Types of Financial Institutions
Opening and Maintaining a Bank Account
Deposit and Non-Deposit Accounts
Why do you (or should you) keep your money in a bank? There are a number of benefits to keeping your money in a bank including safety, cost, security, convenience, and ease of planning for your financial future.
There are two major types of insured depository financial institutions: banks and credit unions.
Banks are financial institutions that operate under federal and state laws and regulations. Banks make loans, pay checks, accept deposits, and provide other financial services.
Credit unions are non-profit financial institutions owned by people who have something in common. Credit unions offer many of the same services as banks. You have to become a member of the credit union to keep your money there.
You can tell if the FDIC insures a bank by the displayed FDIC logo. Most credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The deposit insurance rules are the same at NCUA-insured credit unions as they are at FDIC-insured banks.
The FDIC has an online tool called the Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator (EDIE). You can calculate the insurance coverage of your accounts at each FDIC-insured institution online at the FDIC Insurance page.
If you're getting ready to choose a bank, here are some questions to consider.
Questions about the bank:
Questions about the bank accounts:
Questions about ATM card and debit cards:
Questions about mobile and online banking:
Opening and maintaining a bank account is not as difficult as you might think. There are four basic things you have to do:
As part of setting up your bank account, you will need to go through account verification. Banks must verify accounts for two reasons. First, the bank needs to make sure that you are who you say you are (and that you are legally eligible to open a bank account). Second, the bank may want to make sure that you are a trustworthy bank customer. Some banks may run background checks or search for a history of bankruptcy. This is to ensure that you will be able to responsibly manage your new account.
It may seem like a lot, but by requesting this personal information, the bank is able to protect your money and others.
Bank accounts that allow you to add money to the account are called deposit accounts. Checking and savings accounts are two examples of deposit accounts.
A checking account allows you to pay bills and buy goods with the money you have deposited. When you write a check, use an ATM or debit card, or bank online, the bank takes money from your account and pays it to the designated person or business.
The bank makes a record of the deposits and withdrawals made each month. This record is available to you either by mail or online. It is a good idea to compare the rules of different accounts. For example, banks might require you to have a certain balance to open a checking account, earn interest, or avoid fees.
A savings account is a safe place for you to save money. In general, you will be paid a small interest on the money in your savings account. In most cases, you cannot write checks using a saving account. In contrast to a checking account, you may be able to open a savings account with a few dollars. Similar to a checking account, the bank prepares a monthly summary of any changes to your savings account. You can review this summary every month by mail or online.
Many banks also offer non-deposit accounts, or accounts that are not insured by the FDIC. Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are examples or non-deposit investment products. These types of accounts have some level of risk. This means that you could lose some or all of the money deposited into the accounts.
When you set up a non-deposit account (sometimes called an investment account) through your bank, a representative should provide a written explanation that these accounts are not insured, and may lose value. Always ensure that you have read and understand the terms of these accounts so that you can make an informed choice for your future.
When you open an account, you will probably be given the option to have an ATM card or a debit card. Both types of cards give you access to your account funds when you need them. An ATM card allows you to make deposits to and from checking and savings. You can usually check your account balance, print statements, and transfer funds between accounts. Some ATM cards can be used in stores that accept ATM cards in your bank's network.
Debit cards have all the same functions as ATM cards, but they also allow you to pay for goods and services in stores. Debit cards usually display a logo from the card network: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover. When you use your debit cards, the funds are immediately withdrawn from your account.
When you use a debit card to make a purchase, the retailer may ask you to choose 'debit' or 'credit.' If you select 'debit,' you will be asked to input your four-digit PIN number. If you select 'credit,' you will be asked to sign a receipt. Either way, expect the amount of the purchase to be withdrawn from your account immediately.
Banks provide additional services with some deposit accounts and may charge a fee for these services. It is important to keep track of the fees charged if any. Common services that banks offer include:
Privacy notices explain how financial institutions and companies handle and share your personal financial information. They explain what information can be collected and how you can possibly limit your information from being shared with others.
Privacy notices also explain how your personal financial information is protected. You will receive an initial privacy notice when you open an account and then every year thereafter. Federal law requires financial institutions to keep your personal financial information private. The general public does not have access to your personal financial information. Federal privacy laws give you the right to stop or "opt-out" of some sharing of your personal financial information.
If you prefer to limit the promotions you receive, or if you do not want marketers and others to have your personal financial information, you must:
You can also opt out of receiving prescreened offers by:
If you opt-out, you limit the extent to which the company can provide your personal financial information to non-affiliates, or groups outside of the company. You cannot opt-out and completely stop the flow of all your personal financial information. The law permits financial companies to share certain information about you without giving you the right to opt-out. Among other things, your financial company can provide to non-affiliates:
Identity theft is a common and preventable problem. With enough information about you, a craft criminal may be able to steal personal information (like your SSN, birth date, or credit card number) and use your identity to commit fraud or other crimes.
Identity theft is a serious problem, here's why:
Common Forms of Identity Theft: Phishing and Pharming.
Phishing is when criminals send out unsolicited emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, like your bank, school, internet provider, employer, or government agency. These emails are an attempt to trick you into divulging personal information. Similar to phishing, pharming uses fake websites to capture personal information. Criminals create fake or misleading websites that appear legitimate, and your browser or URL bar may even show that you are in the correct website. This makes pharming more difficult to detect than phishing.
Criminals target young people, even if they are too young to have a checking account or credit card. They can use your name, address, and SSN to open accounts. To protect your identity:
Now that you have read through the banking basics, it's time to check your knowledge. On a separate piece of paper, record your responses. When you have finished, check your answers using the link below.
1) Which of the following products are not FDIC insured?
2.) Which type of financial institution requires you to be a member in order to keep your money there?
3.) What type of account is typically insured by the FDIC?
4.) Deposit accounts generally offer which of the following banking services?
5.) A stored value card is a:
6.) A _______ is the best person to help you deposit or withdraw money from your account.
7.) During account verification, the bank will:
8.) A debit card
9.) Two types of non-deposit accounts are:
10.) Debit cards can be:
11.) The five advantages of using a financial institution are safety, convenience, cost, security, and financial future:
12.) Federal privacy laws give you the right to stop or "opt-out" of some sharing of your personal financial information.
13.) How can you protect yourself from identity theft? Select all that apply.
After you have finished recording your answers, check your knowledge using this answer key
Automated Teller Machine (ATM): A kiosk or terminal where you can deposit, withdraw, or transfer money from one account to another 24 hours a day.
Balance: The amount of money you have in your bank account.
Bank: A business that offers you a safe place to keep your money and uses your deposits to make loans. This business is also called a financial institution.
Bank Statement: A monthly record of the deposits and withdrawals made.
Checking Account: A bank account that lets you write checks to pay bills or to buy goods.
Credit Union: A non-profit financial institution owned by people who have something in common. You have to become a member of the credit union to keep your money there.
Deposit: Money you add to your bank account.
Deposit Account: A bank account that allows you to add money to the account.
Deposit Slip: A piece of paper that tells the bank how much money you are adding to your account.
Direct Deposit: One method your employer or a government agency might choose to give you your paycheck or benefits check.
Interest: A percentage of your balance that the bank pays you for keeping your money at that bank. Not all accounts pay interest.
Loan: Money you borrow from a bank with a written promise to pay it back later.
Minimum Balance: A certain balance that banks might require you to have to open an account, earn interest, or avoid fees.
Money Order: It is similar to a check. It is used to pay bills or make purchases when cash is not accepted.
Privacy Notice: A written explanation of how the company handles and shares your personal financial information.
Remittance: A money transfer that goes to a bank or a person in another country.
Savings Account: A bank account that earns interest.
Thrift: A financial institution that operates under federal and state laws and regulations. Thrifts make loans, pay checks, accept deposits, and provide other financial services.
Withdrawal: Money you take out of your bank account.
Wire Transfer: A form of money transfer from one bank to another.
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