Opening a Checking Account Online Without Deposit (3 Steps)

Jason Andrews

Updated & Verified: May 22, 2021

open a checking account online without deposit

This is how you can open a bank account online without a deposit

If you are looking to open a new bank account online and don’t want to be required to deposit money to get started, you have several great options for banks to choose from.

Our research team spent several days finding the best of the best when it comes to online bank accounts that don’t require a deposit for you to get started.

Before joining one, there are some important things you should consider to make sure your new bank account is right for you:

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How Can I Open a Bank Account Online Without a Deposit? (3 Steps to Start)

Opening a new bank account online without needing a deposit is a relatively straight forward process and in general is very similar to opening any other bank account online.

The only real difference being that you obviously don’t need to make an initial deposit to get started - though it’s still recommended in most cases.

1) Start by Choosing a What Type of Bank to Join

Before you can start the process of joining a new bank, you have to decide which type you want to join (or in some cases, what type you need to join).

Main Bank Types (What’s the Difference?)

There really are three bank types for you to consider when looking for one to join.

If you don’t need a physical bank location and can do pretty much everything you need online, then joining an online only bank might be a good option for you.

If you prefer a physical location, then traditional banks or credit unions may be your best choice.

  • Online Banks - banks that are online or in-app only and don’t have any brick and mortar banking locations or ATMs.
  • Credit Unions - similar to banks but they often have financial requirements to join them. Consequently, you might have difficulty joining one without an opening deposit.
  • Traditional Banks - banks that have physical banking locations and AtMs but often also have online or in app banking options.

2) Save Time By Gathering What You Need to Apply

To simplify the process of opening a new checking account, it's a good idea to have things ready to go and organize everything you need to apply for your new checking account. 

Typically you'll need the following:

  • A form of ID. Normally this is a Government issued ID or drivers license but you can also use a passport. Some backs may require 2 forms of ID. If they do, you can use your social security card, a birth certificate or possibly a credit card that is in your name.
  • Date of birth.
  • A physical address. Under federal law you are supposed to use a street address for this though it may be possible to use a mailing address instead.
  • Your social security number (SSN) or tax ID number (TIN).

3) Submit Your Online Application

In most cases you should be able to join the bank that your interested in by applying online.

Exactly where to go or how to do this will vary based on which bank you are wanting to join but the overall process should be pretty much the same.

5 Things You Should Know Before Joining a Bank

Before joining any bank, these are some of the more important things that most people should know.

1) Is the bank FDIC insured?

It's important to join a bank that is FDIC insured which helps insure your deposits against bank failure and protecting you for up to $250,000. 

The majority of banks are FDIC insured. You should be able to tell though as they will have this information prominently featured on their website that says "Member FDIC".

2) Do they have ATMs without fees in your area?

If you use ATMs to get cash on a regular basis, it will be important to know if the bank you are considering joining offers ATM usage without fees.

3) What kind of banking products do they offer?

When looking for a new back to join, you'll want to take a look at what else the bank offers as well if it is relevant to you and your situation. 

Do they offer home loans or car loans? What about savings accounts?

4) What interest rate do they offer for savings accounts?

Having a savings account is always a good idea - especially one that has a decent interest rate so your savings account accrues interest.

If you're planning to have an savings account, you will want to check to see what kind of interest rate the bank you're considering joining offers.

5) Does the bank have an app and if so, is it any good?

What about an app? Does the bank you're considering joining have an app for your iPhone or Android device? 

What features does the app have if they do? Can you use mobile deposits? Does it have Zelle for sending money?

13 Free Banks to Join that Don't Require an Opening Deposit

These are 13 free banks that don't require an opening deposit for you to join (in alphabetical order):

2) Alliant High-Rate Checking

4) Betterment Checking

5) Capital One 360 Checking

6) Chime

7) Discover Bank

8) Navy Federal Credit Union

9) State Farm Bank

10) Simple Checking

11) SoFi Money

12) SunTrust Bank

13) Varo

In Closing

The process of finding and joining a new bank that doesn't require an opening deposit for you to open an account really isn't a whole lot different than any other bank.

Like usual, you'll want to pay close attention to fees, features, app usability, etc.

The biggest issue is really deciding which bank will be best for you and your circumstances.


1. Chime -

2. Equifax -

3. TransUnion,

4. Experian -

About the Author

Jason is a journalist who specializes in covering credit repair, banking, and other areas of personal finance. In addition to a passion for personal finance, Jason also enjoys storm chasing and has seen over 60 tornadoes since 2006. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife and two children.

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