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What are the requirements to open a bank account?

Have your information handy to make the application process run smoothly.

Updated

Requirements vary from bank to bank, but you’ll generally need to provide your personal information and verify your identity.

How to apply for a bank account

There are several ways to apply for a bank account. You can:

  • Apply online. You can open an account online by filling out an application on the bank’s website or, if you’re already a customer with the bank, through your online banking account.
  • Apply on the app. Many banks allow you to apply for a new account by following the prompts through their mobile app.
  • Apply by phone. Some banks will let you open a new account over the phone. You may be required to verify your identity online, by mail or in person.
  • Apply in person. You can visit your nearest bank branch to apply for an account in person.

Eligibility criteria

Before you apply for a bank account, you’ll need to make sure that you meet any eligibility criteria that apply. These criteria vary depending on the type of account you would like to open but can include:

  • Age requirements. You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age to open an account by yourself, though minors may be able to open a joint account with a guardian. And different age limits can apply to some special accounts, such as a kids or seniors account.
  • Residency requirements. You’ll typically need to be a US resident to open an account, but in some cases it is possible to open an account from overseas.
  • Deposit requirements. Some accounts require a minimum deposit in order to open an account, such as $500 or $1,000.

Other criteria may apply, so check the terms and conditions before beginning an application.

What information do I need to open a bank account?

If you’re an existing customer with a bank, they’ll have your personal information on file and you likely won’t need to supply any extra details unless you’re setting up a business or kids account. However, if you’ve never held an account with that particular bank before, you’ll need to provide:

  • Personal details. This can include your gender, full name, date of birth and residential address.
  • Contact details. The bank will require your phone number and email address.
  • Social Security number. You’ll need your Social Security number to open a new account

If you’re opening a joint account, you’ll need to provide the above information for all account holders.

What ID do I need to set up a bank account?

The exact ID requirements can differ slightly between banks, so it’s worth checking with your financial institution for their guidelines on acceptable forms of ID. However, you’ll generally need to supply some form of government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Some banks may also require you to submit a birth certificate or Social Security card and/or proof of address, like a utility bill.

    How can I provide photo ID?

    Some banks allow you to verify your ID online. You’ll need to have your ID handy when applying for an account online and then follow the on-screen prompts to photograph your ID. However, some banks may require you to bring your ID to the nearest branch. Alternatively, your bank may require you to provide a certified copy of your documents by mail.

    Compare popular bank accounts

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    Name Product Interest rates (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open Interest earned More info
    Citibank® Account Package

    0.13% on $500,000+
    0.08% on $25,000 to $99,999.99
    0.04% on $0 to $24,999.99
    $25 per month
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    $0
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    Earn a $400 bonus after opening new eligible checking and savings accounts and completing required activities.
    American Express® Personal Savings High Yield Savings
    0.60%
    $0
    $0
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    Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account. Accounts offered by American Express National Bank, Member FDIC.
    CIT Bank Money Market
    0.60%
    $0
    $100
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    A savings account with a higher-than-average rate and minimal fees.
    Chase Savings
    0.01%
    $5 per month
    (can be waived)
    $0
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    A simple savings account with low, waivable monthly fees and a $150 signup bonus when you meet deposit and balance requirements.
    Aspiration Spend & Save Account

    1.00% on $0 to $10,000 but you’ll need to be enrolled in Aspiration Plus and make at least $1,000 in debit card purchases a month
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    $10
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    A spend and save combo account with no monthly service fees, free access to every ATM in the world, unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC. The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is a cash management account offering of Aspiration Financial, LLC, an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Aspiration is not a chartered bank.
    CIT Bank Savings Builder High Yield Savings Account

    0.55% on $25,000+ or set up a direct deposit of $100+ each month
    0.31% on $0 to $24,999
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    No account opening or maintenance fees. Daily compounding interest. Earn one of the nation's top rates
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
    BBVA Online Checking
    $25
    No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
    $3
    A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks, plus a $200 signup bonus when you meet deposit requirements
    Citibank® Account Package
    Citibank® Account Package
    $0
    No access to ATMs
    $2.50
    Earn a $400 bonus after opening new eligible checking and savings accounts and completing required activities.
    NorthOne Business Banking
    $50
    More than 300,000 ATMs across America.

    $0
    A digital bank account featuring free cash deposits, on-demand customer support and streamlined bookkeeping integrations.
    BBVA Free Checking
    $25
    1,000 fee-free ATMs across the country
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    Pay a $0 monthly service charge and get free access to BBVA ATMs.
    Chase Total Checking
    $0
    Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
    $2.50
    Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
    Chime Spending account
    $0
    38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
    $2.50
    Get rid of fees with this mobile-first bank offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
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    Bottom line

    Opening a new bank account is a relatively simple process, but it’s a good idea to have all your personal documents handy to make sure the process runs smoothly. And to get the best bank account for your needs, compare savings accounts and checking accounts before getting started.

    Frequently asked questions

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