photo of a check

How Do I Choose a Checking Account?

Opening a checking account is a big milestone, as it will serve as your financial hub to pay your bills and more excitingly have your paychecks deposited. To make sure you pick the right bank or credit union, you will want to research rates, credibility and any hidden fees that could affect your bottom line. Here are a few tips to help guide you as you select a bank and go through the steps of opening a checking account.

Where do I go to open a checking account? Choosing a bank or credit union that will host all of your banking needs is a personal decision. You will want to look at many details and ask these common questions:

  • How convenient the location of the bank is to your home or work?
  • Are there multiple locations in the town you live?
  • Do they have mobile checking?
  • What type of fees are involved?
    • Are ATM fees waived?
    • Are there any monthly or annual fees to maintain a checking account?
    • Is there a minimum deposit requirement?
  • Is there free web access to your accounts?
  • Are the security measures up-to date? (e.g. Two Factor Authentication)

How do I open a checking account? In general, you will need to be at least 18 years old and provide proof of identity and residence when you open a checking account. Forms of identity include a Social Security card and driver’s license (or other state-issued ID); examples for proof of residence can be a copy of a mortgage document or lease agreement, a cell phone or utility bill. Most banks will require a minimum deposit be added to your account at the time of creating your account, these can range from $1-$100 depending on the bank. If you are under 18 years of age, many banks will require you to have an adult co-sign to open your account. Once your account is open, you will be assigned an account number. That account number, combined with a series of numbers that belong to the bank, can be used to order checks that fit your unique personality.

For more information we also provide insight to the different types of checking accounts.