How to Open a Savings Account

Smiling woman using her laptop computer outside in an urban outdoor area. She is opening a savings account online.

A savings account provides a secure place to deposit your money and earn interest on your savings. You can even use multiple savings accounts to save for different financial goals. To open a savings account, follow six simple steps, including comparing savings accounts from different banks, choosing the type of account you want and completing an application.

1. Compare Savings Accounts

Savings accounts are available from traditional brick-and-mortar banks, online-only banks and credit unions. To find the best account for you, consider:

  • Interest rate: A savings account's annual percentage yield (APY) reflects how much you'll earn annually with compound interest. Comparing APYs is a good way to compare potential interest earnings on different accounts. Traditional savings accounts from large banks tend to offer very low APYs, often under 1%. APYs on high-yield savings accounts, typically offered through online-only banks, are usually much higher.
  • Fees: Savings account fees may include a monthly maintenance fee, which you can typically avoid by maintaining a certain minimum balance or linking other accounts to your savings account. There may also be fees for using non-network ATMs, making more than six withdrawals per month or leaving your account inactive for six months or more.
  • Opening deposit: Some savings accounts require making a minimum initial deposit—typically $25 to $100.
  • Online interface: Are the bank's website and mobile app easy to use?
  • Services: If you need services such as access to a wide ATM network, a safety deposit box, cashier's checks or notary services, make sure the bank offers them.
  • Welcome bonuses: Some financial institutions offer welcome bonuses for opening an account. You may have to deposit a minimum amount or maintain a minimum balance to earn the bonus.
  • Security: Look for banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) or credit unions insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This insurance guarantees your money up to $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category, even if the financial institution fails.
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2. Choose an Individual or Joint Account

Couples may want to open a joint savings account owned by both partners or separate accounts owned as individuals. You can also open multiple accounts, such as a joint account for shared goals and separate individual accounts for your personal savings. Bank account ownership categories reflect who owns an account. By spreading your savings among multiple account ownership categories, you could get more than $250,000 in FDIC or NCUA coverage.

3. Gather Required Documents

Once you've decided on a savings account, pull together the personal information you'll need to fill out your application. Check with the bank for details.

Most banks require:

  • A government-issued form of identification such as a passport, driver's license or state ID card
  • A second form of identification, such as your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), birth certificate or a utility bill with your name on it
  • Contact information, such as name, address, phone number and email address

If choosing a joint account, be ready to provide this information for both account owners.

4. Submit an Application

You can usually apply for a savings account online at both online and traditional banks. However, if the savings account requires an initial deposit and you want to make your deposit in cash, you'll need to visit a physical bank branch. Either way, you'll complete your application using the documents above and sign it.

5. Make the Opening Deposit

If the bank requires a minimum deposit to open a savings account, be prepared to provide it when you fill out your application. You can do this by writing a check, depositing cash (at a physical branch) or transferring funds from another bank account. Be prepared to provide your bank routing number, bank account number or debit card number if transferring funds. Some banks will also ask you to choose a beneficiary to inherit your account if you die or give you the option to do so later.

6. Set Up Online Banking Features

Once your new savings account is open, start making the most of it. Sign up for e-statements to keep tabs on your account. Use the bank's website or mobile app to set up account alerts and get notified of deposits, withdrawals and more. For instance, you can get alerts when your balance dips close to the minimum required amount to avoid maintenance fees. You can also link your new account to a checking or savings account to simplify transfers among your accounts. Setting up automatic transfers or direct deposit to your savings account every payday is an easy way to build your savings faster.


  • No credit score is needed to open a bank account. Rather than checking your credit report when you fill out an application, banks review your ChexSystems report. ChexSystems reports contain information about your banking history, such as previous accounts you've owned. To help determine if you'll manage your account responsibly, banks look for potential concerns such as a history of unpaid bank fees, overdrafts or nonsufficient funds charges.

  • You can open some savings accounts without making an initial deposit. Other accounts require a deposit of $25, $100 or more. The specific minimum deposit requirement varies depending on the bank.

  • If you're denied a bank account, find out why. Banks may turn you down if they can't confirm your identity or find negative information in your ChexSystems report. When you're denied a bank account, get a free copy of your ChexSystems report and review it for errors or outstanding bank fees. You have the right to dispute any errors with ChexSystems. Once your balance is paid off (if you find fees that you owe), ask the financial institution or ChexSystem to remove the negative item from your ChexSystems report. Wait until your report is cleaned up to apply for a savings account again.

The Bottom Line

A savings account provides a safe place to keep funds you're saving for an emergency, a down payment on a car or a dream vacation. Putting aside funds in a savings account is a good financial habit.

So is checking your credit score and credit report regularly. Good credit can make it easier to qualify for low-interest loans and credit cards, helping you achieve your financial goals faster. One easy way to keep tabs on your credit: Sign up for free credit monitoring from Experian to get alerts of important changes to your credit report and FICO® Score .