Can I open a bank account with no money?

By Chonce Maddox
February 6, 2020

Can you open a bank account with no money? This may sound like an oxymoron since a bank account is one of the most popular places to store your money. 

Indeed, having a bank account comes in handy whether you’re looking to budget your money, receive direct deposit payments or pay bills online

Yet, when it comes to actually opening an account, maybe you’ve been turned away because you didn’t have money to deposit on that day. This inconvenience can be avoided if you open a bank account with no hidden fees

Read on to learn more about opening a bank account with no money.

  1. What are minimum balance requirements?
  2. What is an opening deposit?
  3. Can you open a bank account with no deposit or minimum balance?
  4. Open an online bank account through Chime with no deposit & no balance requirements

What are minimum balance requirements?

Many financial institutions require a minimum balance in order to keep an account open or avoid a monthly service fee. 

For example, the SunTrust Essential Checking account requires a minimum account balance of $500 to avoid a seven dollar a month service fee. Meanwhile, Citi’s Simple Checking account has a $12 monthly maintenance fee. To avoid the fee you must make one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment per statement period or maintain a $1,500 account balance (can be shared among other eligible accounts). 

You may be wondering why traditional banks have minimum balance requirements. It’s simple. 

Brick-and-mortar banks need to make money, too. They have overhead costs like branches to operate and employees to pay. They don’t make any money when you don’t keep money in your account. 

However, when you bank through Chime, there are no hidden fees. This means you can keep more of your money and have more flexibility in terms of what you do with your hard-earned cash.

What is an opening deposit?

Let’s go back to when you first decide to open a bank account.

There are some cases where you may be asked to meet a minimum deposit requirement, which can range from $25 to $100. If you can’t meet this requirement, a traditional bank may deny your application and you won’t be able to open an account.

The reason why some banks have this requirement in the first place is similar to the reason why they charge other fees and have a minimum balance requirement. In addition to having overhead costs, traditional banks make the bulk of their money by loaning funds to borrowers for mortgages and other purchases. To lend money, they have to be making money.

So, if you open a bank account and the balance is $0, it doesn’t benefit the traditional bank at all.

But, say you want to open an account even if you don’t have any money at that moment. For example, perhaps you are getting paid in the next week and plan to come back and deposit more into your bank account at a later date.

Regardless of the reason, there’s really no getting around this requirement with some traditional banks if you don’t have the money.

This is why you may want to consider opening an online bank account.

Can you open a bank account with no deposit or minimum balance?

If you’ve been following along so far you probably know that yes, you can open a bank account with no money. You can also do this without adhering to a minimum balance requirement.

Yet, not all bank accounts are created equal. If you’re tired of paying extra fees or dealing with strict requirements, consider becoming a Chime member.

Open an online bank account through Chime with no deposit & no balance requirements

Chime is different in that it was built on the principle of helping members save more money and get ahead. Chime wants to make it easier for you to hold onto your cash.

Each time you swipe your Chime debit card, Chime earns a small fee paid by the merchant. They don’t make money off you. As a result, you enjoy no hidden fees including:

  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No opening balance requirement
  • No monthly maintenance charges
  • No overdraft charges

If you have an irregular income, or are looking to avoid excessive fees, Chime could be a great solution.

Choncé is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, personal finance freelance writer, and blogger who focuses on helping other manage their money better in order to live a life with more possibilities and fewer limitations. Her work has been featured on Business Insider, LendingTree, Credit Sesame, Barclaycard.

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