Bank Accounts: Characteristics, Definition, Types, Advantages, Disadvantages

Bank Accounts: Characteristics, Definition, Types, Advantages, Disadvantages

Various types of bank accounts meet various demands. It recognizes which account type is appropriate for your financial objectives, so you may access the proper tools for spending and saving. This helps you to optimize your bank’s return, save costs, and manage your money more simply. Most banks and credit unions offer the subsequent account types:

  • Savings accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Retirement accounts

Savings Accounts

Consumers utilize this sort of bank account to save money for future use. Because your deposits receive interest, your money rises over time. Savings accounts are usually the first formal bank account that somebody creates. Children may open an account with a parent to establish a savings practice. Teenagers also can open accounts to stash cash earned from a first job or household chores and manage money while in college. Opening a bank account also marks the beginning of your relationship with a financial institution. For instance, when joining a depository financial institution, your “share” or bank account establishes your membership. A bank account is an excellent place to park cash for financial goals or emergencies safely and separately from your money for ongoing expenses.

Good for:

a primary bank account for children or teenagers, or an account for people searching for a location to earn interest on savings or park cash that they might otherwise be tempted to spend.


Savings accounts often provide lower interest rates than money markets and CDs. They do not contain a debit card for purchases (however, if your bank account is at the same financial institution as your checking account, you can use it to make purchases); you can use your debit card to withdraw money from your savings account if your bank allows it). Moreover, banks have traditionally limited consumers to not quite six withdrawals per month from these accounts. Note: Although the withdrawal limitation legislation was abolished in April 2020, some banks still limit withdrawals in their policies, so check with your bank for the most up-to-date information.

Savings Account Tips

If you can’t afford local banks or credit unions, look into online-only possibilities. Online savings accounts frequently pay the highest interest rates and have the lowest costs. To begin building your savings account, make a cash contribution or set up recurring monthly transfers into savings.

Checking Accounts

Checking accounts are used for daily purchases. This bank account’s main features include a connected debit card that may be used for purchases or ATM withdrawals and check-writing capabilities. You may also deposit cash or cheques and pay invoices with this account type. Most banks now provide online bill-pay services through checking accounts, which helps to streamline payments. While standard checking accounts do not yield interest, interest-bearing checking accounts offer the opportunity to earn additional income on top of the interest earned by a savings account. This fundamental form of bank account is suitable for holding funds for short-term use and is essential for managing your monthly cash flow.

Suitable for:

Anyone who requires a location to deposit a paycheck or cash or make payments.


Traditional checking accounts do not pay interest and are subject to a variety of fees and limitations, such as monthly maintenance fees and minimum balance requirements, which may rapidly add up to be costly and inconvenient. However, there exist checking accounts with waived monthly fees and no-fee checking accounts.

Checking Tips

  • Every month, balance your bank account. This method of reviewing cash inflows and withdrawals from the account assists you in managing your money, avoiding fees, and detecting fraud or errors before they cause serious issues.
  •  Set up direct deposit of your paychecks into your bank account. If your company does not provide direct deposit, utilize mobile deposit if your bank provides it to avoid having to visit a bank branch or ATM to deposit a check.
  •  A credit card is preferable to a debit card for day-to-day purchasing since a debit card purchase removes money from your checking account while a credit card charge does not. And if your MasterCard gets hit with a fraudulent charge, your maximum liability for those charges is a smaller amount than it is for unauthorized debit card charges.
Note: Act quickly if you observe a fraudulent open-end credit charge. If you report open-ended credit fraud to your bank within two days of becoming aware of it, your liability for the costs is limited to $50. Your maximum loss after 60 days is the total amount removed from your account.

Money Market Accounts

A market account combines features of both savings and checking accounts. They provide restricted check-writing rights and greater interest rates than savings or checking accounts, making them suitable for both short- and long-term requirements. If you prefer to keep larger sums in checking accounts and want to earn more interest while also being able to make checks, these bank accounts are generally a fantastic place to shelter cash.

Good for:

People who have large balances in their accounts and wish to earn greater interest rates may consider this option.


market accounts have higher minimum balance requirements than other types of bank accounts. Interest rates are sometimes low, and you would like to watch for fees. The amount of withdrawals permitted monthly has traditionally been capped at six as with savings accounts.

Money Market Account Tips

  • Use market accounts as emergency funds or a place to park money for larger financial goals (down payment on a home, for example). Don’t access the cash for other purposes to ensure that it’s there when you need it.
  • If you can’t find a reasonable money market account, examine online-only banks and cash management accounts, which are typically low-cost options.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

A CD is a sort of a bank account that holds your money for a fixed term—three months or five years, for instance . it always allows you to earn more than any of the accounts listed above. To avoid an early withdrawal penalty, you must agree to keep your money in the CD for the whole period (ending on the “maturity date”). This type of bank account is appropriate for long-term financial goals. For example, if you know you’ll be traveling overseas in six months, a CD is a safe way to hold (and grow) your money until you need it.

Excellent for:

Money that you don’t need to spend right now. You’ll earn more if you keep it for a long time, but both short- and long-term CDs are available.


If you want to withdraw your funds early, you will be penalized. That penalty might wipe out all you’ve earned and even deplete your initial deposit.

CD Suggestions

  • If you’re worried about locking up all of your money, set up a CD ladder (a series of CDs with staggered maturity dates) to make a portion of your savings available on a regular basis.
  • To avoid penalties altogether, search for banks that offer flexible CDs that give you the option to withdraw money early—without a penalty.
Note: Your deposits in the foregoing accounts are federally insured for up to $250,000 per bank, per depositor, by either Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance for banks or National depository financial institution Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insurance for credit unions.

Retirement Accounts

As the name implies, these are accounts used to lay away money for retirement expenses. Most banks provide individual retirement accounts (IRAs), but some also offer small companies 401(k) and other retirement plans. Most sorts of retirement accounts offer tax advantages. Both IRAs and 401(k) plans allow you to avoid paying income tax on the growth of your contributions each year. However, depending on the account type, you will be required to pay taxes at various stages. Contributions to traditional IRAs and 401(k)s cut your taxes today, but you will have to pay taxes on withdrawals later. Contributions to a Roth IRA do not cut your taxes now, but you will not pay taxes on withdrawals later. These are the most basic sorts of bank accounts for saving for retirement since they allow you to invest your money in the stock market, potentially yielding higher returns than deposits in other types of bank accounts.

Good for: 

People who desire to save for the future can benefit from this product. Retirement accounts can make it easier to save a lot of money (by decreasing your tax burden), and they may result in larger account balances over time.


Any tax break you get comes with strings attached. Read abreast of your account agreement and ask your banker about the rules (including rules for eligibility). Speak together with your tax preparer or a CPA to verify how your taxes may be affected by various options. If you take your money out too soon, you’ll have to pay taxes and penalties. Finally, there is always the chance of losing money while investing in the market. Furthermore, retirement account investments are not government-insured.

Retirement Account Tips

Speak with a financial counselor for assistance in determining how much to save and which account types and assets to select to maximize returns and prevent losses. If your workplace offers a 401(k) match, consider contributing enough to qualify for the match before opening a retirement account with your bank. Otherwise, you’re throwing away free money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which form of bank account is the most profitable?

Suppose your bank offers a standard IRA or similar retirement account that’s invested in a variety of stocks and bonds, which will have the most growth potential and is your best option for long-term savings. CDs, market accounts, and high-yield savings accounts will produce standard savings or checking accounts for short-term growth.

How many different sorts of bank accounts should I open?

Your financial condition and aspirations determine the number of accounts you require. At the very least, it’s good to figure toward having a checking account, savings account, and pension plan. Once you’ve got those three, you’ll consider other options for accounts that may yield short- or long-term growth.

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