Additional Banking Services
Financial institutions provide more services for free or a low fee with deposit accounts. Remember to keep track of the fees charged, if any.
An ATM, or automated teller machine, is a machine you can use 24 hours a day to make deposits, withdrawals and transfer money. Unlike a check cashing company, the financial institution doesn't have to be open for you to use an ATM. There are literally dozens of ATMs in any given neighborhood or community.
When you use an ATM, you use a card issued by the financial institution and a personal identification number, or PIN. The PIN is used for security purposes so no one else can access your account.
Debit card services
A debit card is a plastic card, sometimes called a "check card." It usually has the name of your financial institution printed on it along with a Master Card or Visa logo. The card allows you to pay for goods and services at stores that accept these credit cards, but it is not a credit card. Often you can use a debit card to rent a car or to purchase items over the Internet.
When you use a debit card, the money comes directly out of your bank account and automatically reduces your balance. Therefore, your account must have funds available in the amount you are planning to spend with your debit card. It's important to note that when you use your debit card to make a purchase, you don't receive a bill and then have a few days to pay the bill like you do with a credit card. Also, you do not have the option to pay a "minimum amount" because the money has come directly out of your bank account.
The debit card also functions as an ATM card.
If you lose a debit card, check card or ATM card, it is very important that you report the loss immediately. In most instances, if you report the loss within two business days after you realize that your card is missing, you will not be responsible for more than $50 for unauthorized use.
Direct deposit services
With direct deposit, your paycheck or benefit check is electronically transferred and directly deposited into your bank account. The amount of money is available immediately.
A loan is money you borrow from the financial institution with a written promise or "note" to pay it back later. With a loan, financial institutions charge you fees and interest to borrow the money.
Money order services
Similar to a check, a money order is used to pay bills or make purchases when cash is not accepted. But usually you pay a fee to get a money order so shop around for the best price.
Telephone banking services
Telephone banking allows you to use the telephone to check your account balances, transfer money between accounts, check on your recent deposits or withdrawals and stop payment on a check.
Wire transfer services
Wire transfer is a method of electronically transferring money from one financial institution to another. It's a particularly important way of sending money to relatives who live in another country. The fees charged by financial institutions to wire money to countries outside the U.S. are usually less expensive than check cashing companies.
Online banking services
Online banking lets you make payments, check account balances, transfer money between accounts, obtain your account history and more at any time from any computer with Internet access.
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