How to Open a Checking Account

Opening a checking account is often the first step toward establishing a new banking presence. Whether you are getting your kids started with banking to teach them about money management and financial responsibility or setting up a new bank account following a cross country move, a checking account is probably going to be your first step. With a checking account, you can deposit money, write checks, make payments with a debit card, and just generally enjoy easy and convenient access to your money when you need it. But what do you need to open a checking account, and what should you expect from the process? In this post, we will explore these questions to give you a solid expectation of what you will experience as you establish a new checking account.

Getting Started

If you are asking how to open a checking account, your first thought is probably how long, complicated, or work-intensive the process is going to be for you. The good news is that opening a checking account is indeed a simpler process than most people realize. Besides, if you’ve already chosen the bank or credit union that you want to use for your future banking, then you are well on your way to having a functional account up and running.

If you haven’t selected a bank or credit union yet, you should get started not by considering different institutions just yet, but by thinking about your specific needs. What do you want out of your checking account? Contrary to popular belief, not all checking accounts are the same. Different accounts may have different features, deposit requirements, limits on how much money you can keep in the account, interest rates (if applicable), and more. What defines your “ideal” checking account will depend entirely on your needs and priorities. 

When prospective new members visit us at Resource One Credit Union to enquire about opening a checking account, the first thing we encourage them to do is read up on the checking accounts (or “Spending Accounts,” as we like to call them) that we offer. We have four different spending accounts available: Daily, Direct, Prime, and Empower. Our Daily Spending Account is our most basic checking account. It requires no minimum opening deposit, no monthly maintenance fees, and no daily balance minimums. It also doesn’t earn interest, incorporates no ATM rebates, and generally is a more bare-bones checking account. Contrastingly, our Prime Spending Account requires a minimum opening balance of $100, has a daily balance requirement of $2,500, incorporates specific conditions that account holders must meet to avoid monthly maintenance fees. However, it also has a 0.05 percent interest rate, includes unlimited ATM rebates of up to $5 per ATM receipt, features $1,000 of overdraft protection, and comes with a full version of our R1 Cha-Ching benefits. All Resource One accounts also include electronic bill pay, mobile banking, mobile deposit, and online banking features—all of which have become increasingly important for the average customer since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Take some time to reflect on how you want your checking account to function. Ask yourself which features or perks are must-haves, versus nice-to-haves or don’t-really-need-to-haves. Sketch out a list of features that represents your ideal checking account. Then, do a little bit of research on banks in your area. In most cases, you will likely want to choose a bank or credit union that is conveniently located near your home or workplace. Make a list of those banking options, then do some homework to learn what types of checking accounts each bank or credit union offers. Of course, you will also want to factor in the differences between banks and credit unions, as they can offer significantly different experiences for members.

Taking the Next Steps

Once you are ready to take the next steps and apply for a checking account, you should zero in on your chosen bank or credit union for specific answers to questions such as “What do you need to open a checking account?” Again, every banking institution is a little bit different, which might mean different requirements for opening an account. In most cases, you will need two forms of identification (which may include a driver’s license, a state ID card, a passport, a birth certification, or a Social Security card). Proof of address (such as a utility bill in your name at your current address), and the required opening deposit (if one is required) is usually needed. You’ll need to fill out an application—whether in-person at a local branch or online—and provide all the requested information.

If you want to avoid an in-person visit—whether because you are applying from a distance or simply prefer to avoid unnecessary face-to-face interactions at this time—here’s how to open a checking account online at Resource One. Click the “Join R1CU” link at the top of our website page, or follow this link to launch the secure account application tool. To complete your online application, you will need to provide your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number, your government-issued ID (which could be a driver’s license, a state ID, or a passport), and, in some cases, proof of physical address. We only require proof of address in cases where the address on your government-issued ID is not current. You will also need the routing number and account number for your current checking or savings account if you plan on funding your new R1CU account through electronic funds transfer from another account. Finally, if the type of Spending Account you are seeking requires a minimum opening deposit, make sure you have that money ready.

Provided you come armed with these items, we think you will find the process of opening your Resource One checking account easy and painless. Once we finalize your applications and you’ve made your first deposit, you will be able to start managing your account through our online banking platform. We will send along your ATM card and provide any other information you need to start using your account. From there, you can start setting up your account for your day-to-day financial needs—such as online bill pay or direct deposit.

Have Questions about What You Need to Open a Checking Account? Contact Us Today

Do you have any questions about how to open a checking account online? If so, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Resource One Credit Union. One of our associates will be happy to walk you through the process and ensure you have a positive experience with us from the outset. There are many benefits to having a checking account, and we are here to help you unlock them.

Find a R1CU Location Near You

Carrolton | Cedar Hill | East Dallas | Irving | Mesquite

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