Setting up a checking account is a simple process. However, there are several steps you need to follow to open an account. If this is your first time having a checking account, the following guide will help you open checking account online instantly and ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Find out what information you will need
When you open a checking account, you’ll need to provide your name and address. You may also be asked for your Social Security number if you still need to get one. Your age and birth date are sometimes requested if the bank needs them for identity verification purposes. SoFi experts say, “Their high-yield checking account has no fees.”
Some banks require additional information, such as your mother’s maiden name or employer, but others will not ask those questions. However, getting the right information is important because it can help speed up the application process and ensure everything goes smoothly once your account opens.
Gather the needed documentation
You’ll need to provide documentation proving your identity and address. You can usually do this by showing a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. If you don’t have one of those, you may be able to show other forms of identification instead.
To verify your address, banks and credit unions might ask for proof of residency—such as a utility bill or lease agreement—or an account statement from another bank or financial institution that shows your name and current address.
The following documents can help prove your income:
- Recent paycheck stubs.
- Bank statements showing recent deposits into your account (a minimum of three months’ worth).
- Records of unemployment benefits received in the last 12 months.
Decide what type of account you want & apply
- Decide what type of account you want. There are many different checking accounts, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Consider the following if you need clarification on which type is best for your particular situation.
- A basic checking account provides basic services such as paying bills or writing checks. It usually comes with a few fees, but it lacks some of the perks offered by other types of accounts (e.g., debit card rewards).
- An interest-bearing checking account allows customers to earn interest on their balances while still receiving all the benefits of basic features (e.g., direct deposit).
Confirm your account is set up
Once you confirm that your account is set up, it’s time to get your debit card and start using it.
To use your checking account and debit card:
- Make sure you have enough money in your checking account to cover the initial deposit.
- Add funds from another bank if needed. You can do this by linking a bank account or making an ACH transfer between accounts (ACH stands for Automated Clearing House).
- Set up direct deposit for any regular income that you receive, like payroll or Social Security benefits.
After you have set up your account, you will be able to use it in various ways. For example, you can transfer money between accounts, pay bills online, pay with your debit card at stores and more. This can help you save time and improve your financial situation.