How to Get a Checking Account Online

So much consumer banking is now being transacted online that the whole idea of “online checking” can be confusing to some people. They, for example, may have finally decided that they want to “get an online checking account.”  However, they might not know that there are two ways they can do that.

One way is to simply notify their financial institution that they want to have access to their checking account through the Internet. There will be procedures such as furnishing identification, being given a username, and creating a password. Once that is final they can review their statement online at any time from any Internet connection. Depending on the bank’s policies they might also be able to process transactions electronically. However, that checking account remains a traditional one, not what is known as an “online checking account.”  Therefore it will have the fee structure which conventional checking accounts, operated in brick-and-mortar facilities, carry.

The second way to get a checking account online is to apply for a checking account which is both online and is operated totally on the Internet. There is no physical bank to go into and no tellers beyond bars or bullet-proof glass. Instead, all communication about the account is done online or by phone. Because this eliminates real estate costs, the fees are less or non-existent. Some accounts yield interest. Others provide bonuses and rewards.

Where to Open That Totally Online Checking Account?

Because this may be new to you, you might want to stick with the financial institution you know. That is, if it provides this service. You can actually go to that familiar setting and open your account. Or you can do that with your current financial institution right on the Internet through a computer, smartphone, or tablet. In both cases, usually you would be required to furnish your full name, date of birth, social security number, email address, and a form of identification such as the driver’s license number. Also, a deposit is necessary. How much depends on the financial institution’s policies.

Another way to get an account is to approach this as you would when selecting a credit card. You would “shop around.”  There is a broad range of features with online checking accounts just as there are with credits cards. Some of the information about the options might come from your financial advisor, snail mail, ads in print or on the web/mobile. Or you might find that information online under keywords “online checking accounts.”

Once you make your choice you would set up the account the same way as described previously. If the institution has brick-and-mortar facilities you can swing by it and do that in-person. Otherwise you provide the information and deposit online. Funds can be transferred from your current bank or you can snail mail a check or money order.

The process of going online, whether you maintain your traditional account or set one up one totally transacted on the Internet, does not require you own a computer or gadget. Many public libraries furnish complimentary access to the Internet for those with a library card. Also, free email addresses are available from Internet providers, ranging from Google to AOL.


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