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Zerocard and Zero Checking review

Unlike traditional accounts, this no-fee option requires a credit check with limited accessibility.

Discontinued product

This product has been discontinued, and it is not available on our site. Compare other Checking accounts to find one that fits your needs.
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How do I open a Zerocard and Zero Checking account?

Open a Zerocard and Zero Checking account through the Zero app:

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the iOs app store, download the Zero app.
  3. Input your email and create a password, then tap Continue.
  4. Select Continue and apply.
  5. If you agree to the terms, tap the bubble next to I want to apply and agree to all, and then tap Continue.
  6. Input your mobile phone number and select Next.
  7. Enter a referral code if you have one and tap Continue. Tap I don’t have a code if you don’t.
  8. Select Scan ID and scan your government-issued ID.
  9. Enter your full name and tap Next.
  10. Fill out your date of birth and select Next.
  11. Input your address and tap Next.
  12. Enter your Social Security number and select Next.
  13. Submit your application and wait for a response, typically within a few minutes.

Eligibility

To apply for a Zerocard and Zero Checking account, you must consent to a credit check and meet three eligibility requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Valid Social Security number
  • US residential address

Required information

Have the following ready when you apply for a Zerocard and Zero Checking account:

  • Your name and mobile phone number
  • Your physical and email address
  • Government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Your Social Security number

What are the benefits of a checking account with Zero?

Zero Checking offers benefits beyond traditional checking accounts through a mobile app:
  • Minimal fees. You won’t pay monthly maintenance, annual, inactivity or foreign transaction fees.
  • Rewards for everyday spending. Use your linked debit card to earn 0.5% cashback rewards or the Zerocard to get 1% to 3% back on your purchases, depending on your tier and spending.
  • Reports to the credit bureaus. If your account is tied to the Zerocard, you can potentially build or rebuild your credit score with responsible use and timely payments.

Zerocard tiers

If you choose to apply for the Zerocard, you start out with a Zerocard Quartz after approval. Each year, you can maintain your reward or build your way up to higher-tier cards through qualified spending or by referring qualified friends. Each tier comes with its own requirements and cashback rewards rates as long as you pay your balance in full by your due date.

Zerocard tierUnlimited reward rateRequirements
Quartz1%Open an account
Graphite1.5%Refer one friend or spend $25,000 annually
Magnesium2%Refer two friends or spend $50,000 annually
Carbon3%Refer four friends or spend $100,000 annually

Zero’s ATM network and fees

Zero isn’t a bank: WebBank issues the card, and Evolve Bank and Trust houses the checking account. But you manage your account through the Zero app.

Zero doesn’t charge ATM fees, but it’s possible the owner of the ATM will. Cash withdrawals from an ATM are considered a cash advance and carry a separate APR.

The Zero Checking‘s associated Zerocard comes with an APR and fees for late or returned payments.

Type of chargeAmount
Purchase APR24.99% variable
Balance transfer APR24.99% variable
Cash advance APR24.99% variable
Late feeUp to $27
Returned payment feeUp to $25

What should I look out for?

Zero Checking isn’t designed for everyday checking.

While you can use your Zerocard to withdraw money, withdrawals are considered cash advances. And you can’t deposit checks at an ATM or through the app as of this writing. It’s also worth mentioning that you have the option to forego the Zerocard for a traditional debit card.

This highly streamlined service comes with other drawbacks you’ll want to weigh against potential benefits:

  • Withdrawals are cash advances. It’s worth mentioning again that your Zerocard is a credit card, which considers cash withdrawals cash advances that come with a high 24.99% APR.
  • App for iPhone only. While you can preregister for the Google Play app, it’s currently unavailable.
  • No cash or app deposits. Zero Checking accepts electronic transfers only, with fine print warning that not all transfers are accepted.

If you prefer a more traditional banking experience, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options to narrow down the best checking account for your needs.

Compare with other checking accounts

If you’re uneasy about a checking account that requires a credit check, look into other checking accounts that might better fit your needs.

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
BMO Harris Smart Advantage Account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
BMO Harris Smart Advantage Account
$0 per month
$25
N/A
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Smart Advantage account and have a cumulative total of $4,000 or more in qualifying direct deposits in the first 90 days
Earn a $200 cash bonus after $4,000 deposits in the first 90 days. Pay $0 monthly fees and no minimum balance. Access a large nationwide network of free ATMs.
Chime Checking account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Checking account
$0 per month
$0
1.50%
Get rid of monthly fees with this financial app offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit.
HSBC Premier Checking
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
HSBC Premier Checking
$50 per month
$0
0.01% on balances of $5+
Get a $500 welcome bonus when you open your account with qualifying activities. Must open HSBC Premier checking account through offer page by February 15, 2023, and set up qualifying direct deposits into the new account totalling at least $10,000 per month for three consecutive months. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.

HSBC Premier Checking offers free global transfers and 24/7 customer support.
Axos Bank Essential Checking
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank Essential Checking
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Pay $0 monthly and overdraft fees, and get reimbursed for domestic ATM fees. No opening deposit or minimum balance requirement. Get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit.
Upgrade Rewards Checking
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Earn up to 2% cashback rewards on everyday purchases. Pay $0 fees for overdraft, domestic wire transfer and monthly maintenance. Pair with Upgrade’s savings account to earn 3.75% APY. Get up to 20% discounts on Upgrade loans and credit lines.
Varo
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Varo
$0 per month
$0
5.00% on balances of $0 to $5,000
3.00% on balances of $5,000+
Earn $30 bonuses every time a friend signs up for an account and spends at least $20 within 30 days
A digital account with a $0 monthly fee, access to 55,000+ free Allpoint ATMs and no minimum balance required. This account gives you access to an optional savings account with yields as high as 5% APY.
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How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

Access your funds in three ways:

  • Withdraw money from an ATM. Zero doesn’t charge a fee for withdrawals, but it does treat ATM withdrawals as cash advances.
  • ACH transfer. Deposit money or transfer it out by ACH through the app.
  • Direct deposit. Receive your paycheck or government check directly to your Zero Checking account.
  • Frequently asked questions

    Checking account ratings

    ★★★★★ — Excellent

    ★★★★★ — 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.

    Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

    Review by


    Rhys Subitch is a former writer and editor at Finder who tackled topics across the site. With half a decade of experience researching, editing, and writing for a Fortune 500 company, university, and several independent publications, Rhys brought readers the most up-to-date and curated information on all things finance.

    Expert review

    Zerocard and Zero Checking is for those looking for a cashback rewards option. No maintenance fees and rewards up to 3% make this account tempting.

    But it loses its shine as a useful everyday account when you consider limitations on deposits, expensive withdrawals and a required credit check.

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