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Financial Basics

Banking

A quick introduction to an established institution

There are good reasons why so many people rely on banks. Banks provide safety and convenience. They serve as a safe harbor for your cash, a place to manage your personal and business expenditures, and an access point for loans and mortgages.

man at desk

Banking basics
 

  • Banks offer many options for direct deposit, bill paying and overall cash management.
  • Online banking can make bill paying much easier and can be linked with financial management programs.
  • Most banks offer overdraft protection, covering your checks beyond your balance.

 

Mobile and online banking-banking wherever life takes you

Most major banks offer a full suite of online services. With Bank of America Mobile & Online Banking, you can:

  • Make deposits on your phone using the Mobile Banking app.1
  • Pay bills.2
  • Transfer funds between your eligible Bank of America bank accounts and Merrill investment accounts.3
  • Send and request money, or split a bill using Zelle.®4
  • Pay online or in a store using a Digital Wallet.
  • Track your spending with Bank of America’s Spending & Budgeting tool.5
  • Speak with Erica®, your virtual financial assistant.6

Download the Bank of America Mobile Banking app or check out bankofamerica.com/onlinebanking to learn more.

woman on laptop

Accounts

Opening checking and savings accounts at a bank is usually the first step towards financial adulthood.

 

Checking accounts:
 

  • Allow you to write checks against the balance in your account
  • Enable you to access your money through an ATM or debit card
  • Are best used for day-to-day expenses

 

Your checking account options

Two checking account options are non-interest bearing and interest-bearing accounts.Both accounts may require minimum balances, and both can be owned individually or jointly. So which is right for you?

Non-interest bearing checking account

These work well for depositing your paycheck and paying bills. They may require you to use direct deposit of your paycheck to avoid higher fees.

Interest bearing checking account

These pay interest based on the balance of your account. Typically, standard bank fees are waived if you maintain a certain balance at the bank. There may be penalty fees if you go below that balance, though.

Which savings accounts are right for you?

There are a variety of savings accounts to choose from. Each has its pros and cons, depending on your financial goals.

 

A Traditional Savings Account

• Provides easy access to your money

• Insured by the FDIC7

• Can be used mostly to store short-term cash safely

• Can provide overdraft protection for your checking account

• Has low minimum-balance requirements and low or no fees

• Usually allows you to transfer funds to other accounts at the bank

A Money Market Savings Account

• Usually offers a higher rate of interest than traditional accounts

• May be insured by the FDIC7

• May limit the number of withdrawals and checks you can use each month

• May require a minimum balance of $500 to $2,500 to avoid extra fees

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

• Guarantee principal and provide a specific interest rate

• Require a minimum deposit, usually $1,000 to $15,000

• Are less liquid than other savings accounts

• Usually impose penalties on withdrawals before the maturity date

• Terms range from 7 days to 10 years; the longer the term, the higher the interest rate

Why is FDIC insurance important?

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) exists to protect depositors' money held in banks. Its insurance limit applies to each account holder at each bank. For single accounts, joint accounts and retirement accounts, FDIC insurance covers up to $250,000 per owner at each bank.7

woman in a homemade tent

What can YOU do to protect your personal information?
 

  • Limit who has access.
  • Keep your account information private.
  • Be on the alert for fraudulent “phishing” emails that look like they are from your bank but aren’t.
  • Avoid too-good-to-be-true deals and offers that require payment details.
  • Don’t open ATM doors for others. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Shield your PIN number whenever you enter it into a device.
  • Consider setting up Touch ID on your devices

Tip

Visit the Financial Empowerment Identity Theft page to learn more.

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