How to Open a Checking Account

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Published On:
January 15, 2022

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If you’ve never had an account at a credit union before, it can seem a bit overwhelming to consider all the things that go into opening a new checking account. However, the process of how to open a checking account is quite simple and easy, especially when you follow the basic steps below.

8 Steps to Open a Checking Account

Whether this is your first checking account or you’ve done this many times before, follow these eight steps to ensure the best experience with your new checking account.

1. Gather Documents and Information

There are a few basic items you will need to provide and demonstrate with documented proof to open a checking account. This typically includes your personal information (like name, address, and social security number), your employment information including your estimated income, and a minimum opening deposit. 

You will need to prove your identification and other information with documentation such as a valid government-issued ID. Additionally, you may need to provide a utility bill to prove your address or a pay stub to verify your employment. 

If you will be opening a joint checking account, such as with a spouse, you will need to provide their information during the application process as well.

2. Determine Your Opening Deposit

How much will you be depositing in order to open your account? Is there a certain amount that is required? Is there a minimum balance to maintain? Will you be making your initial deposit via cash or check? 

All of these factors should be considered, and a course of action must be decided upon before opening your account. Typically, a checking account can be opened for as little as $25-100, but each financial product is different, and you will want to determine this amount before you get too far in the application process. 

With Arbor Financial Credit Union’s Free Checking Account, you don’t have to worry about any account origination fees or balance requirements. 

3. Shop Around for Comparison

There are many things to compare when it comes time to open a checking account!

Some checking accounts offer perks like cash back, interest, no or low fees, etc. Certain financial institutions, like credit unions, often have better service, a wider variety of flexible financial products, more beneficial terms, and better perks than large national banks. 

You’ll also want to look at things like the ATM network, what kind of fees your checking account would have, what the account requirements are, the interest rate on any interest earned on your balance, and what kind of perks or rewards come with your account. 

4. Apply Online or In-Person

Nowadays it’s easy to complete your account application process entirely online. If you prefer, you can still visit your local branch to apply in person. This enables you to fill out your paperwork with assistance from a member services representative.

5. Sign the Required Account Documents

To finalize the opening of your checking account, you will likely have several documents to sign.  In some cases, you may be able to electronically sign, or you may need to complete the paperwork in person.

6. Set Up a Direct Deposit and Other Services

Having a direct deposit not only saves you time in having to collect and cash your paychecks but can also help you meet your account requirements and avoid checking account fees. Therefore, it is a smart financial choice to set up a direct deposit as one of your first actions after you open a checking account. 

In addition to direct deposit, there are other features and services you can take advantage of when you open your checking account. This includes setting up things like overdraft protection, account alerts, rewards programs, and more.

7. Sign Up for an Online Account

Gone are the days of needing to visit a branch in person. Most of your account services can be taken care of via online and mobile banking. Simply set up your account profile online to make all of your banking easier and more convenient for your lifestyle. 

8. Receive Your Banking Materials

Once you have been approved for a checking account, there are a few tools that you will need to get started. You may receive temporary checks to start using now, and many credit unions, like Arbor Financial Credit Union, offer instant-issue debit cards, so you don’t skip a beat. You will need to activate your card once you receive it, which typically involves a brief phone call. 

Want to Know More About Online Banking?

Arbor Financial Credit Union provides services to families and businesses throughout the state of Michigan. Our members enjoy access to exclusive discounts, expert financial advice, and checking accounts with plenty of free features including online banking, mobile banking, and bill pay. 

To learn more about the benefits of online banking, click below.


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