Can Just Anyone Get a Bank Account?

In this day and age, it is nearly impossible to be a functioning adult without having your own bank account. Getting an account is a relatively easy process, but there are a few things you need to know before you set yours up. Once you have an account, you'll be able to pay people more easily, get paid by employers, and also handle a lot of bills with relatively no hassle. Here are a few things you need to know before opening an account. Chances are that you can get one with relative ease.

Checking Account vs. Savings Account
There are two basic types of bank accounts: checking accounts, and savings accounts. Banks do not discriminate between the two, so if you can get one, you can get the other. A savings account essentially saves your money as a backup resource; you can't write checks or use a debit card from that account. A checking account is much more common because it has greater function: you can use your debit card and write checks with your checking account.

Legal Identification
In order to get an account, you need identification, so that the bank knows you are who you say you are. A driver's license is the most common kind of identification, but if you don't have a license, a government issued identification card or a passport will do the trick. If you don't have an identification card on your person when you apply for a bank account, you will be unable to complete the registration process.

Social Security Card
You don't need to have the physical Social Security card, but you will need to provide your Social Security number. So if you don't have the card on you, make sure you have your social security number memorized.

Proof of Residence
You must have proof of residence to open a bank account. It's fine if you live with your parents, or in a college dorm, but you need to have a physical address, and proof that you live at that address (you may even need to produce a utility bill, lease agreement, etc.). This way the bank knows where to send your paperwork, and also has documentation of your whereabouts. 

A Deposit Amount
If you're going to open up a bank account, you will need an initial deposit. Some banks have a minimum initial deposit, while others merely add a monthly charge for every month that you don't meet a set balance. You can bring cash, or a check made out to you, and that can act as your initial deposit.

Local Resident
Some small, independent banks, and nearly all credit unions, require that you are a local resident. This will rarely be an enforceable problem, but know that if you're looking for the customer service of a small bank, you shouldn’t stray too far from home.

It takes only a few basics to get up and running with a bank account. Many big banks will even let you apply for an account online. Otherwise, you can simply walk into a bank during business hours, and you'll be walked right through the process. Just don't forget the aforementioned things!
 About the author:
This article was contributed by Mike Gordon, recent Business graduate and finance aficionado. If you’re also a recent graduate looking for work, Mike suggests searching for finance jobs with

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