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Washington, D.C.

How to Open a Bank Account Online

19.04.2021
693
5 min.

Prepare your contact information and ID and be ready to fund your new account.

How to Open a Bank Account Online

Setting up a bank account online is an easy and quick method. It takes just a few minutes and save you time visiting the bank branch. Moreover, opening a bank account online may be your most suitable option.

Note! The top online banks are insured by FDIC and provide higher rates than regular ones. In addition, they frequently charge low or no fees.

What information is needed for an online bank account opening?

There are options to set up a banking account online or at the branch in case this opportunity is provided by the bank. The information you are asked to provide will be pretty much the same whether you set up a current or savings account, or both.

Below is the summary of the data needed for setting up a bank account online:

  • Valid ID issued by the government containing a photo. It can be a passport or a driver's license. Non-drivers can obtain state identification from the Department of Motor Vehicles office.
  • Other basic data like your birth date, identification number of a taxpayer, the number of social security or telephone number.
  • Some banks also require an initial deposit.
  • Identity details of other applicants if you are opening a joint account. Since the account will be owned by several people the bank will need the identity details and personal information of all owners.
  • Co-owner if you are under 18 y.o then you should ask your parents or a legal guardian to sign legal documents at the bank.

Attention! There are other options if you have had banking problems in the past, have bad creditworthiness or are not a US citizen.

If you are denied setting up a bank account you can start over with the second one. For this reason, you need to find out what is offered in your area. And if you are not a US citizen, read the Financial Guide for US Immigrants including the information about a bank account opening as an immigrant.

Type of account

There are two key decisions you need to make before submitting the application:

  • Joint or single account. When having a single account you become the sole owner. A shared account is the one that you share with another person, typically with a relative or close friend.
  • Current, savings or another type of account. Determine the primary purpose of this new account. If you need money to pay for recurring expenses then it is better to consider setting up a current account and ensure that not many commissions are charged or that you can opt them out. In case the funds are supposed to be set aside for savings you need to make certain the account applies a proper rate of interest.

Important! In case multiple current and savings accounts are provided by the financial institution you should compare them all to evaluate features and terms of which one suit you best.

It is also necessary to verify whether the account is insured by FDIC because it means that FDIC will protect your money in case of the bank bankruptcy. Accounts at credit unions are equivalently protected by the National Credit Union Administration, a separate governmental agency.

Additional information for a bank account opening

With the help of a secure Internet connection or another reliable network you need to complete the application by entering your personal details which generally include:

  • Full name
  • Birth date
  • Contact information
  • Address

While mostly you can submit this information online, in some instances you may be asked to send additional documents like your driver's license copy via email in order to confirm your identity. It may also be necessary to sign a card for the bank to verify your signature. Probably you will need to agree to receive statements as well as other information online. In case you are not of legal age then you will also need to furnish information about the parent or a legal guardian who has signed the contract.

How to load an account

As for setting up an account online, an initial deposit is typically a transfer from an existing account. Provided the bank is fully online you can also fund your account by money transfer or cheque. And in case there are local branches of the bank, you may visit one of them for depositing cash.

Upon entering the details for the transfer you need to specify the amount that meets the requirements of the initial deposit or minimum balance.

Note! It normally takes a few days for funds to be processed and after that your new account can be managed.

What to expect when opening a new account

Sending an application for a new account usually doesn't take long especially if you're applying online.

Some accounts don't require you to make a deposit right away but others claim you to have between $25 and $100 to open one. If you already keep an account in another bank or credit union you can simply transfer the funds from your existing account to the new one. Please remember that the original bank may charge you for this transfer. Otherwise, check or cash will work too.

If necessary, close the old account

Knowing how to change banks correctly can save you arrears and other unpleasant issues. Refer to these points for a smooth transition:

Direct deposit: provide your employer with your new account information.

Automatic bill payments: cancel any old payments, whether on the bank's own bill payment platform or through your streaming service provider's website and set up new ones using your new account details.

Duplicate transfers and linked accounts: this may include setting up a transfer between a new checking account and an existing savings account or keeping your PayPal, Venmo and other payment applications up to date.

Smartphone apps, text banking & alerts: download the new bank app, log out and uninstall the old one, and disable any alerts you receive.

Paper cheques: remove any remaining blank cheques from your old account.

Receive a written notice from your old bank confirming that your account has been closed and inquire about the bank's rules for reopening an account. What for? Some banks will reactivate closed accounts to make automatic payments or receive deposits which will result in you having to pay various fees again.

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