You can open a free online checking account from your computer or smartphone in just a few minutes. However, some banks may require a minimum balance to open an account, giving you just a couple of days to deposit the funds. Banks with minimum deposits are also more likely to have fees for dipping below a certain balance.
For example, you can open a Wells Fargo free checking account through their website or app, but you need a $25 balance to start. Additionally, the Wells Fargo free checking account only waives the monthly service fee if you meet one of the bank’s conditions each period:
- Maintain a minimum $500 balance daily
- Make at least $500 in direct deposits
- Be between the ages of 17 and 24
- Have a linked Campus ATM Card or Campus Debit Card
As an incentive to choose a free checking account, banks may waive traditional minimum deposit requirements, but offer perks if you make a substantial initial deposit.
For example, some banks have a checking account bonus offer if you open an account with more than a certain amount. New accounts with tens of thousands of dollars may come with a cash bonus.
Fifth Third Bank does not have a minimum balance or deposit requirement. However, the bank gives new customers a $300 bonus for qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 60 days of opening the account.
You may be able to open a bank account online free of deposit requirements from some non-traditional financial groups. Many online banks do not have physical branches or minimum deposit requirements.
Non-brick-and-mortar financial institutions often have better rates and lower service fees than traditional banks. However, you may need a bank with offices if you use cash more than online transactions.
The following banks all have free checking accounts:
- Ally Bank
- Axos Bank
- Charles Schwab
- Simple Bank
Online banks are great options if you do not do much physical banking, like utilizing teller services or making cash deposits. Most online banks also have user-friendly mobile apps, so you can deposit checks, transfer money, and pay bills anywhere.
You may be able to reap other rewards if you are part of an organization. The Teachers Federal Credit Union, for instance, has more favorable rates and terms than other banks for eligible members in the Long Island area.
Even if a bank does not have an opening deposit or balance requirement, it may waive the monthly fees if you maintain a minimum balance or enroll in direct deposit with your employer.
Bank of America, for example, waives monthly fees and provides overdraft protection for Advantage Plus accounts with more than $1,500. Customers get additional free services and earn interest on their balance for Bank of America Advantage Relationship accounts with more than $10,000.
Banks may offer free checking accounts with other benefits catering to specific demographics. Next, check out the best free checking accounts for seniors.