Family Support & Well-being

Partnering with Families to Open a Bank or Credit Union Account

When emergencies and natural disasters occur, having a checking or savings account can help you receive state or federal financial assistance more quickly. If you do not have an account, Head Start and Early Head Start family services staff and home visitors can partner with you to:

  • Explore bank and credit union accounts
  • Take steps to open an account
  • Track your progress and celebrate your successes

Spotlight On: Bank and Credit Union Accounts

Explore Bank and Credit Union Accounts

Checking and savings accounts, available from banks and credit unions, may be a safe and affordable option for your family.

What is a Credit Union?

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial organizations that are owned and controlled by the members who use their services. Like banks, credit unions accept deposits, make loans, and provide other financial services.

  • Find an appropriate account. The Bank On program provides information about certified and affordable checking and savings accounts. Visit the Bank On website to find banks and credit unions that offer Bank On Approved Accounts.
  • Protect your account. When looking for a safe and affordable bank account, make sure the bank’s accounts are insured. Independent agencies appointed by Congress insure many kinds of accounts at banks and credit union. This means that even if a bank shuts down, no one with an account will lose their money. There are two primary insurance agencies: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).Logos for FDIC and NCUA.

To be sure your account is insured, look for the FDIC or NCUA logo and ask a bank or credit union employee for details. For FDIC and NCUA insurance, you do not have to fill out any forms. Not all accounts are covered by insurance, so be sure to ask questions. For example, deposit insurance does not cover investment accounts.

Take Steps to Open an Account

  • Online process. Some banks and credit unions allow you to open an account online. Family services staff and home visitors can help you navigate this process.
    • If you have access to the internet, your family services staff or home visitor can work with you to follow the online steps to open an account.
    • If you do not have access to the internet, staff can help you connect to Lifeline. Lifeline helps make communications services more affordable. It can help you get a discount on monthly telephone and internet services purchased from participating companies.
    • You can also contact a bank or credit union to learn about other ways to open an account.
  • Fees. Checking or savings accounts may require a one-time enrollment fee. Consider searching for accounts with low or no fees.
  • Account information. The second stimulus payment will be deposited in the same account used to receive the first payment.
    • Payment will be issued by mail for those who did not sign-up for direct deposit.

Track Your Progress and Celebrate Your Successes

Family services staff and home visitors can follow up with you about your progress toward opening a bank or credit union account. They also can work with you to provide required information to the IRS. Celebrate your successes!