There are mainly 2 kinds of bank accounts in the United States, checking and savings. Opening a bank account takes just minutes and, in most cases, you'll leave the branch office with all of your account information and a shiny new card.
You could open the card in person at a branch.
1. Decide what type of bank account you need. If you are looking to save money without spending regularly, you may benefit from opening a U.S. savings account rather than a checking account, which may have fees or stipulations for how often you can withdraw money.
2. Go to the bank you want to open your account with.
3. Bring all of your identification documents with you when completing your application. Most banks require a photo ID, Social Security card, utility bill and a pay stub. If the name on your ID and Social Security card do not match (for instance if you got married or had your name legally changed), you also may need to supply your marriage certificate or court document to verify the name change.
4. Pay the minimum required deposit to open your bank account. In some banks, this can be done by using a debit or credit card as well as with cash. However, please note that using a debit or credit card may delay you being able to withdraw money from your new account.
Or, you could also choose to do it online.
1. Go to the banking website of your choice and click the type of account you want to open. Some banks offer more than one type of checking account and more than one type of savings account. Choose the one you want before continuing.
2. Click "Open account." At this point, you will be asked to fill out an application, so have your ID or driver's license, Social Security card and your full street address available.
3. Pay the required minimum deposit. You may be asked to pay a certain amount for your deposit; this can be done by using either your debit or credit card.
4. Click "Send application" or "Finish." If you are required to submit more details, you'll receive a call from a customer service agent who may require you to fax additional information or stop by your local branch.
Here’s what you should know about the difference between checking accounts and savings accounts.
1. Interest Earned
Savings account are always interest-earning accounts. While the percentage varies depending on the bank, type of account and sometimes amount deposited, the average minimum is just under 1 percent, according to Bankrate.com. Checking accounts usually do not earn interest, although exceptions do exist. In those cases, you may be required to meet a series of requirements, such as a minimum monthly balance or a large initial deposit. On the other hand, some checking accounts offer interest or cash bank on transactions done with an ATM card.
2. Number of Transactions
Savings accounts are not meant to be used often. In fact, while there no limits on how many deposits you can make in a month, most savings accounts have a limit on withdrawals (usually three to six a month), which includes electronic transfers, telephone withdrawals and automatic payments. On the other hand, there is no limit on the number of withdrawals you can make from a bank account using your ATM card, bank-to-bank transfers or check payments.
3. Funds Access
Checking accounts allow you to withdraw money at any time, either electronically, via your ATM or by paying with a check. As long as you have money available (or even if you don't if you signed up for overdraft protection), the money is available immediately. Savings accounts, on the other hand, may limit your access to the money or make it more difficult to make a withdrawal. Since some savings accounts do not have an ATM connected to it, withdrawals are done either by transferring money to a connected checking account or by showing up in person to your local bank branch (in which case you are limited to their business hours).
Checking accounts are more likely to have a minimum balance requirement in order to avoid fees connected to transactions and monthly maintenance. Checking accounts also tend to have a series of fees, such as ATM usage fees, overdraft protection, online access and bill paying. Savings accounts are more likely to be free of fees as long as you keep withdrawals to a minimum.
5. Bill Paying
Checking accounts usually offer online access and the possibility of automatic bill paying. If you have fixed bills that you need paid every month, connecting your checking account to the appropriate company will make it possible to have automatic withdrawals done so you never have to worry about being late again. This works if you need to pay loans, credit cards, gym memberships or other ongoing expenses. Savings accounts usually do not allow this.
Expat US provides assistance to our clients when opening their bank accounts. For more information, please contact Expat US at http://www.expat-us.com.