Switching Banks or opening a new checking account has really gotten a bad rap over the last decade. With ACH payments, debit cards, direct deposit and similar convenience services/products gaining popularity, account holders view switching checking accounts- switching all their automatic payments rather- a daunting task that they simply do not have the time for. We get it! We understand how high the mountain looks while standing at the bottom.
In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to opening a new checking account, and a few tips to save time and make the transition as hassle-free as possible.
Before You Apply For a New Account
Do yourself a favor and before applying for a new account, do some research first. Make sure the new account and financial institution can meet your current needs and have the tools to help you reach your financial goals.
- Know your needs: Evaluate your current banking relationship and figure out what services and perks you utilize and are important to you.
- Identify your frustrations: If it’s monthly service fees, time before deposits are available in your account, minimum balance requirements, ATM fees, printed statement fees, or another cost/requirement/feature of your current account that has you frustrated, make sure you consider those issues while comparing accounts to avoid winding up in the same situation.
Opening a Checking Account: Step-By-Step Guide
Whichever way you choose to open your account, online or at a physical branch, the process is very similar at Frontier Bank.
- Gather the application information: Before you can complete the application, you will need the following items:
- Identification: When opening an account, you will need to provide your driver's license, passport or other government-issued ID. You will also need to supply your Social Security number and date of birth. If you are opening a joint account, you will need to provide this information for each accountholder.
- Proof of Address: If your physical address is different than the address on your driver's license, please bring a utility bill, credit card bill or other piece of mail with your name and current address on it with you to account opening, or be prepared to submit it with your application if applying online.
- Opening Deposit: The minimum opening deposit amount varies depending on what kind of account you are opening at most institutions. You can find our minimum opening deposit amounts on the Checking or Savings pages of our website. When opening an account in branch, please come prepared to write a check off your existing account or have cash ready for your opening deposit. When opening an account online, you can supply your current routing number and account number for an electronic transfer to your new account.
- Complete an Application: Once you have gathered the few items needed to open your account, and have identified the account that best fits your banking needs and usage requirements, head to the nearest bank location or online account opening tool to complete an application. A special credit check is done on your previous banking history, which determines if your application will be approved. If approved, you will be given an account number and your debit card and checks (if desired) will be ordered
- Sign the Account Agreement: If you open your account in branch, you will be signing the account agreement, and other account documents as you continue to move through the process. If you are opening the account online, the account agreement will be emailed or mailed to you for you to sign and return at your earliest convenience
- Make Your Opening Deposit: In branch, the Customer Service Representative assisting you will fill out the deposit ticket and make your opening deposit for you. Online, you will have already submitted your current routing number and account number with your application so that account will be debited for the amount you entered once the account has been opened.
- Enroll in Online Banking: Online Banking is one of the most valuable tools in managing your accounts. Keep up on opening deposits as well as switching direct deposit and automatic payments when it’s convenient for you. Once enrolled in Online Banking, you will also be able to utilize products like Online Bill Pay, Mobile Banking and Mobile Deposit to help you transition, and at your convenience going forward.
- Move your Direct Deposit and then Automatic Payments: Review your last 60 days of banking activity or last few months statements and make note of any recurring or automatic deposits or payments happening in your account. Stay organized with our Account Inventory Checklist. Once you know what payments/deposits need to be switched to your new account, utilize our Switch Kit for fillable PDF forms that can be sent to the companies directly. They contain the proper verbiage to request your account information be updated. You may also call the companies directly or visit their website if you have an online account to update the payment information. Get organized and then dedicate an hour to doing this- you’ll be thankful you did rather than casually switching payments as they come due.
- Activate your Debit Card: Debit cards usually take 7-10 business days to arrive. Once you receive it in the mail, follow the instructions on the card to activate your card and customize your PIN. If you ordered checks, they will arrive within 10-12 business days.
Now that your account is opened and you have the tools necessary for a successful banking relationship, explore what else your bank has to offer you! Frontier Bank has clubs to join, Mortgage, Ag and Commercial Banking teams equipped to help you with your next big project, or refinance existing loans, as well as a Wealth Management & Trust team committed to helping their clients reach their financial goals.
Retail Services Manager