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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? Will you need to write checks? 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. You'll need basic information like your home address, email address and phone number, as well as identification documents such as a driver’s license, Social Security Number, and a minimum opening deposit amount. Most checking accounts come with checks, some don't - choose which you'll need. 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. Wells Fargo also has a unique service for cardholders called Card Design Studio® service, where you can customize your card using your own image or logo, or select an image from our image library. You can also add your debit card to a digital wallet to pay for products and services using your mobile device at participating retailers and service providers.
  • 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. It is never too soon to start saving for your future financial goals. With an account like Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings , you have the opportunity to save automatically by linking to your checking account.

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 by setting up alerts. The alerts will be delivered to your online banking Message Center and email (if an email address is on file). With alerts, you can be notified quickly when a transaction takes place, allowing you to help 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® gives you 24-7 access to your accounts with activity details as well as various alerts you can choose from. And with Wells Fargo Mobile®, you can check your accounts on the go – choose from the mobile website or apps to help access your account.

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 financial foundation for years to come.

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