Bank Accounts

Bank accounts are a necessary part of life in the adult world. Even if your parents are willing to support you and your baby for a while, you should still start your own bank account — the earlier, the better. Placing money in an account will help you to save, and having to actively remove money from the account (instead of a piggy bank or a shoebox or wherever you may have been keeping it) when you want to spend it will help you to get a grasp on money management.

Savings vs. Checking Accounts

Savings Account: You can deposite or take out money at your bank. You will also recieve an ATM card with which to take money out at ATM machines. Keep in mind that using ATMs to get money from your account will cost a fee of a few dollars if the ATM in question is not owned by your particular. ATM cards cannot be used to make purchases.

Checking Account: A checking account will allow you to do everything you can do with a savings account, except that instead of recieving an ATM card, you will recieve a debit card. The debit card will be capable of use with ATM machines, but you will also be able to make purchases with it. Debit cards work like credit cards, except that instead of having to pay the money back later, debit cards take the money straight out of your account.

If You’re Under Eighteen

Minors cannot start checking accounts on their own. To start a checking account as a minor, it would actually need to be a joint account with an adult. It would not be a good idea to do this with anyone other than a parent; if you did it with someone who was not trustworthy, they could spend all the money you put into the account.

However, you can start your own savings account. You will need two forms of identification — a driver’s license or state ID + a passport would work. For more specifics on which forms of identification you could use, contact your local bank.

Other Tips

If you are opening a checking account, find out what sort of fee will be charged if you accidentally charge more than you have in your account while using your debit card. The fee will be called an overdraft fee. That’s what you should ask about.

Whenever you go to the bank to deposit or take out money, remember to have your ID (and ideally your ATM or debit card as well) with you. Banks are big on security.

If you don’t plan on staying where you currently live, do yourself a favor and start an account with Bank of America. They have locations all over the place.

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