How to Open a Checking Account

By Bethany Culp

  • Overview

    Though credit cards and debit cards are quickly replacing check writing, it is still important for individuals to have a checking account. Checking accounts allow customers quick access to their funds by check, ATM withdrawal or debit cards. Nearly all national and regional banks offer checking accounts though each of these banks have different requirements and benefits associated with the accounts that they offer.
    • Step 1

      Look into different banks in your region. When choosing a bank, consider the number of branches in the area and the proximity of branches to your home or office. You may also have to choose between local and national chains. National chains can be beneficial to banking customers who travel or move frequently. Though local chains may have fewer branches, they often offer a more personal level of customer service.
    • Step 2

      Research the variety of checking accounts available. Most banks offer several different checking accounts with varying requirements and benefits. Some accounts may charge fees for certain services or a basic monthly service fee. Other accounts may not be subject to fees if certain requirements are met. Free or low-fee checking accounts may require a minimum balance, pre-determined number of transactions per month or direct deposit.

    • Step 3

      Decide which features are most important to you. This may mean choosing a bank with fewer locations to get a fee-free account.
    • Step 4

      Gather your documentation. You'll need proof of address, an initial deposit and a government issued photo ID such as a state ID, driver's license or passport. You will also need to provide the bank with your Social Security number, ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) or EIN (employer identification number). Provide additional information for security purposes to confirm your identity and protect your credit. These questions may require you to identify your mother's maiden name or previous addresses at which you have lived.
    • Step 5

      Visit the bank that offers the features most important to you. Take your documentation to the customer service counter at the bank of your choice to open a checking account.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Government Issued ID
    • Funds for initial deposit
    • Social Security number, ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) or EIN (employer identification number)
    • Tip: Though most banks do not pay interest on checking accounts, there are several that do. Look for these interest collecting accounts, but be aware of additional requirements necessary to collect the interest.
    • Warning:
    • Most checking accounts advertised as "Free" have minimum requirements. Understand and meet the minimum requirements to avoid any unnecessary fees.

    © High Speed Ventures 2011