Basics of Banking

Tips to Bank with Confidence

Which bank is right for you?

Location is one of the most important aspects of joining a bank. Do you want a bank that is walking distance or one that you can drive to? When thinking about what bank is right for you, it is important to keep in mind the location of the bank and its' ATMs, what kind of account you are looking to open, and what services will be offered to you. Pictured above is a screenshot of CEO's Oakland location in Google Maps with a variety of banks situated around it. Additionally, you can search credit unions in Google Maps on your mobile device or on a computer to find those that are in your area.

Opening a Checking Account

Explore a bank's webpage and navigate to checking account options or set up an appointment with a bank teller

Explore Account Options

Most banks have a variety of checking account options to choose from

Fees and Requirements

Pay attention to the monthly fees and account requirements

Schedule an Appointment

If you have questions, schedule an in-person appointment either online or on the phone

Opening a Savings Account

In order to open a savings account, you are going to want to choose a reputable bank, as most banks offer a savings account option. Once you have chosen a bank, you will want to choose a savings account option that is right for you. If you have questions regarding the specifics of the account, be sure to call the bank to obtain more information. You will need a few things to open a savings account: full name, social security number, birth date, street address, and transfer of funds information (if applicable). Often times, the bank will require you to maintain a minimum balance in the account or will ask for an initial deposit. It is important to abide by the minimum deposit or you may be charged additional fees.

Bank Fees and How to Avoid Them

overdraft fees

How do I avoid this fee?

What are Overdraft Fees?

minimum balance fees

How do I avoid this fee?

What are Minimum Balance Fees?

ATM Fees

How do I avoid this fee?

What are ATM Fees?


What is ChexSystems 

ChexSystems is a verification service used to determine whether your application for a bank account is denied. A ChexSystems Report, (also known as a Consumer Disclosure Report), contains information regarding the misuse and fraudulent account activities. It contains a listing of your past overdrafts, any accounts banks have closed on your behalf, and more. The information contained in the report may or may not directly impact your credit score.

Addressing your ChexSystems Report

Making sure your name is not in ChexSystems is a key factor in building your credit.

tips for using a debit card

WHy a Debit Card?

Now that you have a debit card, it is important that you know how to use the card. The card is tied directly to a checking account, so unlike a credit card, you are paying for the transaction right away and money is taken out of your account. If you are concerned with accumulating debt on a credit card, a debit card is a good option. 

Account Balance

You need to know your account balance and how much available money you have (to avoid overdraft fees). You can check your balance online or by going to your bank’s ATM and checking the balance. (*NOTE: if you are checking your balance on your Skylight Card, make sure to do it online. If you check it at an ATM, it will charge you a fee for checking your balance).

Transaction History

Keep track of transactions that you make. You should check your transaction history weekly to ensure that you don’t have any phony activity on your card.

4 digit pin

You should never give out your PIN code to anyone. When creating a PIN for your debit card, avoid using numbers like your birthday or address. Choose something that you will remember, but that wouldn’t be relatively obvious. 

Spending and Withdrawing Limits

Many banking institutions have limits on debit cards, which could include spending or withdrawing. If you are unsure what those might be/if they apply to you, it is a good idea to call your bank. Sometimes banks will lock your card and cause it to decline if you have exceeded your withdrawal or spending limit. 


When you encounter fraudulent activity on your card, you should let your bank know immediately. They will refund all transactions that you did not make. Federal law requires financial institutions to refund all losses within 10 business days of notification. You also have a right to dispute purchases if you see them on your transaction history. The bank will often reimburse you for the dispute.

Your checking account

Enroll in Online and Mobile Banking

Why should I enroll in mobile and online banking?

How do I sign up for online and mobile banking?

You gain access to a variety of services including: 

Sign Up for Direct Deposit

What is Direct Deposit?

How do I sign up for Direct Deposit?

Automatic Transfers and Payments

What are Automatic Transfers and how can I sign up?

What are Automatic Payments and how can I sign up?

Setting Up Alerts

What kinds of alerts are available for my checking account?

How do I sign up for alerts?