It is possible to open a checking account with no initial deposit. On its website, First National Bank indicates this as one of the key features of its basic checking account. Nationwide also has a no-initial-deposit option, but a $25 minimum monthly direct deposit is required.
One way banks offset the risks of no-deposit accounts is by charging monthly service fees. Nationwide charges a $5 monthly fee for customers who don't choose direct deposit, according to its website. Banks may also have a low or no upfront deposit requirement while having ongoing balance maintenance requirements to avoid service charges, reports FindABetterBank.