Opening a bank account is a fairly simple and straightforward process. Banks and other financial institutions have their own set of criteria for exactly what documents are required to open an account, so it’s a good idea to check directly with the bank you plan on using. That way, you can start growing your bank account even earlier!
Some institutions, like credit unions, have eligibility requirements in order to open an account, such as a family member who works at a certain place or attended a certain university. All banks will require the person opening an account to either be over the age of 18 or have a legal guardian as a co-owner.
To open a bank account, you’ll meet with an account representative at the bank. There will likely be some paperwork to fill out that the representative can help you with. You should bring three documents with you:
- A Government-issued Photo ID - Most commonly your driver’s license, banks will require a piece of identification issued by the government that has your image on it. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can get a state ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles or Secretary of State.
- A Social Security Card - You will be required to produce a Social Security card in order to open a bank account. If you do not have a social security card, a taxpayer ID can also be used, such as in the case of a business account.
- Proof of Current Address - A document such as a utility bill that shows your name and address will be required to prove that you physically reside at your home. You can also use a bank statement, vehicle registration, or a paycheck stub, as long as the document lists your current address.
Lastly, depending on the account you plan to open, a bank may require you to have a minimum amount of money to put into the account. It’s a good idea to compare accounts available and understand what fees the account may have associated with it.
If you have misplaced your driver’s license, you can get a new copy at the DMV or Secretary of State. You will likely need to provide a copy of your birth certificate and Social Security card. To avoid long waits, it’s a good idea to call ahead or check the website for your specific state’s office and verify the needed documents. Getting a replacement usually requires a small fee.
If you have misplaced your Social Security card, you must go to the Social Security office to apply for a new card. You can also apply for a new card online as long as you aren’t applying for a name change. You will need documents that prove your identification, most commonly your government-issued photo ID and birth certificate. It is free to get a new copy of your Social Security card.