NGPF Featured Activity: How To Open A Checking Account

Feb 23, 2015
Activity, Lesson Idea, Checking Accounts, Featured NGPF Lesson

Update (May 14, 2018):

Want to help your students learn to manage a checking account in the digital age? We now have an online bank simulation to develop those skills. Enjoy!


We continue to add to our growing list of engaging activities in the Next Gen Personal Finance’s Activity Bank.  In this post, I want to highlight “How To Open A Checking Account.”  In this activity, students proceed through a five step process:

  • Identify checking accounts with the best features (e.g., low/no fees, convenience, ATM locations)
  • Select a checking account after analyzing these features
  • Identify forms of identification and other items needed to open a checking account
  • Develop a list of questions to should ask when opening the account
  • Create a dialogue anticipating how the bank representative will answer questions

This activity places a high premium on students’ ability to drive their own learning through online research, including several Google searches, a checklist for identifying reputable information sources and a link to a popular checking account comparison website.  Given the fast moving nature of the financial services industry, it is critical that students develop these critical thinking and online research skills so they can make decisions based on the latest trends and information.  Finally, the activity doesn’t stop after the student’s checking account decision. Instead, it walks them through the steps required to implement their decision by identifying what they will need to open the account and having them role play a dialogue with a bank representative.


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.