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Opening a Bank Account

How to open an account, types of accounts, fees to notice

If you have already opened a checking or savings account, there are still some things you may not know that can maximize your investment. Here are some things you should know about opening a bank account, regardless if youve had an account for years or are planning to:

Research banks to learn about their policies You dont need thousands of dollars to open a checking or savings account, but many banks have policies like requiring you to keep a minimum balance and charging you a monthly fee to maintain your account. Look for banks that offer free checking and no minimum balances. These two areas will save you money every month.

Determine whether you prefer a small or large bank - You may have a community bank right across the street that seems like the best choice for your new account. While smaller banks often offer more personalized customer service, they can also have drawbacks. Smaller banks can tend to go out of business sooner than a large chain bank. Larger banks also tend to offer more extensive account and ATM access.

Learn about the different account offerings All checking and savings accounts are not created equal. Especially with savings accounts, there are different accounts for different needs.

  • Savings accounts: Regular savings accounts are pretty self-explanatory. These allow you to deposit money and link the account to your checking account.
  • Passbook accounts: These accounts are better for those who are not going to make regular deposits.
  • High-interest accounts: These accounts have a higher minimum balance requirement, but offer a higher interest rate. In other words, you make more money in the long run but you need to have more money to deposit.
  • Certificates of Deposit: CDs involve depositing money and agreeing not to touch it for a certain time period. You will get a higher interest rate on CDs, but you also cant withdraw money from the account until the term limit has expired.

Opening your account Although you can still go to a bank in person to open an account, you can also do so without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Most banks offer online options for opening an account. Some also offer the option of opening an account over the phone.