Nowadays, you can do almost everything online — order your groceries, catch up with distant relatives, and of course, manage your finances.
Many people preferred banks with full online services before the coronavirus pandemic. But now that many banks have adjusted hours and fears of transmission remain high, having the tools and resources to manage your money online is more important than ever.
Many banks allow you to create a new account without ever stepping foot in a branch. Creating a bank account online is faster and more convenient than making a special in-person trip. As long as you have the right materials, you’ll have a new checking or savings account open and ready for use in no time at all.
What Do I Need To Open A Bank Account Online?
Opening a new bank account online requires the same personal information as opening one at a physical location. This information helps the bank verify who you are. Additionally, you will probably need to prepare for any electronic deposits to the new account.
To open a new bank account online, you will need your:
- Social Security number (SSN)
- Date of birth (DOB)
- Government-issued ID number, issue, and expiration dates (e.g., your driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.)
In addition, the bank requires that you submit contact details such as your:
- Home address
- Phone number
- Email address
Under federal law, you must file a physical address for where you reside, but a PO box is accepted.
You will also need to make a deposit upfront. The amount depends on the bank, but it can vary between $25 to $100. To make a deposit when creating an online bank account, you will need a credit or debit card. If you have neither, using the routing and account numbers from a different account is also acceptable.
Signatures and E-Signatures
Depending on the bank you choose to open your account, the process might end once you submit the necessary personal details and use an e-signature to fill out any legal contracts. Many financial institutions — even smaller, local banks, and credit unions — take e-signatures. If you have a preference for where you want to bank, visit the institution’s website and search for an option to open an online account.
But not every bank lets you finish the online bank account application with an e-signature. Some require that you submit a physical copy of your signature. In this case, the bank usually mails you a “Welcome Kit” that includes necessary files and an official signature card. Even though it is increasingly uncommon to write physical checks, some banks still prefer that you submit a formal signature to confirm your identity in case of the possibility of a purchase dispute.
In situations where the bank requires your physical signature, you will most likely have to wait for the institution to process your application before you have access to your account. To avoid a delay, contact the bank and inquire about their application process. If they need an official signature on file, you may want to visit the branch in person or pick a different bank that does not require one.
What Can Keep Me From Opening A New Bank Account Online?
Sometimes, opening a bank account online isn’t always as straightforward as you would like. You may need to visit a bank location in person or submit more paperwork to create an account if:
- You have “thin” credit: One way that banks confirm your identity when you sign up for a new account is by performing a credit check. If you have a short credit history, they won’t be able to complete the verification process. In this instance, they may ask you to talk to a banker in person to finish opening your account — just make sure to bring a government ID with you!
- You are a minor: If you are 18 or younger, you are not legally allowed to open a bank account by yourself. Although banks have options that allow minors to open a checking and savings account, they still require an adult to co-sign on the account. Additionally, you will most likely need to make a trip to a nearby branch.
- Checking account history: If you have a history of overdrafts or have been accused of fraud (or had a joint account with someone who was), you may not be able to create a bank account online. If you believe your application was rejected in error, visit your ChexSystems report to determine if there is a mistake preventing you from opening an account.
- Citizenship: If you are not a full US citizen, you may have difficulty opening a new account online. In this instance, visiting a branch location in person may be easier than dealing with the process online.
- Pritchard, Justin. “Here’s What You Need to Know to Open Bank Accounts Online.” The Balance, 19 June 2020, www.thebalance.com/can-you-open-a-bank-account-online-315160.