COVID-19 and Opening a Checking Account in the Branch and Online

COVID-19 changed the way we do a lot of things today, including how we bank. With some areas still facing extensive closures, you may find different procedures for opening a checking account than before.

Here’s what you should know:

Opening a Checking Account in the Branch

Some bank branches are open for normal business, meaning you can come in anytime. Others have open lobbies but require an appointment to do any banking.

Before you head the branch to open your account, check the bank’s website to understand what information you will need; you will likely need some or all of the following:

• Government-issued picture ID such as a driver’s license or state ID. A passport may work as well.
• Social Security card or birth certificate
• Proof of your address, such as a utility bill or tax bill
• Money for your initial deposit

At the bank, you’ll complete an application and provide your documentation. Once approved, the bank will have you sign a signature card to prove your signature. Banks will use the signature card when matching your signature on deposited checks or debit card purchases.

Once you have your checking account, you’ll conduct most of your transactions from home or at the ATM.

Opening a Checking Account Online

It’s easier to open a checking account online during COVID-19. You don’t need an appointment and can usually apply for the account 24/7 since bank websites don’t close.

You’ll need the same information needed to open a checking account in the branch. The application will ask the same basic questions, and you’ll provide your Social Security number and birth date to confirm your identity along with scanning in your picture ID.

Your bank may also ask you to submit a signature for your signature card. Some banks, depending on the area you live, may ask you to come in and sign a card.

Using your Checking Account

No matter the channel you used to open your account (in branch or online), you’ll conduct most transactions electronically.

Most banks have mobile deposit options. Ask if the bank has an app and if they offer mobile banking. It’s easy to do – you take a picture of the front and back of the check after endorsing it with your name and (for mobile deposit only).

Any other transactions you can do electronically, including account transfers, direct deposit from your employer, and withdrawals.

Cash withdrawals can be done online or at your bank’s ATM.

Checking Accounts are Available During COVID-19

Even during the pandemic, you can conduct your normal banking transactions and open new accounts even if it looks a little different.

Many banks are offering great specials to bring in new customers. It’s always worth looking around at the latest offers to see if you qualify and can earn anything. Some banks offer sign-up bonuses and some even pay (low) interest rates on their checking accounts. Shop around to get the best account with the lowest fees.