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Checking Accounts and Services

Why Have a Checking Account?

Why Have a Checking Account?

Opening your first checking account is one of life's great milestones. Many students open their first checking account when starting college. A checking account allows you to:

  • Establish a banking relationship
  • Avoid the potential dangers of carrying cash
  • Easily access your money
  • Deposit your paycheck automatically
  • Pay bills and transfer money
  • Track your spending


There are many factors to consider when deciding where to bank, what kind of an account to open, and how you will manage your finances.

When choosing where to open a checking account, consider the following:

  1. Convenience: especially in college, having a bank that is local and convenient is important. Select a bank that has banking centers and ATMs within walking or short driving distance.
  2. Features: inquire about convenient ways to access your account, such as online and mobile banking, ATM and check cards.
  3. Fees: seek out bank accounts designed specifically for college students. Look for checking accounts that offer: 
    • No monthly fees
    • No debit card fees
    • No ATM fees
    • No online or mobile banking fees
    • No check writing fees
    • No money transfer fees

Checking Account Options

Checking Account Options

Checking accounts come in plain vanilla or with a variety of convenient options. Before you decide which account is right for you, take a few minutes to learn about the available features - then decide which conveniences are most important to you. Don't worry if it seems overwhelming; your personal banker is experienced in helping you select the right account with the right options.

  • ATM Cards:  provide access to your account through an ATM machine, allowing balance inquiries, transfers and cash withdrawals.
  • Check/Debit Cards:  provide the same access as an ATM card, plus the ability to pay for purchases and services at stores, restaurants and more. When you make a purchase, the amount is deducted directly from your checking account.
  • Direct Deposit: eliminates a trip to the bank and provides quicker access to your paycheck or government payment. Direct deposit can be established through many employers or federal agencies. 

Online and Mobile Banking

Online and Mobile Banking

Many banks offer accounts with online and mobile banking features that allow account access at the click of a button. Managing your account has never been easier!

Online Banking
With online banking, you can bank from your home, office, or smart phone at your convenience - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From viewing your transaction activity to paying bills, online banking makes accessing your account easier than ever.

Mobile Banking
Track your account information anywhere and anytime with your web-enabled mobile device. Mobile banking allows you to view current account information, including balances and transaction history, as well as transfer funds between linked accounts.

Email / Text Alerts
Many banks now offer email and text alerts you can personalize to your own unique notification needs - like when your account balance fall bellows a certain threshold, or when you receive a direct deposit to your account.

Other Bank Services

Other Bank Services
  • Cashier's Checks/Money Orders: considered more acceptable for certain transactions than personal checks because they are guaranteed by the issuing bank. For example, a landlord may require rent to be paid with a cashier's check to avoid the risk of a rent check bouncing. A cashier's check is fully completed by the bank, including amount, payee, and signature. A money order is purchased in a specific amount, but the payee and signature are completed by the purchaser.
  • Wire Transfer: an electronic transfer of money from one bank to another.
  • Safe Deposit Boxes: available in a variety of sizes and provide a secure place to store valuables and important documents.
  • Gift Cards: available in a variety of designs and may generally be purchased in amounts between $25 and $500. They are non-reloadable, so after the money is spent; the card is no longer of any value. Gift cards can be used at stores and businesses that accept credit/debit cards.
  • Reloadable Cards: available in a variety of designs and are a popular way to provide students with an allowance. Online access is available to view transactions and reload funds to the card.
  • Payroll Cards:  provide an alternative to carrying cash for employees who do not have a bank account. Instead of creating a paycheck, employers load a payroll card, which the employee can access through an ATM, bank withdrawal, or use to make purchases.

About Fees

What You Need To Know About Fees

Some checking accounts and bank services are free, while others carry a monthly fee, transaction fees, or minimum balance requirement. Compare checking account options and ask your banker for help in selecting the account that will minimize your fees based on your expected balance, and the number and types of transactions you regularly conduct.

Fees you should be familiar with include:

  • Monthly Fee: some accounts carry a monthly fee, or require you to maintain a minimum balance to avoid a monthly fee.
  • ATM Fee:  if your bank owns the ATM, there may be no fee for all or a limited number of withdrawals. If an ATM is not owned by your bank, there may be a fee charged by the bank or company that owns the ATM, and also by your bank. The ATM must display a message indicating any fees charged for usage of the machine and allow you to cancel the transaction, if desired.
  • Insufficient Funds Fee: if you write a check, or make an ATM withdrawal or check card purchase that exceeds the balance in your account, the bank may charge a fee. Overdraft/Insufficient funds fees are one of the most common fees new checking account owners incur, and often the easiest to avoid.

What to Expect

What to Expect When Opening a Bank Account

Opening a checking account is easy.

Your account can be opened in person, or in many cases, online. The bank must verify your identity, so when you open an account in person, certain documents will be required, such as a driver's license or passport, and address verification (a recent utility bill, etc.). When opening an account online, you will be asked verification questions to establish your identity.

Many banks verify your banking history with a consumer-reporting agency, such as ChexSystems, to determine how you have handled any past bank accounts.

An initial deposit will be required to open an account. Most banks accept cash, check, wire, or an electronic transfer from another bank account as an opening deposit.

When you open your account, the bank may provide you with a small packet of temporary checks.  Temporary checks are not preprinted with your contact information, so it is important to write your name and address on each check as you use it. Some merchants do not accept temporary checks.

You will be provided the option of ordering personalized checks and an ATM/check card. Checks take a few weeks to arrive. Some banks will mail your ATM/check card to you, but many banks can issue your card at the banking center for immediate use.

You will receive account documents that provide information on fees and how the account works. Review the documents carefully and keep them in a safe place.

Thank you for your interest in a new Sun Devil Checking account.

Our online account enrollment application is secure and safe. Your personal information is protected with Secure Socket Layer encryption technology. We hope you enjoy the convenience of opening your new account online.

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