April 14th Activity of the Day: Opening A Checking Account

Apr 14, 2015
Activity, Savings, Checking Accounts, Payment Types

One of the first financial products a young adult will encounter is a checking account.  For many, this marks their entree into the real financial world with real consequences.  We designed this activity “Research: Opening a Checking Account” as a web quest where students will research the steps required to open a checking account.  We believe passionately in the power of these web quest activities.  Why?  They enable students to drive their own learning, develop their media literacy skills and build their literacy skills as they encounter new vocabulary.

The activity starts with students visiting a checking account comparison website where they learn what criteria will be most important in their selection process.  They then identify the best bank for a given factor, such as lowest overdraft fees or most locations within a ten mile radius.  Once they have identified bank(s) in each of these categories, they select the one they believe is best for them and catalog the reasons why.  

Next, the students have to prepare for a visit to the bank to open the account. They independently research the items that they will need to bring with them.  There is a quick assessment to check for understanding.  Finally, students prepare a list of the five most important questions that they will ask a bank representative prior to opening the account.  They will use these questions to create a dialogue between themselves and the bank rep.

We hear from many of your students that signing up for an account can be an intimidating process for them.  Our hopes for this activity:  empower students with information so they can feel confident when they are making financial decisions.  Good luck!

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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