There was a time when people kept their money at home, hid it in the ground or under their mattresses and paid for nearly everything in cash. Today we have better and safer ways to handle our finances. One such way is by opening a checking account. With an account your money will be safe from robbers, deterioration and misplacement. You will also have the convenience of paying bills without the added expense of money orders or bank checks. You will be building a credit relationship with an institution that can help you with future money transactions such as buying a car. A bank account is a wise way to keep track of your money and can even help you save money.

The first thing to consider when opening an account is where you would like to open it. It may be at a bank, credit union or you could open a bank account online.

Do you want a checking or savings account? You should consider such things as is the institution and its branches close by, does it have an ATM and if so how many, where are they located and do they charge ATM fees and what are their hours of operation? Of course, with online banking your account is available 24-hours a day.

How to Open a Bank Account

When you arrive at the bank a bank employee will assist you by offering the institution’s products that you are interested in. They will then ask you for some information that is required by government financial regulations. You will need to give them your name, birthday, a government issued identification such as a social security number or driver’s license. Copies of the identification will be made. If you are opening an account online you will need to type this information into the text box.

Next, you will be given a copy of rules and regulations of the financial institution and asked to read and sign them. By signing these papers you have entered into a relationship. The papers will explain your responsibilities as an account holder and those of the institution. Online you would simply hit “I agree” to form this contract. After hitting the “I agree” button you will need to print out the paperwork, sign it and mail it. In most cases your account will not be active until the company has received and processed the paperwork.

After the completion of the above you will need to make a deposit into your account to activate it. Usually by the next day your account is active. You will receive a checkbook and debit card within a few days to a few weeks. You can now rest safe and secure knowing your money has been placed in good hands.