Protecting My Money

Services Offered by Credit Unions & Banks

The following are services that credit unions and banks can offer you.

Checking Accounts

A checking account is a service that gives customers a way to pay bills by check or online, and a way to deposit money. Checking accounts often don’t pay interest, or if they do, the interest they pay is less than what you can earn in a savings account. A minimum balance is sometimes required. Some banks or credit unions charge a monthly fee for checking accounts. Often banks and credit unions offer debit cards that are linked to your checking account.

Savings Accounts

A savings account is a secure place to keep your money for future use. Some people use them to save up for a vacation or for an expensive purchase. Savings accounts normally pay you a small amount of interest.


You can click on words and phrases that are bold and underlined to read their definition in the Glossary. The Glossary is also linked at the bottom of every page.

Helpful Tip!

What will you need to open a checking or savings account?

  • A Social Security card or your Social Security number;
  • Photo identification, like a driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card;
  • Proof of your current address, such as a utility bill; and
  • The minimum amount of money needed to open the account.

Because banks and credit unions differ, call and ask what the minimum deposit is and what else you should bring if you want to open an account.



When deciding where to open a checking or savings account, look for a bank that is FDIC-insured or a credit union that is insured by NCUSIF so that your money will be protected!

Debit Cards

A debit card is a plastic card that is connected to your credit union or bank account. When you make purchases using this card, money is immediately taken from your account to cover the cost of the purchases. Debit cards can also be used for the withdrawal of cash. Service fees may be charged, however, if you make the withdrawal from a credit union or a bank that is not your own.

ATMs (Automated Teller Machines)

Almost every bank or credit union has Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that allow you to skip the teller window and conduct your basic banking tasks at the machine. Your bank or credit union will issue a card for use at its ATMs. This card may also serve as a debit card if you give your permission.

A smiling young man hands a debit card to a cashier. A bakery item and iced tea rest on the counter.
Nate is using a debit card to buy a snack.

Online Banking

Today it’s possible to do nearly all of your banking online. In fact, some banks exist only on the internet and do not have brick-and-mortar stores. Other banks offer online services in addition to in-person services. Online services may include opening a bank account, checking your balance, creating a budget, depositing checks, paying bills, and more! Ask your bank or credit union what services are available to you and how to log on using your computer or the app on your mobile device.

Two women sit outside at a cafe drinking coffee. One woman uses a power wheelchair and has her service dog next to her.
Tracy used Venmo to pay Linzey back for coffee.

Who Uses Cash and Checks Anymore, Anyway?

These days, people are carrying less and less cash with them, and some people don’t even bother ordering checks from their bank. That’s because more and more businesses are accepting debit, credit, and prepaid cards, and most bills can be paid online.

But what if you need to get money to your roommate for your portion of the rent this month? Or, what if you need to pay back your friend who covered the bill for dinner last night? Transferring money to friends and family (and sometimes even paying bills, making purchases, or paying for services) is easier than ever with apps like PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. These apps can connect directly to your bank account to make it safe and easy (and usually free!) to transfer money with the tap of a button on your smart phone.