Banking 101: A Guide to Money Management Tools
saving-money | Read Time: 4 minutes
By WSFS Contributor | Published: July 2020
Whether you’re new to banking or are just looking for a refresher on banking basics to enhance your money management, we’re here to help. Here’s a quick guide to checking and savings accounts as well as the tools you can use to access your money safely and securely like debit and credit cards, online and mobile banking.
Checking accounts are the foundation of your banking life. When you open a checking account, you’re getting a safe place to store your money, the ability to write checks and send or receive deposits – like direct deposits of your payroll, pension, Social Security or any regularly received income. Depending on the type of checking account and the balance you carry, you may also be able to earn interest on your account balance. Plus, you’ll have access to debit cards and online and mobile banking (more on those in a minute).
Savings accounts allow you to set aside money for a rainy day or a to save for a big purchase, and keep it in a place where you’ll be less tempted (or able) to spend it. You can access your savings account any time through online or mobile banking – whether you want to see how much you’ve set aside or make a transfer into your account. Earn higher interest rates and let your money work for you with the help of accounts such as money market savings accounts. Certificate of Deposit accounts or CDs also offer an opportunity to earn higher interest rates for more long-term saving like retirement.
A debit card can be used to withdraw money from an ATM or make purchases in place of cash both in-store and online. The amount of your purchase is withdrawn directly from the account your debit card is linked to (usually a checking account). Debit cards are helpful money management tools because they allow you to look back at your bank statements and see exactly how you’re spending your money.
Credit cards offer much of the same convenience as debit cards, but also come with some added benefits and potential pitfalls. When utilized properly, credit cards can enable you to earn rewards ranging from points toward different items or cash back. Credit cards also come with added fraud protection features which can help minimize or eliminate liability when it comes to fraudulent purchases.
While there are benefits to credit cards, it’s important to remember to use them responsibly. Limit the number of cards you open to more easily manage your credit and always remember to pay off your balance every month to avoid accruing interest and to ensure you’re living within your means.
Online & Mobile Banking
Online and mobile banking help you manage your money and keep track of your account balances, no matter where you are. Online Banking allows you to receive banking statements electronically, deposit checks with your mobile phone, pay bills and transfer funds without the need for checks and link your account to mobile wallets like Apple Pay. You can also set up alerts for when your account balance gets low, when your bills are due or if there’s been suspicious activity on your account.
Still have questions? Take a look around our Knowledge Center for helpful articles on a variety of financial topics.
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