By Ken McCormick
Vice President, Relationship Management

What Do I Need to Open a Bank Account?

Jul 17, 2023

  • Savings Accounts
  • Banking
  • NASB
  • Checking Accounts

Opening a bank account can be done at a branch or online. It’s a relatively simple process if you have the required documentation, such as a driver’s license or some other form of ID, social security number, and address information.

Review your financial priorities and shop around to choose the right bank account. Financial institutions offer a variety of bank accounts, each with different features, benefits, and fees. So, ensure you've done your homework before opening a new bank account.

Factors to Consider When Opening a Bank Account

The financial institution you choose to open the account with should be covered by insurance. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate and the National Credit Union Administration cover depositors at banks and credit unions for up to $250,000. You are protected from incurring a loss if the bank or credit union fails. Other things to take into consideration include:

Types of fees—Bank accounts have various fees, such as overdraft, account maintenance, minimum balances, off-network ATMs, and international transactions. Financial institutions may waive some of these fees and reimburse you, such as using an ATM outside of the bank or credit union’s network or waiving them up to a maximum dollar amount.

Interest earning – Some types of bank accounts offer interest on the money you keep in them, or they may offer cashback on debit card transactions. There’s often a minimum or cap on the amount of interest or cashback you will earn.

Other benefits—Nowadays, it is common for a bank or credit union to offer incentives for opening an account with them. You may even receive several hundred dollars as a bonus. Remember that these types of incentives have requirements and actions that must be completed within a certain period to qualify.

There are many types of bank accounts. Checking accounts suits your day-to-day needs because they are easily accessible, and your funds are very liquid. A savings account offers higher-interest earnings and allows you to save money for unexpected expenses or short-term savings goals. However, you are limited to six monthly transfers and/or withdrawals on a savings account, so it isn’t as liquid as a checking account.  

Things You May Need to Open a Bank Account

The need for documentation and other requirements may vary when you open a bank account. However, in general, if you are heading over to the local branch, you should bring the following with you:

  • Government-issued ID – Your photo identification in the form of either a driver’s license or passport is required to open a bank account. You may also need to bring a secondary form of identification, like a utility bill.
  • Social Security – Most financial institutions still require your Social Security number to open an account. Sometimes, you can substitute this for your Taxpayer Identification Number. This is the number that the Internal Revenue Service uses for your tax returns.
  • Other information—The financial institution may also need additional personal information, such as your physical address, phone number, and email address, to get you started. 
  • Initial deposit—You typically need to start with a minimum amount for the financial institution to open the account. The amount may vary depending on your chosen bank account type. You can fund your new account with cash, a money order, a check from an existing account, or a debit card. 

There are also many online-only banks or financial institutions that allow you to open an account online. What you need to open a bank account online is like walking into a branch. You will need your Social Security number, physical address, email, and other personal information. To fund your account online, you may need to enter your existing bank’s name, routing number, and account number. Some may allow you to use your current debit card to fund the account.

If you are ready to open a bank account, NASB offers checking, savings, and CDs designed for your needs. Call us at 855-465-0753 to learn more and get started.