Opening a savings account isn't difficult, but you need to have the right documentation on hand.Image source: Getty Images.
A savings account is a great place to stash money for a rainy day or to save for your financial goals, but before you can open one, you need to gather all of the necessary documentation to prove your identity. The bank may also require a minimum deposit. Here's a closer look at everything you'll need to open a savings account.
You'll need to provide a valid, government-issued photo ID, like a driver's license or a passport, to open a savings account. The bank may not accept photocopies, so it's best to bring in the original physical documents if you can. You'll also need to provide other personal information, including your date of birth, email, phone number, and, if you're a U.S. citizen, your Social Security Number. The bank may require proof of your current address if this is not listed on your government-issued ID. This could be a lease or utility bill in your name.
For joint savings accounts, all parties will need to provide the above information. Minors will need a co-applicant, usually a parent or guardian, who will also have to provide their personal details in order to open the account.
If you intend to link your savings account with an existing checking account, you should have those routing and account numbers handy. However, if you're opening your savings account at the same bank where you already have a checking account, they should have your checking account number on file.
Some banks require a minimum deposit when you open the account, while others do not. If your bank does require this, the minimum deposit will probably be somewhere between $25 and $100. This can come in the form of cash, a check, or a direct deposit from another bank account in your name. Check into the requirements for the bank you plan to open the savings account with so you know what to expect.
Special considerations for immigrants and international students
You can still open a U.S. savings account if you're not a citizen, but you may need to jump through a few extra hoops. If you don't have a Social Security number, the bank may ask for additional forms of identification. You must show your passport and a secondary form of ID, such as a driver's license, student ID, or work visa.
If you intend to fund your account via a wire transfer, then you may need to show proof of funds, such as a bank statement, to show that the account you intend to transfer money from has sufficient funds. Otherwise, you can fund your savings account with a check or cash, if you have them available.
Because of these special requirements, you may not be able to open a savings account online if you're not a U.S. citizen. If you find yourself unable to complete the online application, you may have to visit a brick-and-mortar branch office where someone can help you with the extra steps needed to process your application.
If you have any questions about what you need to open a savings account, it's best to contact the bank and get clarification before heading to a branch office. This way, you don't have to worry about forgetting any essential paperwork.