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Opening an Account

Opening and maintaining a bank or credit union account is not as difficult as you might think.  There are four basic things to do:

1.     Open the account

2.     Make deposits and withdrawals

3.     Record interest and fees

4.     Keep track of your balance.

The first thing you need to do to open an account is to go through a process called account verification.  The bank or credit union wants to make sure that you:

- Will be a responsible bank account customer.

- Are who you say you are

- Are able, under the law, to open an account

Ask the bank what type of identification you need to open an account.  You will need to:

- Prove your identity (with a driver’s license, state ID card, passport, etc.) 

- If you are not a US citizen, some banks may accept other forms of photo ID’s
such as a Matricula Consular card or Resident Alien Card (Green Card)

- Provide your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN)

If the bank determines that you are eligible to open an account, you can deposit money into your new account.  If you are not eligible, ask about a “second chance” checking program.

- These programs may require you to meet certain requirements (like attending a
   check-writing workshop)

- Ask your local financial institution and/or a reputable credit counseling agency if
  there are programs in your area

- Consider opening a savings account if you have had trouble managing a checking
  account in the past