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When should you open a checking account online?

With the power of technology, opening a checking account online can now happen from the comfort of your own home. Another plus? It can save you a trip to the bank. Here’s how you can open a checking account online so you can start managing your available funds. 

What is a checking account?

If you’re looking to access your money often for your everyday needs, a checking account may be the way to go. A checking account is often used for day-to-day deposits and withdrawals. With a checking account, you can access your money with a debit card, through bank wire transfers or by writing checks. 

Checking accounts hold your money in a safe place so when you need it, it’s available. You can use it to pay your bills and other expenses. Your paycheck can also be sent to your checking account through direct deposit. 

When it comes to saving for short- or long-term goals, a savings account may be a better option in this scenario. A checking account often allows for numerous withdrawals and deposits. Most savings accounts have a limited number of monthly withdrawals allowed and can impose a fee for going over this limited number of monthly savings withdrawals. 

Checking account fees to be aware of

Most checking accounts have a monthly service fee.  There are typically ways to waive monthly service fees if you meet certain requirements.  Other fees may apply, such as out-of-network ATM fees and overdraft fees.

How to open a checking account online

Even though each financial institution may differ, there are a few basic steps you’ll need to follow to open your checking account online. 

  1. Compare and select the account type

    The first step in the process is to choose the type of account you want to open and compare it to others. There are different accounts that’ll fit different needs, so consider the purpose of the account. When picking an account, be aware of its available banking methods, fees and benefits it may offer. Available banking methods can include online, mobile, in-person and more.

  2. Review the agreement

    Bank accounts come with terms and conditions, so you’ll want to read through them before you apply. These terms and conditions generally cover included fees, rates, and important information about the account.

  3. Apply online

    You can apply for most accounts online if you’re 18 or older by going to the bank’s website and filling out the application. The application will ask for basic information about yourself and some may ask you to submit documents. Once the application is complete, you may receive an email regarding what to do next. The checking account is subject to approval.

  4. Verify your identity

    Most banks require a government-issued photo ID and typically a secondary form of ID. If you’re already a current customer at the bank, this step may not apply to you. 

  5. Make an initial deposit

    Some accounts require new account holders to make an initial deposit. This deposit can be made using an account and routing number to transfer funds from another bank account or with a check or money order. You can also visit a branch to deposit cash.

  6. Activate your debit card

    Since checking accounts are typically linked to debit cards, you’ll need to activate your card before using it. This can be done online or over the phone, or at the bank's ATM. Usually, mailed separately from your debit card, you will receive a personal identification number (PIN) that is used when making debit card transactions. 

  7. Start using your account

    Once the bank finishes setting up your account, it’s ready to go. You’ll now be able to make deposits, withdrawals and any other features that come with your account.  

What you need to open a checking account

To open a checking account online, banks require some documentation and information to confirm your identity and fund your account, but keep in mind that documentation may vary from one bank to another. Here’s some documentation you may need to open your account:

  • Social Security number
  • A valid driver's license or other government-issued photo ID
  • Some accounts require an initial deposit, so you’ll need routing and account numbers to transfer funds from another bank account. Once the account is open, you may have the option to use an ATM or branch to make a cash deposit.

Opening a checking account online is just one way to help manage your money. Compare Chase checking accounts to select the one that best fits your needs. 

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