Opening a basic bank account can seem daunting, especially if you have not had one opened for quite some time. Here are five easy steps that will ensure you have a new bank account at the institution of your choosing.
Step 1: Choose a Bank
Making the choice of bank can be the most important one you will have to make. The first question you need to ask yourself is how you will be banking. Will you be using the bank’s physical location? Or are most of your transactions completed online and/or through ATMs? Based on the answers to those questions, choose a bank that appeals to you. Ideally, you will want a bank that has many ATMs near your home, work and the places you visit. Additionally, you want to pick a bank that has quality customer service, along with physical locations where you can have questions answered.
Step 2: Go to the Bank or Their Website
If you do not want to go to the bank directly, you can open a new account on their website. Every major bank has a website, and they all allow for checking or savings accounts to be opened online. Just have your personal information ready, along with the details in order to make your first deposit. If you are not comfortable doing this online, you can visit the bank and request that you want a new account.
Step 3: Choose the Type of Account You Want
Even among checking and savings accounts, most banks will have five or six options. The details of each option should be listed on their website, and you can ask them questions when you visit the bank. The major differences pertain to interest rates, withdrawal/transaction fees, account fees, and/or any bonus rewards you may get. If you are looking to deposit a lot of money over time, you may want to get both a savings and checking account. If you just want an account to direct deposit your pay, withdraw money and use a debit card, get a checking account that has no fees.
Step 4: Provide Your Personal Information
All banks will ask for your personal information, such as your ID card and/or driver’s license. If you are from out of the country but staying on a Student/Work visa, you will be asked to show your foreign passport and the visa itself. Your social security card is also important, because this is used to identify you and check your credit history. In most cases all of this can be done online, but at times banks require additional checking to be done in person or over the phone.
Step 5: Agree to Terms, Wait for Your Debit Card in the Mail
The bank’s terms are often straightforward, but you can read them in detail before agreeing to sign the contract to open your account. After this has been done, you can expect your debit card to be delivered to you in a few days or weeks. If you need access to cash quicker, you can make a withdrawal on the spot, or use one of the cheques from the first chequebook that is provided to you.
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