There are plenty of options available for opening a bank account. Banks, account types, fees, benefits, it can all be so overwhelming that it might end up taking a lot longer than expected.
The good thing is that most banks and credit unions offer a pretty straightforward process. However, you need to know some things beforehand so you make it even smoother.
Choose a bank or credit union
If you are not clear on which bank you’d like to work with, shop around. Compare institutions and products (first, decide which product you need) and use that information to decide which one suits you best.
Depending on your needs, you can decide to open an account in either one of them. Keep in mind that you can have multiple accounts, so a lot of people actually consider it a good strategy to open accounts in different institutions, or at least one in an online bank, as they usually offer free accounts.
Choose your product
Once you’ve decided which bank you want to do business with, you need to decide which product is right for you. The options are:
Checking accounts: used to make payments and receiving direct deposits.
Savings accounts: these accounts will allow you to earn interests.
Money market accounts: they will allow you to earn slightly more interest than a savings account.
Certificate of deposit: these earn much more interest than the other options, but you won’t be able to access your money for a certain period of time pre-defined beforehand.
Provide your information
Once you’ve decided on the bank and the product you need, you are now able to start the opening process. Banks are required to verify the applicant information, so they will ask you to provide some details like your name, birthday, address, identification numbers (your Social Security Number) and a valid government ID.
Once they check all the information, they will open your account and you will be able to start using it!