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Opening a Checking or Savings Account

Showing up prepared to the bank or credit union when you’re ready to open an account will help you save time and money.

Most banks and credit unions require two forms of identification to open an account. Some will take one form of identification (such as your driver’s license or passport) and a bill with your name and address on it. The other part of being prepared is understanding the terms and costs of opening an account. Get answers to common questions before you sign your paperwork.

What to do

  • Gather your documents. Make sure you have the proper identification and documents to open an account
  • Bring the required amount of money to open the account. You’ll usually need between $25 and $100 to open a checking or savings account at a bank. Some credit unions and banks don’t require an opening deposit and some require a deposit as low as $5 to open an account
  • Get all the facts. Call the bank or credit union or do research online to answer the questions in the checklist. Make sure you know how the account works and what fees are involved
What to do
What I need to open an account
  • A picture ID issued by a state, or the U.S. or foreign government (check which foreign IDs your bank or credit union accepts)
  • One of these second forms of identification:
    • Social Security card
    • Birth certificate
    • Bill with your name and address on it
  • Your Social Security number or ITIN; if you don't have one, you may be able to open only a no-interest account
  • Money to put into the account
Questions I'll ask
  • Is there a monthly fee? If so, how much is it and can it be waived?
  • Is direct deposit available?
  • Do I have to pay for checks?
  • Are there per-check or transaction fees? How much are they?
  • Are there convenient, free ATMs located near where I live, work, or shop?
  • Is there access to online banking? What’s the cost to use?
  • Is there access to online bill paying services? What’s the cost to use?
  • What happens if I try to spend or withdraw more money than I have in my account (overdraft)?
  • Are there alerts when my balance gets low?
  • Will I earn any interest on the money in the account? What is the interest rate?

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