10 Free Online Checking Accounts: No Opening Deposit Required

Banking

A checking account is a must-have tool, but these accounts can come with monthly maintenance fees that can quickly add up. Many banks and credit unions also require that you make a minimum initial deposit when you open a new checking account.

The following ten checking accounts are free to open and don’t require an initial deposit, so they’re ideal if you’re just getting started and don’t have much money to put down. They also come with other benefits, like higher than average interest rates and many other features.

Chime

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  • No minimum deposit
  • No minimum balance and no monthly maintenance fee
  • Over 60,000 fee-free1 ATMs
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposits2

You can open a Chime Checking Account in less than two minutes. This free checking account is available to U.S. citizens ages 18 and up.

With the Chime® app, you’ll be able to manage your banking and can sign up for this Checking Account (and a Chime Savings Account, if you’d like). Your Checking Account will come with a free Visa debit card. You can even set up direct deposits to further streamline your banking.

Current

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  • No minimum opening deposit or maintenance fees
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster
  • Overdraft up to $200 without any overdraft fees
  • Earn 4.00% APY on your savings
  • 40,000 fee-free ATMs

Current is one of the fastest-growing mobile banking solutions in the U.S., with over one million members. However, Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Current does not use ChexSystems or pull your credit report.

Some features of this free checking account from Current include fee-free overdraft protection of up to $200, 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs, and no minimum balance requirements or hidden fees.

You can also get paid up to two days early with direct deposit and earn up to 15x points, and get cashback. With Current Pay, you can transfer money instantly to other Current account holders. 

Upgrade

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  • No ATM fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Visa debit card, iOS and Android mobile app
  • Up to 2% cash back on purchases
  • $0 annual fees and $0 transfer fees

The Upgrade Rewards Checking account has no monthly fees, no ATM fees, and no transfer fees. Plus, you’ll get up to 2% cash back on everyday debit card purchases. If you use an out-of-network ATM, Upgrade will give you a rebate on up to five ATM fees per month if you meet certain conditions.

Upgrade has a bank partnership with Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Your funds are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. You can also get up to 20% lower rate on Upgrade loans and credit cards.

Chase

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  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • $100 bonus after 10 purchases in 60 days
  • Over 16,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • $4.95 monthly service fee

Chase is one of the most popular banks in the U.S. And now, they offer an account called Chase Secure Banking with no credit check, no ChexSystems, and no overdraft fees.

Account holders also get access to over 16,000 fee-free ATMs, free online bill pay, and free money orders and cashier’s checks. With 4,700 locations across the country, this is an excellent option for anyone who prefers having access to physical branches.

Opening a Chase Secure Banking account comes with a $100 cash bonus when you use the card for 10 purchases within 60 days. Account approval is immediate and you’ll receive your debit card within days. There is a small monthly service fee of $4.95; however, there is no minimum opening deposit to get started.

Axos Bank

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  • No minimum deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees
  • Unlimited ATM reimbursements
  • Early direct deposit up to 2 days ahead of payday
  • Free checks and Visa debit card when you open an account

Axos Bank is an FDIC-insured bank that’s been in business for 20 years. NerdWallet recognized Axos as offering the best checking account, and Go Banking Rates awarded Axos the title of the Best Online Bank.

With the Rewards Checking account, you’ll be able to bank entirely online. Axos’ innovative banking platform integrates with apps like Mint and Venmo and allows you to aggregate multiple accounts into a single, simplified view.

How to Choose the Best Free Checking Account

The above free checking accounts don’t require initial deposits, and each offers slightly different benefits. When choosing the checking account that’s right for your needs, consider how you’ll use the account, the type of balance you plan to carry, and what types of features you most value.

Be sure to pay attention to details like overdraft protection, fees for excessive transactions, out-of-network ATM fees, and other potential expenses you could face. You’ll also want to consider features like whether the checking account has online banking and a mobile app that you can use to pay bills and keep track of your balances and spending habits.

1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. Chime generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

Paige Cerulli
Meet the author

Paige Cerulli is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications like Business Insider and Bing. She lives in Massachusetts and enjoys playing the flute and horseback riding in her free time.