Just Some Stuff You Need to Know
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Fortunately for you, opening a bank account has gotten a heck of a lot easier over the years, and as an added bonus the days of balancing your checkbook are all but gone. The process is not hard and can be broken down into steps.
Step 1. Choose which bank you want to work with. If you have not already done this – shop around! Figure out what kind of account you will need – savings or checking. You have so many choices now, and not all are the traditional walk-in style of bank. Credit Unions have a lot to offer, so if you can get a membership to one consider doing so. Online banks can provide great rates and customer service, just be sure to do some research so you know who you are working with. Traditional banks offer competitive rates and many features but also vary widely in their fees. Find out if each bank offers online and mobile banking, and what if any fees are associated with the account. Bring along some money.
Step 2. Pick the product you want (checking, savings) and visit the website or branch office. They will usually offer a variety of services and account types but they are all variations of checking, savings, or loan accounts. Ask again about any fees. Decide if you will need overdraft protection and how you will fund that. In a branch office a teller or banker would help you fill out the application, online you will fill it out yourself. Be prepared to provide proof of ID and (if in the US) your social security number also.
Step 3. Agree to the terms, tell them how much you want to deposit, then sign the forms and create your account! Some online banks will ask you to mail them your initial deposit or identification, that will vary by bank. You may choose to pick out checks if you decide to order a box of them. At a branch office they will give you a starter set of fill-in checks to use until your order arrives by mail. Your ATM card will be ready to use right away and can be used anywhere a credit card is accepted as well as at cash machines. Just be sure to keep an eye on your balance! Generally you can log into your account online immediately, and will be able to see any charges against your account almost as soon as they are made.