Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Opening Your First Bank Account

Having a bank account provides convenience, access to many benefits and safety for your hard earned money.

Here's what you need to know about opening your first bank account.

Where Can I Open A Bank Account?

Checking and savings accounts are typically opened at a local bank or credit union. Determine what that is near you and offers the services you want.

What Is the Difference Between a Checking and Savings Account?

Checking accounts are most commonly used to make everyday purchases (groceries, dining out, etc.) and pay bills. Checking accounts typically come with a debit/ATM card, online banking access, and checks.

Savings accounts pay interest and typically are used for short term saving and emergency savings.

Benefits Of Having A Bank Account

  • Using debit cards and checks can be safer than carrying cash
  • A checking account usually costs less than buying a money order to pay bills
  • Your monthly statements will help you keep track of expenses
  • If you store your money at an FDIC insured bank or NCUA credit union, your deposits will be covered up to $250,000

Is My Money Protected?

Deposits at FDIC insured banks and NCUA insured credit unions are covered up to $250,00. For more information, visit the FDIC or NCUA websites.

Questions To Ask When Choosing A Bank Account

  • Does the account have monthly fees or a services fees and can I afford them?
  • Is there a minimum balance requirement for the account and can I afford it?
  • How broad is the ATM network? Will you be able to access your money easily if you travel?
  • Are there branches near you that allow you to deposit or access your money?
  • Are online banking services available and free to use?
  • How do overdraft fees work?
  • Are there fees for ordering checks?
  • Does the account have FDIC or NCUA insurance?

Having Trouble Getting A Bank or Credit Union Account?

Bank On Washington is a partnership of banks, credit unions, government, and community organizations that offer access to low-cost, safe checking and savings account.

Whether you need help in building a relationship with a financial institution, help in another language, have an ID other than a state drivers license, or are looking for a second chance, Bank on Washington can help you find the right bank or credit union for you.