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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

    $
    $
    months
    Name Product Interest rates (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open Interest earned
    American Express® High Yield Savings
    0.60%
    $0
    $0
    Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account. Accounts offered by American Express National Bank, Member FDIC.
    Axos Bank High Yield Savings
    0.61%
    $0
    $250
    No monthly maintenance fees. No minimum balance requirements. Interest compounded daily.
    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
    $0 per month or $7 per month for Aspiration Plus ($5.75 per month if you pay annually)
    $10
    Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and a $100 bonus when you spend $1,000 in your first 60 days.
    CIT Bank Money Market
    0.50%
    $0
    $100
    A savings account with a higher-than-average rate and minimal fees.
    SoFi Money
    0.25%
    $0
    $0
    SoFi Money® is a cash management account that charges no account fees to save, spend, and earn cash back rewards when you spend on brands you love.
    Chase Savings
    0.01%
    $5 per month
    (can be waived)
    $0
    A simple savings account with low, waivable monthly fees and a $150 signup bonus when you meet deposit and balance requirements.
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
    HSBC Premier Checking
    $1
    Free to use at all ATMs in the US
    $0
    Get a 3% cash bonus, up to $600 (max. $100 per month) during first six months after account opening. Must open HSBC Premier checking account through offer page by September 30, 2020, and set up qualifying direct deposits into the new account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
    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.
    Axos Bank Essential Checking
    $0
    ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
    No fees. Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
    Axos Bank Rewards Checking
    $50
    ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
    $0
    Earn up to 1.25% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.
    Aspiration Spend & Save Account
    $10
    55,000 free in-network ATMs
    $0
    Deposits are fossil fuel-free. A spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC.
    N26
    N26
    $0
    Fee-free ATM withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs
    $0
    A digital bank account with no hidden fees, no minimum account balance and no maintenance charges.
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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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