Student banking terms to know

Setting up a checking or savings account? Here’s a glossary of terms to familiarize yourself with your new account.

  • Available balance: Your account’s most current record of the money that is available for your use or withdrawal. Your available balance changes throughout the day, as deposits, withdrawals, and pending transactions clear your bank.
  • Check: A written order by you to authorize the bank to pay a person or entity a specified amount of money from your account. Not all accounts allow check-writing capabilities.
  • Checking account: A bank account that allows you to deposit and withdraw money, make point-of-sale purchases, and may allow check-writing capabilities.
  • Credit: A deposit made to your account that increases your available balance, such as cash or checks.
  • Debit: Any item that reduces the balance in your bank account. Examples include a debit card purchase, an ATM withdrawal, or a check.
  • Debit card: A card issued by your bank for making purchases and payments at participating retailers and service providers, whether online, in store, or by phone. You can also use it to withdraw cash at ATMs. Purchases and payments are deducted from the primary banking account linked to the card.
  • Deposit: To put money into your account without a fee.
  • Direct Deposit: A no-fee service that automatically deposits your recurring income into a checking or savings account that you choose.
  • Funds transfer: You can transfer money between your accounts, such as between your checking account and savings account. You can also set up an automatic recurring transfer to your savings account and watch your balance grow.
  • Interest-earning: Bank deposit accounts that earn interest. Interest-bearing accounts earn interest at a variable rate, except CDs.
  • Monthly service fee: A fee that you may have to pay for your checking or savings account, unless your account meets criteria to avoid the monthly service fee. For more information, refer to the Consumer Account Fee and Information Schedule.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF): When an item such as a check used for payment is returned unpaid because the available balance in your account is less than the amount of the item — also called a bounced check. Fees will apply.
  • Online banking/Mobile banking: A service that allows you to handle most banking activities like opening accounts, monitoring account activity, transferring funds, paying bills, from your phone or computer.
  • Overdraft: An available balance of less than $0.00 in your account.
  • Overdraft Protection: A service offered by the bank that links eligible savings or credit accounts to your banking account. If you don’t have enough money in your banking account, the bank will use available funds in your linked account to authorize your transactions. You may have to pay a fee for this service.
  • Point-of-sale (POS): A merchant transaction (purchase or return) made online, at a store, or through the telephone using an ATM card or debit card.
  • Routing number: The nine-digit number on the bottom left of your check. It identifies the bank that issued the check.
  • Savings account: An FDIC-insured bank deposit account that earns interest. Unlimited withdrawals are permitted in person and at the ATM.
  • Withdrawal: To take money out of your account in one of many ways, including: making a debit card purchase, getting money from an ATM or at a banking location, or writing a check.
  • Zelle®: Zelle®¹ is a convenient way to send and receive money from friends, family, and other people you know and trust. You can send money to almost anyone with an eligible U.S.-based bank account using their email address or U.S. mobile phone number.


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