I want to use an envelope system and categorize my expenses. So lets say I have 3 checking accounts for:

  • Grocery
  • Restaurant
  • GAS

... each will have its own debit card. I can write a label name for each debit card on the back, so I know which one is which.

But online, when I look at the checking accounts, I want an easy way to know which account is for which category, instead of remembering the account numbers.

So the question is: Does any bank provide ability to "label" your checking account online? Or like add a description to each of your checking account, so you can easily differentiate?



3 Answers 3


The straight answer is 'yes'. Our checking accounts are named, Joe,Jane,J2.0(the kid), and Joint. I believe most banks allow this naming in light of the ease of use for online banking.

But. Each bank has its own rules for how it calculates fees for checking accounts. My gut says you are making thing more complex than needed. You are likely going to be charged for having those accounts. My wife and I have fees waived from a combination of direct deposit and minimum balances, what will your bank charge you for three accounts?

Most envelope type systems are virtual, the $1000 in your checking account is placed in multiple envelopes to match your budget. You'll have more categories than the three you mention, and will end with 10 or more envelopes, but you don't want 10 checking accounts, free or not.

  • I called my credit union - I can open as many checking accounts as I want and there's no fees ! Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 18:52
  • Well, there are some things that are a matter of personal choice. If a debit card for each category helps you stay within budget, that's a positive thing I'd not criticize. It's just not for me. When there are sale items on staples, say toilet paper, I'd rather take advantage and not worry that this month I blew it. I don't leave my car running or joyride, so gas is out of my control. I'd like to know in a year if this process helped you or was too cumbersome. Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 19:41
  • +1 to virtual envelopes. I never explicitly set up an envelope system, but now I realize that my budget system is a whole lot like a virtual envelopes.
    – RonJohn
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 2:23

You can use mint.com or other aggregation services, and label the accounts there (regardless of the banks' ability to allow labeling, which IMHO most of them have).

But it seems like a very inefficient approach. Why do you need a separate account per type of transaction?

Using mint.com allows you managing budgets and tracking spending, on all the accounts combined. Seems to me like a pretty decent envelop system implementation, without the need to open tens of checking accounts. I'm sure other aggregation services allow that as well.

  • 1
    Each Chking account will act as an envelope, where I can deposit money. And then I'll use a debit card tied to the checking account, which is like spending money from the envelope. This gives me a control over my spending. With subaccounts or tools like mint.com, I can only track my spending...i still have to manage my envelopes manually with cash...So I like debit card concept, where each debit card acts like an envelope itself...does that make sense? Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 18:51
  • @Amit - what are you trying to achieve?
    – littleadv
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 20:40
  • I have figured out a way to use a debit that acts as an envelope holding cash for a specific purpose. So now I can have 3 checking accounts Grocery, Gas, Restaurant with 3 debit cards for each. I will schedule auto transfers into these checking accounts from my main account. So when I want to pay for Gas, I'll use the Gas Debit card. - This is a better way to implement the envelope system, instead of having physical envelopes with cash in them. Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 0:23
  • @Amit, I got that, I can't understand why you're doing it....
    – littleadv
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 0:47

ING Direct offers the concept of sub-accounts which might be what you are looking for.

  • 1
    Can you edit/elaborate on this? Commented Sep 12, 2011 at 19:12
  • I looked into this option. Sub-accounts is allowed for savings only - so no debit cards. My credit union supports subaccounts, but I since want to use debit cards, cant go with that option Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 18:47

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