Banking is one of the most important aspects of personal finance. Unfortunately, it is assumed that everyone understands banking basics, but this is not always the case.
Here are a few reminders when it comes to banking basics.
Opening a bank account
If you’re opening a bank account for the first time, you’ll need to provide a valid, government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. You’ll also need to provide basic information to verify who you are, such as your date of birth, social security number, phone number and address. If you are under the age of 18, you will need to have a parent or legal guardian as a co-owner who can sign legal documents with the bank. Now, you’re ready to visit your branch, open your new account, and make your first deposit.
Checking versus Savings
Knowing the difference between checking accounts and savings accounts is an important step to managing your finances. There are factors to consider with each.
Checking accounts are used for everyday transactions such as purchases, bill payments, and ATM withdrawals. A checking account also typically earns lower interest than a savings account. If your checking account has more than enough in it to pay bills, and for daily spending needs, it may be wise to deposit those funds into your savings account.
Savings accounts are ordinarily used for storing money and earning interest. It’s likely, however, that you’ll have less access to your funds in a savings account as withdrawals may be limited.
There are benefits to keeping both accounts at the same bank. For one thing, you can manage your money in one place and transfer between accounts with funds available within minutes.
Canceling a check
When you lose a personal check, if it has not yet been cashed, don’t panic. You can put a stop-payment on it, but you must gather your check details and quickly notify your bank. You will need your account number, the check number, and the exact amount of the check. Other details include the date on the check, the name of the recipient, and the person that signed the check, especially if you have a joint account and someone else wrote it. Generally, you can make the request to stop a payment by phone or visiting a branch. Your stop payment order may last only six months. However, most banks won’t cash a check that is more than six months old.
You should be aware of every transaction going in and out of your account, but it’s particularly important to pay attention to larger purchases. When you receive your statement and you don’t recognize a transaction, call your bank. If changes appear with your personal information on the bank’s website or app, without your prior authorization, contact your bank immediately.
For more information about opening a checking or savings account, using checks, or fraudulent activity please stop in at one of our branches in New Berlin, Springfield, Palmyra or Modesto.