Checking Basics
pen writing a check and the corner of a $1 bill
Chapter 4: Protecting your account

Banking involves many layers of protection, from your own personal account to your banking institution to national security.

There are many aspects to your relationship with your bank that you many not even think about. This chapter will explain the basics of online banking, how to read your monthly bank statement, how banking institutions must comply with the Patriot Act, how you can protect your own privacy by reading "junk" mail from your bank or credit union, what the FDIC will protect and how you can be sure your bank is on solid financial ground.

What can you expect to learn from this chapter:
  • Online banking
    Doing your banking online is a great convenience. But you've got to do a little work to set it up. We'll show you how -- and dispel concerns about security.
  • Anatomy of a bank account statement
    Don't let your monthly bank statement sit unopened. Here's what to check on the statement and a sample letter you can use when you think there's a mistake.
  • Patriot Act compliance
    After the Sept. 11, 2001, attack in New York, the U.S. government enacted rules with which banks must comply. Here's an explanation of how those affect you.
  • Opting out to protect your privacy
    Sometimes throwing away junk mail from your bank, credit card company or credit union means your throwing away your chance to get off junk-mail lists.
  • Protecting your money
    Here's a rundown of what the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and credit unions actually cover.
  • How safe is your bank?'s "Safe & Sound" ratings enable you to check the financial health of your bank.
  • Tips for your banking relationship
    Some final ideas to help you enjoy a happy relationship with your bank.



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