Opening a bank account is really simple – all you need is a government ID, some personal information, and possibly a small deposit. However, there are some pitfalls to watch out for.
When you sign up, there are 3 different ways to approach it. You can sign up in person, over the phone, or online. The application requires should be the same for each method. In this post, we’re gonna give you some tips to help feel prepared when you go to open a bank account.
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Table of Contents
Bank Account Eligibility
Before you even start searching or applying to bank accounts, you have to make sure you’re even eligible to open one. You must be at least 18 years old to open a bank account yourself, otherwise you will need to open a joint account as a minor with a parent or legal guardian as the account co-owner. However, some banks do offer bank accounts that can help teach a minor how to manage their own bank account.
If you are over the age of 18, then go ahead and check your potential bank to understand their eligibility requirements. For example, some banks will turn you down if you have a history of overdrafts or late payments. Some banks might even look at your criminal history to see if you have any financially related crimes. Also, there is a good chance they will check your citizenship because certain institutions require it.
How To Start Off
Research what the bank you’re interested in requires on sign up. If they offer different methods of signing up, decide which one would suit you best. If you’re fine with signing up online, go ahead and do that. One additional factor to consider is what type of account you’re opening:
- Checking Accounts: Made for everyday transactions. You can make ATM withdrawals, check writing, and bill pay.
- Savings/Money Market account: These are for saving money for goals. So you want to look for the highest interest rate. There are limitations on withdrawals.
- Certificate of Deposit account: CD’s are best for putting away a certain amount of money for a specific time. You know the exact interest rate you’ll get, so you want the highest possible.
Here are some other considerable requirements when signing up:
- Clean Record: Bank may possibly do credit and/or background checks. They can deny applicants with a bad background.
- Social Security Number: Banks will require applicants to have their SSN in order to apply for an account. This is to report interest and other factors to the IRS. If you don’t want to provide it, some will accept a Taxpayer Identification Number.
- Age: All banks require you to be 18 years old to open an account on your own. Those under 18 will need a parent or guardian as co-owner of the account.
What You’ll Need
Opening an account can be done in a jiffy when prepared with all the requirements.
- Valid ID: Drivers License, Passport, or state identification will work as a valid ID.
- Basic Personal Information: You will be required to give your birthday, address, SSN (Social Security Number), email address, and phone number.
- Proof of Address: Be sure to hand them proof of your address. For example, any sort of bills mailed to you with your name. Most banks don’t allow the use of P.O. boxes.
- Initial Deposit: Depending on the bank, you’ll be required to have an initial deposit (On average around $25). Make your initial deposit via cash, check, or transferable money.
- Your Signature: The bank will require you to sign to open the account. For online or phone applications, an e-signature or verbal agreement might be recorded.
Once you finish, review over all the paperwork and store it in a a safe place for you to access whenever you need to.
If the application is made online, a physical packet can/will be mailed to you within 5-10 business days.
Additionally, if you’re opening a joint bank account, the co-owner of the account might also have to provide the documents and information above.
How To Open A Bank Account Online
Nowadays, everything is done online, including banking. Whether you decide to open a bank account with a bank that is completely online, or with a bank that has physical locations, the requirements will probably be the same.
The perk of opening a bank account online is that they will accept an electronic signature for your application instead of having you mail in or drop off forms. However, for your security, some banks will actually require that you mail in your signature.
If the online bank account you decide to open requires a minimum opening deposit, you can easily meet the requirement by doing an online transfer from an existing bank account. All you would have to do is provide the other account’s routing and account numbers to make the transfer. Also, you could just send a check by mail if you don’t know how to transfer money between accounts.
So long as you have the necessary information to apply, it could be done within 15 minutes. These items include, but may not be limited to your Social Security Number, Valid ID, Physical Address, etc.
Now that you understand the basics of what’s required to apply for a bank account, we’re confident that you can easily make your own account today.
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