At each bank, an individual will walk you through the account opening process.
You will need to bring identification, including a valid photo ID. Most banks will also require a tax ID or Social Security card. Identification requirements vary among banks. You can learn more about specific requirements by using the side-by-side bank comparison.
Bring money to open your account
Different banks have different requirements for the amount of money needed to open an account. The Basic Banking guidelines call for no more than $25.00 to open and checking account and no more than $10.00 to open a savings account. Check with your bank on their specific requirements.
Decide about overdraft protection
One of the most important choices you will make when opening a checking account is whether you want overdraft services. For help in deciding what is right for you, see the information available through Seattle-King County (Washington) and Providence (Rhode Island).
Decide about Direct Deposit
Direct Deposit allows your paycheck or your benefits check to be automatically deposited into your account, protecting you from having your checks lost or stolen and ensuring that the payments reach your account the day the check is issued. You will need to arrange with your employer or federal agency to sign up for Direct Deposit but you should know whether or not your will use Direct Deposit when you open your account since some banks will waive monthly fees or offer lower-cost checking for customers with Direct Deposit because it saves them the cost of processing paper checks.