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How to Open a Bank Account Without Losing Your Head (Or Money): A First Timer's Guide

Opening your first account with the bank doesn't have to be stressful! If you're wondering how to open a bank account, don't fret. Here's what you need to know.


From the outside looking in, banks are scary.

You will often hear horror stories of big banks taking back homes from families, taking investments and whittling them down to nothing, leaving average persons such as yourself alone and with nothing.

How to Open a Bank Account Without Losing Your Head (Or Money): A First Timer's Guide

But this is a dark picture of banks and fails to account for all the services and protections they provide people. Here you will learn why a bank account is a good thing, how to open a bank account, and what you need to have in order to get started.

Bank Accounts: What Is The Point?

In a word, convenience. Bank accounts provide a level of convenience that simply cannot be obtained anywhere else.

Bank accounts provide you with a simple and secure way to manage incoming funds, as well as outgoing funds and bill payment. 

If you are self-employed or a business owner, it is easy to keep track of income and expenses with a bank account, and even easier still if you have tools to accompany your accounts, such as QuickBooks or a pay stub maker.

Additionally, bank accounts allow for the accurate and easy accounting and balancing of your finances.

How To Open A Bank Account
First and foremost, you must be at least 18 years old to open a bank account; that said, you can often get a bank account as a minor, provided it is a joint account with a legal guardian.
If you have had a bank account before, check the standards of the institution you wish to open an account at. If you have a history of late payments or overdrawn accounts, you may be turned away. Sometimes banks look into criminal histories and citizenship, among other things. 

What You Need
To get started, you usually will need to provide some personal information and other things the bank requires to open an account. These items can include:

  • Photo ID such as a driver's license, Social Security card, or passport (sometimes more than one form is needed, often required to be government issued)
  • Date of birth
  • Physical address AND mailing address
  • Proof of address (utility or cable bills are often used for this)
  • Email address

Should you choose to open a joint account with someone else, all of their information will be typically be needed as well.

Upon opening a bank account, most banks require a minimum initial deposit in order to get started. Many basic checking accounts require only $25, but depending on the bank and the type of account, it can get much higher.

Opening A Bank Account Online

Why go through the hassle of opening a bank account in person when you can simply do it online?
Many banks no longer have physical locations, instead opting for a virtual platform that customers use to conduct their financial affairs. These completely online banks and their accounts work largely the same as their brick and mortar counterparts.

So similar, in fact, that the things required by online banks are almost the exact same as their physical counterparts (SS number, date of birth, etc.)

One of the main things to be on the lookout for with virtual banks and financial institution is the potential fees that may be charged when you visit an ATM.

Check to see if the online bank offers free ATM usage anywhere, or if they are partnered up with a physical institution to allow for hassle-free ATM visits.

Tech News, Banking Advice, And More

Hopefully, you now have the knowledge of how to open a bank account, physically or virtually.
Want to know more about banking and financial services? Our blog has tons of articles on various banks and banking functions that are essential to competent banking.

Want to stay up to date on all things tech? Check out our tech page for news and updates.

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