How to Open a Bank Account

how to open a bank account

Opening a bank account may not seem like the most exciting thing in the world, but it is an important step to financial independence. Whether you’re starting your first bank account or are switching to a new bank, you may not be sure what the process is for doing so. Check out these tips for what to expect!

Choosing the Best Bank (and Bank Account)

There are a lot of different types of banks, and even more types of bank accounts. If you haven’t chosen a bank yet, take a look at the types of banks out there to help determine what you’re looking for.

Once you’ve chosen your bank, take a look at some of the types of bank accounts they offer. Most banks offer:

  • Checking accounts (your everyday account that you make purchases from, and where money is usually deposited)
  • Savings accounts (for storing money and earning interest on it)
  • Money market accounts (for earning more interest than a savings account while still keeping access to your money)
  • Certificates of deposit, or CDs (where you can earn more interest than the other accounts listed above, but you essentially lock up your money for a set period of time)

Have you decided what the best bank account is for you? It’s time to open it!

What You Need to Open a Bank Account

You’re ready to get started! To open a new bank account, you’ll typically need to provide the following:

  • Personal data (name, phone number, email address, home address, Social Security number, etc.)
  • Government-issued ID (such as a driver’s license or passport)
  • If you’re opening a joint account, the information listed above for each account holder

From there, you may need to complete a short application. This can be done either online or at a bank branch location. Once it’s approved, your bank will get started opening your account.

There might also be an initial deposit requirement to open your account. The amount required varies from bank to bank and between types of accounts (usually starting at $25). You can usually do this by writing a check, depositing cash, or transferring money from an old account.

What to Do After You Open a New Account

In terms of your new account, you’re good to go! But there are a few more steps to take to tie up any loose ends.

  1. Change any direct deposit information to your new account
  2. Switch automatic payments to your new account/card information
  3. Updating information for any account transfers or linked apps (such as Venmo)
  4. Receive confirmation that you’ve closed your old account (if applicable) after you’ve updated all of the above

That’s it! Ready to open a new bank account? Check out our advice for when the best time to start a bank account is.