How to open a bank account online

Have your contact info and proof of identity ready and be prepared to put money into your new account straight away.

Spencer Tierney Published on 17 May 2021.
How to open a bank account online

Opening a bank account online is quick and easy. It can take just minutes and save you a trip to a bank branch. And if you’re opening an account at an online bank, it may be your only option.

Some online banks are FSCS protected, but it's worth checking this out before you open an account.

What information do you need before opening a bank account online?

Here's the documentation you'll need to open a bank account online:

Proof of identity - this may be your passport or driving licence, or for some accounts you're required to submit biometric details and a photo or video.

Do you want a current or savings account?

Before you start the application, you have two key decisions to make:

  • Single or joint account? With a single account, you’re the sole owner. A joint account is one you co-own with another person, generally a family member or significant other.
  • Current savings or other? Determine this new account’s primary purpose. If you need the money to pay regular expenses, consider opening a current account and make sure to consider any fees the account charges. If the money will be set aside for savings, make sure the account earns a good interest rate.

If the provider offers multiple savings or current accounts, compare them to see which terms and features work best for you.

Also confirm that the account will be FSCS protected, which means the Financial Services Compensation Scheme protects your savings to the value of £85,000 in case the bank fails. Savings with credit unions are also FSCS protected.

What other information do you need to open a bank account?

Using a secure home internet connection or another trustworthy network, fill out the application with your personal details, which will likely include:

  • Name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Address.
  • Contact information.
  • Income and expenditure - depending on the terms of the account you take out, you may be required to confirm your monthly income.

Though in most situations you can send this information online, there may be some cases where you are asked to email additional documents, such as a copy of your driver’s licence, to help verify your identity. You might also have to sign a signature card so your bank can verify yours or agree to receive statements and other messages online. And if you’re not legally an adult, you’ll need a parent co-signer’s information as well.

How can you fund your account?

When you open an account online, an initial deposit usually means making a transfer from an existing account. If your bank is all online, you may also be able to put money in with a cheque or money order. And if your bank has local branches, you can also visit one to deposit cash.

Once you enter the details for the transfer, choose an amount that satisfies any minimum balance or starting deposit requirement. The funds generally take a few days to process, and then you can start managing your new account.

Source: Getty Images

About the author:

Spencer Tierney is an expert on certificates of deposit at NerdWallet. His work has been featured by USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. Read more

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