Online banking has had a major impact on the banking industry, especially the retail banking industry. Consumers today have much greater access to their money deposited with a bank because of information technology, and the banking industry has spent a great deal of time and money developing the IT infrastructure to make convenient and secure online banking possible.

WalletHub recently published their “Q1 2014 Banking Landscape Report”. This report surveys the fees, features and rates associated with over 1,900 checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit from financial institutions of all sizes, both online and brick-and-mortar, including credit unions, across the U.S.

Consumer banking account fee

Credit unions are a better deal than banking industry

One clear-cut result of WalletHub’s survey is that credit unions are a good deal compared to banks, even local, community banks. “Credit unions are 72% cheaper than national banks, offer 105% more features and provide 562% higher interest rates. When it comes to small banks, credit unions are still 48% cheaper, offer 46% more features and provide 699% higher interest rates”

Wallet Hub Checking Account Fee Consumer banking

Online checking accounts offer best value

Another across the board finding of the WalletHub survey is that online checking accounts are generally the best deal. According to the report, “General consumers should use online checking accounts, as they are 19% cheaper than branch accounts, have 20% more features, and provide a 122% higher average interest rate. Savings accounts actually have lower interest rates than checking accounts for this segment.”

Checking accounts by institution type Consumer banking

Avoid business checking accounts

The WalletHub report also highlighted that you should avoid so-called “business accounts” in most cases. Data from the survey showed that business accounts are 46% more expensive, have 4% fewer features and on average offer 57% lower interest rates than consumer accounts. WalletHub says small business owners would be better off with personal online checking accounts in most cases.

Take advantage of student checking accounts

Data from the survey make it clear that student checking accounts are hands-down the best deal available to consumers, and students should definitely take advantage of the opportunity. The report shows that,”Student checking accounts are 66% cheaper than the average personal account and offer 28% more features, but they also provide 86% lower interest rates. Student savings accounts offer some of the highest interest rates on the market.”