How Much Money Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?

By Rebecca Lake · May 20, 2024 · 9 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right.

How Much Money Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?

Opening a checking and savings account, whether at an online bank, a brick-and-mortar one, or a credit union, can be a major step towards good money management. With an account set up, you’ll likely be able to receive your paycheck as a direct deposit, swipe a debit card to pay for purchases, and access tools to help you save towards some short-term goals.

But you may worry that you need a chunk of change to open an account. The truth is, though, that you may be able to start an account with zero cash deposited.

While each bank can set its own minimum deposits, some will let you open an account with a single dollar or even no money at all. Or you might encounter certain financial institutions or account types that require $100, $500, or more. You might even find that the account with the higher deposit minimum is the better fit for you.

To better understand minimum deposit and minimum balance requirements, read on.

Key Points

•   Opening a bank account can be a significant step towards effective money management.

•   Some banks allow opening an account with as little as $1 or even no money at all.

•   Online banks often have lower or no minimum deposit requirements due to the absence of physical branches.

•   Traditional brick-and-mortar banks might require a minimum deposit of $25 or more to open an account.

•   Credit unions typically offer minimum opening deposits ranging from zero to $25.

What Is a Minimum Initial Deposit?

A minimum initial deposit is the amount of money that a financial institution requires you to deposit in order to open an account. In some cases, this can be as little as $1 or even nothing at all; in other cases, it could be $100 or considerably higher.

Requirements for Opening a Checking Account

The requirements for opening a checking account can vary from bank to bank. If you’re interested in how to open a bank account online or in person, you’ll typically need to provide these things to get started:

•   Your name

•   Date of birth

•   Address

•   Phone number and email

•   Social Security number

•   Government-issued photo ID.

If you’re opening a bank account with someone else, a.k.a. a joint account, you’ll need the same information for them. And if you’re a student opening a student account, you may need to bring proof of enrollment at a qualifying school.

You may well be wondering, “Do I need money to open a bank account?” Possibly, but it may not be a significant sum. Banks can require an initial deposit to open your account. Here’s how to get the cash into a new account:

•   If you’re funding your new account online, you’ll need to give the new bank the routing number and account number for where the money will be coming from.

•   If you are at a bricks and mortar bank or credit union, you might use a check to make an initial deposit.

Bank Minimum Initial Deposit vs. Minimum Balance Requirement

When thinking about how much money you need to start a bank account, it’s important to understand the difference between your initial deposit and your ongoing balance requirement. If a deposit requirement is in place, that is separate from the minimum balance requirement that you may also need to meet to avoid a monthly service fee.

For example, you might need to deposit $100 to open your account. However, in order to avoid a $10 monthly maintenance fee, you may need to keep an average daily balance of $500 there.

A free checking account that doesn’t charge a monthly fee may not have a minimum balance requirement. Check with the bank up front so you are familiar with the terms and aren’t surprised by any fees being deducted.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Bank Account?

Let’s get down to the dollars and cents of this topic: How much money do you need to open a bank account?

Minimum Opening Deposit for Online Banks

When opening an online bank account, it’s typical to have low or $0 minimum initial deposits for a checking account. Because online banks don’t have to pay for physical locations, they typically are able to pass the savings along to their clients with lower or no minimum deposit requirements.

They may also offer other perks like an annual percentage yield (or APY) on a checking account or a higher APY than elsewhere on savings accounts.

Minimum Opening Deposit for Brick-and-Mortar Banks

If you were to open a bank account at a traditional bank (also known as a brick-and-mortar bank), on the other hand, you might need $25 or more for the initial deposit. And if you have two checking accounts at the same bank, it’s possible you might have to meet different initial deposits for each one.

Jumbo or premium accounts, which may be interest-bearing checking accounts and offer rewards, can also set the bar higher for how much money is required to get started. For example, a jumbo checking account might pay interest on balances of $1,000, $10,000, or more so you would need at least that much to open one.

Minimum Opening Deposit for Credit Unions

How much money do you need to open a checking account at a credit union? If you prefer to open a checking account at a credit union vs. a bank, you will likely find minimum opening deposits that range from zero to $25.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!

Can You Open a Bank Account With No Money?

You can probably open a bank account with no money. As mentioned above, you are most likely to find this kind of checking account offered at an online bank vs. a traditional bank.

Before you open this kind of account, though, it can be wise to make sure you understand the terms of the account, including the fine print. Factors to consider include what, if any, fees will be assessed, what balance you may need to maintain, and how and when you need to fund the account.

Recommended: What to Know If You’ve Been Denied a Checking Account

Difference Between Checking & Savings

Checking accounts and savings accounts are both types of deposit accounts. You can find them at online banks, brick-and-mortar banks, and credit unions. But in terms of what they’re designed to do and how they work, they aren’t identical. Here’s a closer look at checking vs. savings accounts.



What it’s used forHolding money that you plan to spend or use to pay billsHolding money that you plan to save toward one or more financial goals
Limits on withdrawalsThe number of transactions allowed may be unlimited, though banks can impose caps on how much you can spend/withdraw daily, weekly or monthlyBanks can limit you to six withdrawal transactions per month
Earns interestTypically no (or less than a savings account)Typically yes
Debit card/checksIncluded with most checking accountsTypically not offered with savings accounts

Tips for Opening a Bank Account

Perhaps you have in mind the kind of account you’d like to open or the financial institution that seems to be the best match with your needs. Here’s advice on moving ahead with opening an account.

Helpful Tips for Putting Money Into a Checking Account

Congratulations if you’ve just opened a checking account. Consider taking these steps:

•   Once your checking account is open, you can continue adding money to it. You may be able to make deposits from your mobile device, at the teller window or at ATMs. Setting up direct deposit can be a good move, too: It means you don’t have to worry about manually depositing checks.

•   Determine how much you should keep in your checking account. If your account has a minimum balance requirement to avoid a fee, then you’d need to keep at least that amount in checking, plus a little extra if you want a cash cushion.

If there’s no minimum balance requirement to meet, then you’d still want to keep enough in checking to avoid triggering overdraft fees. Those can hurt! So a rule of thumb you might use is to keep two months’ worth of expenses in the account. That can make it less likely that you’ll run into overdrafts.

•   Wondering how often should you monitor your checking account? It can be a good idea to log in to your online banking or mobile banking at least once a week. If you sign up for convenient automatic payments of bills, such as utilities, that can make it challenging to remember how much money is flowing in and out of your account, and when. You could check your bank accounts daily if you want to keep a closer eye on your transaction history and balances.

•   Consider linking accounts. You might want to link a savings account to your checking account as a backup payment source. If your checking account balance gets low, this can help you avoid bouncing checks or incurring some fees.

Helpful Tips for Putting Money Into a Savings Account

If it’s a savings account that you’ve opened, consider this advice:

•   You may want to earmark a portion of your direct deposit paycheck to go into a savings account to effortlessly build up your cash reserves there.

•   Another way to fund your savings (such as an emergency fund) is to set up automatic transfers from your checking account the day after payday. This can whisk money out of your checking account before you are tempted to spend it.

•   Shop around for the best possible APY. Interest rates are climbing, and you may be able to snag a great deal. Online savings accounts typically pay more than those at brick-and-mortar banks.

The Takeaway

Checking and savings accounts can make your financial life easier, and you may be able to open an account with very little in terms of an initial deposit, even no money at all. When choosing a banking option, it’s important to consider the fees you might pay, the interest you could earn, and any minimum deposit or minimum balance requirements. Whenever possible, you want your bank to pay for the privilege of holding your money, not vice versa.

SoFi: Making Banking Better

If you’re interested in hassle-free online banking, consider opening a SoFi Checking and Savings account. You’ll earn a competitive APY, pay no account fees, receive a debit card with cashback rewards, and have access to a suite of financial tools that can help your savings grow.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


How much is needed to open a checking account?

The amount of money needed to open a checking account can vary by bank. At some banks, it may be as low as $1 or even $0; at others, you might need to deposit $25, $50, or more to get started.

Can I open a checking account with no money?

It’s possible to open a checking account with no money if your bank allows you to fund your account later. For example, you may be able to open a bank account online with no money, connect an external bank account, then fund your new account with an initial deposit later.

Can I open a bank account by myself?

You can open a bank account by yourself if you’re 18 or older and have the documentation the bank requires, which can include a government ID and proof of address. If you’re under 18, you’ll generally need a parent or legal guardian to help you open a bank account.

Photo credit: iStock/michellegibson

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at

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