How Do You Open a Bank Account Online?
Gone are the days when you had to wait in line or scour endless forms to open a bank account. If opening a bank account online, you’ll just visit your chosen bank’s website. You’ll need to provide them some information, sign-up and make an initial deposit. You’re probably wondering, can it really be that easy? Don’t worry, you’ve got this! Read on to find out how to open a bank account online.
Where To Open A Bank Account
You can open an account online wherever you can open an account in person: credit unions and banks, local or nationwide. A credit union is functionally just like a bank. Both let you stash money, grow funds and take out loans. The only real difference is that banks are considered for-profit institutions, while credit unions are nonprofit.
Making an account will basically consist of signing up on their website. To make the process as smooth as possible you’ll need to be ready to provide a few things. They’ll ask for some form of ID, your SSN or an equivalent and your date of birth. Also, they’ll need your contact information such as your phone number and email address.
Beyond your contact info and identity verification, you’ll need an initial deposit to start an account. Ironically this deposit will likely come from an existing account. If you were to open an account in person, you might actually bring cash to the window. Online it would consist of a wire transfer or debit payment.
You may run into some barriers to opening a bank account, including but not limited to:
If you’re under 18: minors aren’t permitted to open bank accounts. There are certain accounts geared towards teens and students, though - you’ll just need a parent or guardian’s help.
If you’re a non-citizen: banks request a valid ID or proof of residence, which can be a hurdle to immigrants and non-citizens.
If you have a sparse credit history: people who have a low or non-existent credit score may find themselves in the catch-22 of needing proof that they can manage an account in order to get an account.
These factors can all slow the process of opening a bank account and may require you to visit a branch in-person to provide additional documentation.
How To Decide on an Account
The kinds of bank account you’d likely want to open are savings, checking, or investing account (CD, IRA or money market). There will also be different fees associated with each plan. There may be a minimum deposit required to avoid fees.
There are also perks associated with each plan. You may want to look for a plan that offers overdraft protection. This keeps you from withdrawing more from your account than you have by automatically declining those purchases.
If you’re looking to get in the saving game, study the different interest rates available. However, beware that most checking accounts worth your time don’t pay interest. There are credit cards with cash back rewards.
Why Open a Bank Account?
Maybe you’re not just split between opening an account online or in person - you’re wondering if you should open one at all. Here are some reasons you might open a bank account:
To Go Cashless
You may want to put things on debit or credit instead of bringing cash. After all, there’s convenience to paying with a card. it’ll give you peace of mind knowing all your all money isn’t just in cash and coins.
To Use Online Banking
With a bank account you can take advantage of online banking features like budgeting, fraud protection, and paying your bills online (automatic bill pay is a game changer).
To Earn Interest
Getting into the savings game can be intimidating. You might feel like you’re not at a point where you can get involved in invested or think farther ahead than a week. Protect your future by getting started on saving through interest.
Is Online Banking Secure?
If you feel hesitant to give out this info over the computer, rest assured that online banking is safe. Banks pride themselves on making online banking secure, offering features such as two-factor authentication and automatically logging you out after periods of inactivity.
There are also safety benefits to doing your banking online. Since it lets you access your account any time, anywhere. You can check your funds, pay bills and manage your spending from your computer or phone. This has the added perk of letting you quickly review your past purchases if you lost your credit card or suspect fraud. However, be aware when using your phone on public WiFi that it could be anyone’s turf - in those cases, use data.
Take A Step Toward your Financial Future
There’s not much to opening a bank account online, and a lot to be gained. If you’re on the fence about opening a bank account, take this step toward your financial future. We have plenty of guides to help you navigate banking on your terms and your time.