How to Open a Checking Account Online
With your paycheck safely tucked into your wallet, you head to your local bank to open a brand-new checking account. Not so fast …. Before you open a new bank account, your local bank may need two forms of identification, a copy of a recent utility bill or other document showing your current address, and possibly your social security card. The other option is you can avoid the red tape associated with opening a checking account by choosing to open a checking account online instantly.
Bank Requirements for Checking Accounts
All banks are required to maintain certain records to remain in compliance with federal laws. In addition to confirming your address and identity, you can anticipate the bank making copies of your identification for their files. The bank will ask you to fill out some forms with your personal information, ask you to hand the teller or customer service representative your identification, and copies will be made of a document proving your address. Finally, you will have to sign the forms as provided by the bank.
Another issue some people run into when opening a bank account with a local bank is minimum deposit requirements. Some banks have high minimum opening amounts which you must have before you can open an account. Therefore, it is recommended before you go to your local bank you inquire as to their opening balance requirements as well as fees associated with maintaining the account.
Open a Checking Account Online
When you open a checking account online, your information is verified by the bank doing a “soft” credit inquiry or by running your name through ChexSystems. Generally, online bank accounts, unlike your local branch, will accept a signature electronically. Only in unusual cases, such as no work history, no credit report, or a discrepancy between your social security number and name will you face challenges opening an online checking account.
Another advantage you will have, besides the ability to open a checking account online instantly is you will be able to deposit your check directly to the account from your computer or your smartphone. The process is simple, you sign the check just as you would when you are at your local bank. If you are using your desktop computer, you will have to snap a photo or scan the front and back of the check and upload it as directed by the bank’s website. If you are using your phone, you may only have to log into your account and follow the prompts to upload the photos to your bank account.
Red Tape Nearly Eliminated
One of the best reasons to open a checking account online instantly is because you can open the account any time of the day or night. You can also open an account on a holiday since online banking does not require any interaction with tellers or other bank personnel. Some people are confident enough depending on banking applications to complete the process using their smartphones if the bank allows such access.
Additional Benefits of Online Bank Accounts
In many cases, online bank accounts pay a better rate of interest than your local bank. Some of the best bank accounts can be found online. In terms of convenience, online banking is very helpful for most people who wish to open an account. You can order checks, pay bills, set up automatic payments, direct deposit, and deposit money into your account from anyplace using your mobile phone.
Downsides of Online Bank Accounts
There are very few downsides to an online bank account outside of the fact you will not have a person to talk to face-to-face. However, nearly all online bank accounts offer instant chatting features, have telephone numbers where you can reach out to customer service, and most have an email address readily accessible on the site so you can reach out to someone anytime for non-financial issues.
Addressing Online Banking Security Concerns
Some people may hesitate to work with an online bank because they are concerned about the security of their accounts. The fact is, there are no additional security risks in banking online than those you would face working with a brick-and-mortar bank. In fact, there are some protections you may be offered when you open a checking account online instantly. Some of the most popular online banks offer you the ability to get a temporary “card number” for your debit card to use for online purchases. If you are traveling, you can simply inform the bank of where you are going to avoid the possibility of a fraud alert being triggered on your account when you need to use it while traveling with the click of a button.
If you decide to open a checking account online instantly, make sure you carefully read the terms of service so you understand any fees which the bank may impose on your account. In many cases, you may find dealing with an online bank provides you the advantage of lower fees and free bill pay among other benefits.