Open a Bank Account in the United States
Soon after you get to the U.S., you should open a bank account by either adding to your fiance(e)/spouse’s bank accounts or open a bank account for yourself. Whichever way you do it, you and your partner should discuss it before hand and decide.
Adding You to Your Partner’s Bank Accounts
You may want to decide to have joint accounts. In fact, this is a great way to prove that your marriage is genuine for Adjusting Status or Removing Conditions. Also, having a joint account helps a new couple to understand their finances, communicate better, and make decisions together.
If you choose to have a joint account and have yourself added to your partner’s existing accounts, it’s a very easy process. You will need to go to the bank and fill out a form. Also, Don’t forget to bring an ID and your social security number.
If you want, you can receive an ATM card with your name on it that is tied to the same checking account as your partner. You also may want to get new checks for your check book with your name also added to the checks.
See our ads in the right sidebar for ordering checks on-line. Definitely, this is much cheaper than paying the bank for new checks.
Opening Your Own Bank Account
Type of Accounts
If you decide to have your own separate bank account(s), there are typically two kinds of bank accounts to choose from. You can also open both types, if you want.
- Savings Account (with interest)
- Checking Account (with no interest)
You are most likely to use the checking account more often especially for check payments, at ATM machines, or with a debit card. A checking account is also important if you get a job to deposit your salary.
Saving accounts are for the money you want to save for the future.
You can also get a credit card, separate from your bank account, which helps build your credit history. We will talk about credit in a future post.
Check the bank’s requirements and fees before you open the account. If they are not good, then find one that is better. You will want check for the following:
- Minimum amount to open the account
- Average daily balance requirement to avoid a fee
- Bank fees
- Is mobile banking with an app available?
Go to the bank that you want to choose. Try to find a bank that is near your home and that may also have other branches near where you frequent. Using an ATM card in a bank other than your own, probably will cost you a fee.
. To open a new bank account you will need:
- your social security number
- your photo-Id (either a passport or driver’s license)
You fill an application form. Once you have completed the form and they have verified your ID, you will receive the following:
- You will get a separate account number for your checking and saving account, if you are opening both the accounts with the same bank.
- An ATM card is for withdrawing cash at ATM machines. Usually, there is a limit to the amount of cash you can withdraw in a day, from any ATM machine. Obtain these details are from your bank.
- For initial use, the bank may give you a few blank check books. You can order your permanent checks from the bank or through a vendor. See our add in the right sidebar for ordering checks on-line. This is much cheaper than paying the bank for new checks.
- Look for the nearest Bank to your home or workplace. The closer you are to the bank, the easier it is to deposit checks and withdraw money.
- Most banks offer online banking which is really very useful.
- If you don’t receive your bank statements, ask for these and check them carefully. Report if you observe any discrepancies in the records.
- Protect your identity. Shred any bank related documents that are no longer useful. These documents contain information about your address and other sensitive information. Do not throw these without shredding or tearing.
Understanding the U.S. banking system will help you in the long run. First, you will be able to quickly learn banking and money work here. Furthermore, it will help you to cultivate banking habits. Ultimately, now is the time to make the right choices to manage your finances.