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What do I need to open a bank account?

What we'll cover

  • What you need to open a bank account

  • How long it takes to open a bank account

  • Whether you need money to open a bank account

Whether you’re opening a bank account at a digital-only bank or with a financial institution that has physical branches, today’s technology has streamlined the process — reducing it to mere minutes.

Being ready with the right information (and a few important documents on hand, should additional confirmation be required), you’ll be equipped to open a bank account and ready to enjoy the financial opportunities that having one provides – including an insured location to store your cash, the ability to easily transfer funds when needed, and the potential to earn interest on the money you deposit.

What do I need to open a bank account?

The account opening process at any financial institution is pretty straightforward. When applying, you need the following:

 • Your Social Security Number or tax identification number

 • Your street address

 • Your legal name

 • Your birthday

Assuming you can supply all of these elements and the bank can verify them, you should be all set. No additional documentation is typically required. Though, in some cases, your prior history with other financial intuitions and credit score may also be taken into consideration.

On the off chance that some of your personal information can’t be verified (for instance, you changed your name when you got married but didn’t make it official), a bank may ask for additional documentation to prove your identity. So, it’s a good idea to have the following at the ready:

 • Your driver’s license

 • Your Social Security card

 • Proof of U.S. residency or citizenship. (If you know that you’re unable to provide this documentation, check to see if this might be a requirement with the financial institution ahead of time)

How long does it take to open a bank account?

With digital-only banks, like Ally, you can open an account using secure mobile banking or with a computer. The process of opening a bank account (whether checking or savings) is quick and seamless, taking five minutes or less. It’s also fairly effortless to open an account in person at a brick-and-mortar bank if you’re a new customer, requiring 15 minutes (or less) of your time – which can often be done online or by phone as well.

And if you’re an existing customer, opening another bank account can happen in a minute or less. (We’re not exaggerating.)

Can you open a bank account without any money?

Some banks, including Ally Bank, do not require you to fund a checking and savings account when opening them. But it’s generally recommended that you provide an initial deposit of $20 to $25. That’s because some financial institutions charge checking account fees for monthly maintenance or have minimum balance requirements. Keeping your account balance above that amount or setting up direct deposit are smart things you can do to avoid these checking account fees.

Neither our Interest Checking Account nor our Online Savings Account have a monthly maintenance fee, but they do require that you deposit a penny, at minimum, to prevent the account from systematically closing.

Note: It’s always important to investigate all your options and read the fine print before opening any account.

How old do you need to be to open a bank account?

Though the age limit may vary at other financial institutions, at Ally Bank you must be 18 years old to open a bank account as a single or joint account owner. Alternatively, an adult may open a custodial account in order to manage funds on behalf of a minor. Ally Bank provides a variety of ways to help a minor save.

The Ally Bank difference

With a brick-and-mortar bank, if their primary operations are handled in person and you apply to open an account and then additional confirmation is needed for your personal identification information, you’ll likely need to revisit the branch to figure things out.

As a digital-only bank, should additional confirmation be required, your documentation can be uploaded online and shared directly with our operations team. They’ll review it and respond to your new account application within 24 hours. It’s that simple.

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