Best checking accounts for low balances - Roost
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Best checking accounts for low balances

When you need a checking account but can’t worry about minimums

You know how it is — you get your paycheck, spend what you need to for a week, and then pinch pennies to make your money stretch until your next paycheck. As of today, most of us still need a checking account. It makes it easier for employers to pay us and it makes it much easier to pay bills and buy things.  

Here’s a list of our favorite checking accounts with low or no minimum balance requirements and related helpful features when you’re managing down to the cent. 

Banking productWhy we like itLink
chime-logo ~ Breaking Money SilencePros:
No minimum to open
No minimum balance
No monthly fees
No overdraft fees
Great mobile app + notifications  
Get paid 2 days early
Automatic savings
No fee for replacement debit card

Cons:
• No cash deposits, no checkbooks and no physical locations
Learn more
File:Discover Card logo.svg - Wikimedia CommonsPros:
No minimum deposit
No minimum balance
No monthly fees
No overdraft fees
No fee for replacement debit card
Manage low-balance alerts on app
Earn 1% cashback on $3000 debit purchases each month
60,000 Free ATMs

Cons: 
• Only one physical location
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File:Axos Financial Inc Logo Color.svg - Wikimedia CommonsPros:
No minimum to open
No minimum balance
No monthly fees
No overdraft fees
Mobile app, mobile check deposits, bill pay
Earns interest at 1.25% APY

Cons:
• Hard to qualify for the interest-earning, notifications not available, no physical locations, $5 fee for replacement debit card
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Simple | Online Banking With Built-In Budgeting & Saving ToolsPros:
No minimum to open
No minimum balance
No monthly fees
No overdraft fees
No fee for replacement debit card
Mobile app, mobile check deposits
Safe to spend budgeting tool Push notifications available

Cons:
• Joint accounts only possible if both people have individual accounts with Simple. Cash deposits take work, no checkbooks 
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Varo News and PressPros:
No minimum to open
No minimum balance
No monthly fees
No overdraft fees
Mobile app, mobile check deposits, bill pay, push notifications available
Get paid 2 days early
Automatic savings
$50 referral bonus

Cons:
• Doesn’t earn interest, no physical locations, $25 fee for replacement debit card
Learn more
Our Announcements | Radius BankPros:
No minimum balance
No monthly fees
No overdraft fees
Mobile app, mobile check deposits, bill pay
Get paid 2 days early
Unlimited cash bank on Radius debit card 

Cons: 
• $100 minimum opening deposit, extended overdraft penalty of $5 per day, app notifications not available, only one physical location, $35 fee for replacement debit card
Learn more

Even when you decide that you want a checking account with no minimum balance requirement, there are a few things you’ll still need to think about. Will your account alert you if your balance drops too low? Do you want a big bank or a new, digital option? Do you want a checking account that offers interest on the money in your account? Take a close look at all the options. Start with our recommendations above. We think they’re a pretty good mix of no-fee, no-minimum account. And, while you’re at it, consider getting a savings account, too. Having one or the other is nice, but having the right pairing of savings and checking accounts can set you up quite nicely with the financial foundation you’ll want. Then, earn and spend your money!

What is an initial deposit?

The money you put into your checking account when you first open it is called your initial deposit. Nowadays, a lot of accounts call for a very small initial deposit or, in lots of cases, no deposit at all! This gives you a lot of flexibility, as you won’t have to pull together a ton of money just to have a checking account. Find the right account and you can get up and running right away, putting money in your checking account as you go. And, if you choose the right account, you won’t have to worry too much about keeping a ton of money in it at any one time.

What is considered a “low balance?”

This can vary from account to account and bank to bank. And having a low balance can have a lot of impact in certain accounts. For example, some accounts offer benefits if you have a high balance, such as interest on your money. Others impose a penalty if your balance drops below a certain amount, such as charging you a monthly fee. This can be a real blow, as they’re taking money from you when you’re already falling below a certain threshold. And these levels can vary widely from account to account. It’s often better to just not worry about minimum balances at all by choosing a checking account with no minimum.

According to Yahoo Finance, the average median checking account balance for an American under the age of 35 is $1,200, Considering the fact that we all have to pay things like rent, cell phone bills, and grocery bills, that’s not a lot of money. Your balance can easily drop quite low, and you don’t want to face a penalty if you end up in that situation once — or more than once!

What penalties can I expect if the balance of my checking account is too low?

For certain types of accounts, you could face significant penalties if you keep your balance too low, such as overdraft fees or fees for insufficient funds. But the good news is, there are a lot of great accounts that don’t have any penalty at all for having a low balance. In fact, some of the best checking accounts have no minimum balance requirements at all. So, avoid getting hit by fees and penalties by choosing a checking account that has no minimum. That way, you can go about your business without having to micromanage your account (though we do recommend you keep it above zero. If you think it’s going to dip below that mark over the course of a month, you should look closely at checking accounts that have no overdraft fees) 

What about a no minimum balance checking account?

This is usually the best option for young people and people who have been used to living paycheck-to-paycheck. Of all the factors to consider when picking a checking account, this could be the most important one. Find an account that has no minimum balance and you won’t have to worry about when you’re getting paid, when your rent is due, or when you have to make that car repair you’ve been holding off on. Just keep your balance above zero and you should be in good shape. These accounts are common these days, so be sure to look for them!

A quick note! Our goal is to gather and share info that’s up-to-date and helps you make great decisions as a renter. That said, the information you get directly from a provider could be a little different. Make sure to review their terms and conditions directly; and, if you see anything here that needs to be updated, please let us know! Advertising disclosure
Last Updated: November 24th, 2020