Opening your first bank accounts

Considerations for setting up your first bank accounts.

Opening a new account – much like going off to college – is a rite of passage for many students. The account you choose can help you ease into the habit of managing your own money and making good financial decisions while in school. Here’s a guide on how to open your first checking or savings account:

Figure out what you need

When it comes to determining what accounts will work for you, review your needs. Are you looking for an easy way to access cash? Do you need a way to set money aside for longer-term savings goals? Also, consider the proximity and availability of your bank’s ATMs and branches, in addition to other personal preferences that may be important to you, like online banking and overdraft protection.

The type of account you require will be based on your personal and financial needs and goals, so it’s important to know these before choosing your accounts.

Consider your options

Once you’ve identified your needs, evaluate your options:

  • Checking account: A checking account can be opened individually or jointly, and you’ll need your basic information, Social Security number, driver’s license, and a minimum opening deposit amount. The account can usually be linked to a debit card – giving you quick access to cash – and can be managed online, as well as at ATMs.
  • Savings account: Similar to checking, you’ll need to choose between an individual or joint savings account, and be prepared with the same basic information and an opening deposit amount. With a savings account, the amount you deposit can actually grow based on the interest rate, allowing you to save even more for future financial goals. With an account like the Wells Fargo Way2Save® service, you have the opportunity to save automatically by linking to your checking account.

Maybe you’re looking for a little of both. A Wells Fargo College Combo® Checking Package is an easy quick-start option that gives you a College Checking account, Way2Save service, Platinum Debit Card, free access to online Bill Pay and more, all for an initial deposit of $125. Wells Fargo also has a unique service for cardholders called Card Design Studio® service, where you can insert your favorite image to appear on your Wells Fargo Credit Card.

Building credit

Good credit is a must-have for most major life purchases. And with the Wells Fargo Cash Back℠ card, you have the opportunity to start building a credit foundation while you’re still in college. From purchasing textbooks to financing emergency situations, this card offers low introductory interest rates and cash back on gas, grocery, and drug store credit purchases (all purchases minus returns/credits) for a limited time.

Actively monitor your accounts

Once you’ve set up your accounts, review your options for monitoring and managing them. One way to keep tabs on the status of your accounts is with instant alerts sent right to your email or wireless device. By signing up for these notifications, you can be notified right away when a transaction takes place, allowing you to monitor your account activity wherever, whenever.

There are a variety of Wells Fargo products that can assist you in managing your accounts. Wells Fargo Online® Banking gives you 24-7 access to all of your accounts with activity details, as well as various alerts you can choose from. And with Mobile Banking, you can check your accounts on the run – choose from text banking, the mobile website, or apps to get your account details quickly and easily.

Opening your first bank account is just one milestone in your financial future. Once you get started with opening an account, you’re one step closer to building a solid foundation for years to come.

Learn more about setting up and managing your budget in college.