Although the process may seem intimidating, starting a checking account is very easy to do. The hardest part of the process is determining the bank with which you will open your account. You can do that by getting recommendations from friends and following the tips in the guide below.
You must pick the bank with which you want to do business. This choice will depend on several variants including the bank’s reputation and how extensive its services are. For instance, you may prefer to bank with an institution that is open late during the week and open on weekends. The bank you choose should also be one that has branches conveniently located near your home, office and other places you frequent. Making this decision is easily done by visiting the websites of the banks you are considering. All bank websites have a ‘Location’ tab with which you can search for the branches that are near you.
When opening a bank account, you have to determine what type of account it will be. A checking account allows you to quickly remove money to use at your convenience. You can also have your earnings directly deposited and schedule for monthly bill payments to be effected automatically. Depending on the bank you choose to work with, there may be several different types of checking account options. For instance, there may be student checking accounts, and e-Banking accounts, which require all transactions to be conducted online. Some banks even have checking accounts specifically for those that maintain high balances. There are also corporate checking accounts, which are small business owners and large companies for the immediate financial needs of the enterprises.
In addition to choosing based on location and the type of account you need, you should also consider transaction charges and fees. At some banks, you must maintain a pre-determined minimum amount in your checking account at all times or face a monthly penalty charge. Consider a bank that does not have a minimum requirement, particularly for checking accounts. Some banks also charge ATM fees when you use another bank’s facilities to withdraw money. These fees can add up over time and become quite costly in the long run. As such, it is crucial to be aware of what, if any, penalty charges may be applied to the account you plan to open.
Be sure to visit the bank you want to do business with and ask an employee what types of account she suggests. Make sure that you inquire about any fees, as well. If all is satisfactory, you will be given an application form to complete. You will need one or more valid forms of identification including a driver’s license and a passport. You will also need to have your social security card and money in the form of cash or check to deposit in your new account. Once opened, you will receive a debit/ATM card and check books with which you can commence banking. If you opt to open an account with an online bank which has no brick and mortar locations, you will have to make an electronic deposit or send a check or money order via mail.