6 Steps To Take: The Complete Guide To Checking Accounts

    Opening a checking account is actually pretty easy. When it comes down to it, banks and credit unions all have their own steps when setting up an account, but they are more or less the same. So how do you open a checking account? Here are 6 steps to opening a checking account.

    1. Find One That Works for You

    First and foremost, it is important that you start shopping around for a checking account. Remember, you choose the bank, they don’t choose you. Do some research and compile a list of several banks that suit you. Once you’ve eliminated those that don’t and have a list of those that do, take the time to learn more by comparing them and decide which bank and their checking account best aligns with your needs and wants. If you find that this wasn’t the best option for you, then don’t stress. You can simply close that account and open another elsewhere, or you could even have two open at the same time to compare which you like best. You can try as many different options as you’d like until you find the option that suits your needs the best.

    2. Collect Your Personal Info

    When opening an account, the bank will require certain information from you. This information will vary from bank to bank, but there are a few things that remain constant. You can expect to have to supply them with some form of government-issued ID, your social security number, date of birth as well as a physical address. Some banks will accept your driver’s license as an ID document, while others will not. Online and physical brick-and-mortar banks will have different requirements. Some have more and others have less.


    3. The Process

    Banks and credit unions often require you to visit your closest local branch in order to set up an account. Virtual or online banks that don’t have brick-and-mortar branches typically don’t require you to go in anywhere, or even send a physical copy of anything anywhere. It is all verified online. This means you can do this from the comfort of your home. Depending on your bank of choice, setting up an account can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours (especially when dealing with things like queues). Some brick-and-mortar companies are aware of the issues of queueing, and might also offer you the option to make an application online.

    4. Submitting Your Information

    Depending on whether you’ve chosen to open a checking account at a bank branch or online, make sure that you have all your documents ready at the time of the application. If you don’t this could cause delays, or mean you have to start over completely from scratch.

    5. Make An Initial Deposit

    Once you’ve sent your information in to be verified, you might be required to make an initial deposit which varies from $25 to $100. This varies from a financial institution to financial institution. Basically, what this does is make you pay a minimum amount into an account in order to activate it. This is common practice, but some banks don’t require an initial deposit at all.

    6. Set Up a Direct Deposit

    Initial deposits and direct deposits operate in a similar manner, but as concepts differ slightly. Some financial institutions may require you to set up a direct deposit when you open a checking account with them. Those who don’t make it a requirement may offer to waive certain fees if you do choose to set up a direct deposit, making it appear as if this is a mutually beneficial exchange. There is nothing wrong with setting up a direct deposit, so do not be discouraged if your bank of choice requires that you set one up. If there are no fees or anything requiring you to set this up, the choice is up to you.


    Checking accounts are a great way to help you manage money that you to pay for your ordinary everyday expenses. There are plenty of financial institutions out there that offer checking accounts, so there are a variety of different ones for you to choose from. Once you’ve chosen the bank and the right checking account for your needs, filled in the paperwork, submitted all of the documents they require from you, and activated your account, you are good to go. And if you use it for a few months and decide that you absolutely hate it, you are more than welcome to change to a bank you think might work better for you. By all means, find the right one for you.


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