Before you open a bank account, educate yourself on available options. Learn about the types of bank accounts, how best to use them, and key banking terminology.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • Which bank is best?

      There is no one bank that’s best for everyone. Choose a bank based on your needs. Are you looking for an online-only bank, or one with branches you can visit in person? Do you want a large bank with lots of services and locations, or a smaller institution that may have better rates and lower fees, but fewer branches and services? Once you answer those questions, you can narrow your search and then look at reputable reviews to find the best bank for you.

    • How can I find my routing number?

      Look for your routing number (also known as your ABA number) in the lower left part of a check or deposit slip from your personal checking account. It is a nine-digit number that identifies the bank to other banks, so that they can collect funds when you write a check. The routing number is usually to the left of your account number.

    • How do I deposit a check?

      There are several ways to deposit checks at most financial institutions. You may be able to deposit it in person at a branch, via a mobile app, or at an ATM. You’ll need to endorse the check by signing your name on the back, and you may need to fill out a deposit slip as well.

    • How can I send a wire transfer?

      You can wire money through your bank to someone else in the U.S. or in another country. You’ll need to fill out a form from your bank, either in person or online, that lists your bank account number and the recipient’s name, account details, and routing number (for international transfers, you’ll need the SWIFT ID or BIC instead of a routing number). If the recipient is in the U.S., they may be able to get the funds the same day you make the transfer. Fees typically run $15 to $50.

    • How do I stop payment on a check?

      You can stop payment on a check any time before it has been cashed. You’ll need to call your bank and give them the check number, amount, payee, and date. You’ll also need to pay a fee ($30 is typical) and follow up your request in writing. The bank will flag the check and reject it if anyone tries to cash it. Most stop check orders last for about six months.

    Key Terms

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