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Account Online

By opening an account online you can handle many financial transactions from the comfort of your home. Learn about how to set up a bank account online.

Getting an account online can shorten the amount of time you spend doing bills. [© Jupiter Images, 2009]
© Jupiter Images, 2009
Getting an account online can shorten the amount of time you spend doing bills.

In the old days, people made a trip to the bank to conduct any sort of transaction -- deposit a check, withdraw cash, open an account, order new checks. Some nostalgic types might miss the long lines, the broken pens and the surly clerks, but for the rest of us, online banking has been a blessing. With online bank accounts, it's now possible to transfer funds, pay credit cards and even cash your paycheck without ever having to step foot in a bank. If you're ready to leap into the 21st century with online banking, read the answers to our frequently asked questions about online accounts below.   If unsure about a bank's status with the Federal Deposit Insuracne Corporation, visit the FDIC's Web site to make sure that the bank is solvent, and carries FDIC insurance.

Do all banks offer a free checking account online?

Many banks try to lure customers through the (virtual) front door by offering no-fee accounts, such as free checking accounts online. With the thousands of banks that exist nationwide, it's impossible to say if "all" of them offer free checking accounts online. Most of the major banks, such as Bank of America, do offer these no-fee accounts. 

How do I open a free checking account online?

You'll need to access your bank's Web site to open a free checking account online. To ensure the protection of your personal information, be certain you are on the bank's actual Web site and that the site is encrypted. In most cases you'll need your Social Security number and another form of verifiable identification, such as a driver's license, to start the account-opening process. You will also need a source to fund the new account, such as another bank account -- the bank's online process will guide you through this. After you have everything ready, fill out the online application and wait for the bank's instructions. 

How do I manage my bank account online?

One of the advantages of online banking is the ease and convenience of never having to leave your house to conduct banking transactions. To manage your bank account online, you'll have to sign up for online banking through your financial institution. (If you've opened an account online you are already signed up.) Once you're enrolled, you'll receive a user name and password from the bank with which to sign into your accounts. From there you can do a number of things, such as pay bills and transfer money.

Can I pay my credit card account online?

Most likely. Almost every major credit card issuer now offers the ability to manage and pay your credit card account online. If you have a credit card with the same bank where you have a checking or savings account, you can often manage these accounts right from the same page. Otherwise, most credit cards let you link your account directly to your bank's savings or checking account for instant payments and transfers.

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