Whether you open a new checking account in person or online, there is certain information you must have available to open the account. You will need your full name, address, social security number and a piece of photo identification.
The bank will take your information and run it through ChexSystems before deciding if you are authorized to open a checking account. ChexSystems is a database of people who have had their bank accounts closed by banks for fraudulent activities such as writing bad checks or failing to repay an overdraft. A closed account stays on the record with ChexSystems for five years and during that time you will not be able to open a new checking account unless you find a bank that does not use ChexSystems. Most major American banks use ChexSystems. If you have a report in ChexSystems some banks will allow you to open a savings account so that you do have access to banking.
How long does it take for a bank to open a checking account?
It only takes the bank a few minutes to verify your identity, run your name through ChexSystems and open the new account. You will be given your new checking account number and be able to set up online banking for your new checking account right away. You will also be able to order a debit card and checks for your new account. If you open the checking account in person, the bank may also give you a couple of counter checks to use until your new checks arrive in the mail.
Some banks no longer offer counter checks because customers have access to other tools such as online bill pay. Counter checks are temporary checks printed by a bank teller that have your bank’s name, routing number and your bank account number on them. Counter checks do not have your name and address preprinted on them so you may not be able to use them everywhere you would normally write a check.
You will be able to deposit funds, transfer funds and make online bill payments through your online banking as soon as the new checking account is open.
Although it only takes the bank a few minutes to open a new checking account you may spend more than half an hour opening your new account. Often, the most time consuming part of opening a new checking account is listening to the banking officer try to sell you additional banking products.