Bank Account Setup

While a refugee family can choose whichever banking system they'd like, look for a bank that has a lot of benefits – free interpretation services, many locations, low monthly fees etc.  A credit union is also a good alternative to a bank because they are non-profits, have lower fees, and minimum balances required to have certain accounts are lower.   

Wells Fargo located at 2301 Watt Ave, Sacramento, CA 95825 has experience working with refugees and many of the families open a bank account here. 

In order to create a bank account, the head of household must bring their: 

  • Social Security card

  • Photo ID

  • A check with funds to deposit into the account. 

Please Note: 

  • Volunteers should let refugees take the initiative, letting them figure out where to go (“information” or “customer service”) or how to ask to set up a bank account. Volunteers should see if they can fill out the paperwork; they should help them along without taking the lead and doing things for the refugees. The goal is to familiarize refugees with this process as well as setup a bank account.

  • Refugees are highly encouraged to do online banking with a free checking account.

  • Some refugees will receive checks before they receive a bank account. This is okay. Refugees will have to wait for the bank account to be established in order to cash the checks. 

Things to keep in mind when assisting a family with a bank account and explain if necessary: 

  • Credit unions vs. Banks 

  • Checking vs. Savings accounts 

  • Online Banking 

  • Direct Deposit 

  • Overdraft charges 

  • Reading statements