What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?

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Contributor, Benzinga
December 28, 2022

If you want to generate wealth and retire from working someday, you’ll benefit from opening a bank account. Bank accounts let you store cash, get it insured, and capitalize on financial resources that your bank provides. If you have never opened a bank account before, you don’t have to worry. The process is relatively simple, but you will need a few documents to set up your account. We will share the requirements and key details to look for before opening a new account.

What you need to open a bank account

Banks require several details before you can open a bank account. These documents verify your identification to minimize the likelihood of imposters making bank accounts with other people’s credentials. You will need the following documents to open a bank account.

Government-issued ID

Banks accept government-issued IDs as identification. A driver’s license, passport, or U.S. military photo ID are some of the approved government-issued IDs you can use to get a bank account. You only need to bring one of these government-issued IDs with you.

Proof of address

Banks will want to know that you live where you say that you live. While you can’t take people to your home and show them the key to prove ownership, you can provide approved documents. Utility bills, leases, tax forms, and pay stubs are some of the qualifying documents you can provide to a bank that needs to verify your address.

Social security number

Every bank will ask for your social security number or tax identification number before you can create an account. This number helps banks verify your identity and ensure that the right person receives money from a will, insurance policy, trust, or another arrangement. 

Personal information

Banks will also ask for personal information when you want to open a bank account. Financial institutions will ask for your name, home address, email, and other details. They will also ask for your birthdate to ensure you are old enough to create a bank account with them.

Initial deposit

Some banks require an initial deposit before you can get started. The initial deposit funds your account and is a prerequisite for some accounts. Banks have lowered or even eliminated initial deposits for most accounts because of rising competition, but premium accounts with the most benefits still tend to have initial deposit requirements.

What to know about opening a bank account

Opening a bank account strengthens your finances. As you grow your account, you can transfer funds to your investment portfolio. Some banks let you invest from their platforms instead of using another company for your brokerage account. However, not every bank account is the same. Keeping these details in mind will speed up the process and help you find the right bank account for your goals.

Understand the process

You will need about 10 minutes to apply for a bank account. You will have to provide the required documents and information to proceed to the next step. Consumers who aspire to open a bank account can visit their local branch, send mail, jump on the phone, or submit an online application. The latter option is the most convenient and will save you time. 

After applying for your bank account, you will have to verify your identity and address. Gathering these documents before making a bank account will speed up the process. After you agree to the terms and conditions, the bank will process your application and let you know about your account within 2 to 5 business days.

Choose your bank wisely

Many people opening bank accounts for the first time want a long-term partnership with a bank. Bouncing from bank to bank can get frustrating, but if you get it right the first time, you won’t have to worry. Review your bank’s policies and fees to determine if they meet your expectations. You should also look at a bank’s additional features. The best banks are more than places where you can store your money. Many banks provide budgeting tools, opportunities to grow your credit, and other resources. 

Decide on the type of account

You can create a savings or checking account or both with your desired bank. A savings account is better for long-term wealth plans that you don't intend on touching anytime soon. A checking account is better for making frequent purchases and paying bills. Once you make your first bank account, it’s easy to open another. Many consumers open checking and savings accounts to manage their finances.

Get Started with Your Bank Account

Opening a bank account is a great way to gain a method to insure cash and let it grow over time. You can earn interest by keeping money in your savings account and using a checking account to pay off bills. Making a bank account creates new opportunities and can increase financial stability.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take to open a bank account?


The application process takes approximately 10 minutes. After applying, you can expect to hear from the bank within 2 to 5 business days.


How much money do you need to open an account?


Each bank has different initial deposit requirements, but it’s become easier to find banks with no initial deposit requirement. You can open an account even if you don’t have money to put into it yet.


How old do you need to be to open a bank account?


You can open a bank account on your own if you are 18 years or older. Teenagers under 18 can have bank accounts if their parents or guardians open custodial accounts for them.