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How to Open a Checking Account Online

Kevin Payne
Cole Tretheway
By: Kevin Payne and Cole Tretheway

Our Banking Experts

Ashley Maready
Check IconFact Checked Ashley Maready
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page. APY = Annual Percentage Yield

Good news: You can open a checking account from the comfort of your couch. It's easy to open a checking account online. Once you've picked a bank, head to their website and click "Create an Account" to get started. You could have a bank account open within 10 minutes.

A checking account is best suited for everyday spending. A checking account makes it easy to store money and move it around. Employers can deposit money directly into your account. It's a convenient tool, especially when paired with a savings account.

Still unsure how to go about things? We'll break it down. Follow the step-by-step checklist below to open a checking account online.

Step 1: Pick the checking account you want

First things first, you'll need to choose an online checking account. Narrow your options to checking accounts that meet your needs. As you look, keep the following things in mind:

  • Fees and interest: Some checking accounts pay interest on your money, so keep your eyes on interest rates and checking account fees. Find out whether there's a monthly maintenance fee or fees for account overdrafts.
  • Minimum deposit and minimum balance requirements: Some banks won't let you open an account unless you deposit a certain amount upfront. So keep an eye on any minimum deposit requirements. And some banks charge monthly fees if your balance falls too low. If you expect to completely drain your account sometimes, consider one with zero minimum balance requirements.
  • Customer service: Do you prefer in-person or online customer service? Banks offer different customer support options.
  • ATM availability: Consider ATM services, too. Some checking accounts reimburse ATM fees; others offer large fee-free ATM networks.

Some banks offer cash incentives to entice you to open an online checking account. You'll need to meet specific account requirements to qualify for bonuses. Generous bonuses pay out hundreds of dollars. It's worth keeping in mind if you're on the fence about a particular bank or account.


Read checking account reviews

If you're looking for more in-depth information on checking accounts, here are a few we've reviewed:

Step 2: Fill out the online checking account application

Once you've chosen an account to open, you must fill out the online checking account application. It's typically fast and straightforward. You'll want to prepare the following personal information:

  • Full name and address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number or tax identification number
  • Driver's license

It's simple and quick. The process could be even simpler if you've already opened another account type at your bank, such as a savings account. You'll simply need to verify that nothing important has changed since you opened your last account.

Banks accept and approve applications for online checking accounts fast, often within minutes. Once the bank approves your application, there's just one step left before you can use your new online checking account.

Step 3: Put money into your checking account

Fund your account. Some banks require you to put money into your account to open it. Others will open right away, but if you don't fund the account, they'll automatically close within a few months. Accounts that require minimum deposits must be funded right away.

You can put money in your brand-new checking account by transferring funds from an existing bank account. You can do this via debit card or routing and account numbers. Don't have an existing account? Try one of the following alternatives:

  • Direct deposit. If your account doesn't need to be funded right away, you can set up direct deposits with your employer. The money will go straight to your account.
  • Linked payment apps. Some online checking accounts let you link payment apps like PayPal or Cash App to your account. You can transfer money into your account.
  • Cash deposit: You may be able to deposit cash into your checking account via ATM. If your bank has a branch nearby, you can deposit cash there.

Other options include wire transfers and mailed checks. Brick-and-mortar banks typically give you more deposit options than online banks, so keep that in mind when opening a checking account online. Once you've funded your account, you can use it right away.

The best checking accounts for beginners

Choosing your first checking account can feel overwhelming, to say the least. There are literally thousands of options. Here's what to pay attention to: fees, customer service options, and ATM access. If you're a digital native, you'll probably want to access your funds via a banking app, too. The following checking accounts are great options for beginners new to banking.

SoFi Checking and Savings

The SoFi Checking and Savings is a top-tier online checking and savings account combo with zero account fees. Account holders also enjoy features like early direct deposit (up to two days early) and ATM access.

Ally Spending Account

Another online checking account to consider is Ally Spending Account. The checking account comes with no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements, and it earns interest on all balances. Ally customers have access to around 43,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide.

Capital One 360 Checking

The Capital One 360 Checking account carries few fees, has no minimum balance requirement, and gives access to around 70,000 fee-free ATMs. Capital One customers can also receive direct deposits up to two days early.

The Ascent's best checking accounts

Don't get caught paying nuisance checking account fees. Check out The Ascent's top checking account picks to open a fee-free checking account that earns a high interest rate.


  • Yes, many banks let you open a checking account 100% online. Online banks require it, and some brick-and-mortar banks give you the option. It typically takes minutes.

  • Yes, it typically is. You save time by not traveling or waiting in line. But if you struggle to open a checking account online, then it may be faster to open one at a physical branch. Either way, you can reach out to bank representatives to guide you through the process.

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