Typical Minimum Balances to Open a Savings Account

A savings account is a safe place to park your cash while also earning interest. But before you can open an account, you might have to come up with a deposit that meets the account’s minimum opening requirement. There could also be an ongoing minimum balance requirement to avoid a monthly fee. But not every financial institution has these limits. Some, particularly those that offer online savings accounts, have no minimums at all.

Here’s an explainer on minimum balances and what you’ll find at various institutions, including traditional brick-and-mortar banks, credit unions and online providers.

Minimum opening deposit requirements

The minimum opening deposit is the amount of money you need to put into your account to open it. These amounts vary from institution to institution. Typically, though, here’s what you can expect to find at banks and credit unions.

  • Large banks — ones with thousands of branches — can require opening deposits of $25, $50 and $100 (though there are some large banks that don’t have any minimums).

  • Traditional credit unions typically have minimum opening requirements of about $5.

  • Online institutions — both banks and credit unions — commonly have high-yield online saving accounts with $0 minimums, but there are also high-yield online accounts with minimum opening requirements upward of $100.

If you choose an account with no opening balance requirement, it’s still important to try to make your first deposit as soon as possible. The sooner you fund your account, the sooner you can start earning interest. And if you don’t make any deposits within a few weeks, your bank or credit union may close your account.

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Barclays Online Savings Account

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EverBank Performance℠ Savings

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Ongoing minimum balance requirements

After you open a savings account, your institution may require a daily or monthly minimum balance to avoid a monthly maintenance fee. Banks with ongoing minimum balance requirements typically have a monthly fee of about $5 for savings accounts, but there may be other ways to have the fee waived.

For example, the Chase Savings℠ account has a minimum daily balance requirement of $300 to avoid a $5 monthly fee. But you can waive the fee in a few other ways, such as setting up a $25 monthly recurring transfer from a Chase checking account.

Do your best to avoid these fees because they can wipe out the interest earned on your savings for the month. One way to do this is to open an account that doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee. There are many online savings accounts that don’t charge monthly fees. The institutions that offer these accounts often don’t have the brick-and-mortar branch expenses that traditional banks and credit unions have, so they can pass the savings to customers in the form of no monthly fees and, often, strong interest rates, too.

Here’s a look at some typical minimum balances for online savings accounts, as well as minimums at traditional brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Some banks and credit unions also have a minimum balance to earn the best rate. These institutions pay a lower yield if your balance drops below the minimum. Make sure you know how much it will take to earn the high rate that an institution advertises.

Online savings accounts: typical minimum balances

Minimum balance to avoid fee

Minimum to earn stated APY

$5,000. (0.25% APY on balances less than $5,000.)

Traditional savings accounts: typical minimum balances

If I have $25, what savings accounts can I open?

With $25, you can typically meet the minimum opening deposits for savings accounts at online institutions, credit unions and local regional banks. Some institutions will let you open an account for $25 or less, but will charge a monthly maintenance fee if you don’t meet a larger minimum ongoing balance. Be sure that you can avoid a monthly fee for whichever account you open.

If I have $100, what savings account can I open?

With $100, you typically meet the opening balance qualifications for a broad range of institutions. Note that some savings accounts might let you open an account for as little as $100, but will require a much higher minimum balance, such as $5,000, to earn the best rate or a higher monthly balance to avoid a fee.

There are accounts available with high savings rates that don’t have high minimum opening deposits or ongoing minimum balance requirements. These are worth shopping around for. By comparing requirements and interest rates, you can find an account that helps you grow your balance while avoiding unnecessary fees.

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