Enjoy early direct deposits and no overdraft fees with this mobile-first checking account.
finder.com’s rating: 3.7 / 5.0
Go Bank is a virtual bank that offers simple banking solutions, such as this checking account. Often called the “Walmart account,” it provides access to early direct deposits and a string of savings tools. It’s best for those who bank online and use direct deposit — otherwise the fees can add up.
$8.95 per month
Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
Expert reviewGoBank‘s checking account is best for those who want to avoid overdraft fees as they learn to manage money. As an account holder, you’ll have the ability to sign up for fast-track direct deposits and budget with the help of its savvy app.
But the fees can quickly stack up if you’re traveling, making cash deposits or channeling less than $500 into your account a month via direct deposit.
How do I open a GoBank account?
There are two ways to open an account: in-store and online.
You can purchase a “starter kit” at participating Walmart stores. It costs $2.95, and you’ll need to make an initial deposit of $20 to activate the account. The starter kit includes a temporary debit card, which you can start using immediately.
It’s quicker and cheaper to open an account online. Follow these steps:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the GoBank website, click Open an account.
- Enter the requested personal and contact information, including your full name and Social Security number.
- Provide any other requested identifying information and submit your application.
Once your application is approved, you can expect the debit card to arrive in the mail within seven business days.
To sign up for a checking account, you must be:
- At least 18 years old
- A US citizen or resident with a permanent home address
- Able to pay the $20 minimum opening deposit if you’re opening an account in-store
The application will ask for the following information:
- Personal and contact details
- Mailing address
- Social Security number
- A valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license
What are the benefits of a checking account with GoBank?
The checking account is connected to an award-winning app, which allows you to monitor your balance, find nearby ATMs, pay bills, deposit checks and send funds to other GoBank accounts. Its other benefits include:
- Wide ATM network.. Use your Mastercard debit card at 42,000 ATMs nationwide for free.
- No credit check. The bank doesn’t run credit checks or use ChexSystems, making it a good choice for those with less-than-perfect credit.
- ASAP Direct Deposit. Sign up for GoBank‘s direct deposit service, and you may receive your paycheck two days early — and your government benefits four days early.
- Saving tools. With the Money Vault feature, you can stash away your savings and move the money back into your checking account if and when you’re ready to make a big purchase. The Fortune Teller tool helps you to avoid overspending by alerting you if a purchase is out of your budget.
- Check-writing privileges. The account comes with check-writing capabilities — but a pack of 12 checks will set you back $5.95.
- Overdraft protection. GoBank blocks any transactions that would cause your account to go into the red. This means no costly overdraft fees.
What should I look out for?
While the Go Bank checking account has its perks, there’s also the fine print:
- No interest. With this checking account, you won’t earn interest on your balance — a feature you can find with some of its competitors.
- Cash deposit fees. You may pay up to $4.95 to deposit cash at certain retailers. Also, cash deposits aren’t available in Vermont.
- Hefty ATM fees. You’ll be charged $3 every time you use an out-of-network ATM, plus any additional fees charged by the ATM company.
- Monthly maintenance fee. There’s a monthly service fee of $8.95, but Go Bank will waive it each month that your direct deposits add up to $500 or more.
- Foreign transaction fees. Jetting off? Every purchase you make internationally with your Go Bank debit card is subject to 3% fee.
- No live chat function. Go Bank offers no live chat option, which is unusual for an online-only bank.
- Downsides of opening an account in-store. If you open an account at a retail store — like Walmart — there’s a $2.95 fee and a minimum opening deposit of $20. You can skirt these by opening the account online.
If you’re a frequent traveler or make a lot of cash deposits, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a checking account.
GoBank‘s ATM network and feesGoBank offers fee-free withdrawals at 42,000 ATMs in retailers across the country. To find one close to you, use the map on the app or website.
You can withdraw up to $500 from ATMs each day. And if you dip your debit card into an out-of-network ATM, GoBank will charge a fee of $3. The ATM operator may charge additional fees. All foreign transactions are subject to a 3% fee, so if you withdraw cash from an international ATM, factor in that cost.
Compare with other digital banking services
How do I deposit and withdraw my money?
You can move money around in the following ways:
- Direct Deposit. Deposit a portion of your paycheck or government-issued benefits into your checking account. To enroll, log in to your account and navigate to Deposits. Or, text GetDD to 37267 and GoBank will send you a message with your routing and account numbers.
- Checks. Write paper or digital checks, and upload mobile checks you receive to the app. You can’t fund your account with a mobile deposit, so keep that in mind if you want to open an account in-store.
- Cash deposits. You can submit a cash deposit at 100,000 participating retailers across the US, including 7-Eleven, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart stores. This service costs up to $4.95, depending on the store.
- Electronic transfers. Transfer funds from an external bank account to your GoBank checking account via ACH transfer.
- ATM withdrawals. It’s free to use ATMs in GoBank‘s network. Otherwise, you’ll be charged a fee of $3 per transaction.
Frequently asked questions
Checking account ratings
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★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.