Axos Bank Review

Axos Bank is a reputable online bank that started as the Bank of Internet USA back in 2000. Located in San Diego, Axos was pivotal in offering “banking evolved” services to its customers, which is one of the reasons it acquired Nationwide Bank in 2018. The innovative bank offers free checking accounts, no fees, and overdraft protection. Axos Bank is ideal for online customers that don’t mind banking online through their smartphone or laptop. Customers that enjoy benefits like free checking accounts with no fees and overdraft protection will enjoy Axos. Axos is also suited for customers that enjoy chat, text and email correspondence with banking representatives.

Axos Bank at a glance

Pros
  • No maintenance fees
  • ATM fees reimbursed
  • Competitive interest rates
Cons
  • No physical branch locations
  • Limited customer service channels
  • Hefty overdraft fees

What’s interesting about Axos

Axos Bank is one of those rare online banks that choose to pass savings onto customers. In this case, customers can have different accounts, most of which don’t charge monthly maintenance fees. Another benefit is that customers can use domestic ATMs and be reimbursed for any ATM fees, but this doesn’t apply to foreign ATMs. Axos Bank has FDIC insurance for up to $250,000 per account holder. Axos offers competitive interest rates for checking accounts. However, savings account rates aren’t the highest available online. Mobile deposits, peer-to-peer payments, and bill pay are convenient features when using the Axos app.

Things to consider

With online-only banking, Axos isn’t the best option for customers used to or who prefer in-person banking. Additionally, new customers may have concerns about applying online and giving their social security number and ID via their mobile devices.

To deposit cash, customers have to use Reload @ the Register and will incur a $4.95 fee for each deposit. Customers that work in industries where they receive cash tips might see that multiple $4.95 fees add up unless they make infrequent deposits. Additionally, Golden and Cashback accounts can incur $25 charges for overdrafts, with a cap of three charges daily. Another concern is that its savings account APYs aren’t the highest for an online bank.

Checking and savings acounts

Axos Bank offers five different checking accounts with which customers can save their money and pay their bills. The Essential Checking account with Axos is the no-frills, just-what-you-need, basic checking account that offers ATM fee reimbursement, no fees and early paycheck deposit with direct deposit. The other four checking account offers all have some sort of cash back or interest-accruing feature. The CashBack Checking, First Checking, Golden Checking and Rewards Checking are for customers who want to see their money work for them — even if it’s just 0.20% or 1.25% APY with the Rewards and Golden accounts, respectively.

However, Axos also has a First Checking product for customers 13 to 17 years old that’s tacked with a 0.25% APY. That’s not incredibly high, but parents are able to teach their children money management skills in a low-risk environment with no insufficient fund or maintenance fees.

None of the accounts charge maintenance fees. Of the accounts offered, the Rewards Checking looks like the best option, as it includes daily compound interest and there’s no minimum balance or fees to maintain in the account. Savings accounts include a High Yield savings account and a Second Chance savings account. With the High Yield account, the APY is higher and there’s no minimum account balance to maintain or monthly fees for maintenance. The debit card is also free. Drawbacks include the ATM fees and overdraft fees of $25. The Second Chance savings account requires a $50 balance to open the account. The interest rate is lower, but there’s no monthly maintenance fee and the debit card is free. Drawbacks include a $1 fee for some ATMs and $25 overdraft fees.

Money market accounts

Axos Bank offers a money market account that requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 to open the account. It’s an ideal account for customers that want access to their money while it grows. Money market customers can request checks and a debit card for the account. Customers are limited to six checks monthly, but they can make other transactions through their debit cards. A drawback is the overdraft fee is $25, and there’s an ATM fee that varies depending on the type of ATM used. There is no monthly maintenance fee on this account. However, ATM reimbursement is not offered. While customers can earn an APY with this interest-bearing account, the rates are a bit lower than the national average, settling on 1.04% APY no matter the account balance.

CDs

Axos Bank provides customers with different certificates of deposit with varying term lengths. These range from shorter time frames of three months and go up to 60 months. This is helpful for customers that have short- and long-term savings goals. While there is no monthly fee for the CDs, there is an early withdrawal penalty if the customer does not let the money stay in the account until it reaches the locked-in maturity date. Axos Bank’s CD APYs are competitive for five-year, three-year, and two-year CDs, exceeding the national average rate, with a 60-month CD earning up to 2.25% APY. However, they fall slightly below CD rates for other online-only banks. To open a CD, customers will need a minimum of $1,000 for their deposit. This also slightly differs from other online banks, which typically do not require a minimum deposit to open a new CD account.

Credit cards

Axos Bank does not offer credit card options through its website, so customers that are interested in opening a new credit card might want to explore available options with other banks. Chase Bank offers high-reward credit cards for travel, cash back and small businesses. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card through Chase gives customers double the points on Southwest travel purchases, but is accompanied by a $69 annual fee. On the other hand, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has no annual fee and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. For intrepid travelers, the Southwest card is a good bet, but those looking for a no-frills and no-fee card can find great financial opportunities in the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Personal loans

If you need to consolidate debt, fund a wedding, pay for travel or make another large purchase, an Axos personal loan is a good bet. Customers can take out loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000 and get approval and funding in as little as two days. Choose a term length from 12 months to 60 months to find a solution that would best fit your financial needs and situation. There are no prepayment penalties and Axos Bank advertises flexible lending criteria for approval.

Mortgage loans

Waiting around for a mortgage to be funded isn’t fun, which is why Axos Bank offers a Close of Escrow Guarantee. Basically, if it can’t fund your loan by the end of escrow, it’ll waive its lender’s fee of up to $950. However, Axos Bank also advertises low rates and mortgage costs compared to other lenders.

Mortgage refinancing

Axos Bank offers mortgage refinancing products, and the products are covered under the same Close of Escrow Guarantee as its mortgage loans. You won’t have to pay the lenders fee if your loan can’t be funded by the end of escrow, which will save you about $950. Its interest rates and refinance costs are low, as they are with the mortgage products.

Home equity loans and HELOCs

This bank offers HELOCs that allow you to obtain funds as you need them, and you’ll only pay interest only on the funds used. Those are both nice features, but what’s even nicer is that Axos’ HELOCs can be applied for online, so there’s no need to visit a physical branch to take advantage of this product. Axos also offers industry-leading low interest rates on its home equity loan products and its financing process is streamlined — and all online — to help ensure quick close of escrow. If you’re looking for online convenience and low interest rates, Axos may be a good option for a home equity loan or HELOC.

Car loans

Axos Bank advertises auto loan rates as low as 4.45%, which is actually about 1% higher than what customers can find elsewhere. Customers getting a car loan from Axos Bank can expect loan amounts from $10,000 to $90,000 and terms up to 82 months. Axos Bank also offering auto loan refinancing, claiming at least a $99 reduction in monthly payments.

The final word

Axos Bank is a great online bank because it doesn’t charge fees and it offers free checking and savings accounts. Other selling points include free checks and debit cards with new accounts. Customers can also grow money in an interest-bearing account. However, with an APY that’s lower than the national average, customers might want to compare interest rates with other online-only banks. Another drawback is that there’s a minimum of $1,000 to open a CD. Overall, Axos customers can find a lot of free incentives for banking here, but if the highest interest rate is required for them to sign on at a bank, they might want to shop around online.