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The future depends on what we do in the present.

Mahatma Gandhi

Bank Accounts

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In the past, you may have paid for everything with cash and did not see a need to open a bank account. However, a bank account can make your life much easier, safer, and possibly even save you money. Chequing accounts can provide you with some advantages, but only if it is handled wisely. Often employers and government agencies prefer to pay you electronically through a financial institution, rather than giving you a cheque. When you write a cheque for more money than you have in your account, the cheque is called a "bounced" cheque and are usually called "insufficient funds" cheques or labeled with "NSF". Not only is this a very costly mistake, it can result in a lower credit score (more later on credit scores) and being banned from having any account at an accredited financial institution.

Be sure to ask the following questions when opening a chequing account:

  • How many cheques can I write each month without being charged a fee?
  • Do you mail a monthly statement of my account?
  • How much are the automated teller machine (ATM) fees here and at other locations?
  • Are there monthly fees on the account?
  • If my balance is always higher than a certain amount (minimum balance), can I avoid a monthly service fee?
  • What is the fee for returning "bounced" cheques?
  • Does the financial institution have online services that allow you to manage your account and pay bills? Are these services free? Are they accessible?


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