Documentation: IDs, Banking and Finances

Whether you are leaving an abusive intimate partner or domestic relationship, or are looking to get away from any situation that exposes you, leaves you vulnerable to or has traumatised you through violence and abuse, it is a good idea to hold onto all your important documents. Besides being ID proofs, these documents are also helpful if you want to press charges, create a safe space around you, invest in new housing, move to a new place, or perhaps even get a new phone connection.

What ID Cards should I have with me?
Ideally, a passport and a social security identity card provided by your country’s government would be a vital ID to have. A passport will entitle you to travel outside of your country, while a social security identity card will put you on the public record system and open access to support at shelters and other agencies when you need it. Anyone can apply to get these documents, most often with the submission of an address proof and photographs, along with country-specific documentation. The timeline for you to receive these documents varies from government to government. Social security cards are free in most countries, but there is a fee to be paid while you apply for a passport.  Other forms of IDs include driving licenses, ration cards, college / university IDs and work IDs. The validity of these last few IDs have different scopes in that you may not be able to use certain IDs to avail certain facilities. This can only best be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Getting an ID Card
ID Cards can be applied for and received on your own. You just need the supporting documentation and photographs as specified for your country and the requisite fee (if it is a passport). You can apply for it without your abusive relative or partner or family member knowing. There are enrolment centres and even organizations that support you through the process – though the latter may charge a fee.  

Banking, Finances and Saving Money
A bank account is always a good way to ensure that you retain some money in your savings, to help you as a contingency step. Savings accounts are ideal for private citizens, allowing you to save up by depositing money at any point. In savings accounts, though, there may be limits on how much you can withdraw on a monthly basis. One advantage of savings accounts is that you do gain some interest on your savings. Current accounts are general-use accounts, from where you can withdraw any number of times, but will not be able to earn an interest over. Both accounts have ATM (automated teller machine) or Debit Cards. 

To open a bank account, you will need to approach a bank and fill out a form, submit your ID proofs and photographs and a basic, minimum amount that your account must have at all times in order to exist if it is a savings account. Each bank has its own documentation, but the good part is that you have guidance and support from the staff at most banks. Some banks also let you apply for an account online through forms on their website. Some banks also give you a specimen signature card to record your signature, which will be used for future withdrawals outside of the ATM. Bank accounts can be opened anywhere between two days to two weeks, depending on the banks and the countries themselves. Applications are processed immediately, and your account numbers may be issued within a day or two. One would have to wait about seven to ten business days to receive a debit card and other account information in the mail.

Money can be deposited in the bank as cash or through a cheque, in which case you need to go to the bank and ask for a deposit slip. Fill out the deposit slip and indicate your account number, your name, date and signature, and remit the amount to the banker to deposit the money. Details of the amount in cash or the cheque (including cheque number) will have to be filled. Another option to deposit money is to ask the person who is paying you or giving you the money, to deposit the amount in your account through Net Banking, or Internet Banking. You will need to give this person your bank account number, your account name, and the routing code.   

How to use an ATM

When you have a savings or current account, you are given a Debit Card or an ATM Card with it. This card always has a PIN (Personal Identification Number) attached with it. When you create an account, the bank generates a PIN for you and teaches you how to change it to something you are familiar with. This is like your email password – something that only you know about. Make note of your ATM PIN in a safe place that only you can retrieve it from, and try to commit it to your memory, too. To draw money, all you need to do is to visit an ATM, go to a machine that’s unoccupied. Place your card inside the holder, and enter your PIN. Some ATM machines will let you withdraw your card immediately. You will be asked to enter the amount you want to withdraw, follow through and the money is counted and placed on a tray below. Collect the amount. You will be prompted to decide whether you want a printed receipt or not. Choose as you wish, and make sure to take your card if this machine hasn’t had the option for you to withdraw your card earlier in the process. Leave the cubicle only after seeing the machine return to the welcome screen.

In the Media

Reach
Chennai, India