How To Open a Savings Account (10 Easy Steps)

Take control of your future with this quick and easy guide on setting up a savings account.

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Updated June 6, 2024
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Tired of watching your money disappear? A savings account is your ticket to financial freedom, letting you watch your savings grow while you work towards your dreams.

And with interest rates on the rise, it's like earning free money on every dollar you save.

Ready to start reaping the rewards? Here's how to open a savings account in 10 easy steps.

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Compare rates

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Finding a savings account with a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) helps you earn more in interest on savings.

The higher the percentage, the better your odds of keeping up with inflation and protecting your money’s purchasing power.

Before opening a savings account, research different financial institutions and compare their rates.

Compare features

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It is important to also compare the different features various financial institutions provide.

Just because a bank or credit union offers a higher APY than its competitors doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best choice for you. For example, some institutions might have limited customer service hours or a small ATM network.

Online tools, such as a mobile app or budgeting features, can also be attractive perks to consider when choosing a savings account.

Review terms and conditions

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Once you find a financial institution that fits your needs, read the terms and conditions carefully. Watch out for any fees associated with the account or requirements to earn a promotional APY, for example.

Some financial institutions may charge for monthly maintenance if you don’t keep a minimum balance in the account. Others may have fees for withdrawing cash from an ATM, wiring money, or receiving paper statements.

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Try it

Gather documentation

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The financial institution will need some basic information before you can open an account. So, gather the proper documentation before contacting the bank or credit union.

This might include verification of your identity, such as date of birth, Social Security number, and driver's license. You may also need to provide additional proof of address, such as an insurance card or utility bill addressed to you.

Lastly, if you're planning to transfer money from another account, make sure you can provide the routing and account number from your current bank.

Decide if you want an individual or joint account

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When applying for an account, you may have the option of opening an individual or joint account. An individual account will be in your name only.

A joint account has more than one person listed as the owner. These account owners have equal access to the money and can make withdrawals and deposits from the account.

Fill out an application

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Many banks and credit unions allow you to apply for an account online. However, some might require you to visit a branch or contact the institution by phone.

When applying online, make sure the website has protections in place for your information, such as firewalls, data encryption, and multi-factor authentication.

Make a deposit

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You likely will need to make a minimum deposit to open an account, which often ranges anywhere from $25 to $100 or higher.

To fund the account, you can typically schedule a wire transfer, deposit a check, or transfer money from another account.

As mentioned earlier, if you’re going to transfer funds from another financial institution, make sure to have your account and routing number handy.

Close your old account

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After you have a new account, you can keep the old one open or close it.

Before closing the old account, transfer all the funds to the new account. You should also download any bank statements you need for your tax return.

Some financial institutions allow you to close an account online. However, many others require you to contact the institution by phone or to visit a branch.

There may be a fee to close an account if you have recently opened it. So, check with the bank.

Activate your account tools

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Once you sign up for a new savings account, the financial institution may provide account tools to help you manage your money.

For example, the bank or credit union might provide an ATM card to allow easy access to your funds. Financial institutions often have activation instructions printed on the card.

As online banking becomes more popular, many financial institutions now offer digital banking tools, such as mobile apps that allow you to deposit funds and transfer money.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Monitor your account

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It's essential to continue monitoring the account after you open it.

Look at incoming and outgoing transactions to ensure there aren't any unauthorized charges or deposits. Contact the bank or credit union immediately if you see any transactions you don't recognize.

Not only can monitoring the account protect you from fraud, but it can also help you track spending and lower your financial stress.

Bottom line

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Now that you know how easy it is to open a savings account, there's no excuse to wait. 

Take charge of your financial future today and follow these simple steps to build wealth and secure your financial well-being. 

Remember, every penny saved is a step towards your goals, so start building your financial safety net today.

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Author Details

Carley Clark

Carley Clark is a personal finance writer from Michigan. She graduated from Spring Arbor University with a bachelor's degree in business. After graduation, she worked in finance as a revenue auditor at a casino. Carley strives to write informative content that will help readers meet their financial goals.