Learning more about the banking system is a key step in understanding personal finances. You may be opening a bank account for the first time, or, if relocating for college, you may need to open accounts with new local institutions.
If you are borrowing student loans to help with some of your student-related costs, you will need a bank where you can deposit your student refund checks and withdraw money as needed. Choose one with convenient ATM access (withdrawal fees add up!).
Types of Accounts
Savings: Most savings accounts don't earn much interest. To keep pace with inflation, you can put your money into Money Market Accounts, CD's, savings bonds or Treasury bills to earn a higher return.
Checking Accounts: Checking accounts let you write checks or use a debit card to withdraw money you've deposited. The bank pays the person or business and sends you a monthly list of deposits and withdrawals called a bank statement.
In order to save money, you need to have a plan, and incorporate it into your monthly budget.
Pay yourself first!
Consider yourself a "bill" that needs to be paid each month
Example: Assume that you have nothing in the bank, but you want to start saving:
With just $10/month you can save $1,329 in ten years*
With just $25/month you can save $3,322 in ten years*
- Review your statements (banks make mistakes, too!)
- Shop around for best interest rates
- Go green-online banking is paper free and safe
- Know your rights when an overdraft happens
- Sign up for any reward programs - free stuff and rebates!
- Free tools, expert analysis, and award-winning content to make smarter financial decisions.
Practical Money Skills
- Tools and information to help you make wise choices about the banking services available.