American Bank Accounts

posted Aug 16, 2012, 8:01 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Aug 16, 2012, 9:13 AM ]

Bank Accounts

They are basically of two types
Savings a/c (with interest)
Checking a/c (with NO interest)
Generally most people open a Checking a/c at first.
To open an account you need a social security number, however since it takes a week or more to get the social security number, one can request the bank to verify the passport and open the a/c. Later do remember to inform the bank once you receive your SS number.
Then there are concepts like
Minimum balance which is either NO or YES 
(It is better to open an a/c with NO MINIMUM BALANCE otherwise you have to maintain the specified minimum amount always in the account).
Overdraft facility Again NO or YES
(This allows you some amount of overdraft. This might be beneficial in some cases, such as when the monthly salary is not received on time and the house rent, phone bills etc. has to be paid.)
There are various kinds of check/cheque books available that one can choose from, such as the kind of colored paper and printed background design on paper etc. Usually a set of 200 checks bound together in books of 20 each is sufficient for 6 months. But it depends on how many checks are issued by you and at what frequency. The first check book is given by the bank immediately on opening an account, the other 200 checks are mailed to you at the given address.
The next thing is to ask for an ATM card. This allows you to withdraw money 24 hrs. from any ATM machine of the bank or related ones.
Some banks charge money to issue an ATM card and the first set of check/cheque books. Something like $10.00 for the ATM card and another $10.00 for the first 200 checks (10 books of 20 pages each). But most banks do not charge anything.
The whole procedure of opening an account takes about 10-15 mins.
A few shops/gas stations etc. ask for a valid photo-id when payment is made by check. This is just for verification. (A photo-id could be a U.S. driver's license or an actual ID-card which is issued by the local Dept. of Motor Vehicles office.
Small payments such as $1.25 etc. too can be made by check and it is not absurd to do so. People carry very little or no cash on person. Most of them make their payment by Credit card or check. But it is advisable to carry about $20.00 in cash at all times to cover emergency needs. Of course you will have to always carry your checkbook around.
The following style is used to write the amount in words on the check. Say for e.g. the amount to be paid is $35.47 then you would write:
Amount in words $: Thirty Five and 47/100