3 We keep our money in banks because the alternative...well, there really isn’t a good alternative. Banks, however, are not all the same, which is why it’s important to understand how banks operate, and why they want you as a customer. Which bank should you choose? You may want to put your money in the bank your family uses; however, if you’relookingforabank,dosomecomparisonshopping.Visitdifferentbanks online and in person to compare their products, services, and fees. Just be sure to choose a bank that's convenient for you to use, and one that offers free "in network" ATMs. (You might also want to check out credit unions— they’re like banks, and have similar services and products.) Which type of bank account is best? Banks offer a variety of accounts where you can keep and access your mon- ey. These include checking accounts, savings accounts, and Certificates of Deposit (CDs). Let's start with the account that’s most often used—the checking account. Checking account If you have money in a bank and want to use it to make purchases and pay bills, you need to have a checking account. Once you open a checking account and deposit some money, the bank will provide you with checks. You can also get a debit card or an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) card to go with your checking account. When you have a checking account, you can write checks and use your debit card for purchases. You can also use your ATM card or debit card to withdraw money from an ATM. Just make sure that you have enough money in your checking account to cover the transactions. Money in the Bank