A Brief History of Checking Accounts

From the first checking account to the online checking account

If you have ever wondered where checking accounts came from or how they evolved, you may be interested to know their roots reach back centuries. The history of checking accounts can be traced back to Renaissance Europe. European merchants began offering to hold clients' funds for safekeeping. The merchants would release the funds when a client wrote a note authorizing them to do so. These notes were the precursors to checks.

This informal system spread to other trading centers. With cash in short supply, paper checks became a popular method for conducting commerce in the United States. By the 19th century, bank clearinghouses - designed to help facilitate transactions between financial institutions - began popping up in the United States. Banks and other financial institutions began collaborating with central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, to add protection and security.

While personal banking was once an informal system of financial networks and local relationships, it has evolved into a sophisticated, global system that has embraced online and mobile banking technology.

How accessing checking accounts online took checking to the next level

With the rise of online platforms, banks have begun looking for new ways to provide convenient service to their customers. Many people appreciate the 24/7 self-service capabilities that come with an online checking account, which allows them to pay their bills and monitor their accounts whenever and wherever they want.

Online checking account technology is constantly evolving to increase security and ease of use. In addition to providing convenient checking account options for customers, online banking also benefits the environment. Online checking accounts reduce travel to and from bank branches and allow statements to be delivered electronically.

The shift to mobile banking technology

Electronic banking has continued to expand beyond online checking accounts. Consumers are increasingly using smart phones to conduct their daily business, and financial institutions have responded by adding mobile banking technology and mobile apps to their checking account options.

While still in its infancy, mobile banking technology is expected to mushroom in coming years, offering customers even greater convenience and access to their accounts.

Apply online for a checking account with Citizens Bank

If you are a current Citizens Bank customer, download our mobile banking app for your iPhone and take advantage of online banking from wherever you are. New customers, learn more about Citizens Bank's checking account options, or open a checking account online today. If you have questions, call 1-877-360-2472 to speak with a customer service representative.


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