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What do you need to open a bank account?

When opening a bank account online or in-person, you may need to provide the bank, credit union, or financial institution with specific documentation or meet specific eligibility requirements. Certain types of accounts such as student savings, joint accounts, or certificates of deposits (CD) may have minimum age requirements or may require additional documents. It’s important to understand these requirements before you proceed to open your preferred bank account.

In addition to documents that verify your identity, age, or address, you may also need to provide a minimum initial deposit when opening a bank account. A minimum initial deposit is an amount of money required by the bank upfront when opening a checking account, savings account, or certificate of deposit.

What do I need to open a bank account?

Some requirements for opening a bank account may include:

  • At least two forms of government-issued photo identification, such as a valid driver’s license or passport.
  • Social security number or individual taxpayer identification number.
  • Utility bill with current address information.
  • Full contact information of the applicant, such as name, address, and phone number.
  • Student checking accounts may require proof of enrollment in an eligible school such as a student ID or acceptance letter.
  • If the bank has a minimum deposit requirement, you may need to provide the deposit at the time of applying.

How to open a bank account

You may open a bank account through some of the following steps:

  1. Choose a bank: You may want to consider the features, benefits, perks, ATM locations, and types of accounts offered by your choice of bank as well as any applicable monthly fees before opening an account.
  2. Confirm eligibility requirements: Confirm the bank or credit union’s eligibility and age requirements for opening a savings or checking account.

    For example, you usually need to be at least 18 years old to open a checking account and some banks may require a parent or guardian to be part of the process of opening a student checking account. If you are applying for a joint checking account with another person, some banks require both people to be present with their necessary documents.

  3. Start the application at your bank: Once you have chosen a bank or credit union, visit their local branch or online site to learn more about their application process and to access their application.
  4. Choose the right accounts for you: During the application process, you can usually specify what types of products you’d like, such as a checking account, savings account, or both.
  5. Read over your account materials: Once you have been approved and your bank account is open, you can request a debit card.