What is a Minimum Deposit?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A minimum deposit is the minimum amount of money required to set up some form of financial account. As most people know, even the simplest checking or savings account usually requires a minimum. Minimums also apply to a variety of other savings or investments accounts, such as retirement accounts or accounts established with investment firms.


In some instances, no minimum deposit exists to create an account or alternately, the money used in a deposit can be immediately withdrawn. This is true for many simple checking accounts and interest-earning accounts, which may require an initial minimum of about $100 US Dollars (USD). Of course, if money is immediately withdrawn from the account it’s impossible to earn interest.

Moreover, some checking accounts have tiered levels of services. Provided the money in the account stays above a certain level, people might get free checking, free online bill pay, or they might earn interest. If they drop below this minimum, they may be subject to fees or have fewer services they can access.

The amount required as a minimum deposit in other types of accounts is variable. Investment firms might expect several thousand USD or they could have no minimum. The former tends to be more common because investment firms usually require some money in administrative costs and to cover any losses that might initially occur.

A number of savings accounts for retirement like IRAs require a minimum in the range of $500-1000 USD. Such a minimum usually doesn’t apply to retirement savings plans like 401ks offered by employers. Since money will be deposited with each paycheck, such plans don’t require employees to contribute money when they start an account. Some people do anyway, particularly if they have just changed jobs and must move money from one 401k into another.

When banks are competitive, they may offer to match the minimum deposit or to match it up to a certain dollar amount for regular or interest checking accounts. If people are considering switching banks, it’s worthwhile to look for these offers. Many of them will match an initial minimum deposit up to about $100 USD. There may be some restrictions on when this money ultimately becomes available. For instance, some banks won’t let people have these matching funds until the account has been open for six months.

Ultimately, the minimum deposit tends to represent commitment on the part of the new customer to do business with the financial institute or investment firm. It may secure or guarantee that any losses of that firm will be met by what has been deposited. The actual amount tends to be predicated on the basis of what type of account is opened. Things like checking and savings usually have low minimums but any type of account where money can be lost may have a higher minimum deposit.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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