Finding a Safe Bank with No Fees or Minimums

Finding the right bank gives you a plethora of opportunities, including access to no-fee debit cards, a safe place to store your money, access to loans and a number of other investing services. Unfortunately, choosing the wrong bank can mean risking your funds or paying way too much in fees.

We’ll compare online banks to traditional banks and take a look at some of the ways MoneyLion saves you money and helps keep your accounts safe.

A Look at Bank Fees: Other Banks vs. MoneyLion

There are three types of banks you’ll encounter once you start digging into all of your options: 

  • Traditional banks (like Chase or Bank of America) offer physical locations. 
  • Online banks (like USAA or Ally) are strictly available online. They allow you to open an account and use services from the comfort of your home. 
  • MoneyLion is a totally new option that’s different than everything else on the market. MoneyLion is similar to an online bank in that it’s exclusively a digital bank, but it also offers traditional banking services. MoneyLion also offers more beyond what you’ll find at a traditional or online bank. 

Most banks charge a range of fees for everything from overdrawing on your account to using an outside ATM. You might not even know that another bank has a certain fee until you trigger it. 

Understanding which fees your bank charges can help you avoid them — or help you switch to a more affordable option. Use the table below to compare the features generally offered by traditional banks, online banks and MoneyLion. 


Traditional banksOther digital banksMoneyLion
Monthly service fee Up to $12$0$0
Minimum balance Up to $1,500. Fees apply for balances less than the minimum.$0$0
Overdraft fees$35$25$0
No-fee ATMs43,000+16,000+55,000+
Access to cash advancesNoNoInstacash gives you cash advances up to $250 with 0% APR.
Credit Builder loansNoNoUp to $500 at 5.99% APR with a MoneyLion account. 
Managed investment accountNoNoIncluded with no management fees or minimum investments.
Rewards on spendingNoNoCash back on everyday spending.
Credit score access and monitoringNoNoMoneyLion members get score updates and monitoring.

Monthly service fees: Some traditional banks charge you a monthly fee in exchange for holding your money and offering you its services. Many banks also charge a monthly service fee only for account holders who have less than a certain amount of money in their account. However, these minimums can be very high and recurring service fees can make saving money more difficult. Choose a bank like MoneyLion that doesn’t charge a monthly service fee and allows you to keep more of your money. 

Minimum balance: If your bank requires a minimum balance, it means that you need to have at least a certain amount of money to open an account. If you have the minimum balance when you open your account but you dip below the minimum later, your bank might charge you a monthly fee until you get your balance back up to meet the minimum. MoneyLion saves you the headache of excessive fees with its $0 minimum balance.  

Overdraft fees: An overdraft occurs when you spend more money than you have in your account. Banks that charge overdraft fees charge you more money after you’ve paid back the negative balance in your checking account. MoneyLion, on the other hand, will not charge you a single overdraft fee. 

Free ATMs: An automatic teller machine (ATM) is a machine that you can use to withdraw money from your account without visiting your bank’s physical location. Most traditional banks have their own chain of ATMs that you can use without paying a fee, but charge you for using an ATM that’s outside of your bank’s network. MoneyLion uses the Allpoint network, which has 55,000 ATMs. that’s more than Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America combined.

Access to cash advances: It’s happened to everyone at some point or another: A sudden and unexpected bill pops out of nowhere. Cash advances allow you to borrow a bit of money without paying the high fees you’d incur with a payday loan, and MoneyLion has turned the industry on its head with its innovative 0% APR Instacash advances.

Credit builder loan: One of the best ways to build credit is by taking out a small, low-interest loan and making your payments on time every period. But credit builder loans often put borrowers into a Catch 22 — you need a low-interest loan to build credit, but a low credit score stops you from getting a low-interest loan. Banks like MoneyLion that offer credit builder loans with no minimum credit requirement can help you build up your credit without getting caught in a frustrating loop of high-interest options. 

Managed investment account: Managed investment accounts help you grow your money over time more effectively than regular interest in a savings account. Unfortunately, getting started with a managed investment account often requires a large initial deposit or high management fees. Most banks don’t offer managed investment accounts like MoneyLion. Zero management or trading fees and no minimums can help you invest more without risking your savings. MoneyLion takes care of everything (including rebalancing for free) and then you can modify your portfolio if you choose.

Rewards on spending: Most traditional banks don’t offer rewards on standard checking and savings accounts. However, banks like MoneyLion buck the old model and offer rewards similar to those offered by credit card companies. From getting cash back to earning gift cards to your favorite stores, you’ll find an endless number of reward options through MoneyLion. 

TransUnion credit score and monitoring: If you have a good credit score, you’ll have access to lower interest loan options and more favorable terms. Be aware that some banks and online lenders charge high fees before you can view your credit score. MoneyLion allows you to see and monitor your credit score online as part of your membership. Keep track of your credit score to help you more quickly catch identity theft and fraud. 

How Fee-Free Digital Banking Works

You might have some questions about an online bank if you’ve never used one before. You might be wondering how you can deposit cash, withdraw funds or get a loan without talking to a teller. You might also be wondering how digital banks protect your money.

Digital banks work in largely the same manner as traditional banks. If you have an account with a traditional bank, chances are that you’re already doing a bit of digital banking. From checking your account balances or depositing money into your account online, most traditional banks have embraced some form of digital technology.

Digital banks take this concept and extend it further. These banks move services like loan applications and cash advances online as well as checking. When you open an account with a digital bank, you’ll still need to submit your personal information. The bank just collects information online instead of during an in-person consultation. 

Digital banks often have lower fees and account minimums than traditional banks. Because digital banks don’t need to spend money on branch maintenance, they’re able to transfer those savings on to you. Digital banks also allow you to access your account 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This additional convenience can be especially useful if you work a standard 40-hour-per-week job and often find yourself having trouble making it to your bank. The best digital banks also offer free ATM access, which can allow you to withdraw cash from anywhere in the country.

Are digital banks as safe as traditional banks? Yes! Digital banks have FDIC insurance, which means that your money has insurance exactly like it would be if you had it in a traditional bank account. Many digital banks also take additional steps to keep your money protected, like offering fraud monitoring and encryption.

How to Open a No-Fee MoneyLion Account 

Are you ready to ditch the fees and get started with with MoneyLion? Just use these simple steps to open your account! 

1. Download the App

Before you open your Zero-Fee Checking Account, you’ll need the MoneyLion app. Download the MoneyLion app from the Apple App or Google Play store onto your phone and follow the in-app instructions to open a MoneyLion Core membership. The MoneyLion Core membership includes access to your Zero-Fee Checking Account. You’ll need to enter your phone number and input the verification code you receive before moving onto the next steps. 

2. Follow the In-App Instructions

Once you’ve verified your phone number, you’ll need to provide some personal information to open your account. Enter your name, current address and Social Security number.

You’ll also need to verify your identity by uploading a valid photo ID. A state driver’s license, military ID, state-issued ID card and passport are all valid forms of photo identification. Follow the in-app steps to enter and upload your information and open your account. 

3. Link Your Direct Deposit Through MoneyLion

To take advantage of everything that MoneyLion has to offer, including zero-interest cash advances, you should link your direct deposit to your account. Follow the instructions in the app to link your direct deposit. You can also connect your direct deposit to your MoneyLion account directly through your work’s employee portal or HR department. As an alternative, you could also reach out to your HR representative at work for help switching your direct deposit to MoneyLion. 

4. Explore Your New MoneyLion Account

Now that you’ve opened your account with MoneyLion, it’s time to start exploring your new bank! Start by checking out MoneyLion’s credit score monitoring system and play around with the credit simulator tool. Read more about rewards and products available through MoneyLion. You can even get started immediately with MoneyLion’s easy investing tools.

Find the Right Bank for You

Is your bank working for you? Or are you stuck in an endless cycle of fees and minimums? The spread of digital banks has made it easier than ever before to open an account without expensive monthly fees or high minimums.

There’s no telling how much you might be able to save by making the switch to MoneyLion. Head over to the Google Play or Apple App store today and take advantage of all that MoneyLion has to offer. 

Disclosure

MoneyLion Checking Account provided by, and MoneyLion Visa® Debit Card issued by, Lincoln Savings Bank, Member FDIC. Terms and conditions apply.

Investment advisory services provided by ML Wealth, LLC. Investment Accounts Are Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • Investments May Lose Value. For important information and disclaimers relating to the MoneyLion Investment Account, see Investment Account FAQs and FORM ADV. Broker-Dealer may charge a $0.25 withdrawal fee, among other fees. Funded accounts are subject to administrative fee of $1 per quarter.

Current Credit Builder Plus membership required for Credit Builder Plus loan eligibility; the $19.99 monthly fee will be withdrawn from your linked bank account.  All loans with an Annual Percentage Rate of 5.99% are made by either exempt or state-licensed subsidiaries of MoneyLion Inc. The Credit Builder Plus loan may, at lender’s discretion, require a portion of the loan proceeds to be deposited into a reserve account managed by ML Wealth, LLC and held by Drivewealth LLC, member SIPC and FINRA. The funds in this account will be placed into a money market cash management or FDIC bank sweep vehicle, and may generate interest at prevailing market rates.  You will not be able to access the portion of your loan proceeds held in the credit reserve account until you have paid off your loan, and so long as your Credit Builder Plus membership payments are current. If you default on your loan, your credit reserve account may be liquidated by the lender to partially or fully satisfy your outstanding indebtedness. May not be available in all states.Credit Reserve Accounts Are Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • Investments May Lose Value. For important information and disclaimers relating to the MoneyLion Credit Reserve Account, see Investment Account FAQs and FORM ADV.

A Credit Builder Plus loan may or may not improve your credit score. Credit scores are the result of your personal credit practices.

Cash advance requires current membership in Credit Builder Plus ($19.99 monthly fee) or Instacash with Banking ($9.99 monthly fee) membership programs. Instacash with Banking monthly fee is waived for members who connect and maintain recurring eligible direct deposits into their MoneyLion Checking Accounts. All Credit Builder Plus and Instacash with Banking members are automatically eligible to access either $25 or $50 of cash advance, depending on creditworthiness.  Members can increase their cash advance limit to up to $250 by connecting and maintaining recurring eligible direct deposits into their MoneyLion Checking Accounts and after up to three consecutive direct deposits have cleared, or at MoneyLion’s discretion. See Membership Agreement and Cash Advance FAQs for more information.

MoneyLion rewards points are subject to terms and conditions, see here.