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What Do I Need to Open a Bank Account?

Like many industries today, banks rely on information, a LOT of information. While the facts and figures collected may differ slightly from bank to bank, much of the information gathering happens at the time an account is opened. So let’s take a look at how to prepare yourself with the proper documentation to open a bank account.

First up is identification. All banks will require some form of government-issued ID that includes the key data points (name, address, date of birth, and taxpayer ID number) plus a photo. The identification must be current (meaning it can’t be expired) and from a verifiable source. The most obvious examples are a current driver’s license or state issued ID card. Unfortunately, your library card or Starbucks gift card just won’t cut it. Most banks will accept passports, but when it comes to Visas, green cards or similar documents, you’d better ask first.

Some accounts have minimum opening deposits, so make sure you have access to the right amount to make that initial deposit. Sure, you can use a check to open the account, but depending on the amount of the check, there may be a delay in getting access to your funds.

Before the account is opened, banks will perform some type of verification of the information you provide. Your social security number and other pertinent data may be verified against readily available databases. Some banks even run a credit report on new deposit account customers, and then there’s ChexSystems – the equivalent of a credit report for deposit accounts that details how you have handled your accounts at other banks. If you’ve had issues such as excessive overdrafts at the bank down the street, or you were forced to close an account, the ChexSystem report may reflect this and make it harder for your new bank to open an account. That’s why it’s SO important to maintain your financial affairs in a responsible manner.

Lastly, the customer service representative will help you to select the right account for your needs as well as ancillary products such as a debit card, online banking, and bill pay services. To save time, it may be wise to visit the bank’s website to see what’s available and compare it with what financial tools you might need. These services can always be added later, but having easy online access to your funds is something you might not want to put off.

Something to think about – if you’re authorizing another person to access the account, the same information will also be required from them. Your bank has a legal obligation to positively identify each person on the account.

Whether you’re experienced in financial affairs or a newbie, First Keystone is here to help. We’ll guide you through the process of finding the right account for the right situation and help you take control of your finances in no time at all. Stop by any First Keystone Community Bank office to discuss these services and much more or call us at 570-752-3671 ext. 8508 to speak with a Customer Service Representative.

Written by Kevin Krieger

Kevin is the Vice President - Compliance Officer at First Keystone Community Bank. He has a 40-year career in community banking with 27 years in regulatory compliance.

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December 19, 2019

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