Check routing number

A number assigned by the American Bankers Association that identifies a specific bank or savings institution

ATM card

any payment card issued by a financial institution that enables a customer to access an automated teller machine (ATM) in order to perform transactions such as deposits, cash withdrawals, obtaining account information, etc.

Automatic bill payment services

Represent money that you have authorized your bank or other organization to move from one account to another at regular intervals.

Account balance

The amount in an account

Bank Statement

A report of deposits, withdrawals, and bank balances sent to a depositor by a bank

Bounced check

a check written for an amount more than in your account

Cash loan

a small, short-term loan that is intended to cover a borrower's expenses until his or her next payday

Cashier's check

A check issued by a bank and sold to you for personal payments to people who won't accept a personal check. It certifies that you have the money available.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

A savings alternative in which money is left on deposit for a stated period of time to earn a specific rate of return.

Certified check

a personal check for which a bank has guaranteed payment

Check cashing centers

company that will cash a check for a fee. Banks also cash checks, and some do so at no cost to the consumer, especially if he or she has an account at the bank or uses direct deposit.

Check cashing fee

a fee that the bank will charge you when you deposit a check issued by a customer of another bank into your bank account.

Check fraud

Occurs when someone alters a check by changing its amount to obtain more money from another person's account

Check number

checks are numbered for easy identification. Checks come from the bank pre-numbered and is located in the upper right-hand corner of the check.

Check register

The book in which you keep records of checks, deposits, debit card transactions, and ATM withdrawals.

Check stub

A source document that lists the same information that appears on a check and shows the balance in the checking account before and after each check is written.

Checking account number

second set of number, identification number of the owner's checking account

Collateralized loan

loan that is secured by properties or assets that the lender can take if you default on the loan

Commercial bank

A financial institution that accepts demand deposits and makes loans and provides other services for the public. It is privately owned and responsible for making a profit for its shareholders.


An arrangement to receive cash, goods, or services now and pay for them in the future.

Credit card

A plastic card used to make purchases now and pay for them later.

Credit Union

A nonprofit financial institution that is owned by its members and organized for their benefit. Has lower interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on deposits.

Debit card

A bank card that automatically deducts the amount of a purchase from the checking account of the cardholder


a person or business that has cash on deposit in a bank

Direct deposit

An automatic deposit of a paycheck without having to take a physical check to the bank.


to approve of and write one's signature on the back of a check


A signature or stamp on the back of a check transferring ownership


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: A federal guarantee of savings bank deposits initially of up to $2500, raised to $5000 in 1934, and frequently thereafter; continues today with a limit of $100,000

Finance companies

nonbank institutions that lend money to consumers and businesses for cars and other vehicles, home improvements, expansion, purchases, and other purposes

Financial intermediaries

institution that helps channel funds from savers to borrowers

Free checking

A checking account with no service fees; it does not pay interest and may come with conditions

Insufficient funds

A term used to indicate that the depositor's account is inadequate to cover the check

Line of credit

A financial arrangement between a person and a bank in which the bank pre-approves credit up to a specified limit, provided that the person maintains an acceptable credit rating


A measure of the ease with which an asset can be converted into money without a significant loss of value.

Minimum balance required

The minimum dollar amount that a customer must have in an account in order to receive some sort of service, such as keeping the account open or receive interest.

Money market account

A type of savings account that pays a higher interest rate because the financial institution invests the money you deposit.

Money order

A form of check payment on which the financial institution prints the exact amount covered. Often used by people who do not have a checking account.

Online access

Some bank accounts offer this as a way to allow customers to complete some financial transactions electronically, via the Internet, like checking account balances and making transfers.

Overdraft protection

an automatic loan made to you if you write a check for more money than you have in your account. There is a fee for this loan, but it can be better than the credit score hit you would take otherwise.

Pawn shops

charge very high interest for loans based on the value of tangible assets (such as jewelry or other valuable items)


A fee for early withdrawal of funds from things like bonds or CDs

PIN number

A numerical code used in many electronic financial transactions. Usually required when using bank debit or credit cards, and usually contains 4 digits.

Predatory lending

Any of a number of fraudulent, deceptive, discriminatory, or unfavorable lending practices. Many of these practices are illegal, while others are legal but not in the best interest of the borrowers.

Promissory Note

a written contract with a promise to pay a supplier a specific sum of money at a definite time


to check to make sure your bank account and your check record match up. This should be done at least once a week.

Reconciliation of check register

An accounting process used to compare two sets of records to ensure the figures are in agreement and are accurate.


A discriminatory real estate practice in North America in which members of minority groups are prevented from obtaining money to purchase homes or property in predominantly white neighborhoods. The practice derived its name from the red lines depicted on

Safe deposit box

a small, secure storage compartment that you can rent in a bank, usually for $100 a year or less.

Savings account

a bank account that accumulates interest

Savings bank

depository institution originally set up to serve small savers overlooked by commercial banks

Securities Investor Protection Corp

protect public customers against the risk of loss due to failure of broker-dealer who mismanages their investment

U.S. Savings bond

a discount bond issued bond the federal government that pays a guaranteed minimum rate of interest