Virtual Adaptation - COMPARE: Select a Checking Account

Jun 22, 2020
Teaching Remotely

When you are trying to open a new financial account of any type, there are two core principles you should keep in mind: 

  • Brainstorm which features or criteria matter most to you, personally, for how you plan to use the account.
  • Comparison shop to see which accounts or financial products best meet your specific needs.


The activity COMPARE: Select a Checking Account allows students to implement these core principles. In this activity, students will determine which features they value in a checking account and then conduct online research to determine which account best meets their needs. Students can also compare (one their own or with their classmates) multiple financial institutions and select which one would be best for them.


At a time where many school have transitioned to offering synchronous and asynchronous learning, we've listed some adaptations that may work for your current classroom environment. 


Synchronous Environment Ideas:

  • As a class, brainstorm specific criteria that are important to evaluate when opening a checking account. During the brainstorm, have students add these criteria to Question #1 in the activity.
  • Break students into groups of three (even better if your meeting platform offers breakout rooms) and have them decide on the top 3 or 4 criteria that are most important to them from the brainstormed list to add to the Decision Matrix. Next, assign them or let them choose one bank or credit union that offers a checking account. Each member of the group must choose a different financial institution. Provide students time to research the criteria of their checking account at their bank and allow them to collaborate on one document so they are able to see the different features and fees of each account at each bank or credit union. 
  • This activity could also be adapted to include the whole class by having each student research a different bank or credit union and input their results on a shared spreadsheet. Include corporate banks, community banks, online banks, & credit unions. Depending on your class size, this would allow all students to see the criteria of many different financial institutions. Here is an example spreadsheet you can customize. 



Asynchronous Environment Ideas:

  • Have the students complete the activity as written but add a way for them to share out their answer for Question #5, or the account they believe, after researching, is the best for them. You can do this with any collaboration platform such as Google Sheets, Google Slides, Padlet, or Google Classroom Question. 


Teacher Tip: This activity can be used across many different units allowing students to compare different kinds of financial accounts such as savings accounts, mortgages, student loans, credit cards, or brokerage accounts. 


View NGPF's Virtual Adaptation Series if you're looking for additional resources with suggestions on how to facilitate in a virtual environment. 


About the Author

Amanda Volz

Amanda joins the NGPF Team with 18 years of experience teaching personal finance. During that time, she led her students to hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships, won multiple awards, and most importantly, impacted the financial lives of thousands of high school students. Amanda prides herself on being an educational leader and is constantly looking for innovative ways to make the classroom relevant, rigorous, and fun. She is a passionate advocate for financial education and has been a long time member of the NGPF community. Fun fact - Amanda was NGPF’s first teacher account! When Amanda isn’t working, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling with her husband and two children.