Think you don’t have time to open a new bank account online? Think again. Nowadays it’s so simple, you probably can do it on the fly. Once you’ve chosen a bank and the type of account you want, a few basic pieces of information and an internet connection are all you need to get on your way.
1. Choose a bank
It goes without saying that you want a reputable financial institution handling your hard-earned cash. Consider things like customer service ratings, how long the bank has been in business, account access, and website usability. Also be sure to choose an FDIC-member bank so that your deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to the maximum amount allowed by law.
With an online bank, you can open a new account, check your balance, transfer money, and more—from anywhere you have internet access, anytime you want. In addition, according to rates published by Bankrate.com, online banks often are able to offer better rates than traditional banks.
2. Select an account type
Different types of accounts serve different personal finance purposes, so you’ll need to determine which ones are best for you. Most online banks offer the following basic account types, with terms and conditions that vary by institution:
- Savings accounts are secure places to park your money and earn some interest, although usually at a lower rate than some other types of accounts.
- Money market accounts are similar to savings accounts, but with more ways to access your funds.
- A certificate of deposit (CD) requires you to keep your funds in the account for a certain amount of time, until the maturity date. There are several different types of CDs.
- IRAs, or Individual Retirement Accounts, are savings accounts with specific tax advantages.
- A checking account usually functions as a household finance workhorse to hold funds you need to access often.
3. Gather basic information
Once you know what type of account you’d like to open, gather the following basic information for each account owner:
- Full name
- Social Security number
- Date of birth (you must be 18 years of age)
- Residential street address
- Transfer information for the initial deposit
4. Open the account and make your deposit
Prepared with your knowledge and personal information, you’re ready to visit the website and open your new online account. A good online bank will have a user-friendly process along with available real-time assistance via chat or phone. Most banks allow you to transfer funds from other accounts, wire money, use remote deposit capture, or mail a check to make that first deposit.
Now you can view your account anytime, from anywhere you have internet access.
Plus, you can open several account types to serve different purposes and even link them together to help make managing your finances more efficient. And to think you almost wasted that lunch hour.
Last Edited: November 22, 2017