Updated June 16, 2022

What You Need to Open a Bank Account

Read more about Bank Reviews & Deals

Opening a bank account takes just a few minutes but there are rules to watch out for. Find out what documents you need to actually apply and other requirements.

© CreditDonkey

Most banks provide three ways to open an account: in-person, over the phone, or online. The application requirements for each are usually the same.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

Do Your Research: Rules, rates and fees differ greatly between banks. Start by finding the right bank for you. You'll also need to decide which type of bank account you want to open.

  • A checking account is for everyday transactions. You can make ATM withdrawals, check writing, and bill pay.

  • A savings or money market account is for saving money for goals. So you want to look for the highest interest rate. There are limitations on withdrawals.

  • A Certificate of Deposit is 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.

If you're more tech savvy, consider an online bank. Online banks are able to offer much higher interest rates because they don't have physical overhead costs. You can still perform all the same basic activities, it's just that you won't be able to pop into a branch to do business. Check out some of the top banks in the nation.

ELIGIBILITY

Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • 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.

  • You must have a Social Security number. Banks require your SSN in order to check your credit and report interest to the IRS. If you don't want to provide it, some will accept a Taxpayer Identification Number.

  • Clean record. Some banks also do credit or background checks. They may deny applicants with a history of overdraft or unpaid fees or convictions for financial crimes.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

© CreditDonkey

Opening an account takes only a few minutes if you are prepared. Here's everything you'll need:

  • Valid ID. A driver's license, state identification card, or passport is required. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen.

  • Basic personal information. The application will require your date of birth, Social Security number, email, phone number, and a physical address.

  • Proof of address. If you're opening the account in person at a branch, you may need to provide proof of your address. This could be a utility bill, mortgage statement, or rental agreement in your name. Most banks don't allow using post office (P.O.) boxes.

  • An initial deposit. Some banks require a minimum deposit (often $25 or even higher) in order to open a new account. Some banks have no minimum and will let you fund it later. Make sure you know your bank's opening requirements.

    You can make your deposit in cash or by check when opening the account in person. For online or phone applicants, you'll have to link up an existing account to transfer money. Have your routing and account numbers ready.

    Once your account is open, be sure to keep tabs on your balance. Some banks have a minimum balance requirement. They'll charge "maintenance fees" for accounts that fall below a required minimum monthly amount.

  • 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. Some banks might simply mail you a form to sign and return.

Once you are finished, make sure to review all paperwork. Familiarize yourself with the account features and rules, then file the papers in a safe place.

For online or phone applications, the introductory packet will usually be mailed to your address within 5-10 business days of opening the account.

What the Experts Say

As part of our series on banking, CreditDonkey asked a panel of industry experts to answer readers' most pressing questions. Here's what they said:

BOTTOM LINE

Opening a bank account is a quick, convenient process if you have the necessary paperwork and information. These include a valid ID, SSN, some basic information and your initial deposit.

Make sure to ask assistance of a parent or legal guardian if you are not yet 18.

Write to Kevin L at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Read Next:

How to Choose a Bank: Beginner's Guide

How to Choose a Bank

How to Open a Bank Account

How to Open a Bank Account

Bank Promotions without Direct Deposit

Bank Promotions without Direct Deposit


Bank Reviews & Deals

Best Cash Management Accounts

Cash Management Accounts

Best Places to Open Business Checking Account Online

Open Business Checking Account Online

How to Delete Your Greenlight Account

Delete Greenlight Account

Is BMO Harris a Real Bank

BMO Harris Real Bank

Is Discover Bank a Good and Real Bank?

Is Discover a Good Bank

How to Transfer Money from Greenlight Card

Transfer Money from Greenlight Card

Leave a comment about What You Need to Open a Bank Account?



Greenlight Alternatives

Greenlight Alternatives

Check out the top alternatives to Greenlight Debit Card for Kids to help you save money and enjoy similar features as Greenlight.

About CreditDonkey
CreditDonkey is a bank comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.

About Us | Reviews | Deals | Tips | Privacy | Do Not Sell My Info | Terms | Contact Us
(888) 483-4925 | 680 East Colorado Blvd, 2nd Floor | Pasadena, CA 91101
© 2022 CreditDonkey Inc. All Rights Reserved.