can be a good compromise.  Remember the minimum to open the account is $250.

High Yield Money Market

An FDIC-insured account that earns, the High Yield Money Market account still has many of the other features of the high yield savings. This includes no monthly maintenance fee, no minimum balance, and access to the robust online banking system. The difference is that you have check-writing privileges on this account. Be aware that this one does have a minimum balance to open the account, of $1,000.

Other Axos products

A big differentiator for Axos is the wide range of products they offer in addition to checking and savings accounts. As you saw above, some of their advertised promotional rates are only for customers using multiple Axos products, so a transition to Axos Bank is often most effective if you bank with them in multiple ways.

Mortgage, auto, and personal loans

Axos keeps lending simple in a similar way to their checking and savings offerings. Even with competitive interest rates on mortgage, auto, and personal loans, they stand out with a $0 lender fee if certain conditions are met (if the borrower has an existing Axos Bank Checking Account and the mortgage is for more than $250,000). Loan applications are fast and simple online, and they commit to closing loans quickly as well, which can help if you want to finish up a mortgage or auto purchase quickly.

You can even look into low down payment options and their cash back program that connects your loan and your Rewards Checking account.

Managed and self-directed trading investment accounts

When you want to invest your money, it’s nice to have options. Axos offers managed accounts, where a robo-advisor makes trades and handles your portfolio’s risk level in response to your goals. They also offer self-directed trading, where you can evaluate the data yourself and pick from a wide range of stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and more. They offer Axos Elite for $10 a month, allowing access to a suite of additional tools and trading options to serious self-directed traders.

Small business banking and commercial lending

Some of the top online banks don’t have a business banking suite of products, but Axos offers small business checking accounts, business savings, and money market accounts, and even a non-profit-focused money market account. They have robust banking for larger businesses with their Commercial Banking line of products, and they offer a range of commercial lines of credit and loans for when your business needs some upfront capital in order to grow.

The competition

Axos Bank vs Ally Bank

  • Savings account APY: 4.25%
  • Business/commercial banking? No
  • Investment accounts? Yes
  • Free checks? Yes

Ally is a very popular online bank, known for having a high APY. 

But while you can get an auto loan or a mortgage through Ally, their other financial products are limited, and they don’t offer commercial or business banking like Axos does.

Since Ally is online only, their customer service is either via phone, email or automated chat. The chat can help you with most things, but you may have to make a phone call for things like requesting a new card. 

» MORE: Ally Bank Review.

Axos Bank vs Chime®

  • Savings account APY: 2.00%
  • Business/commercial banking? No
  • Investment accounts? No
  • Free checks? No physical checks offered

Chime is another popular online “bank” with a current savings account APY is 2.00%.

Unlike Axos, you cannot do any business or commercial checking or savings and it also doesn’t allow you to invest on its platform. However, Chime has a robust, user-friendly mobile app that tracks spending and can direct you to financial services you might need.

» MORE: Chime Review.

Summary

Axos Bank offers many types of banking accounts for personal and business banking services, with attractive benefits including low to no fees.

And although Axos only offers online banking, the APYs are decidedly more competitive than most brick-and-mortar banks making it an attractive option overall.