Guide to Minimum Deposits

By Emily Greenhill Pierce · May 10, 2024 · 6 minute read

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Guide to Minimum Deposits

When you open a new checking or savings account, some financial institutions require you to make a minimum opening deposit, which might be anywhere from $25 to $100. In some cases, you may also need to meet certain ongoing minimum balance requirements to avoid fees or qualify for a certain annual percentage yield (APY).

Fortunately, there are banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions that don’t require a minimum deposit so you can stash and spend your money even if you’re low on cash. Here are key things to know about minimum deposit and balance requirements for bank accounts.

What Is a Minimum Deposit?

A minimum deposit is the lowest amount of money you need to open a new bank account with a bank or credit union. It can also refer to the minimum balance you must maintain in order to receive certain perks or avoid fees.

Minimum deposits vary depending on the type of account and the financial institution. Some banks do not request a minimum deposit to open a basic checking or savings account, while others require between $25 and $100. Generally, higher minimum deposits are associated with premium services and higher APYs.

If you’re in the market for a bank account, it’s a good idea to check with the bank or credit union to determine whether an initial deposit is required, your options for depositing the funds, and if there are any ongoing balance requirements.

Types of Minimum Balance Requirements

When researching checking and savings accounts, keep in mind that there are typically two types of minimum balance requirements. Let’s clarify those terms, since they can sometimes be used interchangeably and cause confusion.

Minimum Opening Deposits

A minimum opening deposit is the amount of money required to activate a new account, such as a checking, savings, or money market account, or a certificate of deposit (CD). Generally, a money market account or CD will come with a higher opening deposit than a basic savings or checking account.

You can usually make a minimum opening deposit by transferring money from an account at another bank or from an account you already have at that same bank. You can also usually make an opening deposit using a check, money order, or debit card. Keep in mind you are not limited to making the minimum opening deposit — you can typically open a bank account with more than the required minimum.

There are some financial institutions that offer accounts with no minimum opening deposits. However, it’s important to read the fine print. In some cases, these accounts may require you to make a deposit within a certain timeframe (such as 60 days) in order to keep the account open.

Minimum Monthly Balance

A minimum monthly balance is the amount of money that must be maintained in the account each month to enjoy certain benefits or avoid fees. These minimums can range anywhere from $100 to $2,500, depending on the institution and type of account. If you opt for an account with a balance minimum, you may be able to set up alerts on your bank’s app to let you know when your funds are slipping below a certain threshold.

Minimum balance requirements can vary in their specifics, but typically fall into one of these three categories.

•   Minimum daily balance: This requirement means you need to maintain a minimum amount of money in your account each day to avoid fees or qualify for certain benefits, like earning interest.

•   Average minimum balance: Banks calculate this by adding up the balances in your account at the end of each day over a statement period, then dividing that total by the number of days in the period.

•   Minimum combined balance: This involves averaging the total amount of money you have across multiple accounts, such as a checking and a savings account, each month. This combined average must meet the minimum balance requirement to avoid fees or earn benefits.

How Do Minimum Deposits Work?

Minimum deposits work by setting a threshold that must be met to open or maintain a bank account. The minimum opening deposit is required to open a new account, while the minimum monthly balance must be maintained each month (or day) to avoid fees or earn a higher interest rate. It’s important to note that the minimum opening deposit is a one-time requirement, while the minimum monthly balance must be maintained on an ongoing basis.

In addition, some accounts may require a minimum monthly deposit (such as direct deposit of your paycheck) to qualify for certain account benefits, such as earning a higher APY or avoiding a monthly fee.

Real World Example of a Minimum Deposit

Let’s say you decide to open a savings account at XYZ bank. The bank has a $50 minimum deposit to open the account and to start earning interest, so you transfer $50 into the account from an account you have at another bank.

XYZ bank also requires you to maintain a monthly minimum balance of $250 to avoid a $3 service fee. You’re not a fan of fees, so you keep tabs on your account and make sure you always have at least $250 in the account. To help, you set up an automatic alert on your banking app to let you know when the account dips below $250 so you can top up the account and avoid fees.

What Happens If You Don’t Maintain a Minimum?

If you fail to maintain the minimum monthly balance required by your bank, you may be charged a fee, lose any interest you were set to earn that month, or forgo other perks. The specific consequences vary depending on the financial institution and the type of account.

The Takeaway

Minimum deposits are an important aspect of managing a bank account. When you open a new checking or savings account, you may need to make a certain initial deposit to activate the account. You may also be required to keep the balance in the account above a certain threshold in order to avoid a monthly service fee or earn a certain interest rate.

It’s important to be aware of the minimum deposit requirements for your bank account. This helps ensure that you get all the perks of your bank account, while avoiding any unexpected costs.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

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.

FAQ

What is a minimum opening balance and how much is it?

A minimum opening balance is the initial deposit required to open a bank account. This amount varies depending on the bank and the type of account. For example, some banks may require as little as $25 to open a basic savings account, while others may require several hundred dollars for a checking account that earns interest.

What is a minimum monthly deposit and how much is it?

A minimum monthly deposit is the amount of money you must deposit into your bank account each month to avoid fees or earn certain perks, like a higher interest rate. This requirement varies by bank and account type. Some banks may not have a minimum monthly deposit requirement, while others may require a certain amount, such as $500 or $1,000, to be deposited each month to avoid fees.

What bank has no minimum balance?

Several banks and credit unions offer accounts with no minimum balance requirement. These banks include Ally, NBKC, SoFi, Discover, Connexus Credit Union, Ally, Capital One, and Chime.

Why do banks require an initial deposit?

Banks require an initial deposit to open an account for several reasons. First, it helps ensure that the account is legitimate and that the customer is serious about opening and maintaining the account. Second, it helps cover the costs associated with opening the account, such as processing paperwork and issuing a debit card. Finally, it helps the bank establish a relationship with the customer, which can lead to additional business in the future.


Photo credit: iStock/pinstock

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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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