Steps to Open a Savings Account

Anyone with financial goals also needs methods for achieving them. A savings account can be one way to build a nest egg for the future. When you wish to begin this type of relationship with a bank, you will need to follow prescribed guidelines for becoming a customer.

Research Options

Different financial institutions have specific policies and guidelines for their services. Before opening a savings account with any one bank, gather information from several to enable you to compare. Optimally, the facility you select will have a convenient location, possibly with more than one branch. Also, look for a lender with hours that match your schedule, an extensive ATM network, and attractive features such as online banking. Find out about minimum balances and fees to help you choose the institution that offers the best package to fit your needs.

Gathering Materials

After choosing the bank you want to use, gather the documents you will need to open the savings account. Most financial institutions require at least one form of identification (possibly two) and proof of address. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver’s license, passport, school identification card, voter ID card, or government-issued photo identity card. Acceptable types of proof of address include a bill from a utility service, a registration letter for the connection of a utility service, or a rental lease. You will also need to know your Social Security number, so bring your card if you have not memorized this number. Minors will need a parent or responsible adult to accompany them to the bank to open a joint account in both the minor’s name and the adult’s name. Bring the cash along that you wish to deposit, also.

The Process

You will meet with a representative to open the savings account. The representative will present the options you have for different terms and packages, and you will need to choose the one you wish to use. Ask specific questions about fees, service charges, interest, minimum balances, and statements at this time. Take notes, if necessary. If online banking is available, arrange this service at this time. You will likely need to choose a username and password to access the bank’s online portal. Review terms of online services, also. Request an ATM card to be connected to the account, if desired. Review all terms to ensure you understand them. Sign the contracts to indicate your understanding and agreement. Give the representative the cash to be deposited. You will receive a receipt to show this transaction. You will also receive a book that displays deposits, withdrawals, and balances.

To maintain the account effectively, stay up-to-date on your balance. Add all deposits and subtract all withdrawals to ensure you know the balance. When the bank adds interest or subtracts fees, add or subtract these amounts to or from the balance to get an updated balance.

With proper preparation and ongoing maintenance, a savings account can be an effective way to manage money in both the short and long term.