How to Open a Checking Account With Online Banks

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Online banks are growing in popularity, especially as some brick-and-mortar banks struggle to stay in business. In addition, there are many major banks that offer online-only checking accounts to customers nationwide. While there are a few disadvantages to using an online-only bank checking account, some of the many advantages include no or low monthly fees, easier credit qualification for an account and even interest-bearing checking accounts. It is also often easier to pay bills online and view check images with an online bank.

Decide how you wish to fund your new checking account with an online bank. It is most helpful and quicker if you can have your new bank do an electronic withdrawal from an existing savings or checking account, though some will accept mailed deposits or credit cards for opening a new account.

Visit some of the online banks (see Resources below). You do not have to have an account at a bank in you area to open an online banking account since they are Internet driven.

Click on the online application. Fill it out completely, giving necessary personal information such as full name, current and past addresses, phone numbers and Social Security Number.

Select how much money you wish to use to open your new online checking account, and the method of payment. Some banks, like Wells Fargo, will permit you to use a credit card. Most require an electronic withdrawal from an existing account or a mailed-in check or money order.

Make sure the bank does not require you to mail or fax in any signed papers once you have finished submitting the application and any electronic draft information.

Be aware that you should receive your account numbers online right away and will be able to start using them. This is especially useful when changing direct deposit information.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many online checking accounts offer low or no fees and free Visa or MasterCard debit cards.
  • Do not use false information when trying to get an online checking account.

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