What Do You Need to Open a Checking Account?

Are you looking for the best free checking accounts? If so, know what you need to open a checking account first. Requirements for opening a checking account vary from bank to bank. But there are some fundamental requirements needed to open such an account. 

Not all banks will require all documents. However, it is better to have all documents and not need every one of them. Opening a checking account at a financial institution is a simple process. You just need to ensure that you bring the right documents with you. 

What Is a Checking Account?

This type of account allows account owners to deposit their cash, make transfers, withdraw, pay their bills, and write checks. When you open a checking account, your bank will give you a debit card that will allow you to make transactions at ATMs. Once you fill out the required paperwork to open a checking account, you will leave with a functioning account. 

What You Need to Open a Checking Account

When you decide to open a bank account, you will have to provide proof of identity and documentation to get the application process started. However, the first thing you will need to do is choose a bank. Given the number of banking options out there, the selection process can be confusing. 

But whether you apply for a checking account in person or online, you will still need to confirm your identity. Also, you may need to pay an initial deposit depending on the bank and specific account requirements. 

With a joint account holder or guardian/parent co-signer, teenagers and minors can get checking accounts as well. Are you a business owner? If you are, you may need to provide additional documentation to open a business checking account. 

Acceptable Forms of ID for Opening a Checking Account

Most banks in the United States require at least two forms of government-issued identification to open a checking account. Generally, a government-issued ID includes the following:

  • Real identification card.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Department of Defense ID Card.
  • Social security card.
  • Passport.

Your bank will probably require at least one of your identification documents to be a photo ID. If you lack an identification document with a photo ID, ask your bank what you need to provide as an alternative.

Personal Information and the Minimum Deposit

Before you open a checking account, you will need to provide your personal information. This includes your name, address, date of birth, telephone number, and social security number. You will also need to pay the initial deposit to open an account. 

Clean Financial Record

Before you open a new checking account, most financial institutions will run a credit check or consumer report of your banking relationships. That will help them ensure that you do not have a record of fraudulent activity or charged-off accounts. If you have such issues, your bank may still allow you to open an account, provided you repay your current debts.


There are many types of checking accounts out there. Therefore, you need to do your homework to find the right fit for you. To determine what you need to open one, contact your bank to find out.