The U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account is a checking account for unbanked or underbanked people looking to start a relationship with a bank that will allow them to gain access to financial services.
This checking account includes all the features necessary for basic banking, such as a free U.S. Bank Visa debit card with Zero Liability protection, Online and Mobile Banking with Bill Pay, and free access to a great ATM network. It also comes with free monthly statements, and discounts on money orders.
However, since this is a checkless checking account, you won't be able to use checks at all, so don't even try it, as you might end up being charged additional fees by a merchant. But, with so many other payment options available, you won't even need checks! You can always use your U.S. Bank Visa to make payments. If you enroll in Online or Mobile Banking, you can also pay your bills electronically using Bill Pay. Additionally, there's Zelle, which lets you transfer money to anyone with a U.S. bank account. With Visa's Zero Liability coverage and U.S. Bank's Online Risk-Free Guarantee, you'll be protected against any unauthorized charges that might occur, as long as you report them as soon as you notice suspicious activities. Thanks to custom account alerts, and 24/7 online access to your account, you'll be able to keep an eye on your Safe Debit account wherever and whenever!
That said, you should also monitor your balance. While there aren't any overdraft fees, meaning you won't be charged anything if you try to make a purchase without having enough funds in your account to cover the transaction, overdrafts can still happen. In this case, you won't be available to use your U.S. Bank Visa Debit Card or withdraw money until you've deposited the amount required to bring your balance positive.
If you also have a credit card or other credit accounts, then you might also take advantage of free access to the TransUnion CreditView Dashboard. This way, you'll be able to check your credit score whenever you want, see what factors impact it, whether and how you can improve your score, and more. There are also many useful resources that can help you learn how to better manage your finances.
Even though the monthly fee on the U.S. Bank Safe Debit can't be waived, this checking account is quite a decent offer, especially if you can't open any other checking account. While we always suggest shopping around prior to making your final decision, we don't see any particular disadvantage to the U.S. Bank Safe Debit account. Maybe what's lacking is the possibility to switch to another bank account once you've proved yourself responsible with money?
Checking account details
- Free U.S. Bank Visa® Debit Card.
- Online and Mobile Banking with Online Bill Pay, Mobile Check Deposit, and Online Risk-Free Guarantee.
- Free monthly statements.
- Free access to U.S. Bank's ATMs.
- No surcharge fees at MoneyPass Network ATMs.
- No overdraft fees.
- Free credit score access.
- Discounts on money orders ($1.65 each).
- Preferred rates on new loans.
Checking account fees
Minimum Deposit to Open$25
Out-of-Network ATM Transaction Fee$2.50
Out-of-Network ATM Withdrawal Fee$2.50
Non-Sufficient Funds Fee$0
Foreign Transaction Fee3%
U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account FAQ
The U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account doesn't include ATM and Debit Card Overdraft Coverage. This means that, if you try to withdraw funds from your U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account at an ATM or use your U.S. Bank Visa debit card to buy something, but you don't have enough money in your account, you won't be able to complete the transaction. The good thing is that you won't incur any overdraft fees.
No, you can't link any other account to the U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account, since no overdraft protection and overdraft coverage aren't available. In case of insufficient funds, transactions will simply be declined, although some merchants may still charge you a fee, so it's your responsibility to ensure you always have enough money in your U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account. U.S. Bank won't charge you any overdraft fees, but you won't be able to use your U.S. Bank Visa debit card for money withdrawals and payments until you've brought your balance back positive.
In general, Safe Debit accounts aren't eligible for recurring payments, and can only pay billers that are in U.S. Bank's system, and that accept electronic payments.
You can only schedule one-time payments using the standard delivery option - pre-authorized and expedited payements aren't possible.
If the person or business you want to pay isn't in U.S. Bank's Bill Pay system, you must then visit their the biller's website, and set up the payment directly with them. You can also transfer funds using other tools, such as Zelle, for which only an email address and phone number are required. You can always purchase money orders or cashier's checks, and use them for payments.
With the U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account, you'll be able to access the TransUnion CreditView Dashboard fee of charge - but only if you enroll in U.S. Bank Online and Mobile Banking.
Once there, you'll be able to see your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, so you know how financially stable you are. If you want to improve your credit score or see how some actions may affect it, you can use Score Simulator, which is quite useful for financial planning. You can also set up customer alerts that will help you stay on top of your credit as well. Additionally, there are many educational resources you can use to learn more about credit, and money management overall.
You can download the U.S. Bank Mobile Banking App by visiting the U.S. Bank website, and entering your phone number. The bank will text you a link, so you can download the app for your device.
Since checks aren't allowed for the U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account, you need to make sure that merchants use the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system to process your payments/transactions as electronic debits - that stays valid whether you're paying in-person, online or over the phone. Otherwise, if the merchant processes a payment as a check, the check will be rejected and remain unpaid. To make things worse, you may be charged by the merchant for any unpaid transactions, and these fees aren't refundable by U.S. Bank.
As a new U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account customer, you won't be able to use the Mobile Check Deposit feature for the first 30 days following account opening, unless you already have an existing U.S. Bank bank account. Otherwise, if you meet the eligibility requirements, you'll be given access to the service starting day 31. Do note that you can only use Mobile Check Deposit to remotely deposit checks you receive into your U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account. You cannot write checks.
You can make mobile check deposits after 30 days following your U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account opening (i.e. starting from the 31st day). As per U.S. Bank's Terms and Conditions, Mobile Checks Deposits aren't available to customers:
- Whose U.S. Bank account balance is negative by $100+,
- Have restrictions on their U.S. Bank account preventing them from depositing or withdrawing money (in case of an overdraft, for example),
- Have 2 or more returned deposited items in the last 3 statement cycles (which doesn't apply to U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account customers, as they cannot write checks).
A money order is a piece of paper, similar to a check, used as a form of payment. You can buy a money order by prepaying the amount of money written on it, and send or give it to someone who can then exchange it for the specified amount. Both you and the receiver must sign the money order, which adds another layer of security, as it minimizes theft (even if the money order gets lost or stolen, the person who finds it won't be able to cash it in). Usually, money orders have a limit of $1,000, so you'd need to buy several money orders in case you want to make a larger purchase.
Money orders are a safer and popular alternative for checks, especially for people who don't have a checking account or who have a bank account without access to checks (such as the U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account).
As a U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account customers, you can purchase discounted money orders at $1.65 each.