Checking Accounts

Managing a checking account isn't one of the easiest things in the world. Don't feel bad if you're having a hard time keeping your records straight. With a little effort and practice your skill will improve.

The basics of checking are simple. When you deposit a check or cash, the amount is credited (added) to your account. Then you can write checks against your balance, or transfer some or all of your money to a different account such as a savings account. Some checks you deposit are credited to your account the next business day. Other checks, such as out-of-state checks or large checks, might take up to five business days to be credited to your account.

Banks offer a variety of checking accounts to appeal to different customers. Answer the following questions before you choose a bank and a type of checking account.

  • How many checks do you expect to write a month?
  • How much money do you expect to keep in your checking account in an average month?
  • How many times will you use the ATM?
  • Is online banking and electronic bill paying important to you?

Managing your checking account

To manage your checking account successfully, you need to learn how to write a check and how to maintain a checkbook register, but the first step is to put together your checkbook. Take the check pad with the lowest check number and insert it into the protective checkbook cover. Find the blank check register and insert it into the other pocket of the protective checkbook cover. Write your account balance on the first line of the check register.

Your checkbook register

Your checkbook register is a permanent record of your account transactions. You need to keep track of deposits (cash in) and withdrawals (cash out). Calculate the balance so you know how much money you have available to spend. Your bank is tracking your transactions too. Your goal is to make sure that you and the bank are in agreement.

Your bank statement

Every month you will receive a bank statement by U.S. Mail or by e-mail. It is an official record of the transactions processed on your account. The statement will help you balance your checking account and detect any errors.

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