Bank Accounts

Find and compare bank accounts  from a wide range of providers with zaving today 

Last updated by Zaving Editorial Team, on April 4th, 2024

Whether you're a student, a working professional, or a small business owner, choosing the right bank account is essential for managing your finances effectively. With a wide range of options available, it can be overwhelming to navigate through the numerous features and benefits offered by different banks and the bank accounts they offer. That's where zaving comes in. Our website provides you with a simple to use comparison service to help you find the most appropriate bank account for your personal needs. Find out about various different bank accounts, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and more. We aim to simplify your decision-making process by presenting key features, fees, interest rates, and perks, allowing you to make an informed choice that suits your financial goals. Start exploring now and find the ideal bank account that empowers your financial journey.

What is a bank account and how does it work?  

A bank account is a financial account provided by a bank or a financial institution that allows individuals to securely deposit and withdraw money. It serves as a safe place to store funds and provides a variety of services to manage personal finances.

When you open a bank account, you are essentially establishing a relationship with the bank, which holds your money and provides access to various banking services. These services may include:

  • depositing and withdrawing cash
  • writing checks
  • using a debit card
  • accessing online and mobile banking platforms
  • earning interest on certain types of accounts.

Additionally, a bank account allows you to receive direct deposits of income, make electronic payments, and monitor your transactions for budgeting purposes. The bank safeguards your funds and provides customer support for account-related inquiries and issues. It's important to choose a reputable bank and understand the terms and conditions associated with your specific account, such as fees, minimum balance requirements, and interest rates. Overall, a bank account simplifies the management of your money, provides financial security, and offers convenient access to banking services.

What types of bank accounts are available?

Banks in the USA offer a range of account options to meet various financial needs. Here are some common types of bank accounts:

Checking Accounts: Also known as transactional accounts, checking accounts are designed for everyday transactions. They allow you to deposit money, write checks, use a debit card, and make electronic transfers.

Savings Accounts: Savings accounts are intended for accumulating funds and earning interest over time. They offer a safe place to store money while providing a modest interest rate on the balance.

Money Market Accounts: Money market accounts are similar to savings accounts but often offer higher interest rates. They typically require a higher minimum balance and may provide limited check-writing capabilities.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs): CDs are time-based accounts where you deposit a specific amount of money for a fixed period, known as the term. In return, you receive a predetermined interest rate. CDs generally have higher interest rates than regular savings accounts.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): IRAs are long-term savings accounts designed for retirement. They offer tax advantages, and contributions may be tax-deductible or grow tax-free until retirement.

Business Accounts: Banks provide specialized accounts for businesses, such as business checking accounts, merchant services accounts, and business savings accounts. These accounts cater to the unique financial needs of businesses.

Student Accounts: Banks often offer accounts tailored to students, which may have lower fees or specific features to help manage finances during the student years.

Joint Accounts: Joint accounts allow multiple individuals, such as couples or family members, to share ownership and access to the account. They can be useful for managing shared expenses.

It's important to compare the features, fees, and benefits of different account types before making a decision. Consider your financial goals and needs to choose the most suitable bank account that aligns with your requirements.

How do I choose the best bank account for my needs? 

Choosing the best bank account for your needs requires careful consideration of various factors. Here are some steps to help you make an informed decision:

1. Assess Your Needs: Start by evaluating your financial goals and needs. Consider whether you need a simple account for day-to-day transactions, a high-interest savings account, or specialized features like joint accounts or business accounts. Understanding your specific requirements will guide you in choosing the right bank account.

2. Research Different Banks: Research and compare the offerings of different banks or financial institutions through zavings. Look for banks with a strong reputation, reliable customer service, and convenient branch or ATM locations. Consider both traditional brick-and-mortar banks and online banks, as online banking often offers competitive rates and lower fees.

3. Account Types: Understand the types of accounts available. Common options include checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit (CDs). Each account type has different features and benefits. For example, a checking account offers easy access to your money, while a savings account may provide higher interest rates for saving purposes.

4. Fees and Charges: Consider the fees and charges associated with the bank account. Some common fees include monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, overdraft fees, and transaction fees. Compare the fee structures of different banks and choose an account with reasonable fees that align with your usage patterns.

5. Interest Rates and APY: If you're opening a savings account or a money market account, pay attention to the interest rates and Annual Percentage Yield (APY). The higher the interest rate or APY, the more your money can grow over time. Compare the rates offered by different banks to maximize your earnings.

6. Convenience and Accessibility: Consider the convenience and accessibility of the bank's services. Look for features such as online banking, mobile apps, and free ATM access. These can make it easier to manage your account and perform transactions on-the-go.

7. Additional Services and Benefits: Some banks offer additional services and benefits that may be valuable to you, such as overdraft protection, rewards programs, or discounts on other financial products. Assess these additional offerings and determine their importance in relation to your needs.

By following these steps and conducting thorough research, you can choose a bank account that aligns with your needs, helps you achieve your financial goals, and provides a positive banking experience. Remember to review the account terms and conditions, understand any potential fees, and maintain responsible financial management practices to make the most of your chosen bank account.

How do I open a bank account?

Opening a bank account is a straightforward process. Here's some guidelines to help you get started:

  1. Choose an acccount type: Determine the type of account you want to open, such as a checking account for everyday transactions, or a savings account for long-term savings goals.
  2. Research: Research different banks and their account offerings through zavings to find a bank offering an account that suits your needs best. Consider factors such as the account features on offer, the fees charged, any interest rates that may apply, and whether there are any special offers that may provide you with a better deal. 
  3. Through zavings, select the bank account which most closely aligns with your financial needs. You will automatically be directed to the bank's website to initiate the account opening process.
  4. Complete an application form: Fill out the bank's account application form. You will need to provide accurate personal information, including your name, address, Social Security number, and employment details.
  5. Provide identification: Provide valid identification documents, such as a driver's license, passport, Social Security card or state or military photo ID. The bank will verify your identity to comply with government and state regulatory requirements.
  6. Review and sign agreements: Read through the terms and conditions, fee schedules, and account agreements provided by the bank. Sign the necessary documents to finalize the account opening process.
  7. Receive your account details: Once your account is open, the bank will provide you with account details, including your account number, routing number, and instructions on how to access your account online or through mobile banking.
  8. Deposit funds: Make an initial deposit into the account. Some banks will require a minimum deposit to initially open the account (often $25) while others offer no minimum deposit options.

Remember to keep copies of all documentation provided and ask any questions you have during the process. Each bank may have specific requirements and procedures, so it's always beneficial to contact the bank directly for detailed information on opening a bank account.

What documents will I need to open a bank account?

To open a bank account in the USA, you will typically need to provide specific documents as part of the account opening process. While the exact requirements may vary between banks and the type of account you are opening, there are some common documents that most banks will ask for. Here are the essential documents you may need:

1. Identification Documents: A valid government-issued photo identification document is typically required. This can be a driver's license, passport, state ID card, or military ID. The bank needs to verify your identity to comply with legal and regulatory requirements.

2. Social Security Number (SSN): The bank may ask for your SSN, which is a unique identifier issued by the Social Security Administration. It helps the bank verify your identity and comply with anti-money laundering regulations. If you don't have an SSN, some banks may accept an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or other alternative identification documents.

3. Proof of Address: Banks often require proof of your residential address. This can be established through documents such as a recent utility bill, a rental or lease agreement, or a recent bank statement. The address on the document should match the one you provide during the account opening process.

4. Employment and Income Verification: Depending on the bank's policies, you may need to provide proof of employment or income. This can be in the form of pay stubs, employment verification letters, or tax returns. These documents help the bank assess your financial stability and ability to manage the account.

Documentation requirements can differ between banks and the type of account you are opening. If you have queries you can contact the bank, or visit their website to get the most specific information regarding the documents you have available to open a bank account.

To ensure a smooth process, it's advisable to gather all the necessary documents in advance before starting the account-opening procedure. By being prepared and providing the required documents, you can get your new account opened quickly and start using your new bank account.

What is the difference between a checking account and a savings account?

A checking account and a savings account are two common types of bank accounts, each serving different purposes. A checking account is suitable for everyday transactions and easy access to your money, while a savings account is designed for accumulating savings and earning interest. It's common for individuals to have both types of accounts to separate their spending money from their long-term savings.

Checking Account: A checking account is designed for everyday transactions and easy access to your funds. It allows you to deposit money, make withdrawals, and perform various transactions such as writing checks, using a debit card, or conducting online bill payments. Checking accounts typically have no restrictions on the number of transactions you can make and often come with a debit card or checks for convenient access. These accounts may also offer features like direct deposit and overdraft protection. However, checking accounts generally offer lower interest rates compared to savings accounts.

Savings Account: A savings account is primarily intended for storing money and earning interest over time. It is an account where you can deposit funds you want to save for future goals, emergencies, or specific purposes. Unlike a checking account, savings accounts have restrictions on the number of withdrawals you can make per month due to federal regulations. Savings accounts often offer higher interest rates, allowing your money to grow over time. These accounts can be a useful tool for building an emergency fund, saving for a down payment on a home, or planning for long-term financial goals.

 

What is a joint bank account and what are the benefits? 

A joint bank account is a type of bank account that is shared by two or more people. It allows them to have equal access and control over the account. With a joint bank account, all the account holders can deposit and withdraw money, write checks, and manage the account together.

A joint bank account is commonly used by couples, family members, or business partners to combine their finances and make it easier to handle shared expenses. It provides a convenient way to pool resources and manage money collectively. Each account holder has the same rights and responsibilities regarding the account, regardless of how much money they contribute.

Having a joint bank account can simplify financial matters and make it more convenient for all account holders to access the funds. It can be used for various purposes, such as managing household expenses, saving for shared goals, or running a business together.

However, it's important to have open communication and trust when using a joint bank account. All account holders should be aware of the account's activity, agree on spending limits, and discuss financial goals and responsibilities. It's also crucial to consider the potential risks involved, such as disagreements over money or the possibility of one account holder misusing the funds.

Before opening a joint bank account, it's advisable to discuss the details with the other account holders, understand the terms and conditions of the account, and ensure that everyone is comfortable with the arrangement.

Can I switch banks and transfer my account? 

Yes, you can switch banks and transfer your bank account from one financial institution to another using zavings to compare accounts. This process, known as a bank account transfer, allows you to move your funds, transactions, and banking relationships to a new bank. Here's what you need to know:

1. Research New Bank: Start by researching and choosing a new bank that meets your needs through zavings. Consider factors such as account types, fees, interest rates, convenience, and customer service. Look for a bank that offers a smooth and hassle-free transfer process.

2. Open a New Account: Once you've selected a new bank, open a new account with them. This typically involves providing personal identification, proof of address, and other required documents as per the bank's requirements. You may be able to complete the account opening process online or by visiting a branch.

3. Update Automatic Payments and Direct Deposits: Identify any automatic payments or direct deposits linked to your old bank account. Contact the respective service providers, such as your employer, utility companies, or subscription services, to update your banking information with the new account details. This ensures a seamless transition of your financial activities.

4. Transfer Funds: Next, initiate the transfer of funds from your old bank account to the new one. Depending on the banks involved, you can typically transfer funds electronically using options like wire transfers, Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, or online banking tools. Follow the instructions provided by both banks to complete the transfer process securely.

5. Close the Old Account: Once you've transferred all funds and transactions to the new bank account, it's time to close your old account. Visit your old bank's branch or contact their customer service to initiate the closure process. Ensure that all outstanding checks, transactions, or pending payments are cleared before closing the account.

6. Update Your Information: Finally, update your banking information with any relevant parties, such as your employer, creditors, and service providers. Provide them with your new account details to ensure a seamless continuation of financial transactions.

Switching banks and transferring your bank account may involve some administrative tasks and coordination, but it allows you to benefit from better services, lower fees, higher interest rates, or improved banking experiences. Before making the switch, carefully review the terms and conditions of the new bank and consider any potential fees associated with the transfer. By following the necessary steps and ensuring a smooth transition, you can successfully switch banks and transfer your bank account while maintaining your financial stability.

More of your frequently asked questions about bank accounts

Are bank accounts FDIC insured?

Yes, bank accounts in the United States are typically FDIC insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a government agency that provides insurance coverage up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank. This means that if a bank fails, your deposits are protected up to the insured amount

Can I have multiple bank accounts?

Yes, you can have multiple bank accounts. It allows you to manage your finances more effectively and take advantage of different account features offered by various banks. Having multiple accounts can help you separate your savings, spending, or business funds, depending on your financial goals and needs.

Are there any fees associated with bank accounts?

Yes, bank accounts may have associated fees. These can include monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees for using out-of-network ATMs, wire transfer fees, and more. The fee structure varies depending on the bank and account type. It's essential to review the fee schedule and terms provided by the bank before opening an account to understand the potential fees you may incur.

How can I deposit money into my bank account?

You can deposit money into your bank account through various methods. This includes making cash deposits at a branch, setting up direct deposit with your employer, depositing checks using mobile check deposit, transferring funds from another account, or receiving wire transfers. Check with your bank for specific instructions and options available for depositing money into your account.

What is a minimum balance requirement for a bank account?

A minimum balance requirement refers to the minimum amount of money you need to maintain in your bank account to avoid fees. Each bank and account type may have different minimum balance requirements. It's important to check the specific terms and conditions of your account to understand the minimum balance requirement and ensure you meet it to avoid any potential fees.

Can I access my bank account online?

Yes, most banks offer online banking services that allow you to access your bank account conveniently from anywhere with internet access. Through online banking, you can view your account balances, review transactions, transfer funds between accounts, pay bills, and perform other banking activities. Most banks provide online banking through their website or dedicated mobile apps.

What is the difference between a traditional bank and an online bank?

Traditional banks have physical branches that you can visit for in-person transactions, such as opening accounts, depositing or withdrawing cash, and seeking assistance from bank staff. They also offer online banking services. On the other hand, online banks operate primarily through digital platforms, without physical branches. You can perform most banking activities online, such as opening accounts, transferring funds, paying bills, and checking balances. Online banks often provide higher interest rates on savings accounts and have lower fees due to their reduced operating costs.

Can I open a bank account if I have bad credit?

Yes, some banks offer bank accounts specifically designed for individuals with bad credit or a history of banking problems. These accounts are often referred to as “second chance” accounts or “opportunity” accounts. While these accounts may have certain restrictions and fees, they allow individuals with bad credit to establish a banking relationship and manage their finances. Opening and responsibly managing such an account can also help improve your creditworthiness over time.

How can I check my bank account balance?

You have multiple options to check your bank account balance. One way is through online banking, where you can log in to your bank's website or mobile app and view your account balance in real-time. Another option is using ATMs, which allow you to check your balance by inserting your debit card and selecting the balance inquiry option. You can also call your bank's customer service hotline, where a representative can provide your current balance. Lastly, you can visit a branch and request a balance statement from a bank teller.

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Can I open a bank account if I'm a non-U.S. resident?

Yes, non-U.S. residents can open bank accounts in the United States, although the requirements and documentation may vary depending on the bank and the individual's immigration status. Some banks may ask for additional identification documents, such as a passport, visa, or proof of address. It is recommended to contact banks directly to inquire about their specific policies for non-U.S. residents and gather the necessary information and documentation before applying to open a bank account.

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Can I open a bank account as a minor?

Yes, it is possible for minors to open bank accounts with the assistance of a parent or guardian. Many banks offer specialized accounts for minors, often referred to as “minor accounts” or “student accounts.” These accounts usually require a joint account holder, typically a parent or guardian, who will have oversight and control over the account until the minor reaches the age of majority. Opening a bank account as a minor can provide valuable financial education and help develop responsible money management skills at an early age.

 

 
How can I close my bank account?

To close your bank account, you can typically visit the bank's branch in person or contact their customer service by phone or through secure messaging. It is advisable to first withdraw any remaining funds from the account and ensure that all pending transactions have cleared. The bank may require you to fill out an account closure form or provide a written request to close the account. Additionally, you should verify that all automatic payments and direct deposits associated with the account have been transferred or canceled. Once the account closure process is completed, it is advisable to obtain written confirmation or a closing statement for your records.