10 thoughts to “How the Hell Does One Open a Bank Account? Asking for a Friend.”

  1. Isn’t linking your Venmo directly to your bank account a little risky? If someone pays me through Venmo, i just leave the funds there. Granted I’m a broke college student so we’re not talking big money here, but I feel like the fewer parties with my checking details, the better.

  2. I LOVE my credit unions (I do bucket budgeting, and have accounts at two different credit unions). They’re responsive and friendly, and have decent mobile apps for depositing checks and checking my balance. Most credit unions are part of a network of shared ATMs, too, so even if I’m out of state I can usually find ATMs that are in-network. Even better: my main credit union refunds ATM fees! If I’m stuck with an out-of-network ATM, I’ll get that $3 back in a week or so. Banks can eff off. Can’t wait to be done paying off my credit cards so I can close the ones with BoA and Chase. Ugh.

    I opened my first account with my Mom many moons ago when I was saving up for an 8-bit Nintendo. She was co-signator on my accounts for a long time, which was handy when I was in college and she could just deposit cash into my account for books and things.

    1. My credit union refunds ATM fees too! This makes traveling in a foreign country easy peasy with getting foreign cash. Plus they have a 3% (!) interest rate if I make 12 debit card transactions in a month, so that’s a few extra bucks. Definitely worth checking into those perks

  3. I like Ally bank as an online bank.
    Nerd wallet dot com will have a good list of comparisons of online banks.
    Good article!

  4. “These individuals are known as the unbanked. The unbanked or underbanked represent 25% of U.S. households.”

    Well that statistic just ruined me.

    The previous company I worked for had a product trying to ‘serve’ the unbanked and underbanked and at the time I thought it was a good idea, and would do some good. In retrospect, I think the fees were unjustifiable and the product just ended up being abused by the travel hacking community anyway.

    I keep waiting for the tech sector to come up with viable, scalable alternatives to places like check cashers for the unbanked. Still waiting, Silicon Valley.

    And thanks so much for that section on foreign nationals trying to open an account. I always learn so much from you, friends!

    1. Aw, thank you so much!!!
      I knew we had to cover minors and foreign nationals because we’ve gotten so many questions from them. Truly, our followers are the best crowdsourcing resource, as they help to direct our research in the most productive directions.
      And I despair of Silicon Valley replacing check-cashing places and payday loans because The Poors are just under their fucking radar. :/

  5. As someone who opened her first bank account at age 7 – I remember carefully printing my name on my signature card – I am always blown away by the concept of functioning adults not having a bank account!

    I’m going to go one step further – for your readers who are opening their first account – don’t stop there! When I was in college, I remember sitting with a friend one day in the summer, who was bemoaning the fact that she was spending too much money – “I am working all summer at the meat packing plant (true story) to save up money for school – but every time I go to the ATM and see that FAT bank balance – I feel RICH and pull out more money and spend it on coffee and nonsense!”

    I suggested that she open a SECOND bank account – and when her paycheque dropped into her chequing account, she IMMEDIATELY move it to her savings account so that she DOES NOT SEE the money she is not supposed to spend.

    “Wait, you can have MORE THAN ONE bank account?”

    YOU TOTALLY CAN! and you can use those accounts to FOOL yourself – squirrel away that money you are trying to save up for something special – don’t let it sit there and make you feel rich!

    She not only opened a second bank account, but she opened it at a different bank, so that she didn’t even have the temptation of being able to access it from her debit card 🙂 Probably overkill – but she knew herself best!

    With online banks like Allybank, Citibank etc – you can open as many accounts as you want – I have a dozen or so, each one pulling money from my chequing account automatically every month, to make sure that when property taxes, car insurance, or house insurance comes due – the money is there, ready to be used. Also, I have accounts for vacation and the (far-future) kitchen renovation that needs to happen ($10 a month goes into that account) . When I want to go on vacation, I look at my vacation account to see if I have saved enough – and I can spend that money on margaritas and plane tickets without any guilt!

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