Even in the Internet age, where you can manage your money without ever meeting a financial professional face to face, most people use their local bank branch for their basic financial needs. Whether you bank in person or online, establishing and maintaining a strong relationship with your bank can also help you obtain loans, credit cards, and even home mortgages.
You should understand the features of even the most basic banking products. Be sure to ask questions about minimum balances and monthly fees before on opening any account. You don't want to be surprised with any unknown fees or account restrictions.
Checking and Savings Accounts
- Checking accounts. A functional account best used for everyday expenses, checking accounts enable you to write checks against your account balance and access your money through an automatic teller machine (ATM). Most banks have several types to choose from, including interest-bearing and student checking accounts, all of which are FDIC insured*. Online access and the ability to download statements into programs such as Quicken® and Microsoft Money® are added features that Wells Fargo provides.
- Savings accounts. Savings accounts are interest-bearing accounts with low minimum balance requirements. Each bank has several different types to choose from, and usually provides higher interest rates for higher account balances. There are low or no fees as long as you maintain a certain balance and you also get transfer privileges from your savings to your checking account.
ATM and debit cards
ATM cards. They provide convenient access to your accounts so you can withdraw and transfer funds, and make purchases at many stores. At some ATM machines, you can also buy stamps and pay bills using only your ATM card.
- Debit cards. Debit cars work like a credit card though they debit funds directly from your checking account. They also allows you to transfer funds & withdraw cash like any ATM card. No need to write a check or wait for approval as funds are withdrawn directly from your checking account.
- Online banking. You can view all of your account balances, transfer funds, and pay bills online with online banking. It's a convenient and easy way to manage all of your different bank accounts from your desktop.
- Online bill pay. You can pay anyone - your credit card company, phone company or even the baby sitter - with a simple click of the mouse. No more stamps or writing checks.