When you go to open an account,
the financial institution will review your history of using bank
accounts. Some may even review your credit
If you have a history of misusing
accounts, like frequently bouncing checks, you may not be able
to open an account.
If you've never had a bank account
or credit, don't worry. If you have the proper ID, a financial
institution will welcome doing business with you. Usually this
means you'll need a photo ID, such as a driver's license, as well
as a Social Security number or taxpayer identification number.
If you don't have any of these,
you can use a state-issued identity card, passport or permanent
Bank accounts that allow you to
add money are called deposit accounts. There are two types: checking
Checking Account: Lets you write
checks to pay bills or buy goods and services. The financial institution
takes the money from your account and pays it to the person or
organization named on the check. You get a bank statement each
month from the financial institution showing you all the deposits
and withdrawals you made on your account. Typically there is a
fee for a checking account, but many financial institutions offer
low fee checking accounts.
Savings Account: An account that
earns interest. You can open a savings account with a few dollars
and then deposit more money over time to earn more interest and
build your savings. Typically there is no fee for a savings account.
Choosing an Account
It's a good idea to compare the
rules of different accounts at different financial institutions.
Use this checklist when you begin to look around to find the account
that's right for you.
How much money do I need to open the account?
much do I have to keep in my account to avoid fees?
are the fees for bounced checks?
many checks can I write before extra fees are charged?
many withdrawals can I make each month?
this account pay interest?
an ATM or debit card come with this account?
I be charged to use the ATM or debit card at this financial institution?
is my liability if I lose my ATM or debit card?
I be charged to use the ATM or debit card at another financial institution?
there any other fees?
the financial institution offer a service for overdraft protection?