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I want to open a new account. What type(s) of identification do I have to present to the bank?

Banks are required by law to have a customer identification program that includes performing due diligence (also called Know Your Customer) in creating new accounts by collecting certain information from the applicant. An account is a formal banking relationship established to provide or engage in services, dealings, or other financial transactions including a deposit account, a transaction or asset account, a credit account, or other extension of credit. The term includes a relationship established to provide a safety deposit box or other safekeeping services, and cash management, custodian, and trust services.

Each bank's customer identification program must include procedures for verifying the identity of each customer. At a minimum, when opening a new account, a bank must obtain the following information as part of its program:

  • Name
  • Date of birth (for an individual)
  • Address
  • Identification number

The required identification number for a U.S. citizen is a Social Security number and for a U.S. company is an employer identification number. For all others, an identification number is one or more of the following:

  • Taxpayer identification number
  • Passport number and country of issuance
  • Alien identification card number
  • Number and country of issuance of any other government-issued document evidencing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard

The bank must then verify the accuracy of the information the applicant provided by reviewing documents, such as a driver's license or passport. It can also verify the information by other means, such as comparing it with information from a credit reporting agency or by checking the applicant's references with other financial institutions.

Refer to 31 CFR 1020 "Rules for Banks."

Last Reviewed: October 2020

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on HelpWithMyBank.gov should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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