Opening an online banking account is easy and can be done in mere minutes. It requires a one-time setup in which you register with the financial institution via a website or mobile app. (For the sake of conciseness, we’ll use the term “screen” to apply to a webpage or a screen on a mobile app).
You may be asked to first specify a product, such as a no-fee checking account, savings account, money market account or CD. You will also indicate whether the account is individual or joint, as well as other options appropriate to the type of account.
Requirements Opening an Online Bank Account
To open an online bank account you will need to provide a variety of information including:
- Your opening deposit amount.
- Whether you want an ATM card/debit card.
- Whether you want checks.
- For CDs, the term (time until maturity) of the certificate.
- Acknowledgement that you are at least 18 years old and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- To fund your new account electronically, you’ll need to provide the routing number and account number of your current banking company.
Documents you will need for Opening an Online Bank Account
You’ll enter your personal information, including your name, physical and email address, date of birth, driver’s license ID (or state identification card number), phone number and your Social Security number. You may also be asked to name one or more beneficiaries, and then select your funding method.
The Online Bank Account Application Process
The depository financial institution may want to verify your identity in one of two ways:
- It will send an email with an embedded link. Click on the link and you’ll be brought back to the online bank screen. Alternatively, the email will contain a temporary password which you then enter onto the screen – you’ll be asked to change the password later.
- It will send you a text message containing an identification number. You then type the ID number into the online bank’s page or app.
You’ll be asked to take steps to help secure the account, as explained in Are Online Banks Safe for Consumers?