The best checking accounts are truly free and require no minimum balance to stay that way. Unfortunately, most big banks require customers to maintain balances of $1,000 or more to avoid monthly fees.
Our pick for the best no minimum checking account was an easy decision thanks to just how attractive this checking account is. The Axos Bank Rewards Checking Account not only has no minimum balance requirement or monthly fees, it offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursement and pays interest.
Best checking accounts with no minimum deposits
- Best overall: Axos Bank Rewards Checking
- Best for building savings: Chime® Checking Account
- Also great: Capital One 360 Checking Account
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account is our pick for best no minimum checking account.
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.
- Up to 3.30% APY*
- Zero minimum monthly balance requirements
- Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements
- Multiple rate requirements to earn max APY
- Online-only bank
Whether you’re looking for a basic free checking account or to earn interest on higher checking account balances, the Axos Bank Rewards Checking Account will serve you well.
With the Axos Rewards Checking account you’ll enjoy unlimited reimbursements from any domestic ATM as well as no monthly maintenance fees. (There’s no need to keep a minimum balance just to avoid fees). There’s also no overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees. It takes just $50 to open an account.
The Axos Rewards Checking account also pays interest of up to 3.30% APY to eligible users. If you direct deposit at least $1,500 per month into the account, you’ll begin earning interest on your checking balance (currently 0.40% APY). After that, the more you use your account, the more you’ll earn.
If you use your debit card for at least 10 transactions per month (min $3 per transaction) or sign up for Personal Finance Manager (PFM) “account aggregation” in online banking to earn an additional 0.30% interest.
You can earn even more interest, up to 3.30% APY, by using one or more Axos Bank products like managed portfolios, self-directed investing, or loans (personal, mortgage and auto). See the Axos Bank website for full details.
There’s also the ability to earn up to a $300 welcome bonus until December 31, 2023 if you meet certain criteria. We didn’t highlight this welcome bonus sooner because, frankly, it requires a lot of cash to earn and will be out of reach for many users. After keeping an account open for 7 months, you’ll earn $50 for each month (up to 6 months) you 1) had direct deposits totaling $7,000 or more and maintained an average balance of $15,000 or more. That’s a lot of money to move through (and keep in) your checking account, no doubt. If you can do it, though, there’s a free $300 waiting for you on the other side.
Chime® Checking Account
There’s no minimum deposit required to sign up for the Chime Checking Account, and once you’ve opened your account, you won’t run into any monthly fees or future minimum balance requirements either.
Chime provides an impressive and comprehensive online banking experience.* With their highly rated mobile app, customers can securely transfer funds and set up early direct deposit to receive their paychecks up to two days early. Chime also offers fee-free overdraft coverage up to $200 (conditions apply), and customers can withdraw cash from Chime’s network of more than 60,000+ ATMs for free as well.
However, perhaps the greatest features of this account are the automatic savings options. Whenever you use your Chime Visa® Debit Card, Chime will round up your transaction to the nearest dollar amount and transfer the difference into your Chime Savings Account. You can also set up an automatic transfer that moves as much as 10% of your paycheck into your savings with every direct deposit of $500 or more.
» MORE: Read our full Chime review.
Capital One 360 Checking Account
The Capital One 360 Checking Account is another free checking account with no opening deposit required. However, you will need to make a deposit within 60 days of opening your account to keep it open.
Capital One differs from some competitors in this list for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s one of the few options that provides physical branches for those customers who want to work with a real person. That said, Capital One has also created a seamless digital experience for its customers.
As a checking account holder, you can deposit checks, lock/unlock your debit card, and get real-time alerts about your account activity all on your phone.
As extra icing on the cake, Capital One’s no minimum deposit checking account has surprisingly low fees for a traditional bank, including no monthly fees, no foreign transaction fees, no incoming wire transfer fees, and more. Not to mention, if you overdraw your account, Capital One provides three fee-free overdraft options to help you out.
There are a number of checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements that didn’t make our top 3, but are also worth considering.
Juno is an online checking account that lets you get started with no opening deposit or minimum balance requirements.
Your checking is fee-free, which means no monthly maintenance fees, no overdraft fees, and free ATM access at 80,000+ locations (including Walgreens, CVS, and more).
Juno is also an excellent option for individuals interested in cryptocurrency. With Juno, users can earn, invest, and spend both cash and crypto. You’ll earn 5% cash back on popular brands like Amazon and Walmart (with a cap)
FNBO Direct Checking Account
FNBO Direct, the online extension of the First National Bank of Omaha, offers a free checking account with no opening deposit required and no minimum balance.
FNBO is one of the more established banks mentioned in this list, with more than 160 years under its belt. This financial institution has worked hard to build a seamless online platform, and it shows. The mobile app and website are easy to navigate, offering a variety of personal, business, commercial, and wealth products.
When it comes to fees, FNBO continues to shine. FNBO waives many of the fees associated with a standard checking account, such as incoming wire transfer fees and monthly maintenance fees. Some FNBO customers can even earn interest through the bank’s Premier Checking Account option (varies and not available in some locations).
How we came up with this list
Alright, so we know you’re wondering, “How did they land on this killer list of the best ‘no minimum’ checking accounts?” Well, sit tight because we’re about to pull back the curtain. It wasn’t just a dartboard and some luck. Nope, there was a lot of caffeine, late nights, and meticulous digging involved. Let’s spill the beans!
The relentless pursuit of information
First things first, we took a deep breath and dived into the vast sea of information. There’s a boatload of banks out there, each flaunting their ‘no minimum’ checking account like it’s the crown jewel. We knew we needed to navigate this maze with precision.
- Comprehensive web searches: We started with good ol’ Google. From blog posts to bank brochures, we left no stone unturned. We made sure every claim, every perk, and every little fee was noted down.
- Financial forums and discussions: To get some genuine user feedback, we lurked on financial forums and discussion boards. Because, let’s face it, who better to give you the real scoop than someone who’s been there, done that?
Tapping into expert opinions
Of course, we didn’t just want to rely on what’s floating around on the web. We went the extra mile to chat with the wizards of the financial world.
- Interviews with bank representatives: We picked up the phone and had some heart-to-heart conversations with bank reps. These chats gave us insights into the nitty-gritty details of each account, straight from the horse’s mouth.
- Financial advisors weigh in: We know a few financial gurus, so we rang them up too. Their expertise helped us understand which features truly matter and which ones are just smoke and mirrors.
Criteria that made the cut
Alright, so we gathered a mountain of data. But how did we sift through the noise? We set some solid criteria. If an account didn’t tick these boxes, it didn’t make the list.
- True to its promise: We kicked off with the basics. Does the account truly offer a ‘no minimum’ experience, or are there sneaky exceptions hiding in the fine print? Integrity was key.
- User-friendliness: An account can have all the bells and whistles, but if it’s more complicated than a Rubik’s cube, it’s a no-go. We prioritized accounts that were user-friendly, both in terms of interface and overall experience.
- Added perks: We’re all about that extra sprinkle of magic. Accounts that offered bonuses like cash back, rewards, or interest earned some brownie points.
- Customer feedback: Remember those forums we mentioned? We took those user reviews seriously. An account could look shiny on paper, but if real users had gripes, we took note.
The human touch: Our personal experiences
And here’s where we add our special sauce. Some of us on the team have been on the hunt for the perfect ‘no minimum’ checking account in the past. So, we threw in our two cents.
- Usability tests: We signed up, logged in, and played around. By actually using these accounts, we got a feel for what it’s like in the day-to-day.
- Mystery shopping: We went undercover. Posing as potential customers, we approached banks to see how they’d pitch their ‘no minimum’ checking accounts. This gave us a peek into their customer service and how they treated potential clients.
- Rate the user interface: In today’s digital age, a clunky app or website is a dealbreaker. We checked how intuitive and responsive each platform was, ensuring you’d get a smooth experience.
So, by the end of this roller-coaster research ride, we had our list. It wasn’t just numbers and data; it was a blend of hard facts and real human experiences. We hope it guides you to find the ‘no minimum’ checking account that feels like it was made just for you.
Opening a checking account
So, you’ve decided to dip your toes into the financial pool by opening a checking account? That’s an excellent move! Opening a checking account is like getting a backstage pass to the world of modern finance. Stick with me, and I promise, by the end, you’ll be all set to make a well-informed choice.
Why would you even want a checking account?
Curious about why checking accounts are all the rage? Here are the superstar benefits:
- Ease of access means peace of mind: You know those late-night online shopping sprees or spontaneous road trips? With a checking account, your money’s right there when you need it.
- The magic of online banking: Picture this – you’re in your PJs, sipping on some tea, and you remember that bill you forgot to pay. No worries! Log in, click, and voilà – bill sorted.
- Cash-free, carefree living: Carrying wads of cash is so yesterday. With your trusty card, you’re always ready for action, and your money’s safe too.
- That little cushion for rainy days: We’ve all had those “Oops!” moments. That’s where overdraft facilities come in handy, offering a safety net when you overshoot your budget.
Types of checking accounts: There’s something for everyone!
Just like ice cream, there’s a flavor (or type) of checking account for every taste:
- Standard checking accounts – the trusty old-timers: Perfect for those who love the straightforward, no-frills approach to banking.
- Student checking accounts – because adulting is hard: Tailored for those in school or college, these accounts are generous with perks and easy on fees. Plus, they understand that sometimes, pizza is an essential expense.
- Senior checking accounts – silver and savvy: Designed for the experienced folks, these come with benefits that make life even sweeter after 60.
- Business checking accounts – for the bosses: If you’ve got entrepreneurial dreams or already run a business, these are your go-to. They understand the hustle and are designed to back you up.
The perfect bank match: Swipe right for the best fit!
Think of choosing a bank like scrolling through a dating app:
- Customer service is king (or queen): Go for banks that treat you like royalty. After all, they should be vying for your attention, not the other way around.
- Digital love: A robust online platform can make your life so much easier. Check if their app is user-friendly, especially if you’re a fan of banking in bed (no judgment here!).
- Local or global: Depending on your lifestyle, you might want a bank with branches everywhere or just a strong local presence.
- Watch out for the fee gremlins: Some banks might seem perfect until those hidden fees start cropping up. Always read the fine print!
The key to your financial kingdom: Documents
Alright, before you unlock the benefits of a checking account, there’s some paperwork:
- Your golden ticket – proof of identity: Your passport, driver’s license, or any other government ID should do the trick.
- Home sweet home – proof of address: Recent utility bills, rental agreements, or even a bank statement can vouch for you.
- Numbers game – SSN or ITIN: This isn’t just a minor detail; it’s super important for tax stuff.
Fees: Let’s decode them together
Every fairy tale has a villain, and in the world of checking accounts, it’s often the fees:
- Maintenance fees can lurk: Some banks charge if you don’t keep a certain amount in your account. I know, it feels like a penalty for not being rich enough!
- Overdraft fees – the sneaky ninjas: They appear when you least expect them, especially after an unplanned shopping spree.
- ATM fees – the party crashers: Using an ATM from another bank might cost you a little. So, always keep an eye out for your bank’s ATMs.
The online world: Embrace the future
The digital age of financial institutions is here, and online banking is leading the charge:
- Sign up and soar: Once you’ve got your account details, register for online access. It’s usually a quick process.
- There’s an app for that: And trust me, it’s a lifesaver. Banking on the go has never been easier.
- Alerts – your financial watchdogs: Customize them to notify you about anything from a low balance to suspicious activity.
Guarding your treasure: Keeping it safe
Last on our list, but probably the most crucial:
- Password prowess: Your password is the first line of defense. Make it strong, mix it up, and change it often.
- Stay vigilant: Regularly checking your statement can help spot anything fishy.
- Mum’s the word: Don’t share your account details, especially over the phone or unsolicited emails. If in doubt, always reach out to your bank directly.
What is a ‘no minimum’ checking account?
Managing personal finances can sometimes feel like navigating a maze. One wrong turn, and you’re hit with a fee you didn’t expect. That’s where the ‘no minimum’ checking account comes in. Let’s dive deep and uncover the ins and outs of this financial gem.
The basics of ‘no minimum’ checking accounts
At its core, a ‘no minimum’ checking account is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a checking account that says goodbye to the need for keeping a specific minimum daily balance down. You remember those accounts that slap you with a fee if you drop below a certain amount? Yeah, these aren’t those.
Key features of ‘no minimum’ checking accounts
- Zero balance requirements: The star of the show. Sleep easy knowing you won’t wake up to a fee just because you spent a little more on that online shopping spree.
- Wider accessibility: Whether you’re a college student counting pennies or a freelancer riding the financial rollercoaster, this account’s got your back.
- Unlimited transactions: Swipe away, my friend. Many of these accounts let you go transaction-crazy without tacking on extra fees.
Why choose a ‘no minimum’ checking account?
- Simplicity at its best: No more diving deep into the fine print. No hidden fees, no tricky terms. Just clear, simple banking.
- Life happens: And when it does, you need an account that moves with the ebb and flow. Got a big expense that’s taken you down a notch? No worries. Your account’s got you.
- Everyone’s welcome: These accounts are like that big-hearted aunt who has room for everyone at her dinner table. Whether you’re banking for the first time or the hundredth, there’s a seat for you.
How to find the right ‘no minimum’ checking account for you
- Research and compare: Before you commit, play the field. Check out different banks, see what they’re offering. And remember, it’s not just about the lack of a minimum. What’s their customer service like? Do they have a swanky mobile app?
- Think about your habits: Are you the type to check your account every morning with your coffee? Or the once-a-month peeker? Choose an account that fits your style.
- Ask around: Got that friend who’s always on top of their finances? Give them a shout. They might have a recommendation or two up their sleeve.
Pros and cons of free checking accounts to consider
Navigating the world of personal finance, you’ve likely come across free checking accounts. They’re pretty popular, especially with their promise of no pesky monthly fees and straightforward account management. But just like any other financial instrument, there are two sides to this coin. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the benefits and potential downsides of these fee checking accounts now.
Advantages of free checking accounts
You know that feeling when you find a deal that’s too good to be true? Well, free checking accounts come with some pretty sweet perks that can make your banking life a whole lot easier. Let’s take a peek.
No monthly maintenance fees
One of the primary attractions of free checking accounts is that they don’t hit you with monthly maintenance fees. Think about it: this can mean significant savings over the years compared to those traditional accounts that charge you monthly maintenance fee month after month.
Low minimum balance requirements
What’s great about many free checking accounts is that they’re not demanding when it comes to maintaining a certain balance. Some don’t even have a minimum balance requirement. So, if your account tends to run and account balances are on the lower side, this is a stress-reliever.
User-friendly online platforms
A big plus of banks offering free checking accounts is their emphasis on digital banking. This often translates to user-friendly online platforms and mobile apps that make managing your money a breeze.
Wide ATM access
Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you’re limited. Many of these accounts give you wide-ranging ATM access, and some even rebate you if other banks charge an ATM fee.
Fewer overdraft fees
Here’s a bonus: some free checking accounts are more forgiving when you accidentally spend a bit too much, offering provisions that limit those annoying overdraft fees.
Drawbacks of free checking accounts
But hold on a minute. Before you rush to open that free checking account, there are some potential pitfalls you should be aware of. Here’s what you might want to consider.
Lower interest rates
One thing to remember is that free checking accounts might not be your best friend when it comes to interest rates. They tend to offer lower rates compared to the fee-based siblings. So if earning from your deposits is on your priority list, you might want to look elsewhere.
Fewer perks and benefits
Here’s the thing: those premium or fee-based accounts often come packed with added perks, like higher withdrawal limits, complimentary checkbooks, or even a dedicated customer service line. With a free account, you might miss out on some of these.
Potential hidden fees
The term ‘free’ might sound absolute, but sometimes there’s a catch. You might find yourself paying for things like international transactions or getting a paper statement, so it pays to stay vigilant and read the details.
Limited physical branches
If you’re someone who likes the idea of walking into a bank and doing business face-to-face, free checking accounts might pose a challenge. Banks that lean heavily into offering free accounts may not have many physical branches.
Account closure penalties
Lastly, just a heads-up: some free checking accounts might penalize you for closing your account too soon after opening it. It’s always a good idea to understand all the terms before diving in.
How to choose a checking account with no minimum deposit
Navigating the world of banking can sometimes feel like walking through a maze. But hey, we’re here to help! The good news is that there are checking accounts out there without those pesky minimum deposit requirements. Let’s break down how you can find them and why they might just be the perfect fit for you.
Understanding why banks have minimum deposits
First off, let’s get why some banks have this requirement out of the way:
- It’s about liquidity: Banks wanted to ensure they always had funds on hand.
- Competition is fierce: To lure in more customers, many banks have decided to drop the whole minimum deposit thing.
- The rise of digital banks: Online-only banks are changing the game. Fewer overheads often mean no minimum deposit requirements, pushing traditional banks to reconsider.
Why a no minimum deposit checking account rocks
Here’s the fun part – the perks of these accounts:
- Everyone’s welcome: Whether you’re starting with a dollar or a thousand, there’s no pressure to have a certain amount ready.
- Freedom to spend: Use your money when you want, how you want. No strings attached.
- Sleep easy: No more middle-of-the-night panic about dipping below a set balance and those dreaded fees.
Things to keep in mind before diving in
Okay, no minimum deposit is great, but there are some other things you might want to check out:
- Watch out for fees: Some banks might not require a deposit, but they could have monthly fees. Sneaky, right?
- Look for a little extra: Some accounts give you interest. It might not be a gold mine, but hey, every bit helps.
- ATMs everywhere, please: You’ll want a bank with a good ATM network. No one likes paying extra for withdrawing their own money.
- All about that app: In our tech-savvy world, a solid mobile banking app can make life so much easier.
- Give me good vibes: You want a bank that treats you right. Stellar customer service can go a long way.
Who is a no-minimum checking account right for?
When considering financial solutions, a no-minimum checking account emerges as an enticing option for many. Let’s delve into who stands to gain the most from such an account.
Flexibility for starters
For those who are just dipping their toes into the world of banking, a no-minimum checking account can be the perfect introduction.
- Ease of entry: No pressure to maintain a certain balance, making it less daunting.
- Learning the ropes: A great way to get acquainted with banking processes without the added stress of meeting balance requirements.
If you’re on a tight budget, every penny counts. A no-minimum checking account ensures you’re not penalized for low funds.
- Avoidance of penalties: Not having to worry about dipping below a threshold means fewer unexpected fees.
- Flexibility with funds: It’s easier to manage money when you know there’s no looming minimum balance requirement.
Students and young adults
Embarking on the journey of financial independence can be overwhelming. For students and young adults, a no-minimum checking account is a boon.
- Limited income: With often erratic incomes, there’s peace of mind in knowing there aren’t minimum restrictions.
- Educational phase: It’s a safe space to learn budgeting and financial management without stringent rules.
Entrepreneurs and freelancers
Those who freelance or run their own businesses understand the ebb and flow of income. Such accounts offer flexibility tailored to their needs.
- Varied income streams: Income isn’t always steady, and a no-minimum account accommodates that.
- Business expenditures: The freedom to use funds for business needs without fearing account penalties.
Seniors and retirees
For seniors and retirees, a no-minimum checking account can be advantageous, especially for those on fixed incomes.
- Simplified financial management: With potentially limited tech-savviness, an uncomplicated account can be a breath of fresh air.
- Fixed income compatibility: Not having to stress about maintaining a particular balance aligns well with fixed retirement incomes.
Who is a no-minimum checking account NOT right for?
While a no-minimum checking account sounds appealing and offers many benefits, it might not be the ideal choice for everyone. Let’s explore who might want to think twice before opting for this type of account.
If you have a substantial amount of money, you might be better off with accounts that offer returns on higher balances.
- Missed interest opportunities: Traditional or premium accounts might offer better interest rates for those with hefty balances.
- Lack of premium features: Some premium accounts come with added perks like travel insurance, rewards, or exclusive offers that you’d miss out on.
Those seeking robust banking features
For folks who need more than just the basics, a no-minimum account might feel restrictive.
- Limited banking services: Such accounts often come with basic features, missing out on some advanced tools and services.
- No relationship benefits: Some banks offer benefits for maintaining higher balances, like waived fees on other products or higher rates on savings.
If saving is second nature to you and you enjoy seeing those interest gains, a no-minimum account might not cut it.
- Lower interest rates: Often, these accounts won’t have the best available interest rates.
- Absence of saving incentives: With no balance requirements, there might be less motivation to save more.
Business owners with significant transactions
Entrepreneurs or business owners with money market accounts or large transaction volumes might find these accounts limiting.
- Transaction limits: Some no-minimum accounts might have caps on free transactions per month.
- Lack of business tools: They might not offer essential business features like payroll integration or invoicing capabilities.
People aiming for financial growth
For those with goals of rapid financial growth, no-minimum accounts might not be the optimal choice.
- Growth limitations: They might not offer the tools, perks, or interest rates that support aggressive financial growth strategies.
- Absence of wealth-building tools: More comprehensive accounts might come with investment advice, financial planning sessions, or even wealth management consultations.
A checking account with no minimum deposit is a great option if you’re short on funds right now, but want to set up an account for your day-to-day spending.
Before you commit to one, do your research and compare your options. Check for hidden fees or limits, and don’t forget to add money into it as soon as you can!