Checking account terms to know

Setting up a checking 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.
  • Checking Account: A bank account that allows you to deposit and withdraw money, make point-of-sale purchases, and write checks.
  • Debit: Any item that reduces the balance in your bank account. Examples include a check, ATM withdrawal, and debit card purchase.
  • Debit Card: A card issued by your bank for making purchases and payments at participating retailers and service providers, whether in store, by phone, or online. You can also use it to access cash at ATMs. Purchases and payments are deducted from the primary checking account linked to the card.
  • Deposit: To put money into your account.
  • Direct Deposit: A free service that automatically deposits your recurring income
    into a checking or savings account that you choose.
  • 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: A service that allows you to handle most banking activities like opening accounts, monitoring account activity, transferring funds, paying bills, from your computer via the internet.
  • Overdraft: A negative balance in your account.
  • Overdraft Protection: A service offered by the bank that links eligible savings or credit accounts to your checking account. If you don’t have enough money in your checking 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 through a store, telephone, or internet 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.
  • Withdrawal: To take money out of your account in one of many ways, including: writing a check, making a debit card purchase, and getting money from an ATM or at a banking location.


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