Can I Open a Bank Account for Someone Else?

By Ashley Kilroy · January 26, 2024 · 8 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Can I Open a Bank Account for Someone Else?

Yes, you can open a bank account for someone else, but there’s an important condition. To do so, you either need to also be an account holder or have a certain form of access. For instance, you can likely open an account for your kid, your spouse, or someone who has deemed you their power of attorney. In most cases, that other party will need to be present and participate in the account opening process.

Here’s what you need to know about the ins and outs of the process. You’ll learn:

•   How bank accounts work

•   In which situations you can open an account for someone else

•   What is required to open an account for another person.

How Do Bank Accounts Work?

Bank accounts act as a vessel to park and often use your money. Typically, banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer several different types of accounts. Each works in its own way. Some standard offerings include:

•   Checking accounts. A checking account allows the account holder to deposit funds and use the money to pay bills, write checks, or shop with a debit card. While some accounts earn interest, it may only be a tiny percentage.

•   Savings accounts. Unlike checking accounts, savings accounts are designed to hold and grow your money for an extended period. You can then use this money in the future or keep it as a rainy day fund. Savings accounts typically earn interest. Federal law may restrict the number of withdrawals you can take out of a savings account; check with your financial institution for details.

•   Money market accounts. Similar to savings accounts, money market accounts earn interest. Some money market accounts may have a debit card and check-writing features. Also, the number of withdrawals you can make from this type of account may be restricted.


💡 Quick Tip: Did you know online banking can help you get paid sooner? Feel the magic of payday up to two days earlier when you set up direct deposit with SoFi.

Is It Possible to Open a Bank Account for Someone Else?

Now, for the question “Can I open a bank account for someone else?” There are three circumstances in which banks allow you to open an account for someone else. Either you’re opening the account for a minor, a joint account holder, or you hold power of attorney for another individual. Here’s a bit more detail on each of these situations.

•   Bank account for a minor. Minors cannot open a bank account according to federal law. Therefore, if you want to begin teaching your kids the concept of saving early on, you can open an account for a child. You do so by opening a custodial account or joint account. With a custodial account, the child owns the funds within the account, but the parent manages them until the child reaches the age of maturity, which is usually 18 years old. With a joint account, you and your child both have access to the account. As the parent, though, you can monitor the activity within the account, like setting withdrawal limits.

•   Bank account for a co-owner. Your other option is to become a joint or co-owner of a bank account. When you set up a joint bank account, you and the other co-owner have access to the funds. In many cases, you will be able to make deposits and withdrawals at your discretion; in others, you will need the other account holder’s approval to conduct transactions.

Usually, you open a joint account with someone you have already established a financial relationship with, like a spouse or other family member. Once you open the account, you can go about managing the joint bank account together.

•   Power of attorney. When someone gives you a power of attorney, you can manage their bank accounts on their behalf. However, you must keep your own money separate from their accounts. When opening the account, the bank usually requires a legal power of attorney document and a photo ID. You may also need to fill out the bank’s power of attorney form. Also, the account will usually be in the other party’s name, but you will have authority over the account.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Steps to Open a Bank Account for Someone Else

There are typical steps for opening a bank account, though every bank, credit union, or other financial institution may have a slightly different process. Although the details may vary, here are some common steps you will usually take when opening a new bank account for someone else.

Valid Proof of Identity

The first step to opening a bank account for someone else is to provide a valid proof of identification. When you’re opening an account for a minor, you and your child must be present during the account opening process. You and your child will also have to provide a form of identification such as:

•   U.S. driver’s license

•   Social Security card or ITIN

•   Birth certificate

•   Immunization record

•   School photo ID

•   Passport/alien ID.

When you’re opening an account with someone else who is not a minor, both parties usually must be present to open the account. Also, you will have to provide the same forms of identification. Some common forms of identification include:

•   U.S. driver’s license

•   U.S. state ID

•   Passport.

If you’re a power of attorney for someone else, you will also need to bring your notarized power of attorney legal document. Depending on the bank, they may also require you to fill out a power of attorney form to accompany the rest of the documentation.

Basic Information

In addition to showing valid proof of identification, you will likely need to fill out an application. On the application, the bank will request personal information from each account holder. This information can include:

•   Social Security number or Tax ID (for business accounts)

•   Utility bill to verify current address

•   Name

•   Address

•   Phone number.

Initial Deposit

Some banks may also require an initial minimum deposit or a monthly minimum balance to keep the account active. Typically, banks require between $25 and $100 to open an account. However, some institutions may have no deposit requirement. It’s a good idea to know upfront if you’ll need to deposit funds to activate your account.

Recommended: What Is a High-Yield Savings Account?

Things to Consider When Opening a Bank Account for Someone Else

Opening a bank account for someone else may involve a family member. In these cases, you probably feel pretty sure the other party is trustworthy.

But what about opening an account for someone else who is a friend or distant relative? Consider these points before you open a bank account for someone else.

•   Limited privacy. When you combine your finances with another individual, you forgo your privacy when managing your money individually. For example, the other account holder can see all of the transactions within the account and know how you spend your money. So, if this raises some concerns, you may want to reconsider.

•   Shared financial responsibilities. Opening an account with someone else means you may now need to share financial responsibilities such as paying bills or saving for joint retirement (as well as any account fees). If the contributions or withdrawals are uneven, this financial partnership could be harmful, so discuss each party’s contributions and expectations for managing the account.

•   Use multiple accounts. If the idea of merging financial lives doesn’t suit you, you might want to continue managing your money separately and use the joint account for a few shared expenses. This way, you can keep your privacy while managing your money with someone else.

Recommended: How to Achieve Financial Minimalism

The Takeaway

Yes, you can open a bank account for someone else. However, they will usually have to be aware and participate in the account opening process. But, before you open an account on someone else’s behalf, make sure you understand the financial implication of this decision, such as forgoing your privacy. While the process is fairly straightforward, you do want to be sure the parties involved understand the ground rules and are comfortable with the shared access and responsibility.

Whichever path you take (shared or separate accounts), you can find banking options with SoFi.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Can I open a bank account on behalf of someone else?

Yes, you can typically open an account for a minor or joint account holder. However, both parties will need to be present to open the account. It’s also possible to open an account on behalf of someone else if you’re their power of attorney.

What do I need when opening a bank account for someone else?

When opening a bank account for someone else, you and the other party must usually be present. You and the other applicant will also need to provide valid proof of identification, as well as personal information like your Social Security number and address.

Can I open a bank account for a younger sibling?

Yes, you can open a bank account for younger siblings as long as they are over 18 years old and participate in the opening process. If they are under 18, they may need a parent or legal guardian to open the account with them instead.


Photo credit: iStock/kate_sept2004

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SOBK0124024

All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender