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 as long as you have the required documentation, such as a driver’s license or some other form of ID, social security number, and address information.

To choose the right bank account, review your financial priorities, and shop around. Financial institutions offer a variety of bank accounts, each having different features, benefits, and fees. So before you open a new bank account, make sure you’ve done your homework.

Factors to Consider When Opening a Bank Account

The financial institution that you choose to open the account with should be covered by insurance. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate and the National Credit Union Administration covers 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 come with a variety of fees such as overdraft, account maintenance, minimum balances, off-network ATMs, and international transactions. Financial institutions may have waivers for some of these fees and will reimburse you, such as using an ATM that’s outside of the bank or credit union’s network or waive them up to a maximum dollar amount.

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

Other benefits – It is common nowadays 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. Keep in mind that these types of incentives have requirements and actions that must be done within a certain period to qualify.

There are many types of bank accounts that you can choose from. Checking accounts are suitable for your day-to-day needs because they are easily accessible, and your funds are very liquid. A savings account will offer higher-interest earnings and are great for saving money for unexpected expenses or short-term savings goals. You are limited to six transfers and/or withdrawals per month on a savings account, so they aren’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 may be able to 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 to get you started. This could be your physical address, phone number, and email address. 
  • Initial deposit – You typically need to start with a minimum amount for the financial institution to open the account. The amount may vary with the type of bank account that you’ve chosen. You can bring in cash, a money order, write a check from an existing account, or use a debit card to fund your new account. 

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 very similar to walking into a branch. You will need your Social Security number, physical address, email, and possibly 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.