Best Free Online Checking Accounts: No Opening Deposit Required

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

The following six 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 early direct deposit options.

Chime Spending Account

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Chime, a mobile bank, offers a Chime Spending Account that you can open in less than two minutes. This account is completely free and 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 Spending Account (and a Chime Savings Account, if you’d like). Your Spending Account will come with a free Visa debit card. You can even set up direct deposit to further streamline your banking.

Benefits of the Chime Spending Account:

  • No initial deposit
  • No minimum balance and no monthly maintenance fees
  • Fee-free overdraft
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit
  • Access to more than 38,000 fee-free ATMs

Axos Bank Essential Checking

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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 Essential 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. If you invite a friend to join, you and your friend can get $20 for every referral.

Benefits of the Axos Essential Checking Account:

  • No opening deposit requirement
  • No minimum balance requirement and no monthly maintenance fees
  • No overdraft 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

Discover Cashback Debit

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While Discover is traditionally known for its credit cards, this online bank also offers a Cashback Debit checking account that’s full of perks. Opening an account is simple and requires no initial deposit.

The real value of this account lies in its debit card rewards, though. You can receive 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases every month. If you open a Discover Online Savings Account, you can elect to have those rewards automatically deposited into the savings account. Or, just opt to get the rewards back as cash.

Benefits of the Discover Cashback Debit Account:

  • Get 1% cash back on up to $3,000 of debit card purchases every month
  • No initial deposit
  • No monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement
  • No fee for transfers to external banks
  • No fee online bill pay and no fee check orders
  • Access over 60,000 no-fee ATMs

Capital One 360 Checking

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With its 360 Checking account, Capital One offers many perks and versatile options. It’s possible to open and maintain this account entirely online, but Capital One’s local branches also offer in-person assistance if you should need it. The 0.10% APY on all account balances is above average, and there’s no fee for foreign transfers.

Capital One also offers a network of more than 40,000 ATMs plus mobile check deposit for convenient banking. You can also choose from three overdraft coverage options depending on what’s best for you.

Benefits of the Capital One 360 Checking Account:

  • No minimum balance or initial deposits
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • 0.10% APY on account balance
  • No fee for foreign transactions
  • Mobile check deposit with the Capital One app
  • Multiple overdraft protection options
  • 40,000 fee-free ATMs

Ally Interest Checking Account

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Ally’s Interest Checking Account offers some of the highest interest rates in the industry. Balances of less than $15,000 are eligible for 0.10% APY, while balances of $15,000 and up are eligible for a 0.25% APY. With no minimum opening deposit and no monthly maintenance fees, it’s easy to open an account, and

Ally is very transparent about its fees. Be aware that Ally does have an excessive transaction fee. This fee goes into effect if you exceed six transactions with money market accounts (like online and mobile banking transfers) per statement cycle.

Benefits of an Ally Interest Checking Account:

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • 0.10% APY on less than $15,000 minimum daily balance, and 0.25% APY on $15,000 minimum daily balance
  • Ally eCheck Deposit allows for check deposits from your smartphone
  • Free use of 43,000 Allpoint ATMs and up to $10 reimbursement for other ATM fees per cycle

Chase College Checking

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The Chase College Checking account offers many perks for college students. Designed for students ages 17 to 24, there’s no monthly service fee for up to five years while the student is in college. Alternatively, the account carries a $6 monthly fee, or that fee is waived for a monthly direct deposit or if the account holds an average ending day balance of at least $5,000.

The Chase Mobile app allows for convenient banking, but Chase also has almost 4,900 branches nationwide. Chase also offers many other products that are ideal for college students, like the Chase Freedom Student Card.

Benefits of the Chase College Checking Account:

  • No initial deposit
  • Monthly service fee is waived for college students ages 17 to 24
  • Access to 16,000 ATMs and almost 4,900 branches
  • Chase Mobile app allows for mobile deposits
  • Quickly and easily send and receive money to friends and family with Chase QuickPay

Choosing the Right Account

The above checking accounts don’t require initial deposits, and each offers slightly different benefits. When choosing the 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, and other potential expenses you could face.  

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.