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How to Start If You’ve Never Known About 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 ethics, ethical banking, bank deposits Spencer Tierney is a consumer banking writer at NerdWallet. He has covered finances for individuals since the year 2013, with a particular emphasis on certificates of deposit and other topics related to banking. His work has been highlighted by 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

Written by Carolyn Kimball Assisting Editor Banking Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News Carolyn has worked in newsrooms around the country as a reporter and editor. Her interests include personal finance, sci-fi novels and absurd Broadway musicals.

A majority of the items featured on this page are provided by our partners who compensate us. This affects the products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, it does not affect our opinions. Our opinions are our own. Here’s a list and .

Managing your money without a bank account is doable. But it can pose challenges – and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it worse.

The economic impact payment may have come in a few weeks or months later than the other one with a check or prepaid debit card due to the fact that you didn’t have the quicker transfer option of direct deposit into the bank account. And if you’ve gone to the shop recently you might be asked to pay using a credit or debit card, or with exact change due to the widespread shortage of coins and concerns about the transmission of germs.

A bank account will make life easier in these situations, among other situations. To avoid future issues you should consider opening a bank account- or try again if you’ve been rejected in the past. Here’s how to get to the point of starting.

Check your needs for money

If you’re among the 14 million Americans without a bank account in the U.S., you might have a method that works for you. Maybe that includes making use of alternative products like pre-paid debit cards or check cashing services. Financial advisor Brandy Baxter has assisted clients who used check cashing services to meet practical reasons.

“They preferred to walk in, walk out with cash,” says Baxter the accredited financial counselor and financial coach who runs the company Living Abundantly in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

Check cashing stores like Check ‘n’Go and ACE Cash Express may operate for longer hours than banks and have simple approval processes for cash in a short time. But they do charge a steep fee, which could range between 1% and 6 percent or more, of the check amount.

Bank accounts can meet the needs of money beyond what checks and prepaid cards services can. For instance, their fraud protections may limit the amount you pay if you’re victimized. 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 doors open: Credit cards and small business loans and other less expensive options in payday loans may eventually be at hand.

Checking accounts “don’t just aid in saving costs, they’re also the foundation for using various financial instruments,” says David Rothstein the principal of Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund who oversees BankOn an online platform in the United States which encourages financial inclusion.

Find a bank that is right for your needs.

If you are afraid of banks or had trouble obtaining an account in the past the community banks or credit unions are generally more friendly than national banks. They are usually mission-driven — for instance, they focus on the financial health of their neighboring communities.

“We’re very accommodating in giving people a second possibility,” says Pedro Murillo, area branch manager in the San Francisco Bay Area for Self-Help Federal Credit Union. “If someone comes in to apply for a loan and doesn’t have pay stubs to show, is there anything they (can they) provide us? Perhaps a letter sent by (their) boss? We’re not going to be left out.”

Similar to other credit unions, Self-Help requires that a member open a savings account to join; the minimum required to start an account is usually a few bucks. Members can then apply for other products such as a credit building loan.

You can look up the term “CDFI” which is a reference to the community-based financial institution -which is a reference to . A lot of them require members to be located in the same state or region in which the credit union or bank has branches.

What do you need to know about applying

To open an account, you’ll usually need your Social Security number, one or two forms of identification as well as money for your first deposit.

It’s common to apply for two accounts with a bank at once that is a checking account and savings account. The checking account grants access to debit cards as well as a bill payment system, among other services, while the savings account lets you put funds aside and, in the ideal case increase its value by accruing interest.

Banks typically screen applicants based on ChexSystems which is a nationwide reporting agency that records the details of closed accounts against a person’s will. If you have lost access to a bank account before and you’re not sure if you’ll be denied by other banks until you settle your ChexSystems record. This could mean the payment of debts to a bank or disputing errors on the record.

After you’ve cleared your account, think about what banks typically refer to as the BankOn-approved checking account. A lot of them don’t charge overdraft charges that kick in when you try paying for something which would place your balance in negative.

Opening the correct bank account involves some effort. However, once you’re approved finding a safe location for your money as well as a greater likelihood of getting affordable loans will make it worth the effort.

“To have a checking account… is the core for any empowerment financial effort,” Rothstein says.

The article was written by NerdWallet and first released by The Associated Press.

Author bio Spencer Tierney is an expert on deposits and certificates of deposit with NerdWallet. He has had his work highlighted by USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.

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