Welcome to another week of financial learning.
I will want to go back to the basics of financial education, which in my view is the habit of savings.
I have said before and still maintain that one can never achieve financial heights with poor savings habits.
Savings is one disposable income that is not consumed by immediately buying goods and services.
That is deferred enjoyment of your income.
An effective saving starts with a clear-cut purpose.
Some of the purposes for savings are;
- Buying or building a house
- Purchasing a car
- Education Enhancement
- Retirement package etc
Savings help with preparation for a future need.
It can provide startup capital for a future dream business.
Having a savings culture can also help in meeting unexpected expenditures in life.
Proper savings starts with a bank account.
I will, therefore, focus on how the average person can open a bank account in Ghana.
Choosing the right financial institution is key to savings comfort.
The banking sector cleans up which happened between August 2018 and Dec 2019 has toughened the nerves of the standing financial institutions.
There is therefore little fear when dealing with the remaining Universal banks, savings and loan institutions or the existing Microfinance, Rural Banks, Credit Unions, and Finance Houses.
Many depositors who had their funds locked up in the collapsed institutions have received a part if not all their funds.
The government has assured full payment of the outstanding funds.
I will humbly ask that we exercise patience whiles we receive full payment.
In the meantime, it is important that we still read about all financial institutions before you start a savings or business account with them.
The four main factors to consider when choosing a financial institution are the security of your money, convenience, customer service, and pricing or fees.
A simple check from the Central Bank website will give you an idea of the status of that institution.
Check out for the business registration certificate and permit in the banking hall before going ahead with this account opening process.
I picked up a few benefits of opening a bank account from Westchester County Training Centre that I will like to share with you today.
According to the publication by the Westchester County, opening bank account offers the following benefits;
Bank account offers convenience
For example, if you have a checking account, you can easily pay by check or through online bill pay.
If you get an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or debit card for the account, you can withdraw money easily or make payments at stores.
A debit (ATM) card is usually accepted for purchases anywhere.
Bank accounts are safe
One of the biggest advantages of placing your money in a bank is safety.
Keeping money in your house can easily be stolen or lost forever as the result of a disaster such as a fire.
Your money is protected against theft and fires.
Your money will be federally insured so if your bank or financial institution closes, you will get your money back
Earn While You Save
Many financial institutions offer different forms of deposit accounts that will actually reward you for storing your money.
Banks may pay you interest on your deposits.
Depending on the type of account, interest rates will vary.
Simple savings accounts pay very little interest, while accounts like money market funds such as treasury bills and fixed deposits normally pay higher rates.
The interest on the savings account will help your money grow over time.
Be sure to shop around and check what fees are involved – you do not want to wind up paying more in fees than you are gaining in interest.
If you have a checking and savings account with the same institution, you can have your money transferred periodically from checking to savings, putting the money aside to help grow your savings.
Bank accounts can help you access credit
Banks and credit unions can help you access credit to acquire a home, a car, student or personal loan because banks tend to favor existing customers, particularly those who manage their money well.
The above points to greater benefits than an inconvenience with having a bank account.
The two main things you have to consider with any financial institution are Pricing and Customer Service.
Loyalty to one financial institution is becoming outdated as far as their customer service standards and pricing are poor.
With the above well said, I want to touch on basic requirements for opening a personal savings account.
- NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION
The first requirement for opening a savings account in Ghana is a national ID.
National Passport, Voters ID, Drivers License, New National ID Card and National Health Insurance Card are the common identification cards accepted by financial institutions for the opening of bank accounts.
One will, therefore, need to have a copy of the above to kick start the process.
Banks will need evidence of a work permit in the passport if you are a foreigner.
2. PASSPORT PICTURE
Banks also need a copy of your passport picture in addition to your Identification.
In the past, banks required physical copies of the passport pictures.
However, with technology, you can even have your picture taken with a digital camera or phone by officials in the banking premise.
3. TIN NUMBER
Having a Tax Identification Number is a key requirement for account opening in Ghana now. The TIN number can be procured from the nearest Ghana Revenue Authority office in your district.
It takes less than a week to have your TIN.
Banks need that as a regulatory condition before opening an account for you, hence, get it now!
4. GOOGLE MAP/GPS/DIRECTIONAL MAP
Banks as part of the Know Your Customer(KYC) requirement will need you to draw a directional map to your residence or provide your GPS address.
This is a proof of residence. This is standard practice for all banks in Ghana now.
5. COMPLETED ACCOUNT OPENING PACK
The next requirement is to complete the account opening pack yourself.
The standard account opening pack will require your name, address, nationality, identification details, and contact details, source of income, signature and next of kin.
6. INITIAL DEPOSIT
This is the amount required for the opening of an account. This amount varies from one bank to the other. This should not be a deterrent!
Some banks open zero accounts so you may want to start with them.
However, I will advise you to open an account with an initial deposit to keep up your level of commitment to the process.
Ensure you have all the above details before you approach the financial institution.
Concisely, we need to appreciate the benefits of having your personal bank account.
It remains the first step towards financial discipline.
Hoarding money at home, whether in a safe or in the proverbial mattress, may not be the best way to hold on to your money according to Embassy Loans of Florida.
I wish everyone a wonderful and memorable week!