If you want to save your money in a safe place and earn a little interest, then you should open a bank account. Keeping your money in the bank is safer than keeping it at home. Banks store your money inside safes and vaults that are virtually impenetrable. Besides, the money inside your cabinet at home doesn’t earn interest. In a bank, it grows – although most savings accounts will only earn you very little interest. This article explains some of the issues that you need to think about when opening a bank account.
Almost all banks will require you to have an average daily balance – a minimum amount of money that you keep in your account at all times. If the money in your account goes below your bank-specified minimum balance, you will be charged a penalty. The fees vary from bank to bank, as do the minimum amounts. Some banks will also charge you fees for using some of their services; other banks set a limit on the number of transactions that you can perform with your account per month before they start charging you service fees. Such fees are usually very low. Many banks also charge you fees for checking your balances, or for withdrawing cash, from automated teller machines (ATM) from other banks. Again, the fees for this service can vary. In almost all banks, inquiries and withdrawals from same-bank ATMs are free.
You must also consider the location of your bank’s branch. Choose the one closest to where you live so that you don’t have to travel far every time you need to perform transactions that require you to be physically present in your bank’s branch.
If you travel a lot, you might go for a bank that has many ATMs. Automated teller machines are open 24/7, and are, therefore, convenient to use by travelers. Check also if your bank offers toll-free and always-available customer service. That way, you can easily contact your bank if you have any inquiry at any time of the day. Most banks also have online banking services nowadays through which you can perform banking transactions without having to go to an ATM or to a physical branch.
You’ll also need to decide on what type of account you want to open. Savings accounts and checking accounts are the two most common types of accounts for most bank clients. In a savings account, you store your money and you earn interest. In a checking account, you store money and you can issue checks to your payees; the checks, in effect, draw out money from your account. You will need to pay some fees for the checkbook that your bank will provide you.
Once you have decided which bank you want to open an account with and what type of account you’d like to have, call up your bank or visit its website. Your purpose for doing so will be to get information about the requirements for opening an account with the bank. In almost all cases, banks will ask you for valid personal identification (e.g., passport, social security number, company ID, student ID, etc.). They will also ask you for proof of your age and of your address.
Thereafter, you would just breeze through the very simple process for opening your bank account. The easiest and quickest way to do so is to go in person to your bank’s branch. Remember to bring your initial deposit (at the very least, the amount equal to the minimum amount required by your particular account), as well as other documentary requirements that your bank requires.