Philadelphia, PA - These days, opening a bank account is fast, simple, and in most cases, digitized. All you need are your legal name, tax identification, and home address. Some banking institutions may require additional documentation, like a copy of your driver’s license and a photo ID, to verify your identity. Other banks may need additional documentation as proof of identification, which is common when opening an online bank account.
Documents needed to open an online bank account
Many banks offer online or digital banking services, from account creation to transactions and loan and credit facilities.
Many of these banks, including SoFi, one of the best online banks, require you to provide additional documentation, like your driver’s license or current photo ID, when opening a new online bank account.
Other banking institutions may also require additional documentation when applying for different types of loans.
Moreover, the documentation and paperwork needed when opening a bank account may vary depending on how you’re opening the bank account and the type of bank account you want to open.
The documents you need when opening a bank account at a physical bank
When opening a bank account at a physical bank, you must provide the following documents and information:
- Basic personal information such as name, age, proof of address, etc.
- Identification documents; the specific identity documents you need to provide may vary from one bank to the next but often include a government-issued ID, social security card, passport, birth certificate, etc.
Please note that the required documents may vary depending on the bank and the account type you wish to open, but here are the items you may generally need:
Personal information and identification documents
Banks will require you to provide basic personal information, including name, date of birth, phone number, and email.
They will also require you to provide a form of government-issued identification, which can be your ID card, driver’s license, or passport. The purpose of these documents is to confirm your identity.
Proof of address
Whereas some banks may be okay with a Post Office Box as an address, most ask that you link a physical address to your bank account because it helps the bank verify your identity and residence.
An acceptable way of proving your address is by presenting an official document that displays your name and current address, such as a utility bill or lease agreement.
Social Security Number
Remember to carry your Social Security Card for the bank to verify. You can use your Tax Identification Number (TIN) if you do not have or qualify for an SSN. These documents help the bank report money flowing into your account and your account activity to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
You can apply for an ITIN online—this is a nine-digit number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives to people who need it for US federal tax purposes, especially where one does not qualify for a social security number (SSN).
For foreigners and non-citizens, your preferred bank may ask you to provide multiple forms of identification. For example, the bank may ask you to provide a passport or other government-issued ID from your home country or a current US-issued identification document to open a US bank account.
Have all the necessary documentation readily available because different banks and accounts may have different requirements, and it is better to have everything you may need.
Documents you need to open business and joint accounts
When opening a business account, your preferred bank may ask you for additional documentation, such as a business license, tax identification number, articles of incorporation, Employer Identification Number (EIN), ownership agreements, and business license, to name a few.
When opening a joint account, parties must provide their Social Security number, birth date, mailing address, photo ID, most other mentioned documents, and account funding information.
Fundamentally, no matter which bank account you’re opening and which bank you’re opening the account with, you will need to provide personal information, identification documents, proof of address, and various other documents, depending on the bank’s policies.
Some banks may also ask for additional documentation, such as a driver’s license or current photo ID, to verify your identity when opening an account online.
No matter which bank account you want to open, do your due diligence and check with the bank to learn more about which exact documents you need to provide to facilitate the process.