Regardless of where you are in life, you will likely need to open a bank account at some point.
But what exactly do you need to open a bank account?
Whether you’re a complete newbie or haven’t opened one in a long time, opening an account can be stressful. This need not be. Prepare before you go to the bank and the process will be a lot smoother.
Which bank you use is more important than you might think. Find out where to keep your money (and more!) In The Penny Hoarder Daily.
What do you need to open a bank account?
You can usually open an account online or in person at a local bank branch. If you go in person, make sure you collect all of your documents in advance to avoid delays. (We’ll discuss what to bring later.)
Regardless of how you open your bank account, you will need to fill out an application. This includes personal information such as your name, address, and social security number. When applying online you will need to enter your photo ID so the bank can verify who you are.
How to find out if you are authorized to open a bank account
Every bank has different admission requirements. Therefore, it is a good idea to do your research before choosing a bank. However, all banks have certain statutory licensing requirements.
First of all, you must be at least 18 years old to open a bank account yourself.
If you are under 18, you may be able to open a joint account with a parent or legal guardian. You can also check with your bank to see if they have accounts for minors.
Opening a bank account at a young age can help you learn how to properly manage your money, making your transition into adulthood easier.
Many banks will look at your financial history before you can open an account. If you have had past overdrafts or previously closed accounts from the bank, you may not be eligible. Some banks will work with you even if you have a bad history. So if this applies to you, it is worth doing your research.
Under certain circumstances, you can only open an account with banks if you are a US citizen.
What to bring when opening a bank account
Once you’ve selected a financial institution to open a checking or savings account with, you need to make sure that you show up with the correct documents to ensure it goes smoothly. You need to bring the following:
The first time you open an account, you will need to bring photo identification. The most common form is a government-issued driver’s license, but a passport works too.
If you are not driving and do not have a passport, you can obtain a government ID from your local motor vehicle office. In order to receive an ID, you must present your birth certificate and proof of address to the DMV.
Social security card
You may need to show your social security card to open an account. So it’s a good idea to bring these with you just in case.
If you do not have a social security number, you will need an individual tax identification number. You can get one by submitting Form W-7 to the IRS.
Proof of address
You need to bring proof of your address, e.g. B. an electricity bill or a mortgage bill. You can also sign a rental agreement that includes your address.
Most banks require you to make an initial deposit when you open a new account. Therefore, ask for the minimum deposit and have this amount of money with you when you open an account.
What happens after you apply for a bank account?
Once your application is complete, the bank will review it and, if necessary, review your history with bank accounts.
If you have been approved for the account, you will be given the account number and routing number so you can use it right away. In this case, you will make your first deposit.
If you open the account in person, you can use cash, a check, or an electronic transfer. When opening the account online you should be able to use all of the above options with the exception of cash.
After a few days you will receive a check book, payment slips and a debit or ATM card in the mail. Activation instructions are included on the card, which you usually do by phone or online. Make sure you sign the card or it may be considered invalid.
Once you have your bank account details, you can make a direct deposit for your regular monthly income, whether it’s a paycheck, pension fund, or other benefit. Direct deposits make it easy to access your funds on a monthly basis and avoid the extra step of cashing a check.
Next, you can set up online access to your bank account. Make sure you choose a password that you remember but that is not easy to guess. Some banks have different login methods for added security. So choose one that is not too difficult to access your funds.
Opening a bank account for the first time or 50 can be daunting. However, if you make sure you have everything you will need in advance, this can be done quickly and easily.
Catherine Hiles is a writer, mother, runner, and avid reader. She enjoys cooking (and eating), drinking good beer, and hanging out with her husband and two young children.