Banking 101 — Banks and Banking Options

Banks and Banking Options

It all started with a piggy bank…or a glass jar, or a shoe box. Whatever you might have used to stash your cash in as a child, you knew you wanted it to be a safe place to keep your money. You wanted to know where it was so that you could get to it, add to it, and use it when you needed or wanted to buy something.

But as time passes, your financial life can become a bit more complicated. As you get a job and take on new responsibilities—like paying rent or a mortgage and/or getting a car loan—your saving and spending needs are suddenly much more complex than a simple piggy bank can handle. Yet the basic need to know that you have a safe and secure place to keep your money remains constant. That’s where banks come in.

Banking services

Banks not only provide a safe place to stash your cash, but they also offer accounts and products that allow you to pay your bills and, at the same time, earn interest and help your money grow. Having a bank account allows you to:

  • Keep your money safe from loss, theft, or fire
  • Earn interest and grow your savings
  • Deposit your paycheck directly
  • Pay bills easily and inexpensively
  • Track your spending and manage your finances
  • Establish credit
  • Have access mortgage loans, car loans, and other products
  • Monitor your accounts, transfer money, or even deposit checks using any mobile device

Banks come in many types and sizes, from large financial services companies with a national or even an international presence to local community banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and Internet banks that exist solely online. Most offer a diverse range of products and services like consumer checking and savings accounts and loans along with similar services designed especially for businesses.

Banks offer their customers many different ways to access their services:

  • A branch is a retail location where a bank offers face-to-face service to its customers.
  • An ATM (automated teller machine) allows you to conduct daily transactions—check account balances, make deposits, withdraw cash—in a public space without the need for a bank teller.
  • Telephone banking allows you to perform basic transactions (like checking account balances, transferring money, and paying certain bills) over the telephone.
  • Online banking allows you to conduct nearly all of your banking transactions—including transferring money and paying bills—over the Internet through a secure website.
  • Mobile banking allows you to use your cell phone and other mobile devices to conduct simple banking transactions by remotely linking into a banking network. Mobile banking also allows you to have certain account alerts sent to your phone—like warning you when your account balance is low or when a monthly bill payment is due.

My Money Goals

Want to buy a house? Reduce debt? Scroll through the columns below and select your goal to create a plan.

    • Please choose from the other list

    This site is for education purposes. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.