Skip to main content

How to Manage Your First Bank Account

You don’t have to earn an MBA to make good financial decisions. These simple suggestions will help to get your first bank account up and running smoothly.


  • Step 1: Choose checking or savings Choose whether to open a checking account, savings account, or both. If you’ll be paying bills and making purchases, then you’ll need a checking account.
  • Step 2: Study the options Research multiple banks and the accounts they offer until you find one that’s right for you.
  • TIP: Many checking and savings accounts pay interest on a monthly basis. Choose one of these if it is available.
  • Step 3: Make a deposit Make your first deposit. Your bank may require a minimum amount to open the account or a minimum balance that must be maintained to avoid fees.
  • Step 4: Know your fees Know the fees banks often charge for such items as dipping below a minimum balance, writing too many checks, or using another bank’s ATM machine. Don’t be caught off guard by extra charges; avoid them when you can.
  • TIP: Overdraft protection, while sometimes costly, can protect you from even more costly fees for bouncing a check.
  • Step 5: Maintain privacy Do not share your banking PIN with anyone, or let others use your checkbook.
  • Step 6: Balance your checkbook Balance your checkbook on a regular basis. Save receipts, keep track of transactions, and record them into your checking ledger at the end of each day or week.
  • TIP: Spend based on your ledger balance and not on your online account balance. If you’ve written a check that hasn’t cleared yet, it won’t be reflected and you might end up spending more than you have.
  • Step 7: Always check your statement Make sure you reconcile your checking ledger and your bank statement each month. Sort out any discrepancies by reviewing your purchases or contacting the bank.
  • FACT: Did you know? The largest U.S. dollar amount ever issued as paper currency was the $10,000 bill.

You Will Need

  • Money
  • A bank account

Popular Categories