“How can I easily open bank accounts?” Have you caught yourself asking the same question lately? Well, there are just a few steps to follow to be able to open a bank account with a breeze. So long as you follow them rigorously, you should not encounter any problem at all.
For newbies, finding and opening a bank account can be quite intimidating, and overwhelming at the same time. With so many options out there, that’s not surprising at all.
Just so you know, in data published on Bank Branch Locator, which is an online database of banks and branches in the United States, currently, there are 5281 local and national banks offering banking services in the United States with nearly 83000 branches in 10188 cities.
Meanwhile, according to the Quarterly Credit Union Data Summary 2019 Q1 by the National Credit Union Administration, there are 5,335 federally insured credit unions with 117.3 million members.
You see, there are just too many to choose from – although of course, it still depends where you’re located at.
But the good thing is — most banks and credit unions today follow a very straightforward process, which makes opening an account so much easier and less intimidating especially for first-timers. Needless to say, with the advent of digital technology and the internet, banks found solutions to make the process shorter and more convenient for their clients.
In fact, some financial institutions offer online bank account application, which takes just a few minutes and save you a trip to a bank branch. This is optional though. It’ll depend on your personal preference.
Moving on, stop wondering and thinking about “how can I easily open bank accounts,” instead, simply follow the step-by-step guide on opening bank accounts, which we will be sharing with you below.
HOW TO OPEN BANK ACCOUNTS EASILY
So, it’s time to share with you how to actually open a bank account hassle-free.
Before we move on, here’s a video on opening a bank account in just a few steps by How to Adult. This basically echoes the steps, which we are sharing with you. To watch, just click the play button below:
As promised, we are going to spare you from thinking “how can I easily open bank accounts”. Provided below is a simple guide on how to open bank accounts easily:
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR PREFERRED FINANCIAL INSTITUTION
By now, perhaps you already are fully aware that there are a number of financial institutions out there where you can open an account from. Too many that it can get a little overwhelming.
But, the good thing about having a lot of choices is – you get to compare benefits and offers from one financial institution to another. Comparing them will help you choose the best, the most ideal partner in managing your finances.
Now, just in case you do not know yet, there are actually three major financial institutions where you can open a bank account.
These are Banks (which includes community banks and big banks), credit unions, as well as online banks and credit unions.
Let’s admit it, when we talk about saving money or opening a bank account, the first thing that comes to mind is banks. That is not surprising though, because of the three choices, banks are the most popular ones. Needless to say, the most accessible.
Banks are everywhere. Wherever you are in the country, you will surely find one, right?
Banks offer most of the basic services that you need. Some of the products and services that banks offer are checking and savings accounts, loans, certificate of deposit, and more.
Banks come with fees and charges, although, local and regional banks tend to have friendlier fee structures. As with big banks, there are certain circumstances when fees are waived.
A credit union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution. It provides products and services similar to what banks provide.
What makes the difference is — since credit unions are customer-owned plus the fact that they are not-for-profit, they get to offer competitive rates to their members.
Online Banks/Credit Unions
As the name suggests, these financial institutions operate entirely online. Unlike banks and credit unions, most if not all online banks do not have a physical branch. So, if you need someone to talk to in person regarding your finances, this may not be ideal for you.
What draws people to online banks and/or credit unions is the fact that it’s very accessible, and that transactions are made easier and faster.
Also, unlike traditional banks and credit unions, they have fewer fees or in some cases, charge no fees at all since they are free from overhead costs.
Now, while you may opt for just one among the three options, you can also choose to open accounts in all three institutions. It all basically is up to you. Eventually, you can always close your account if you feel like it’s not meeting your needs anyway.
STEP 2: CHOOSE THE PRODUCT YOU WANT
Apart from thinking, “How can I easily open bank accounts,” you should also need to decipher the exact product that you want.
Banks, credit unions, and online banks and credit unions offer a variety of products and services. Some of the most common products and service include:
- Checking Account – A checking account refers to a deposit account that is held at a financial institution that allows easy access to your money through checks, debit cards, and on-site withdrawals.
- Savings Account – It is a basic type of bank account that lets you deposit, keep, and/or withdraw money while earning interest.
- Certificates of Deposit (CDs) – It basically is a time deposit. It has a specific, fixed-term, and it earns interest.
- Loans – There are several types of loans available out there (such as home, personal, and auto loans). Obviously, loans refer to the lending money, or in the case of the borrower, taking a loan means borrowing a specific amount of money for a particular reason.
Please note that each of the above-mentioned products come with a sub-product or products depending on the financial institution. For example, checking and savings account may have personal or joint bank accounts. The former means the account is owned by one person only, while the latter means the account is owned by two or more individuals.
Also, each product comes with a different name and level of service. Premium accounts, for example, come with more features and privileges, and usually, they also have higher fees and higher thresholds to avoid service fees.
It is best to thoroughly review each product before you decide which one to open. Your choice must depend on your needs and preferences so you get to take full advantage of whatever features that go with it.
We highly discourage you to avoid accounts that require a large balance to be able to avail waived fees. It’s not necessary at all — well unless you can afford it, of course. Also, keep in mind that the “free” account may not necessarily mean free at all because some banks impose other fees to cover that cost.
STEP 3: CHECK THE REQUIREMENTS IN OPENING AN ACCOUNT
So, you’ve chosen the financial institution where you plan to open an account, what’s next?
Of course, you got to look into the requirements for opening bank accounts.
As a potential client, it’s always best to know the requirements ahead of time before the actual opening of an account. This way, you get to save time, and also, it makes the process quicker.
There are two ways to know what the requirements for opening bank accounts are. First, you can visit the bank branch. Second, you can visit their website instead.
Of course, between the two, the most accessible and the easiest way is the latter. All you need to do is visit the site using your laptop or your smartphone, and then look for the bank’s marketing materials, or you can go straight to the “Search” bar and type in “requirements for opening an account”.
Upon hitting the search button, you will immediately be provided with search results. Just click the most relevant.
By the way, whether it be banks, credit unions, or online banks/credit unions, you can follow the same process.
The requirements for opening accounts vary from one financial institution to another. It also varies depending on the product you want to avail of. That is why it is important to check.
However, there are some common documents required when opening a bank account. These are:
- Social Security Number
- A government-issued ID (e.g. driver’s license, passport, or military ID)
- Physical and Mailing Address
- Initial Deposit (Optional; For online banks or credit unions, you’ll also need debit card information, or routing and account numbers, for another bank account you own.)
Again, it’s always best to check with your preferred financial institution first to ensure you got the correct list of requirements based on the product you want.
STEP 4: KNOW THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO PROVIDE TO THE BANK
Here’s the thing — as you open new bank accounts or a single bank account, you will be asked by your preferred financial institution to provide sensitive information.
Don’t worry, it’s totally legal.
This, in fact, is in compliance with the Patriot Act, which aims to protect both parties. Banks are not allowed to open an account without verifying the potential client’s identity.
Some of the details you will be asked to provide are as follows:
- Mailing Address
- Identification Numbers (in the U.S., it’s your Social Security Number)
- Contact Information
When opting to open bank accounts online, all you need to do is type the required information into a specific text box. Meanwhile, if you open a bank account in person, you will need to present your identification number to the banker who will process your application.
STEP 5: BE PREPARED FOR A FINANCIAL CHECK (For loan applicants only.)
Now, apart from this information, banks will also look into your financial history. This particularly applies to those applying for loans. If not, this can be disregarded.
Don’t worry, you do not necessarily have to have a good or clean financial history — although it helps, of course.
Financial checks or credit checks are usually done by banks to see if you had any problem with repaying loans in the past. Of course, they want to ensure they are dealing with a responsible client, right?
But then again, nothing to really worry about, because these credit checks are usually soft pulls, which means it won’t hurt your credit. But, if you are concerned about it, it is always best to ask to be sure.
STEP 6: CONSENT TO TERMS
This is basically agreeing or giving consent to abide by certain rules and accept responsibility for particular activities in your accounts.
It is important that as a new client, you fully understand that when opening bank accounts, you form a relationship based on an essential matter — that is, your money.
Thus, it is vital that you are fully aware and that you fully understand what you are getting yourself into.
If you are opening bank accounts online, this is pretty simple. You just have to read, and then click the “I Agree” (or something similar to that) button so you can proceed to the next step.
For special cases, which includes clients who are below 18 years old, and those opening joint accounts —
If you are below 18 years old, you will need a parent, guardian, or someone who’s over 18 years old to open the account with you. That’s a common practice among banks. While they let you use a debit card, and do online banking, they will need an adult on an account to get you started.
Meanwhile, to those opening joint accounts, regardless of account type, you will need the personal information for all the holders of the account. Also, you need their signature. All of them. Thus, it is best to gather everyone in one place to be able to complete the whole application process.
Additionally, federal law dictates the clients’ rights and responsibilities as account holders. For instance, if someone takes your money without your consent, which is considered as fraud, you might be protected against such losses. This requires immediate reporting though to ensure full protection.
STEP 7: PRINT, SIGN, AND MAIL A DOCUMENT (If Required)
This is specifically for those opening a bank account online. In some cases, you will be asked to print, sign, and mail a document to complete the application process.
There are some banks, though, that use electronic disclosures and consent to make the banking relationship legally binding.
However, there are still other banks that would require you to sign a document and have it mailed to them to be able to open an account.
Your account will not be activated until the required documents are with them.
STEP 8: FUND YOUR ACCOUNT
Normally, when opening bank accounts, whether it be checking or savings, financial institutions would require an initial deposit to be made. In fact, some banks do have a minimum opening balance requirement.
There are various ways to fund your account. This includes:
- Cash Deposit – Usually, funds deposited in cash are available for spending with your debit card the following day.
- Check or Money Order Deposit – Unlike cash deposits, funds are normally available within a few business days after making the deposit.
- Electronic Bank Transfer – This is probably the easiest and the quickest way to fund your account. Basically, you transfer money from an external bank to be able to make the required initial deposit.
- Direct Deposit (with an employer) – Instead of getting a paycheck by opting to set up a direct deposit with your employer, your earnings are deposited directly into your new account.
Funding your account is actually the last part of the whole process when opening bank accounts, once you are done funding your account, you can basically start the ball rolling, rather, start using and enjoying the benefits and/or privileges that come with your bank account.
ENJOY USING YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS
When you have followed meticulously the steps we provided above, you should reach this point when you can finally start using and enjoying your new bank accounts.
Generally, bank accounts are ready to use just a few minutes after the whole application process is done, or in some cases, it takes a few days.
For both checking and savings accounts, you will have to wait until your debit card or ATM card arrives in your mail. Some clients may opt to get a checkbook to be able to write checks.
Just like online banks or credit unions, most traditional banks and credit unions do also have an online counterpart (an app or a website) that you can fully take advantage of. Some of these online channels offer free features that you can take advantage of and use particularly in managing your money.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW CAN I EASILY OPEN BANK ACCOUNTS
Having your own bank account is like having financial freedom – not to the full extent though. But you know, it gives a certain feeling of independence – especially if it’s your first time opening a bank account.
But what we think is the most vital benefit of opening bank accounts is that it helps you manage your finances, which is very important – unless you want to get drown in debt, which I doubt anyone would want that, right?
Thanks to technology, opening bank accounts these days are more convenient. Thus, perhaps the reason why more and more people particularly the young are into it.
So, are you opening bank accounts soon? What particular account type are you looking at?