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Checking Account Basics

Find out important checking account information so you can open your first checking account

You're ready to start managing your money for the first time and probably are wondering about banking options for young adults. Whether you just got your first job, are heading off to college and need a way to manage your expenses away from home, or are simply looking to establish positive banking habits, it may be time to open your first checking account.

What is a checking account?

A checking account is a bank account that provides payment options and day-to-day money management. In most cases, you can deposit and withdraw funds at will through a variety of means. Unlike a savings account where you are mainly storing money for future use, your first checking account usually won't pay interest. You can access your checking account and the funds in it in a variety of ways:

  • Use a debit card to make purchases at merchant locations. They will swipe it like a credit card, but the funds will be automatically debited from your account and paid to the merchant. It’s like paying with a check but without writing one.
  • Use your debit card and PIN (personal identification number) to withdraw cash from ATMs.
  • Pay bills anytime online with secure online banking. You can also enroll in automatic bill pay.
  • Write a personal check.
  • Have mom or dad transfer money into your account in real time if you need quick cash.

Guidelines you should be aware of before opening your first checking account

When you're ready to open your first checking account, you'll need an initial minimum deposit. For some student accounts, this can be as low as $10.00. You'll also need proof of identity and your current address. If you're under 18, you may need to open a joint checking account with your parent. This means he or she will have access to your funds and statements, which can be a good thing when you're away at school and a little strapped for cash. (Note that individuals under the age of 16 cannot open a checking account.) You usually do not need to have credit or a prior account in order to open a checking account, but if you do, those accounts need to be in good standing.

Tips for managing and avoiding overdrafts

Most checking accounts have overdraft fees that are charged if you take out more money than you have in your account. You can avoid these fees with regular management of your account and by adding an overdraft plan to your account. You should also see if the account carries a maintenance fee. Banking for young adults generally has very low fees, and you may even find accounts that will waive your fees once you reach a certain balance.

Benefits of a checking account for young adults

Your first checking account is a step on the road to financial freedom. It offers you the opportunity to deposit your paychecks and pay your own bills. Now that we've gone over some checking account basics, it's time to look into the benefits:

  • Direct deposit: Set up direct deposit with your employer so your paychecks go right into the account. You can save time getting access to your money and avoid check cashing fees.
  • Automatic bill payments:Make rent, utilities or credit card payments with auto bill pay through online banking.
  • Paperless statements: Save time and money and help the planet by getting your monthly statement online instead of in the mail.
  • Alerts: Have your account notify you by text or email when your balance is getting low or when an important payment is due.
  • Mobile banking options:Check your account any time with mobile banking to review activity and make sure you can afford your next purchase.

Open your first checking account with Citizens Bank

Get more checking account information from Citizens Bank, including details on our student checking accounts. With the Student Money Bundle™, you'll be able to receive all the benefits listed above and more. Talk to one of our representatives at 1-888-400-5670 or open your first checking account today.



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