Let’s go through the steps to determine whether you’re looking (or have chosen!) the right bank account for you.
Step 1: Consider your personal needs.
What types of accounts work best for you? You may like the ease of having a debit card but might not find much use for a savings account, which doesn’t offer much return on your investment. Make a list of the most important factors for you, even if they seem silly, like the availability of safe deposit boxes at your bank.
Step 2: Decide which accounts work best for those needs.
Find out what other services each bank offers and look into all the details. Every single one. Decide the types of accounts that will give you access to the right types of accounts for you. You might look for low-fee institutions that offer brick-and-mortar services, such as those you might find at a credit union. Or you might pursue an online bank with checkless banking options.
Step 3: Look for low-fee institutions.
When you’re on the hunt for the right type of bank account for you, always consider the costs — in all senses of the word. Look at interest rates. Look at fees. In what ways do various banking institutions allow you to keep more of your money?
Step 4: Start an application.
Once you’ve chosen the right account for you, you’ll need to show some specific ID requirements:
- 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
- Contact information
- Minimum required deposit
Some banks may not allow you to open an account until you’re 18. Others may require a parent or guardian to help you open a student account. Check into these requirements.
Step 5: Choose your accounts and look at the details.
On your application, mark which accounts you’re interested in opening, whether you choose a checking account, savings account, or both.
Finally, acquaint yourself with your account once you’ve been approved and read over all the details. Get your debit card, checks and other extras that come with your account.
Also, don’t forget that you may have a few checks and direct deposits floating around. You don’t want to close your account right away — give yourself time to make sure everything transfers over.
Choose the Right Account for Your Needs
If you’ve been with the same bank for dozens of years, does that make sense, given all the options available now? If you can tap into a higher-yield checking or savings account with no fees, why not consider it?
Think outside the box as well. Who says you can’t have several accounts in order to give yourself the perfect combination of accounts that give you the best access to the best combination of accounts and rates for you?
Finally, always, always read the fine print. It can make the difference between you making a mistake in choosing a bank account that fits you and one that really doesn’t fit your needs.
Read more about all things money at UNest.