• October 4, 2022
  • Posted by General Electric Credit Union

Painting the Picture: A Beginner’s Guide to Deposit Bank Accounts

Artists have a collection of tools they use to create. Without paintbrushes, clay, or a canvas, they can’t turn their inspiration into a reality. The same concept applies to your financial goals. The right tools – in this case, bank accounts – will help you achieve a museum-worthy financial picture. But if you’re just starting out and have never opened an account, you may not know where to turn first. From savings to checking accounts, there are a handful of deposit options to consider while shaping your financial toolkit. 

Checking accounts

Think of a checking account as a “spend” account. They’re perfect for regular transactions like bill payments or everyday purchases. The best checking accounts have no monthly maintenance fee, a wide network of ATMs and ITMs, and free online and mobile banking access.1 

It’s important to consistently check both your balance and transaction history. By checking the balance, you can confidently make purchases knowing you won’t overdraft the account (which occurs when you spend more money than is available). Reviewing transaction history can help you pinpoint where your money is going, confirm whether a transaction is posted or pending, and even spot fraud

  • Tip: Never go into the red with overdraft solutions. General Electric Credit Union (GECU) members can use overdraft protection transfers, which transfer funds from a savings or money market account to a checking account, or an overdraft line of credit to cover the cost of an overdraft!

Interest-earning accounts 

There are options that are just as easy to manage as a traditional checking account but also grow your money faster: interest-earning accounts. As the name implies, these checking accounts allow you to earn interest on your balance. Some operate under a tiered-rate system, rewarding your higher balance with a higher rate.  

  • Did you know you can open an Amplified High-Yield Checking2 account with as little as $25? Opt for an account that meets you where you are and grows with you!


While you’ll move money around quite a bit in a checking account, a savings account is reserved for long-term storage. This is where you stow away funds for goals, dreams, and emergencies. You don’t have to keep it all in one account, either. The best credit unions give you the option to open multiple savings accounts that can be renamed, allowing you to “bucket” your money and more accurately track progress. 

  • Tip: Want to put saving on autopilot? Round-Up is the answer.3 Once you’re set up with both a GECU checking and savings account and enrolled in the program, we’ll round up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference into your savings account. 

Interest-earning savings

High-yield checking accounts aren’t the only way for you to earn more off your money! Interest-earning savings accounts are a fantastic wealth-building strategy because the balance sits untouched, compounding, for longer. 

  • Better savings, in reach. Open a GECU high-yield Thrive Money Market account and start earning on as little as $100.4 


Certificates are to credit unions as certificates of deposit (CDs) are to banks. Certificates differ from a traditional savings account because your money stays locked in for a set period (referred to as the certificate term – this can range from a few months to a few years depending on your needs and goals). During this time, you will not have access to the money unless you opt to pay a fee for early withdrawal. Locking away funds isn’t an issue if you know you won’t need the money for the time it's stowed away, so be realistic about what you can manage. 

Financial institutions reward you for keeping your money in a certificate by giving you access to can’t-miss rates. Often, these are even higher than what’d you find on a traditional or money market savings account. And because certificates aren’t tied to the stock market, your earnings are guaranteed and predetermined. You can even utilize an online compound interest calculator before opening one to see exactly how much you’ll make! 

As you get older, your financial needs and goals may change. GECU adapts with you by always meeting you where you are and providing the resources and tools needed to aid your journey. If you still feel overwhelmed by the deposit account options available to you, a GECU team member would be happy to walk you through them. Schedule an appointment online in advance to skip the lines at your next branch visit. You can open accounts during the visit or afterwards through our online application

Back to blog home