Bankrate recently announced the results of its 2008 Checking Study and found some interesting results:
The 22 checking accounts we surveyed at 18 online institutions show that they can be somewhat pricey, especially if you're intent on earning interest, but at least they pay decent interest. You may find that abiding by a couple of minor stipulations will eliminate fees.
Honestly, I'm not sure Bankrate did a great job of really looking at online banks — and it's a little confusing just exactly who they surveyed.
The text above says "online institutions" — implying online banks — but their methodology says they "surveyed one interest checking account and one noninterest checking account at each of the largest banks and thrifts in each of 25 large markets."
That seems to imply they are looking at the online versions of brick and mortar banks, but I'm not totally sure.
If you're looking to open an online checking account, the best is ING's Electric Orange.
When you open an account with at least $250, you'll get an automatic $25 deposited as a bonus.
It's got no fees, no minimums and is super-easy to use.