What You Can Do At A Bank
When you show ID and provide an initial deposit, you can open a checking or savings account. Checking accounts come with debit cards and you can buy paper checks to manually transfer money to companies. Paying your rent, paying your bills, paying your taxes: all good things to do with paper checks, because it gives you some quantity of trackable paper trail. Savings accounts come with debit or ATM-only cards. Either way, you can interact with your money via online banking, telephone banking, ATM units, or inside the bank with a bank employee at the teller counter. Recent legislation has made it that if you want to put money into somebody *else's* account, you will need to do this with a paper check. Banks will not take cash deposits from people whose name is not on the account. Some banks are reluctant to make cash transactions with non-customers. If you don't have paper checks, you can buy cashier's checks, printed at-the-counter, made out to one specific payee. Sometimes landlords prefer cashier's checks, because the money is guaranteed to be existing and cannot bounce. Checks written for non-existent money cannot be redeemed, and are said to "bounce" out of the account. One way that you as a consumer can avoid this is by linking a savings account to a checking account as Overdraft Protection.
One useful service that banks do provide is a secure way to store very small valuable items. You can rent tiny drawers called Safe Deposit Boxes, get a key, and store anything that will fit. Things that go in safe deposit boxes typically include property ownership documentation such as deeds and titles, precious metals, and gemstones. In the modern age, a few flash drives or SD chips with photos and lists of all your possessions would be a clever way to have off-site proof of ownership in case of fire.
ATM units only ever stock $20 bills. If you ask at a teller's counter, you can get your money in a variety of denominations: bills of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and coins for 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and 100¢. Yes, the $2 bill is still in circulation, as is the half-dollar coin and the dollar coin (availability varies by bank and day). Tellers facilitate smaller withdrawals. Carrying some cash means that you can avoid debit card usage fees.
Politics and Economics of Banking
Big Banks control massive amounts of wealth and with this wealth they wield great political power by influencing and bribing politicians to approve favorable legislation. Big banks are responsible in the past for predatory lending and other decisions that brought about the housing collapse as well as the downfall of the economy. Moving your money away from the Big Banks reduces the power that Big Banks have over politicians in government.
The Big Banks have become so big that if one of them fails, it would bring down the entire economy with them. We need to reduce the risk of this happening by moving our money away from the Big Banks who want a monopoly by controlling everyone's money. Moving money from Big Banks to smaller locally owned banks or credit unions will reduce the power that Big Banks have over the entire economy. A collapse of a bank such as Citibank would have devastated our economy and increased inflation to extreme levels. Allowing these banks to become too big is what caused them to have such a dramatic effect on our economy.
The Government has listed several banks as "too big to fail." The government would use taxpayer money to keep these banks afloat even though they deserve to go bankrupt due to their own poor financial decisions and corrupt leadership. Regular citizens already have financial problems of their own, and they aren't getting a helping hand from the government to prevent their own bankruptcies like the Big Banks did.
Davis's banks include:
- AmericanWest Bank (Downtown)
- Bank of America (Downtown) Checks cost extra.
- Chase (Downtown) Student plan: Free Chase College Checking - No monthly fee, free ATM/VISA check card, free online bill pay, no direct deposit requirement, overdraft protection available for a fee, checks cost extra. After you leave school you will have a monthly fee.
- First Northern Bank (Downtown)
Premier West BankDeparted Business, now part of AmericanWest Bank
- River City Bank (Downtown)
- US Bank (Downtown)
- Union Bank (Downtown) Checks cost extra.
- Wells Fargo (Downtown, The Marketplace, Oakshade Town Center) Warning: Wells Fargo will forbid customers from suing them or engaging in class action lawsuits as of 02/15/12 by changing their customer agreement. You will be at the mercy of whatever Wells Fargo decides to do with your money. College Combo Account requires $500 balance or direct deposit of $25 or more or else there will be a $3 monthly fee. Checks cost extra.
Credit Unions in Davis offer better deals than most banks. They provide all of the services of a bank such as checking and savings accounts. This includes free ATM/debit cards, free online banking and bill pay, no monthly fees, no minimum balance, and one credit union even offers free overdraft refunds. All Davis credit unions are part of the Co-op ATM Network which includes 28,000 free ATMs. When you join a credit union you can use virtually any credit union ATM nationwide for free. Students and residents of Davis can join any of the credit unions in Davis.
Golden 1 Credit Union - First box of checks free with new student checking accounts, no minimum balance, no monthly fee, free online bill pay. You can scan and deposit checks online from a computer with a scanner for free.
University and State Employees Credit Union - 1 free overdraft/year, free online bill pay, no minimum balance or monthly fee. You can scan and deposit checks online from a computer with a scanner for free.
Yolo Federal Credit Union - Largest number of surcharge free ATMs: US Bank ATMs, MoneyPass ATMs, and Co-op ATMs (at Credit Unions). Student checking account has no monthly fees. Free e-checking account available. Free online bill pay.
2012-08-24 13:25:29 It seems that someone has decided to commingle descriptive information with a big load of political ideology. I don't want to censor anyone, but most of this stuff should be on a separate "Politics of Banking" page. —GregKuperberg