A checking account is practically a necessity for most consumers. It allows you to make and accept payments while keeping your money in a safe place. Most banks have a minimum amount that you must deposit to open an account, but the costs vary from bank to bank.
Certain banks and credit unions have plans where you can open an account without making an initial deposit. Typically, you would open the account online, with the expectation that you'll make a deposit later. This is ideal for those who need a checking account to accept direct deposit payments from an employer.
Basic Checking Accounts
If you want to open a checking account at one of the major banks, you will have to make an initial deposit, though it's usually small. You'll typically have to deposit $25 to get started, though some account plans have higher minimum-deposit requirements. An account that requires a higher balance usually has more benefits, such as fewer fees.
If you don't want your money to just sit there, you can choose a checking account that pays interest on the money you deposit. These accounts have higher minimum-deposit requirements, and you must maintain that balance on average or else you'll pay fees. Expect to deposit at least $1,000, though some banks may have higher requirements.
Most banks charge monthly fees unless you meet certain criteria. The bank may waive the fee if you receive direct deposit payments into your account or if you maintain a certain average balance. If you don't plan on receiving direct deposit payments and still want to avoid monthly fees, aim to open your account with enough money to meet the balance requirement.
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