What is BankOn?

The Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund’s Bank On program seeks to encourage Americans to become banked by encouraging banks to establish accounts that conform to the Bank On National Account Standards. These standards seek to eliminate the barriers that have traditionally discouraged Americans from opening bank or credit union accounts. The CFE Fund works directly with national and regional financial institutions to encourage the widespread availability of safe, low-cost transactional products.

The CFE Fund has worked closely with the Bank On National Advisory Board and other key stakeholders to develop the Bank On National Account Standards. Inspired by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Model Safe Accounts Template, these standards provide local programs with a benchmark for account partnerships with financial institutions, including their local partners. Financial institutions with accounts that meet these Standards can apply free for national certification here.

How are VBBP and BankOn Different?

In addition to participating in the VBBP by offering free checking with no minimum balance accounts to veterans, some banks and credit unions also offer BankOn-certified accounts to their customers, including veterans. The BankOn program, sponsored by the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund, seeks to make it easier for Americans to become banked by encouraging banks and credit unions to establish accounts that eliminate many traditional barriers to banking. One of the biggest barriers BankOn accounts have eliminated is overdraft fees. 

Although VBBP accounts and BankOn accounts are similar, they are not identical. At banks and credit unions displaying the BankOn logo, veterans can choose between them based on the account characteristics that are most important to them. To help veterans choose, we’ve compared the accounts below.

 VBBP AccountsBankOn Accounts
Monthly maintenance feenone, with monthly direct deposit*yes, $5 or less, if not waivable, or $10 or less if waivable**
Overdraft feespossible, per institution (opt-in only)none
Minimum opening depositvaries by institution (credit unions require share account deposit)$25 or less
Account activation, Closure, Dormancy, Inactivity, and Low Balance Feesvaries by institutionnone
Insured by FDIC or NCUAyesyes

*bank/credit union may have a monthly direct deposit minimum or debit card use requirement; please check bank/credit union description for more information

**offer at least two different options to waive the fee entirely with a single transaction (e.g. direct deposit with no minimum deposit, online bill pay, or debit card purchase)

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