How to Start If You’ve Never Had A Bank Account
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How to Begin If You’ve Never Had A Bank Account
By Spencer Tierney Senior Writer | Certificates of deposit and ethical banking, as well as banking deposit accounts Spencer Tierney is a consumer banker at NerdWallet. He has written about personal finance since 2013 with a focus on deposits and certificates as well as other banking-related topics. The work he has written for him was highlighted in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times, among others. He is located in Berkeley, California.
Aug 11 Aug 11, 2020
Editor: Carolyn Kimball Assisting Editor – Banks Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News Carolyn has worked in newsrooms all over the across the country as a reporter as well as an editor. Her interests include personal finance, sci-fi fiction novels and groovy Broadway musicals.
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The management of your money without a bank account is doable. However, it could be a challenge – and the COVID-19 pandemic has added more.
Your economic impact check may’ve been received weeks or even months after other ones with an e-check or prepaid debit card, since you weren’t able to choose the speedier delivery option of direct deposit into the bank account. And if you’ve gone to the store lately you may have been asked to pay with a debit or credit card or with exact change due to a nationwide shortage of cash and fears regarding the spread of germs.
A bank account will make life easier when faced with these kinds of situations, as well as other situations. To avoid future issues, consider opening one -or try it again after being rejected previously. Here’s a step-by-step guide for getting going.
Check your needs for money
If you’re one of the 14 million people who don’t have a financial institution in the U.S., you might have a system that is working for you. It could be that you are making use of alternative products like prepaid debit cards and check cashing services. Financial counselor Brandy Baxter has worked with clients who have used check cashing services for practical reasons.
« They prefer to walk into the store, and leave with cash, » says Baxter the accredited financial advisor and financial coach who manages the firm Living Abundantly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Check cashing shops such as Check ‘n’ Go and ACE Cash Express may operate for more hours that banks, and offer easy approval procedures to receive cash fast. But this comes with a steep fee, which can range from 1% to 6 percent, or even more, of the check amount.
Bank accounts can meet requirements for money that are not met by prepaid cards and check cashing services will. For example, their fraud protections can limit what you pay if you’re victimized, and many accounts allow you to lock debit cards remotely in the event of theft.
And once you’ve begun a relationship with a bank, there are other possibilities are open: Credit cards, auto or small business loans and other less expensive alternative in payday loans may eventually be at hand.
Checking accounts « don’t just help you save costs; they’re the first step to using different financial services, » says David Rothstein, principal at Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund which manages BankOn the national platform which encourages financial inclusion.
Find a bank that will work for you
If you find banks to be intimidating or you’ve had difficulty obtaining an account before, community banks and credit unions are generally more accommodating than national banks and tend to be mission-driven, for instance, they focus on the financial health of their surrounding communities.
« We’re extremely accommodating when it comes to giving someone a second opportunity, » says Pedro Murillo, area branch manager in the San Francisco Bay Area for Self-Help Federal Credit Union. « If an employee wants to request a loan and doesn’t have pay stubs, is there anything they (can they) bring to us? An email from (their) employer? We’re not willing to be left out. »
Similar to other credit unions, Self-Help will require a person to open a savings account to join; the minimum required to start an account is usually a few bucks. Then members can apply for other services such as a credit building loan.
It is possible to search the internet for the term « CDFI » which is a reference to the community-based financial institution — to . Some require that those who join to be in the same state or region where the credit union or bank has branches.
What do you need to know about applying
To create an account, you’ll usually need your Social Security number, one or two identification documents and money for the first deposit.
It’s typical to apply for two accounts with a bank simultaneously that is a checking account and savings account. The checking account gives access to debit cards and bill payment system as well as other features, while the savings account lets you set money aside , and in the best case increase its value by earning interest.
Banks generally screen potential applicants using ChexSystems which is a national reporting agency that records the details of accounts closed against a person’s will. If you’ve been denied access to your bank account before, you might be rejected by different banks until you settle your ChexSystems record. This can mean the payment of debts to the bank or disputing mistakes in the records.
After you’ve cleared your account, think about what banks call it the BankOn-approved checking account. Many of these don’t charge fees for overdrafts which are charged if you attempt to pay for something that could put your account in the negative.
Finding and opening the right bank account involves some effort. Once you’ve been approved, having a safe place for your money, and a better likelihood of getting low-cost loans can make it worthwhile.
« To have a checking account… is the core to any money-empowering effort, » Rothstein says.
This post originated from NerdWallet and was first printed in The Associated Press.
The author’s bio: Spencer Tierney is an expert on certificates of deposit at NerdWallet. The work of Spencer Tierney has been highlighted in USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.
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