How To Open a Bank Account | Banking advice

Nowadays, the process of opening a new bank account is quite simple and straightforward. It is true that you already have a few accounts in your name or that you are opening your very first. Plus, it can usually be done online if you’d rather avoid a trip to the bank.

However, there are a few things that you will need to prepare for in order to get your checking or savings account up and running. Below are some tips you should know about opening a bank account.

What do you need to open a bank account?


For most U.S. bank accounts, you must be at least 18 years of age and provide a mailing address, phone number, and Social Security number or other U.S. tax identification number. “Banks are required by law to verify the identity of new customers, so often banks will also ask for a driver’s license or some other form of identification such as a passport or military ID,” said Gary Zimmerman, CEO of Financial Technology Platform Max.

He adds that some banks will also ask you basic questions about your employment or sources of income and may also require you to present a recent utility bill confirming your address. And if you open a student account, you may need to provide a student ID or letter of acceptance from the university.

Some banks also have minimum opening deposit requirements, which can range from $ 1 to $ 1,000 or even more, especially if the account offers high interest rates. Most of them have a minimum opening balance, however, require a fairly low deposit – around $ 25 to $ 100. This means that you need to be ready with the cash on hand when opening your account.

What else should you do when opening a bank account?

Once you have your new account, it’s a good idea to sign up for the bank’s online banking platform and download the mobile app, if it has one. This will allow you to easily manage your account just about anywhere and perform basic tasks like checking your account balance, depositing checks, and setting up account alerts.

If you are change bank, you must make sure to notify your employer and transfer your direct deposit to the new account. Also update the automatic bill payment settings; don’t forget those that come quarterly or semi-annually, like insurance premiums. If you don’t, you could accidentally miss a payment or overdraft your old account.

You can choose to keep your old account open, as there is no restriction on having bank accounts with multiple financial institutions. “In fact, it may be a good idea to maintain open relationships with multiple banks, so that you can seek the best rates on deposits, mortgages and other loans,” Zimmerman said.

On the flip side, if you are leaving your old bank completely, wait for pending transactions and overdue checks to clear before closing the account. Be sure to destroy any debit cards or unused checks.

How to choose a bank?

“Choosing the right bank means finding one that checks all your boxes,” says Michael Benninger, personal finance expert and writer for Finder. For example, if you prefer to handle your banking transactions in person, find a bank with a branch in your neighborhood. On the other hand, if you never want to step foot in a bank again, go for an online account that supports mobile deposits.

If you regularly handle money or travel internationally, Benninger suggests looking for a bank that has a large ATM network or that doesn’t charge international transaction fees. “We are fortunate to live in an age where there are thousands of banks to choose from, and you should never settle for an account that only partially meets your needs,” he says.

Also, keep in mind that banks are not your only option. If you value personalized service and community involvement, you may want to join a credit union. These nonprofit financial organizations are owned by their members and often have better interest rates and lower fees than traditional banks.

Could you have problems opening an account?

Unlike credit cards, which require you to meet certain financial criteria to qualify, bank accounts are open to almost anyone who can provide sufficient identification. That is, unless you have a bad banking history, says Benninger. If so, you may have been reported to ChexSystems, a database that tracks your banking activity and notifies banks if you have a history of overdrafts, bad checks, bad bad balances and others. problems.

“Fortunately, it’s never too late to recover from reckless banking decisions you’ve made in the past,” says Benninger. “If your banking history isn’t something to brag about, consider opening a second chance account to help get you back on track.”

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Michael J. Birnbaum

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