Lesson 6: Checking Accounts

Graphic of bank card and calculator

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To gather information regarding checking accounts and to write a check.

Materials needed: blank checks and tools to access them (magnifier, CCTV, and/or check writing guide), embossed checks, large print checks, ATM, and debit cards.

Introduction

“Today, we are highlighting checking accounts. You will learn the purpose of a checking account, the process of depositing and withdrawing funds, and how to write a check.”

Discussion: Checking Account Information

“Keeping money in a checking account allows for secure and easily accessible funds. While you typically do not earn much interest from funds in a checking account, the money is available to you even if the bank goes out of business (as long as the bank is FDIC insured). The funds are easily accessible by:

  • Withdrawing cash using an ATM or debit card
  • Paying for goods and services with the debit card
  • Writing a check withdraws the money from your account and routes it to the recipient’s account when deposited.

Different banks offer checking accounts that vary in terms of requirements and options. Free checks, various interest rates, and potential fees or services such as overdraft protection (where you pay a charge and the bank will not penalize you for writing a check for money that is not in your account, though the funds must be repaid to the bank immediately) are some things that will be different from bank to bank. Find out about all the options, possible penalties, hidden fees, and services related to a checking account before signing up for one.”

Explain the importance of maintaining awareness of the level of funds in the checking account by maintaining a record of expenses and fees and reviewing the statement online. The account holder can note bank statement errors and avoid spending more than in the account. It is easy to overspend if a check or debit card expenditure has not yet posted to an account. Maintaining accurate spending records also raises awareness of spending habits.

Discussion: Depositing and Withdrawing Funds

Methods of depositing funds into a checking account:

  • You may have the option to deposit paychecks into your checking account directly.
  • You can deposit cash or checks at the bank. You must be the intended recipient for the checks and will endorse them by signing them. You will provide the bank teller a valid ID and the teller will deposit the funds into the account. Your bank may require a deposit slip filled out with your account number, the number of funds, and any check numbers.
  • You may have the option to mail checks to the bank with a deposit slip.
  • You may have the option to deposit a check into your account with a smartphone. You take a picture of the front and back of the check and deposit the check using a phone application.

Methods of withdrawing funds from a checking account:

  • You can fill out a withdraw slip to withdraw cash at a branch of your bank.
  • You can use an ATM card or debit card linked to the account to receive cash at an automated teller machine (ATM).
  • You can write a check, routing funds from your account into the account of the recipient.
  • You can pay an organization/company by swiping your debit card at the register, signing your name on the receipt, or providing the company with your debit card number. For security reasons, do not provide your card number over the phone.

Exercise: Using an ATM

Take the student to an ATM and demonstrate use. Discuss keeping the PIN memorized and private.

Exercise: Writing a Check

Use a check-writing guide if the student cannot easily access the print and spaces on a check. Consider numbering each space and teaching the student to accurately fill out each numbered section with an ink pen.

  • Space 1 can be the date. The student should write the full date.
  • Space 2 can be the recipient.
  • Space 3 can be the amount written in numbers.
  • Space 4 can be the amount written in words.
  • Space 5 can be the memo, an optional space for writing the purpose of transferring funds.
  • Space 6 can be the signature. The signature can be a memorized, typical signature or a consistent marking.

Provide an embossed and large print check for exploration. Explain that they are alternatives to a check-writing guide and are available at some banks.

Suppose the student’s handwriting is difficult for others to read. In that case, he may use check-printing software to fill out checks electronically or avoid using checks as payment when possible. If writing a check by hand is the only option, he can ask a well-trusted individual to fill out each space except the signature.

Review

“Today you learned about checking accounts. We talked about methods for depositing and withdrawing funds, and we used an ATM and wrote checks.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications:

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