Checking accounts are a necessity for many people’s banking activities.They can be used to pay bills, deposit income, and use a card.Before you open one, you need to do some research on the best financial institution and type of account for your unique needs.
Step 1: Consider your own banking needs.
If you want to open an account, you need to know what your banking needs are.Think about what you want to do with this account.Do you have a direct deposit from your job?Are you tying a card to the account?Will you be writing a lot of checks?As you look for a checking account that’s right for you, you’ll want to ask these questions.
Step 2: Decide on a credit union or bank.
Banks and credit unions are the two main institutions.Credit unions are non-profit and run by their members.When making a decision, keep in mind the different perks with their checking accounts.Credit unions have lower fees than banks.They have better service than banks.They have lower interest rates and are difficult to get in to.There is less choice of checking account you will get there.Most banks offer a wide range of checking services, and some might feel more secure with their money in an established bank.There may be high minimum balance requirements for their accounts, as well as high checking account fees.
Step 3: Make sure banks and credit unions are insured.
Making sure that an institution is insured and approved by the federal government is the first thing you should do if you decide to go with a bank or credit union.Smaller institutions might not be up to the strictest standards.It’s always a good idea to make sure your money is insured.The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has a site for banks.The National Credit Union Administration has a site for credit unions.
Step 4: Pick a specific bank or union.
If you end up choosing a bank or credit union for your checking account, you’ll have to choose from a lot of different options.It will become much easier to cut the list down when you start narrowing it down.Consider the location.Do you work near a branch?If you travel frequently, think about it.If that’s the case, you’ll want a nationwide or international bank so you can always find a branch nearby.You can use a smaller local bank if you never leave your hometown.If the institution charges for checks, consider it.If the institution you use offers free or low-cost checks, it can be a big advantage for you.There are different fees at different institutions.Some banks charge you account maintenance fees.Before you make a decision, make sure to look at the fees the institution charges.Think about the hours the institution is open.It could be important if you work full-time.If you work those hours, it might be difficult to get to an institution that is only open on weekdays.If you have to, look for one that is open weekends or nights.Do you want to do more than open a checking account?Look at the other accounts or credit cards that it offers to help you make a decision.
Step 5: There are checking accounts offered by the institution.
When you’ve narrowed it down to a few institutions, look at their checking accounts.Generally speaking, there are a few standard checking accounts.It’s a good idea to think about your personal banking needs.It is a basic checking.These accounts are for people who just use their checking accounts to pay their bills.They have low interest rates and a moderate balance requirement.There is a limit on the number of checks you can write monthly before being charged a fee.It is free to check.Free checking accounts are offered by some banks and credit unions.You won’t be charged for the amount of checks you write if you have no fees or minimum balance requirements.There are interest-bearing accounts.The accounts will have a high interest rate.You’ll be charged a monthly fee if you have a high minimum balance.If you’re considering this kind of account, consider the cost of maintaining the high balance against the interest you will receive to see if it’s worth it.There are joint accounts.These accounts are used by a couple to share household expenses.Both people have access to the account.Student checking.Special accounts for students are offered by some institutions.The minimum balance is usually low.They might include low-cost loans and discounts on certain expenses.
Step 6: You can explore online options.
Chase, Capital One, Wells Fargo, and others have online account opening options.You can manage your finances from your computer or mobile device if you find one of these.It’s best to get in touch with the institution you’re interested in.They need to verify your identity with a social security number.If you manage your banking online, be careful.Cyber thieves can hack into your computer and steal your information.Passwords can be saved to your computer in the event of a security breech.
Step 7: The documents must be gathered.
To open a bank account, you’ll need a number of documents and pieces of information.Before visiting an institution, make sure you have all of these.Government identification.A state-issued driver’s license is usually required.School or work ID’s are not enough.Your social security number.It’s best to memorize this number.If you have to write it down, be sure not to destroy it after you’re done.If you lose the paper, don’t put your name on it, just in case.You should check with the specific bank to make sure they don’t require any other proof.This will make it easier to open your account.
Step 8: You should bring cash or some other form of payment.
It will probably have a minimum account balance if you decide to open it.You will be charged a fee if you don’t meet that minimum.You’re usually given a day or two to make a deposit and bring the account up to the minimum.If you bring the minimum amount with you, you can take care of this right away.
Step 9: Speak to a person at the institution.
You can speak to a representative when you visit the branch.If you want to open an account, you’ll probably be referred to one of the bank managers or financial consultants.He or she will talk to you about the account you’re opening and tell you what options are best.You should ask the representative any questions you have.Discuss your financial situation with the representative.The representative may be able to recommend options that you didn’t think of before.Mention the checking accounts the institution offers if you’ve looked into them.The representative can talk you through the pros and cons of each account.Ask about any fees associated with the account, as well as the minimum balance required.Is it possible to manage your banking online or over the phone?These services are offered by most banks.You don’t have to go to the branch every time you need to handle your account.
Step 10: Pick an account and open it.
It’s time to decide which account you want after speaking with the representative.If you decide to open an account, you will have to deposit the minimum balance and submit an electronic signature to show how you’ll sign checks.If you want personalized checks, you can order them after this.It usually takes a few days for a debit card to arrive in the mail.Make purchases with cash until then.
Step 11: You should keep your account balanced.
All of your transactions will be recorded in a registry with your checkbook.If you make a withdrawal or deposit, mark it in your register.To get the new balance in your account, add or subtract the amount.You will avoid bouncing checks if you do this.If you write a check, make sure to record the check number.That way you won’t lose track of your checks.You can balance your account with electronic options.A spreadsheet is an easy way to track spending and expenses.You can manage your finances on Mint.com.Financial managements apps like Personal Capital or Debt Minder can be found in the App stores.
Step 12: You should read your statements every month.
This will make you aware of the activity on your account.It will help you detect fraudulent activity and prevent you from writing bad checks.When you’re done with the statements, be sure to shred them or store them in a secure location.Identity thieves could get your information if you throw out a bank statement fully intact.
Step 13: Caution is used when withdrawing money from non-bank ATMs.
The Department of Financial services regulates ATMs inside a banking branch.ATMs in bars and grocery stores aren’t regulated the same way, and a thief could possibly get your banking information if you use one of these.If you have to use one of these, look around the area.Don’t use the machine if anyone around looks suspicious.Guard your information as well.As you type your pin, use your other hand to cover the keypad.As soon as the money comes out of the machine, count it.If a thief is watching the transaction, you can be robbed.
Step 14: If you suspect a problem, contact the bank or credit union.
If you lose your card, act quickly.The sooner you contact your institution, the better.It is possible to cancel your card immediately to prevent anyone else from using it.If there have been unauthorized charges, you can lock your account.It is necessary to act quickly to prevent further losses.