Banks, credit unions, or thrifts (also called "savings and loans") allow you to open accounts for managing money. Reasons people have an account include:
- Safety — Money deposited is safe from theft, loss, and fire.
- Security — Depending on the account, deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for banks and thrifts, or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for credit unions.
- Convenience — Depending on the account, you may have the ability to write checks, use a debit card, or bank electronically over the internet as a means to pay bills and make purchases.
- Cost — Using an account to write checks or withdraw cash will cost less than using a check cashing service.
- Financial Future — Using an account can help you develop the bill paying and/or savings record needed for building a credit history.
The following resources will help you choose an account that works for you and better understand banking options and regulations.
Insured or Not Insured: Bank Products — Even if you see the FDIC sign or NCUA sign on a bank or credit union door, don't assume that all of the products they offer are insured. Transcript and audio (1:45)
Bank Mergers and FDIC Deposit Insurance — Find out how the FDIC protects customer deposits when two banks become one. Transcript and audio (2:05)
New Bank Overdraft Rules — New rules went into effect the summer of 2010. Transcript and audio (1:50)
Correcting Bank Account Errors — The Fair Credit Billing Act and Electronic Fund Transfers Act establish procedures for resolving mistakes on credit account and bank account statements. Transcript and audio (2:15)
Mobile Banking Safety Tips — Making purchases and banking by mobile device is usually safe, but that doesn't mean it's risk-free. Transcript and audio (2:15)
Depositing Checks Over the Internet — In this age of technology, your scanner or cell phone could also be your bank teller. Transcript and audio (1:40)
Money Transfer Scams — Wiring money is like sending cash — once it's gone, you can't get it back. Transcript and audio (1:55)
Dealing with a Closed Checking Account — Consumers who frequently write bad checks may find that their bank or credit union decided to close their account. Transcript and audio (1:55)
Other Recommended Resources
Dollar Works 2 — Teach others how to manage their personal finances and make sound decisions about money. This comprehensive curriculum has a unit on using a bank account.
Digital Dollars — Consumer Action — Information, advice, and training to help consumers navigate the new online economy. Resources in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese.