How To Set Up a Bank Account

A Continuation of the Life Skills Column

           Setting up a bank account is a very important step to get your life started. It’ll provide a safe place for your money and it’ll help you manage your finances more easily and efficiently.

            The first step is to decide what kind of account you need. You can pick a checking or savings account. A savings account is a place to put money you want to keep for a later use, but it is still accessible at any time. In some cases, you can gain interest in your savings account. For example, if it’s a 2% interest for every dollar you have in there, you’ll get 0.2 cents every month. Not every bank has this feature, but some do offer it. A checking account is money that you’ll be using daily, such as for paying bills, buying groceries, and whatever else you need in your day-to-day life.

            The second step would be to look for an account that best suits your needs. Every bank offers something different, so look at all the options. Some things to consider would be how and where you’ll take your money out. Direct deposit is when you set up to have your monthly income from your job put directly into your account with no problems. Direct debit is when your monthly bills and payments can be automatically taken out of your account on time and safely. And, most importantly, you can get a debit card, which is your account in your pocket. You can use it to buy things online, at the store, and even get cash back without going to an ATM.

            The third part of setting up your account is to dissect all the rates and fees a bank has. Sometimes you can be charged just for opening an account. Look for a bank with the lowest fees for the services you need. Your interest rate will vary across all financial institutions.

            The fourth step is to choose a bank based on your location. I would recommend picking a bank that best fits your location, where branches and bank machines are closest to you because you’ll need to go take money out and meet with a bank teller if needed.

            The fifth and final step is opening your bank account. You’ll need to give your personal information like your address, date of birth, social insurance number, job title and phone numbers. You’ll also need two pieces of acceptable identification, one being from the government, such as a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate.

            Setting up a bank account would be the first step to take as soon as you decide to get a job and get your life started on your own. It’ll help you in the long run, and the quicker you do it the more financially responsible you’ll be.

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