What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?

Having a bank account is a great first step toward financial security and freedom. It is a safe and convenient way to deposit and withdraw money, and comes with several peripheral benefits as well.

If you don't already have a bank account, what do you need to do in order to open one? And what are the requirements for opening an account if you are opening for one of your children?

Let's discuss some of the important boxes you'll need to check when opening a new bank account.

1. Government-Issued ID

Obviously, a bank can't open an account for you without knowing who you are. With that in mind, one of the most important things you'll need to present to your bank when opening a new account is a valid government-issued photo ID. 

In most cases, this would be your driver's license. However, what if you don't drive? In that situation, you can apply for an identification card from your state's DMV office. (Be sure to follow the instructions and bring all the documents you need to complete your application.)

Alternative types of government-issued identification that most banks will accept include your current passport, or a United States military ID card.

2. Your SSN (or ITIN)

Your bank will also need either your Social Security Number (SSN) or your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in order to open a new account for you. You'll likely have to bring your Social Security or ITIN card to the bank as verification documents, too.

Your bank will need one of these numbers not only for confirmation of your identity, but also because they're required to report any interest income that your account accrues to the IRS.

3. Proof of Address

Finally, you'll also need to provide documentation that confirms your current place of residence. Some banks allow customers to open an account using only their post office box number as their address; however, the majority of banking institutions require that you provide a physical address on your application form, along with your mailing address (if different).

It is usually a simple matter to give proof of address. You may be able to use a wide variety of documents to meet this requirement, including:

  • A recent utility bill, Internet bill, or phone bill
  • A copy of your lease agreement
  • A mortgage statement
  • A printed billing statement from an online account (if you've gone "paperless")

Of course, you'll need to check with the specific bank to know which options are acceptable.

What About Opening an Account for a Minor?

If you want to open an account for a minor, such as one of your children, then you'll need to supply the same verification documents listed above, in addition to some other key items that specifically relate to the minor, such as:

  • Your child's SSN and/or SSN card
  • Your child's birth certificate
  • Your child's passport

The account you open will likely be a "joint account" that you and your child share. In many cases, banks don't allow anyone under the age of 18 to open an account on their own (although some banks may make an exception for 16-year-olds whose parents or guardians are long-time customers). 

Open Your Bank Account Today!

As you can see from the above information, opening a new bank account (whether checking or savings) is relatively easy — and it's a smart move in terms of establishing your own financial security, as well as educating your children on how to be responsible with money. If you live in Venice, Sarasota, Palmetto, or any other part of Southwest Florida, then reach out to our friendly experts at Liberty Savings Bank for more information on how to open an account, and the benefits of doing so.

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