Opening an account begins with a visit to your local bank branch. Most banks require you to deposit a minimum amount in order open an account. That minimum varies depending on the account type. A basic checking account might require an initial deposit of only $25. A checking account with more features and interest might require at least $100 initially. In addition to that cash, you'll need photo identification.
Banks go out of the way to make the opening of new accounts as easy and painless as possible. Usually it takes just a few minutes to complete the paperwork, and an employee will do this for you as you supply the necessary personal information.
If you open a checking account, the bank may provide you with a few starter checks, but you'll receive a full book of personalized checks and a debit card later in the mail. The bank will also give you information about fees regarding your account.
Other types of accounts usually take a little more time and effort to open. To open a joint account with a spouse or business partner, you need the same information as when you open an individual account. Both parties must be present to provide their signatures.
The process for opening a business account requires extra documentation. In the United States, you may need your previous year's tax forms, business employer identification number (EIN) and the owner's Social Security number.
If you want a credit card account, or a loan, you'll first have to meet certain requirements that prove you're a trustworthy borrower. If you have little or no credit, you may need to start by opening a deposit account, which is good for your credit score because it's seen as a sign of financial stability.
Building good credit is one excellent reason to open an account when you're very young. All banks have age restrictions of some sort for their accounts, but most will work with young people and allow them to open a deposit account. Every bank is different, so you'll have to call around to learn the restrictions on the minimum age for certain accounts.
As you call, you'll likely encounter a wide range of options. Many banks have special types of savings and checking accounts designed just for students and teens. If these options aren't suitable, and you're not old enough to have your own account, you can open a joint account with a parent or responsible adult.
No matter what kind of account you're able to open, you may want to investigate your online options. Many banks will let you apply for various accounts on their Web sites, and in some cases, they'll approve your application and let you deposit funds on the same business day.
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