October 30, 2020

Can You Open a Bank Account Online?

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It's easy to open a bank account online in just a few minutes. Read on to learn about the application process and what you need.

Just about all banks allow you to open a bank account online from the comfort of your home. You no longer need to visit a physical branch.

You have the option to open either a checking account or savings account online (or even both). The process is the same for both.

Read on to learn how to open a bank account online.

Who Can Open a Bank Account Online?

You should be able to open a bank account online if you're a U.S. citizen or legal resident. You also need to be at least 18 or over to open an account on your own.

You would also need to have some credit history and a government photo ID. If you are completely new to banking (no credit and no banking history at all), the bank may not have enough information to verify you. In that case, it may be best to visit a physical branch.

What Information Do You Need?

Typically, when you open a bank account online, the application form will require the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Email address

It may also ask for additional information like your occupation and your mother's maiden name.

It only takes a few minutes to fill out the application. After submitting it, you will receive an email from the bank for the next steps.

Verifying Your Identity

Since you're applying online, the bank may need to verify your identity before opening the account.

This step may require you to upload a photo of an ID (such as a driver's license). In addition, they may also want to see a utility bill in your name to show proof of address.

How to Fund Your Account Online

The easiest way to fund your new account is through an online electronic transfer. You'll be asked to link to an existing banking account by providing the account number and routing number.

After setting that up, just put in the amount you'd like to transfer. This method may take a few days for the funds to be available in your new account.

You can also fund your account through a wire transfer or by sending a physical check.

Can You Open a Bank Account Online for Free?

Each bank will have their own minimum opening deposit requirements for different accounts.

Usually, checking accounts can be opened with $0 or a very small deposit. Savings accounts may require slightly more money as a deposit. If your bank account has an opening minimum, make sure you have set aside enough funds.

There are also plenty of free online checking and savings accounts with no opening deposit or minimum balance requirements. In this case, you don't need to fund your account right away.

Before choosing an account, understand the minimum balance requirements. Some banks (particularly traditional banks with physical branches) may require that you maintain a certain balance or else there's a monthly service fee.

Do Banks Check Your Credit Score?

Most financial institutions will run a credit check on you. This is only a soft pull and will not hurt your credit.

Plus, most banks also check your ChexSystems report to decide whether to approve or deny you for the account. This tells them if you have any bad marks in your banking history, like overdrafts or bounced checks.

This can happen automatically when you submit your application. If everything checks out, you may be approved right away. Some banks may take longer and ask for more information.

Requirements for Special Bank Accounts

If you're looking to open a special type of account, be aware of these extra requirements.

Joint account
This is an account where two people are both owners. You will need to provide the information (ID, SSN, contact, etc.) for both people.

Teen account
These accounts are for teens under 18. A parent will need to be a joint owner until the teen turns 18.

College account
A lot of banks offer special accounts for college students. They usually have less fees and more lenient terms. You will also need to provide a valid student ID or proof of enrollment/acceptance.

Second-chance checking
These accounts are for people with credit issues who have trouble getting a traditional bank account. There are no special requirements to open, but some of these accounts have monthly service fees and limited features.

Bottom Line

Opening a banking account online is easy and convenient. You can do it in a few minutes from home instead of taking a trip to a bank.

Before opening an account, carefully compare accounts to choose the best one for you. Make sure you understand all the account's fees and if there are any balance requirements.

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

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