What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?

What do you need to open a bank account? That depends on a wide range of factors, including where you want to open accounts and who you are.

But, there are also staple requirements that almost everyone will need to meet, regardless of where theyโ€™re looking to open accounts.

This article is part of our free series on banking basics, including the exact steps to follow if youโ€™re wondering how to open a bank account, which you can access here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?
  2. What Do You Need to Open a Checking Account?
  3. What Do You Need to Open a Savings Account?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account?

To open a bank account, you will be required to submit identification, supporting documents, and personal information that verifies your identity, income, and eligibility to open an account.ย 

That said, bank policies vary as do regulatory requirements in different countries. Likewise, different account types have different application requirements. This can include age requirements, a minimum deposit requirement, and more.

However, in most cases, there are standard documents that both local residents and non-resident foreigners will need to meet when opening accounts anywhere.

Note: if you have recently closed a bank account and would like to look at your new account opening options, the following list includes the most basic requirements that you can expect when opening a new account anywhere in the world.

What You Need to Open a Bank Account

  • Two forms of government identification
  • Proof of residential address
  • Tax identification number
  • Local phone number
  • Source of income information
  • Source of wealth information
  • Qualifying account opening deposit
  • Disclosure of connections to politically exposed persons (PEPs)
  • Disclosure of US person status (outside of the United States)
  • Bank reference letters (optional)
  • Character reference letters (optional)

Itโ€™s important to reiterate that the specific requirements will vary depending on the bank you apply to, the country where you are trying to open, and the type of account you are applying for.

If youโ€™re interested in bank-specific details, we share these with our members in the GlobalBanks Database. That said, you can access country-specific requirements in our free country banking hubs on our website.

In terms of the specific requirements you can expect for different account types, we share what you can expect for both checking and savings accounts below.

What Do You Need to Open a Checking Account?

To open a checking account, you will need to provide supporting documentation, copies of identification, a clear rationale for opening the checking account, and a qualifying deposit. That said, each bank may set unique requirements that you should confirm before applying.

Likewise, each bank has different minimum deposit requirements when opening checking accounts. Banks also tend to charge fees for checking accounts when account balances drop below certain levels.

With this in mind, itโ€™s important to consider all of your account opening options prior to selecting where you want to open a checking account with.

How Much Money Do I Need to Deposit?

The amount that you need to deposit in order to open a checking account will vary depending on the bank and account. That said, in most cases, the minimum deposit to open a checking account is between USD 25 and 100.

That said, if you are looking to open a bank account in a foreign country as a non-resident, you should expect to deposit considerably more than this. In most cases, foreign non-residents will need to deposit between USD 10,000 and 25,000 to qualify for a checking account. Though in certain instances, this amount can reach several hundred thousand dollars.

Does the Bank Require Credit Checks to Open Checking Accounts?

Most banks do not require credit checks to open checking accounts unless you are applying for credit products like overdraft protection, credit cards, or bank loans. That said, many banks will run your profile through the ChexSystem, which provides information about your banking history including account closures, applications, and more.

What Do You Need to Open a Savings Account?

To open a savings account, you will also need to provide supporting documentation, copies of identification, a clear rationale for opening the savings account, and a qualifying deposit.

Likewise, each bank will have different minimum deposit requirements when opening savings accounts. This is especially true if you are opening an account that is focused on long-term saving products like fixed deposits or certificates of deposit (CDs).

With this in mind, itโ€™s important to consider all of your account opening options prior to selecting where you want to open a savings account with.

How Much Money Do I Need to Deposit?

The amount that you need to deposit in order to open a savings account will vary depending on the bank and account. That said, the minimum deposit to open a savings account is similar to a checking account, between USD 25 and 100.

However, if you are looking to open a bank account in a foreign country as a non-resident, you should expect to deposit more. In most cases, foreign non-residents will need to deposit between USD 4,000 and 15,000 to qualify for a savings account. Though, like checking accounts, this amount can increase significantly depending on where you choose to open.

Does the Bank Require Credit Checks to Open Savings Accounts?

No, banks do not require a credit check to open a savings account. This is because savings accounts do not offer access to credit products or involve extending financing to the account holder. However, like checking accounts, certain banks will run your profile through the ChexSystem, which provides information about your banking history including account closures, applications, and more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people looking into this topic. If you have further questions you would like to ask our team, donโ€™t hesitate to get in touch.

What Documents Are Needed to Open a Bank Account?

The documents required to open a bank account include proof of address, source of wealth documents, and (in certain instances) bank reference letters and certificate of employment. Applicants are also required to provide copies of government identification, tax identification numbers, and more.

Can I Open a Bank Account Without an SSN?

Yes, you can open a bank account without an SSN. In fact, you can open an account in the United States without an SSN or an ITIN. However, if you have an SSN you are required to provide it when applying for an account.

Can I Open a Bank Account Without Papers?

Yes, if you are an undocumented individual you can open a bank account legally. However, you must obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or be able to provide a tax identification number from another jurisdiction. Of course, undocumented immigrants also need to meet the other account opening requirements.

What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account Under 18?

To open a bank account as an individual under the age of 18, you will need to provide supporting documents for the applicant (minor) and the co-applicant (guardian). In most cases, the guardian will need to provide all of the normal supporting documents and the minor will need to provide government issued identification. The specific age requirements vary by bank, so you should confirm prior to applying for an account.

Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

If so, you can get access to GlobalBanks IQ in just a few clicks.

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+ Expert insights on which banks to choose & why

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+ Tried & tested banks for high-risk, offshore, & non-resident clients

+ Plus, get YOUR most pressing bank account opening questions answered by our team!

And “yes!” GlobalBanks IQ helps foreigners and non-resident individuals open bank accounts.

In fact, GlobalBanks IQ even helps non-resident, foreign & offshore entities open bank accounts.

Use the link in our menu above to learn more about GlobalBanks IQ. Or, contact us directly with any questions!

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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