Online banks: how do they work?

Online banks: how do they work?

Internet has revolutionized the world and now the company is seen differently. Before, it was difficult or even impossible to benefit from a service without leaving the comfort of your bed. But today it is commonplace. Almost every business today offer local services via the Internet. In service businesses like banking, the technology is even more advanced to do this. This is why we have online banking now.

You can now buy or sell your services from your bed, your place of services, in short wherever you are. Banks understood this very quickly. We are in the era of online banking. But what is an online bank?

Even if the history of online banks goes back to the 1980s, it must be said that online banks have known their maturity less than 15 years ago. They have become almost indispensable. Do you know why ? No… Online banking allows you to manage your bank account over the Internet using a computer or mobile device.

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It is no longer necessary to go to a bank branch to carry out your transactions. You can do your banking when it's most convenient for you, including outside normal banking hours. In this article I talk to you about online banks.

???? What is online banking?

An online bank is a bank that allows you to manage all of your banking transactions on the internet using your smartphone or your computer connected to the internet.

With such a bank, you can pay bills, transfer funds, apply for a loan, deposit checks and verify transactions and the account balances of your accounte.

One of the advantages that traditional banks had over online banks was the ability to withdraw funds at using an ATM. But increasingly, online banks also provide access to a network of ATMs free of charge.

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???? How do online banks work?

Online banking services are designed to be more convenient than traditional banks. They allow you to save time and bank on your own schedule.

Online banking offers you all the traditional banking services, starting with the opening of an account. Here are some services offered by online banks.

✔️ Ouverture by comptes

You can open checking, savings and other types of accounts online. Very often you can do this without having to print or physically sign anything.

With electronic signature capability, the entire process can now take less than 10 minutes. Just enough time to fill in the required information. If you are a customer of a financial institution that offers online banking services, you can register for online access through that institution's website.

online banks

Here are the things you need to have to benefit from online banking services:

  • An Internet connection
  • A device with a web browser: a computer, tablet or smartphone
  • Your bank account number
  • Personal information to verify your identity, such as your date of birth and social security number

You will need the same except for the bank account number to open an account with an online-only bank with which you do not have an existing relationship. You may be asked for additional identity verification, such as a driver's license.

Signing up involves setting up a login (often your email address) and a password. Once your registration is complete, you can log in to your account.

✔️ pay bills

Instead of writing checks to pay bills, your bank can print and mail a check for you. But for more convenience, it is also possible to send money to a recipient electronically. Even if the amount you owe changes every month.

✔️Funds transfer

If you need to transfer money from your checking account to your savings account or to a certificate of deposit, you can do these online intra-bank transfers.

You can even link your accounts at different banks or send money to your family almost instantly.

✔️ Apply for loans

With your online bank account you can also benefit from a classic loan. Simply complete your online application to speed up the verification process solvency.  

Some financial service providers offering online loan applications make funds available the same day a loan is approved. Other lenders that operate entirely online can make almost instant loan decisions.

✔️ Deposit of checks

When you are paying by check, it is easy to deposit that check on your account. In fact, if you have a smart phone, just film the check through your bank's mobile app and submit it for payment. It is therefore not necessary to send it by post. What innovation?

✔️ View your transaction history

With online banking you can view your history. You should be able to search for transactions by time period and by type, such as a credit card payment.

✔️Stay informed

Another big advantage of online banking is the ability to configure alerts. You can receive an SMS or an email when your bank notices a movement. The alert can also be sent to you if your balance is below a certain amount. You can be notified when the deposited money is available and when a check has cleared.

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These alerts are great for informational purposes. Even more, they can help you quickly stop criminal actions. At this time you can immediately contact your bank and ask them to prevent the author from emptying your account.

???? Online banking or traditional banking: which one to choose?

As you will have understood, there is no longer any real interest today in keeping a bank account in a traditional bank. Unless you want to keep physical contact with your banker.

There are significant benefits to be gained from using a bank through which you primarily or exclusively manage your online account. But traditional banks also have advantages. Here is qsome comparison criteria:

✔️ The best interest rates

Online-only banks tend to offer a higher annualized interest rate on your deposits. The reason given is that they do not apply overhead like physical or traditional banks.

However, the online division of some traditional banks may also offer competitive rates. Online banks also tend to offer a lower interest rate on loans.

According to this criterion therefore, it is wise to shop around and compare online and traditional banking rates in order to find the best option. But you will almost always better online.

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✔️ Online banking: llower fees

Online-only banks generally charge lower fees than traditional banks.

This behavior goes hand in hand, traditional banks also pay more interest on loans. In fact, they are less likely to charge fees for certain services or for not maintaining a minimum average balance.

✔️ The limit of in-person transactions

Although it offers the ability to deposit checks via mobile deposit or withdraw cash via affiliated ATMs, online banking may not be convenient if you frequently make large deposits or withdrawals and need to do so through a bank machine.

Some banks have a daily mobile deposit amount limit and require you to visit an ATM. This can be difficult if your bank does not have an extensive network of free ATMs or a nearby branch.

Most banks also place daily limits on the amount you can withdraw from ATMs.

If you need more cash and can't convince your bank to raise the limit, you'll need to ask for a cash advance in person, which you can't do if you can't get to a branch. .

Traditional banks may also provide notary services, safe deposit boxes and bank checks. Online banks generally cannot.

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✔️ Technology related issues

If you're not comfortable with technology, online banking can come with a steep learning curve. Plus, problems arise. If your computer or smartphone – or the bank’s system – is broken, you may be postponing an urgent transaction.

For complex situations such as customer service issues, you might benefit from a face-to-face meeting at a traditional bank.

✔️ Security concerns

In many ways, online banking is more secure than traditional banking. Direct deposit of your pay into your bank account eliminates the risk of someone stealing your check in the mail.

Also, no one can copy your account information from the checks you send. Banking computers send this information back and forth securely, without storing it.

In the event of fraud or errors in an electronic funds transfer, the law often protects you, provided that you act quickly.

🌿 The best online banks

Choosing the best online bank often depends on each person's specific needs. However, some online banks are generally well-reviewed for their services, accessibility and competitive rates.

Please note that information may change, it is always recommended to check current conditions before making a decision. Here are more details on some of the best online banks

⛳️ Boursorama Bank

Boursorama Banque is one of the most popular online banks in France, offering a full range of banking and financial services. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Société Générale, one of the largest French banks. This affiliation brings financial solidity to online banking.

online banks

Boursorama Banque offers a current account and savings products with a free bank card, without account maintenance fees. The current account offers modern features, such as online management, the possibility of making transfers and direct debits, as well as budget management tools.

Boursorama Banque also offers stock market services with access to a trading platform. Customers can invest in the stock market, buy and sell stocks, and access financial analysis. The Visa Premier bank card is often offered free to customers who meet certain requirements, which usually includes a minimum monthly income or account balances.

It offers a customer service and a intuitive mobile app which allows customers to manage their accounts, track their spending, and access their banking services at any time. It stands out for its competitive fees, notably the absence of account maintenance fees and advantageous rates for current transactions.

⛳️ ING

ING, formerly known as ING Direct, has firmly established itself as an international online bank, operating in several countries around the world. Its model is based on remote banking service delivery, eliminating the need for physical branches.

It offers savings products and a current account without account maintenance fees, accompanied by a free bank card. This offering includes a full range of features, allowing customers to carry out everyday transactions online with great ease.

ING offers credit and loan solutions, covering varied needs such as property loans, personal loans, and consumer credit. This allows customers to access flexible financing options.

For those interested in investing in the stock market, ING offers complete stock market services. Clients can use online trading platforms to manage their portfolios and invest in an informed manner.

⛳️ Hello Bank

Hello Bank offers current accounts with features such as transfers, direct debits, online payments and statements online account. You can open savings accounts with Hello Bank, including regular savings accounts, term accounts and children's savings accounts. These accounts generally offer competitive interest rates.

Hello Bank offers a range of credit cards to suit different needs, with benefits such as loyalty programs, insurance and payment facilities. You can also apply for personal loans or home loans from Hello Bank, with competitive terms and rates.

Hello Bank provides you with a user-friendly online platform where you can manage your accounts, carry out transactions, consult your readings and contact customer service.

⛳️ Revolut

Revolut is an online bank that offers innovative banking services, including current accounts, credit cards, international money transfers and currency exchanges.

With Revolut, you can transact online or through the mobile app, making it a convenient option for people who travel frequently or need to transfer money abroad.

online banks

Revolut offers free current accounts with features like transfers, direct debits and online payments. It offers Mastercard or Visa credit cards with benefits such as loyalty programs, insurance and payment facilities.

You can send money abroad at competitive exchange rates with Revolut. The platform supports more than 30 currencies. Revolut lets you exchange currencies at great exchange rates, with no hidden fees.

🌿 Online banking comparison criteria

When comparing online banks, it is important to take into account several criteria to choose the one that best suits your needs. Here are some of the most important criteria to consider:

⛳️ Bank charges, a key point of differentiation

The main advantage of an online bank is lower costs compared to a traditional establishment. Let's look at which banks stand out the most with their attractive fee schedule. 💳

BankAccount maintenance feesCredit cardSEPA transfer fees
✨ BoursoramaFreeFreefree
✨ Hello bank!FreeFreefree
✨ Orange BankFreeFreefree
✨RevolutFree (Premium paid)Free (paid metallic)free
✨ N26Free (Premium paid)Freefree

On current account fees, Boursorama, ING, Hello Bank and Orange Bank stand out with total free payment. Please note that some banks charge these fees beyond a certain deposit threshold.

On the credit card side, most offer a free card with immediate debit, with paid options for a premium card. For card payments abroad, remember to check any fees.

Finally the SEPA transfers in euros are generally free. Some establishments charge for instant transfers and non-SEPA transfers.

⛳️ Complete and modern banking services

The most attractive online banks offer a very complete range of services, accessible entirely online and via mobile. ✅ Let's see the key features offered.

BankAccount managementBank cardsCreditsSavingStock ExchangeInsurances
Hello bank!
Orange Bank

Unsurprisingly, Boursorama and ING are distinguished by a complete range covering all traditional banking services. Hello Bank and Orange Bank are also very well supplied.

Revolut and N26 have a more limited offering, focused on bank accounts and cards. Savings, credit or insurance services are absent or reduced. In terms of management tools, all these banks offer modern and ergonomic interfaces, with well-rated mobile apps. The digital quality is there.

⛳️ Various eligibility conditions depending on the bank

Before committing, remember to check the eligibility conditions of the online bank that interests you. ✅ Criteria may differ. Boursorama, ING and Hello Bank only impose to be of legal age and French tax resident. Orange Bank asks to be an Orange mobile customer.

At Revolut and N26, the opening is also reserved for adult European residents. Please note, Revolut now imposes a minimum annual income of €24.

Beyond the conditions linked to your profile, some establishments also restrict the number of possible accounts per person. Thus Boursorama limits to 2 accounts per person, while N26 limits to 1 single account.

⛳️ Which bank to choose for a joint account or a pro account?

Need a joint account to manage your budget together? Or a professional account dedicated to your activity? Again, not all online banks are created equal. 👥👨‍💼

For a joint account, Boursorama, ING and Hello Bank offer the unrestricted option. Revolut also allows it, for a paid subscription. Orange Bank, N26 and Nickel, however, refuse to open joint accounts.

On the professional side, Boursorama is very suitable with its Corporate Banking offer. ING offers ING Pro with advantageous rates. Otherwise, fintechs like Qonto or Manager One should be considered.

⛳️ What insurance and protection for means of payment?

In the event of a problem, it is reassuring to benefit from solid insurance and guarantees on your means of payment. 🔒 What about online banks?

Most establishments offer classic insurance:

  • Protection of means of payment
  • Internet shopping guarantee
  • Emergency withdrawals in the event of loss of the card
  • Travel insurance

Check coverage ceilings to ensure sufficient protection. On liability in the event of a fraudulent transaction, the law generally caps that of the customer at €50. Revolut stands out with zero liability.

🌿 What availability for online banking after-sales service?

Despite digitization, it is reassuring to be able to easily reach your advisor if needed. 🤝 Let's see the accessibility of after-sales service leading online banks.

Boursorama, ING and banks linked to a physical network offer full customer service: telephone, chat, social networks. Revolut and N26 focus on online support. Response times may be longer during busy periods. Anticipate your requests.

In any case, in case of emergency a service minimum is insured 7 days a week, 7 hours a day, for card blocking for example.

🚀Online banking VS traditional banking

Online banks and traditional banks have significant differences in the way they operate and the services they offer. Here are some of the main differences between the two types of banks:


Online banks often have lower fees for basic banking services, such as checking accounts and credit cards. This is because they do not have costs associated with managing a network of physical branches, such as rental, personnel and maintenance costs.


Online banks are available 24 hours a day, 24 days a week, which makes them more accessible than traditional banks which have limited opening hours. Additionally, online services allow customers to manage their bank accounts from any location, without having to visit a physical branch.


Online banks often offer more innovative and convenient services than traditional banks, such as account management via a mobile app, low-cost international money transfers, and credit cards with loyalty programs.

However, some traditional banks are also starting to offer online services to compete with online banks.

Customer relationship

Traditional banks generally have a more personal customer relationship, with advisors available in branches to answer questions and offer financial advice.

Online banks may offer customer service by phone or live chat, but this may not be as personalized as in-person customer service.


Online banks are often considered as secure as traditional banks because they use advanced technologies to protect data and transactions.

However, some customers may prefer the added security offered by a physical branch when carrying out important banking transactions.

Ultimately, choosing between an online bank and a traditional bank will come down to your personal preferences and specific banking needs. It is important to compare the offers and costs of different options before making a decision.


Online banks have revolutionized the banking sector by offering convenient services, affordable and accessible to all. They operate through innovative digital platforms that allow customers to manage their accounts, carry out transactions and access a range of banking services, all from the comfort of home or on the move.

With low fees, flexible services and 24/24 accessibility, Online banks have been able to attract many customers looking for an alternative to traditional banks. Customers can open current accounts, save, get loans and make international money transfers with just a few clicks.

La security is a top priority for online banks, which use advanced technologies to protect their customers' data and transactions. Additionally, most online banks offer responsive customer service via phone, live chat, or email to answer questions and resolve issues quickly.


Q: What is online banking?

A: An online bank is a financial institution that offers banking services through digital platforms such as websites and mobile applications, without having a physical presence in the form of physical branches.

Q: Are online banks safe?

A: Yes, Online banks implement advanced security measures to protect their customers' data and transactions. This includes the use of encryption, two-factor authentication and strict security protocols.

Q: How can I contact customer service at an online bank?

A: Online banks generally offer several options for contacting their customer service, such as phone calls, live chats on their website or mobile app, or by email. Customer service contact details are usually available on the bank's website.

Q: Can I transact cash with an online bank?

A: Most online banks do not have physical branches to carry out cash transactions. However, some online banks have partnerships with automated teller machines (ATMs) to allow customers to withdraw cash.

Q: What are the advantages of online banks compared to traditional banks?

A: The benefits of online banking include generally lower fees, 24/24 accessibility, innovative services such as low-cost international money transfers, and a more convenient user experience thanks to digital platforms .

Q: Can I get a home loan with an online bank?

A: Yes, some online banks offer home loans. However, eligibility criteria and conditions may vary from bank to bank, so it is recommended to check each bank's specific offers.

Q: How do I make deposits to an online bank?

A: Online banks typically offer several options for making deposits, including wire transfers from another bank account, check deposits through a mobile app, or mailing checks.

Q: Do online banks offer business services?

A: Yes, some online banks also offer business banking services, such as business accounts, payment solutions for merchants, and financing services tailored to business needs.

Do online banks charge? Are there any hidden fees?

They are most often free or with minimal monthly fees, much lower than conventional banks. And no hidden fees: everything is displayed transparently.

What are the advantages of online banks compared to traditional banks?

The main advantages are the attractive prices, 24-hour accessibility via digital, the simplicity of opening the account in a few clicks and very ergonomic interfaces.

What are the disadvantages of online banking?

The main drawback is the absence of physical agencies and a designated advisor. Customer service is only remote, which may displease customers looking for human contact.

Do I have to choose between 100% online and 100% agency?

No, some hybrid banks combine physical branches and online services. This allows you to take advantage of both for more flexibility. See if this model is right for you.

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