A bank account is a special arrangement with your bank that allows you to deposit money and distinguishes you from other account holders in a particular bank. There are two main types of bank accounts. We have checking and savings accounts. Today we shall focus mainly on the checking accounts. A checking account allows you to deposit money for your everyday use. But can you have two checking accounts at the same bank? You will learn about that shortly.
Having multiple accounts can help you separate funds for various uses. Suppose you have a checking account for your home use, another one for emergency issues. So on, you will be able to handle your funds effectively while ensuring that every kind of financial need is catered for. You can keep the money for your daily expenditures such as buying goods and services, transport, entertainment, etc.
Bank accounts are easy to open online or at a physical branch. Many banks have online accounts that you can open using a smartphone. The issue of wasting your time lining up at a branch does not apply since you only need to visit the concerned bank website to get started. Again, almost all banks supporting online banking have mobile banking apps that allow you to open and manage your account securely.
What are the requirements to open a checking account?
You must have the requirements before opening an account with any bank. Even when opening a free online checking account with no opening deposit, you are supposed to provide them since it is a directive from the federal government. The following are the things you require.
- An identification document such as a national government ID or driver’s license, passport
- A Social security Number (SSN)
- A physical address
- An active email address
- Phone number
An identification document allows the concerned bank to identify you correctly. Since money is critical, the government cannot allow unknown people to open accounts. They may use the money to fund unethical activities such as terrorism, drugs, and human trafficking without a trace.
On the other hand, the Social Security Number allows the government to track your working years to determine your retirement benefits. Since the Social Security Number is unique for every person, it can also be used to identify individuals.
For your information, you are always required by the federal government to keep your identification documents and Social Security Numbers secure since someone else may use them to open bank accounts and indulge you in problems if they misuse the accounts.
The phone number and the email are purposely for communication. The bank may have to verify the email and phone number by sending special codes or links to help them determine whether the email and phone number are active. That is what you hear them calling a verification process. If you request e-statements, you should get them in your email, and thus the importance of providing a valid one.
Lastly, the physical address is crucial when receiving tangible items such as a paper statement or debit or credit card. It should be the latest physical address, and thus you should provide the latest utility bill to your bank. It can be the electricity bill, water bill, internet, etc.
How to open a checking account
Once you have everything needed to open an account, you can open your account online or at a physical branch. You require an internet-enabled device and a secure internet connection when opening your account online. With your phone, you need to visit the concerned bank’s website or download the banking app, then go straight to the “open an account tab.” From there, you can start entering the necessary details.
When entering the details, you start by entering your full name. Some institutions may require you to start with your email address, and thus it is not necessarily you start by entering your name. You then enter your phone number, Zip Code, city, state, last four digits of your SSN, ID Number, physical address, and anything else needed as precisely as possible. Once finished, you can request a debit card. Numerous online bank accounts with instant debit cards give you virtual card details to use for online payments as you wait for the tangible one.
If you are successful, you get a confirmation message that your checking account is ready for use. The next thing is to deposit money for use. If you are unsuccessful, you will get a decline message. In most cases, a bank can decline your application if you misused your previous accounts. Writing bouncing checks, fraudulent transactions, and closing accounts with negative balances are some of the reasons that a bank may decline your application.
Can you have two checking accounts at the same bank?
It is possible to have more than one checking account in one bank. A bank like Chase with several checking accounts can allow you to have two or more checking accounts to meet your needs. You can quickly get a checking account with no ChexSystems if you have an existing account since your details are already within.
As I mentioned earlier, the importance of having more than one checking account is to separate your expenditures. An account for your children’s school expenditures, another one for home expenditures, and so on is an excellent idea so that everything that needs financial attention is catered for. You can even transfer funds between the accounts when the need arises.
If you have an account with a particular bank, opening the second one may be easy since they only need to use your details already in the system. However, it is wise to open several checking accounts with different banks when opening several checking accounts. It is not good to put everything into one basket. If the bank collapses due to some financial issues, you may be left suffering as the concerned government agency sets things in order.
What transactions can I do with a checking account?
There are various things you can do with a checking account. They include the following.
1) Withdraw funds
One can withdraw money from a checking account over the counter when you present your identification document and fill in the necessary withdrawal form. You need to walk confidently into your bank account and do the necessary. You can also withdraw funds at an ATM point using a debit card from the bank.
All checking accounts come with debit cards, and you can request one when applying for your account. Withdrawing money using the ATM of the issuing institution is unusually free for most banks. You only pay withdrawal fees when withdrawing money at out-of-network ATMs.
2) Buy goods and services
You can purchase goods and services online and at physical stores. You only need to transfer money to the merchant’s account online, and you are good to go. Some merchants allow you to write a check when buying goods from their stores.
Also, you can purchase goods and services online and at physical stores using a debit card. You have to swipe the card at the register or let them enter your card details to deduct the expenditures at the physical store.
When paying online, you need to provide the card details, such as the card number, the expiration date, and the CVV. You can receive a code on your phone to confirm that you are the one using your card. That helps to prevent fraud.
3) Send money
You can send money with a checking account number instantly if the account belongs to the same bank like yours. However, when sending money to another bank, the funds may take several days to reflect in the recipient’s account, mainly if you use ACH transfers. If you use wire transfers, the money may arrive within 24 hours, especially if you send money within the US.
Interestingly, you can send money to other banks instantly using Zelle. Zelle is a digital platform that allows you to send money instantly between different banks without the need for the other bank’s routing and account numbers.
4) Write checks
A checking account allows you to write checks to other people. Even though the practice is becoming outdated, some people still value it.
Other things you can do with a checking account include receiving money, direct deposits, saving (some), and trading, among others.
Can I get a checking account if I am in the ChexSystems?
You can open a second chance checking with no opening deposit from various institutions. However, such accounts come with many restrictions such as minimum deposits, no check writing, no debit cards, limited withdrawals, etc. They aim to help you to rectify your banking issues.
After that, you can then advance to a standard account. However, your details can remain in the ChexSystems for several years. The good thing with second chance checking accounts is that the requirements for opening the account are similar to ordinary accounts.
A checking account refers to a bank account that allows you to keep the money for your everyday expenditure. You can open a checking account online or at a physical branch. The accounts come with debit cards that allow you to withdraw money from an ATM, buy goods and services online, and pay bills. A second chance checking account has restrictions such as the inability to write checks, lack of a debit card, and limited withdrawal amounts.