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Saving & Investing - Head Matters


2. Saving vs. Investing

c. How to open a savings account

Financial Institutions are entities such as banks, credit unions, and savings and loan institutions that provide financial services.  The financial institutions most people use for savings are  banks and credit unions.  A key role of each financial institution is to use money from deposits to lend to others in the form of loans.  When you go to your credit union to borrow money to pay for a car, they are loaning you the savings deposits of others.  When savers put money in a savings account in one of these financial institutions, the institution generally turns around and lends that money to homeowners, businesses, and others. 

One aspect of banks and credit unions that is especially appealing is the safety of deposits.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)  and the National Credit Union Association  (NCUA) insure bank or credit union deposits up to $250,000 per account.  To find out if an account is FDIC or NCUA insured, ask the bank or credit union.  Note that money-market mutual funds are not insured, even when purchased through an FDIC or NCUA insured financial institution.  CD’s are insured if they are under the $250,000 limit.

Banks and Credit Unions will be happy to help you open an account and begin saving today. When you decide to open your account, you’ll need to bring your identification, some additional documents and information, and your first deposit.

Not all banks accept the same forms of identification or documentation, so it’s a good idea to ask the bank beforehand what you’ll need to open an account.

You’ll usually need:

  • Valid Photo ID
    • Driver’s License
    • State ID card
    • Passport
    • Green Card
    • Matricula Consular Card
  • Taxpayer Information
    • Social Security Number
    • Taxpayer ID Number
  • Personal Information
    • Date of birth
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Mother’s Maiden Name
    • Occupation and work phone number (if available)
  • Funds for your first deposit
    • Check
    • Cash
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