Can You Open a Bank Account With No Money?

Wide shot of millennial couple lounging in their living room, planning out their finances and looking at their account via online banking.
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Can you open a bank account with no money? This might sound like a bizarre question, considering that bank accounts are usually opened to store money and keep it safe. However, there are many situations when a customer might need to open a bank account without any money. For example, when a teenager gets their first job, they may need to open a bank account before they receive their first paycheck to set up direct deposit. 

While opening a bank account with no money is possible, only some businesses allow customers to do so. Read on to learn more about the requirements to open a bank account and how to get started opening an account without an initial deposit. 

How To Open a Bank Account With No Money

It is possible to open a bank account without cash in hand. While most customers prefer to deposit a few dollars into their bank to begin earning interest, there is no law that says a checking account needs to have a base balance. However, not every bank allows customers to open an account without making a deposit first. Here’s how to find a bank that allows customers to create an account without a deposit. 

  • Do some research: Online banks are the most popular banking option for men and women looking to open an account without a large initial deposit. Begin by researching a few of the most popular online banking options and compare those that offer no initial deposit services.
  • Explore the website and look for new offers: Many banks provide incentives for new members who join. New account holders may be able to open a bank account and take advantage of a small cash injection by choosing a bank offering a new sign-on bonus. 
    • While offers are constantly changing, some examples of banks that have provided customers with a sign-on bonus when opening a new checking account in the past include Wells Fargo and TD Bank. Explore offers and contact a representative to learn more about available offers. Make sure to ask about minimum deposits when connecting with representatives to ensure there is no confusion when making an initial deposit. 
  • Apply for an account: The first step is submitting pertinent personal information after customers find a bank they want to open an account with. Follow the application steps laid out on the website. The specific information that customers will need to submit to be approved for financing will vary by provider, so be sure to do plenty of research comparing providers before considering where to open an account. 
  • Transfer money to the account: Although customers may want to open a bank account with no additional funding, they will need to do so eventually to make purchases through the account. Transfer money to the new bank account according to the rules laid out by the company issuing the account. As soon as the account is funded, customers can begin taking advantage of all the benefits of having a bank account, including interest earning and debit card access.
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Which Banks Let You Open an Account for Free?

The list of banks that provide users with account access without an initial deposit is constantly changing. Some examples of banks currently allowing users to open an account without first making a deposit include:

Keep in mind that some banks may only allow users to open select types of accounts with no minimum balance while reserving higher-value accounts — like those with higher interest rates — for customers with a larger base balance. Consult each bank to learn more about account options without a required initial deposit.

What Is Required To Open a Bank Account?

Before customers can open a bank account, they must provide personal documentation, including the following.

  • A government-issued photo ID — driver’s license, passport, military identification card, etc.
  • Basic personal information — including your full legal name, date of birth and current address.
  • An initial deposit for banks that require one.
  • Identification documents and details for anyone else on the account if the customer is opening a joint account.
  • A Social Security number or other proof of permanent residency.
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After submitting personal information, a bank associate will open the account and provide all account holders with debit cards and details for online banking. Customers opening a bank account with an online bank may need to wait a few days before receiving their cards in the mail. 

Final Thoughts 

Even when account holders don’t have a balance to deposit into a bank account, they can still enjoy the safety and security of a bank account. A bank account provides a safe place to store future funds. New account holders must check on overdraft fees when choosing where to open an account. 

FAQ

  • How much money do you need to open a bank account?
    • The specific amount of money that you will need to open a bank account will vary depending on the bank where the client is opening an account. While some banks require $0 minimum deposits, many will require that new account holders deposit at least a few dollars when starting the account.
  • Which bank is the easiest to open an account with?
    • Some of the easiest banks to open an account with include TD Bank, Capital One, Chase Bank and Synchrony. These banks are easiest to open an account with because they require new users to submit less information to finalize their account creation and require lower minimum initial deposits.
  • Do you need cash to open a bank account?
    • Customers may need cash when opening a bank account in person or when opening their first account. Account holders who already have some type of checking or savings account open may be able to meet the initial deposit requirement using a wire or standard ACH transfer from an established account.
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Data is accurate as of Dec. 1, 2022, and is subject to change.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Sarah Horvath is a skilled copywriter with more than seven years of experience in B2B and B2C copy. She specializes in financial and investment writing, though she also has experience with fashion and home maintenance.
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