Questions you’re searching: What should I bring to open a bank account?

A young woman and her mother sit together to open a bank account.

Before you head to the bank, make sure you have the items listed below. And check out some FAQs about opening and using your first bank account.

Think you’re ready to open a bank account? Here’s what to bring with you to the bank:

What do I need to bring with me to open a bank account?

When opening a bank account, you should bring the following items with you:

  • A valid and current photo ID, such as a driver license, state ID card, or a passport. This should show your legal name, date of birth, country of citizenship, and current address (if your current address is different, a utility bill with the new address is required).
  • A Social Security card or number
  • A parent or guardian, if you’re under age 18 (19 in Alabama).
  • Cash or a check to deposit into your new account. 

How do I know if I’m ready to open a checking or a savings account?

It depends. Do you need to pay rent, car payments, or other bills? Then a checking account may be best. You can choose to get a debit card, which is a payment card you can use to purchase things with money from your checking account. You can also use a debit card to withdraw cash from the ATM.

If you’re not making payments and just want a place to keep your money, a savings account may meet your needs. You can get an ATM card to have access to cash from your savings account at an ATM.

Do I need to make a minimum deposit in my account?

Yes, many banks require a minimum deposit to open an account. Wells Fargo requires a minimum deposit of $25 to open an account. Be sure to bring cash or a check with you so you’ll be able to deposit money into your new account.

What happens if I withdraw more than I have in my account?

If you spend more than you have — also known as overdrafting your account — you may incur an overdraft fee. It’s important to get into the habit of looking at your accounts daily, and you can help further protect yourself by setting up low-balance alerts1 so you get a text or email notification when your account balance dips below a certain amount. Many banks also offer optional overdraft protection services. With overdraft protection, you can link your checking account to another account, such as a savings account, so that overdrafts incurred on your checking account are covered by the available funds in the linked account. You may be charged a fee for the overdraft protection transfer, but it is usually lower than the bank’s standard overdraft fee. Talk to a banker when you open the account; they can help tell you about the fees associated with your account and options you have to avoid them.  Finally, the bank may offer an account option with no overdraft fees, so be sure to ask.

Will my parents be able to see how I spend and save my money?

In most states, you must be 18 or older to open any bank account on your own. If you’re not 18 yet, you can still establish an account with one or both of your parents or guardians acting as co-owners. This means they have access to your account transactions and your money. The upside? They can help you keep track of your balances and identify when you need to make deposits before you get too low. If you are 18 or older and your parent or guardian is not on the account, then they will not be able to see how your money is spent or saved.

What else can I do with my bank account?

Once you open an account, get used to logging in with mobile banking and checking on your money, take a look at the free online tools available to you that help you track your spending, such as Wells Fargo’s My Money Map.

Through My Money Map, it becomes easy to see spending patterns — and where you may be overspending. Then you can try putting goals in place to save more money.

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