Each banking institution has different requirements for opening a checking account online, especially if that bank operates as an online-only financial institution, such as Ally Bank, or an online and physical institution, such as Citibank. All bank accounts require proof of identity in order to open an account.
Regardless of the type of account or the specific application process, all banks need to verify the identity of the individual applying for the account. This is typically done by providing two types of identification, one that verifies the applicant's name and picture, and another that shows they are a legal resident. Identification forms such as a driver's license or state issued identification card serve to verify a person's name and appearance, while a social security card verifies the residency. In some cases, a passport is able to satisfy both identity verification requirements.
Some banks also require a minimum deposit amount due at the opening of the account. This amount varies by bank and account type, and can be deposited in the form of cash or check. Some banks do not require an initial deposit, but instead place other restrictions on the account, such as linking a direct deposit or opening a conjoined savings account.