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How to open a bank account online

Updated on December 28, 2011
Rather than using the traditional piggy bank at home open a bank account online and manage your money the "proper" way.
Rather than using the traditional piggy bank at home open a bank account online and manage your money the "proper" way.

In days gone by the only way to open a bank account was to go down the local high street, have a meeting with the bank manager and spend an hour or so filling out various different forms. The whole process in opening a bank account was long, tedious and wasted time that could have been used far more productively.

Fortunately, times have changed and many banks now allow you to open a bank account online over the internet. The precise process of opening a bank account online will depend on you the specific circumstances.

If you already have a standard account with a bank, such as a checking account or current account, the process in opening a second account online with the same bank is a quick and easy process. Since you are an existing customer of the bank they have already completed the necessary security checks they are legally obliged to do, therefore all you need to do is complete a few forms online and then sit and wait for the postman to deliver your new cheque book, paying in book and bank account details.

If you are going to apply for a bank account with a bank where you do not currently hold a bank account, nor have you ever held a bank account, the process is not quite the same. You can still go to the bank’s website and complete the online application form however it cannot be processed online. As previously mentioned, the banks are obliged to do certain credit checks and identity checks on all new customers. When completing these checks the bank have to physically see the new customers and take copies of some photographic identification such as a passport or photo driving licence. This process cannot be done online so you have to go to a branch for these checks.

If you try and open an account online with a new bank you are going to have to complete the forms, print them out and then visit the branch, remembering to take some photographic identification with you. Whilst you won’t have to fill out the application forms at the branch you haven’t really saved much time have you?

So, the question of “is it worth opening a bank account online?” has to be asked. If you are opening a second account at a bank where you are an existing the customer the answer is definitely yes. Since you have already undergone the identification checks there will be no need to go through the process again, therefore you can apply for the bank account online and simply wait for the new documentation to be posted to you.

If you are a new customer then answer to “Is it worth opening a bank account online?” has to be no. Completing the application beforehand will save you a bit of time but you will still have to go the branch for the identification checks and to get everything set up and signed off. Taking all this in to consideration it is a waste of time visiting the bank’s website and you may as well go straight to the branch.


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