How Much Money Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?
Before opening a new bank account, it’s important for you to know what it is you’re looking for and whether there are any minimum deposit requirements.
Contributing Writer at Tally
November 24, 2021
If you don’t have a bank account, you’re not alone. There are approximately 7.1 million American households without a bank account, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
If you’re interested in opening an account, you likely have a few questions, like: How much money do you need to open a bank account?
We’ll answer that question and more. We’ll start by covering the different types of bank accounts available. Then, we’ll outline how much money you need to open an account. Next, we’ll touch on some of the other things you may need to provide to open the account. Lastly, we’ll cover what you need to be mindful of when figuring out where you should open your account.
What are the different types of bank accounts?
If you’re looking to open your first bank account, there are generally two types to consider:
Checking accounts allow you to direct deposit paychecks and transfer money. They also allow you to pay your bills and make ATM withdrawals. Many checking accounts come with a debit card that you can use to make purchases, as opposed to using a credit card.
Savings accounts offer many of these same features, with the exception of the debit card. Additionally, savings accounts are often considered interest-bearing accounts because they have interest rates, otherwise known as the annual percentage yield (APY). Essentially, your bank or credit union will pay you to keep money with them.
Savings accounts are also considered deposit accounts. Because of this, there are limits on how many transactions you can make per month. You can only make six withdrawals or transfers per month. Your checking account, on the other hand, typically will not have any transaction limitations.
While it varies from one financial institution to the other, many banks will offer to open both a checking and savings account for you when you go to open your first bank account.
How much money do you need to open a bank account?
Your financial institution will be able to provide you with a more precise figure needed for your initial deposit, which may vary between checking and savings accounts.
Generally, banks and credit unions have initial deposit requirements ranging anywhere from $25 to $100 to open a savings account. Though checking accounts tend to fall within the same range, you may be able to find checking accounts that don’t have a minimum deposit requirement.
You should also be mindful of any minimum balance requirements your banking institution has. If your account balance falls below this threshold, your financial institution may charge you penalty fees. You’ll want to make sure that your account always maintains this minimum amount. This is typically no more than the initial deposit requirement, but it’s worth verifying with your bank.
Lastly, note that there are specialty savings accounts that may have higher deposit limits, like money market accounts and certificates of deposit. These likely won’t be much of a consideration if you’re opening your first bank account, but do note that the minimum deposit requirements may be higher if you open one of these accounts down the road.
What else do you need to provide to open a bank account?
In addition to the minimum opening deposit, there are some other things that you’re going to need to provide when opening an account for the first time:
A valid, government-issued photo ID, like a driver’s license or passport
Your personal information, like your Social Security number, address, tax identification number, phone number and date of birth
Information for others, such as your spouse, if you’re opening a joint account
Having this information readily available will help expedite the process of opening an account.
What other things do you need to consider when opening an account?
In addition to the required minimum deposit, here are a few other considerations when choosing a bank account for your personal finance needs.
When opening a new account, be sure to verify that the bank is an FDIC-insured institution. If you’re opening an account with a credit union, the institution should be NCUA-insured.
In both instances, up to $250,000 of your assets are protected if the bank or credit union goes under and can no longer pay you your money.
Most reputable U.S. banks are FDIC-insured, but it’s worth double-checking before opening your account.
Fees that the bank charges
You should consider fees when opening a new account. If possible, try to steer clear of accounts that have monthly maintenance fees or monthly service fees. These are basically monthly fees that your bank charges you to use the account. However, there are free checking and savings account options that don’t require you to pay these fees.
You may also want to be aware of ATM withdrawal fees. Typically, if you withdraw from your own bank’s ATM, there are no fees associated with the transaction. But if you withdraw from a third-party ATM, your bank may charge you a fee. These fees are avoidable by planning ahead and pulling out cash from your bank’s ATM, but it’s worth researching in case you ever find yourself in a pinch.
Lastly, you should be aware of overdraft fees. These are the fees that your bank charges you if you overdraw your account. For instance, if you have $10 in your account but set up an automatic bill pay for your utility bill that costs $50 for the month, you’ll overdraw your account by $40. This means you will have a negative balance.
Some banks will provide exceptions on overdrafts, waiving them the first time they occur. Others will automatically withdraw from your savings account to cover your checking account overdraft, assuming your checking and savings accounts are linked and you have sufficient funds to cover the overdraft.
The perks the account offers
Your bank may offer some other perks that are worth considering. For instance, you may have access to a mobile app so that you can view your account balances on the go. Some of these mobile apps even allow you to deposit checks remotely. Be sure to do a little research to find out the perks your new checking or savings account offers.
Your financial goals
The account that you open should have a distinct purpose. For instance, you may be setting up a checking account so that you can use a debit card instead of a credit card, which can help when sticking to a budget.
Your savings account should be something you use to help meet your savings goals. A traditional savings account is a good option to start putting away money for a rainy day or emergency fund.
You don’t necessarily need this money immediately for day-to-day operations, but you may need it rather quickly in case of an unexpected expense. A savings account allows you quick access to your money. It also allows you to earn a bit of interest on your balance.
In these cases, you may want to consider online banking. By opening a bank account online, you may give up a bit of access, like the ability to make cash deposits at an ATM. But you may see higher APYs, increasing the amount you can earn in interest.
Opening a bank account
If you’re looking to open your first bank account, there are some important considerations. As a first-time account holder, you might want to focus on the type of account you’re opening and whether there are any minimum deposit requirements. You’ll also want to be wary of things like the account fees the bank charges.
Even after you open your new account, you’re bound to have other financial questions. Be sure to sign up for Tally’s email newsletter for the latest tips, tricks and news regarding personal finance.