Prior to having my first job, I was not banked. I carried my money in my wallet all the time, even though I knew cash could be easily lost or stolen. However, as a young adult, I am proud to say that I took advantage of an affordable Bank On partner banking product during my first youth employment program.
A money mentor team from the Economic Awareness Council (EAC) visited our program and informed my cohort about youth banking products, which they carry in addition to banking products for adults. During this visit, EAC also brought a bank representative to assist anyone interested in opening an account. I immediately took advantage of this opportunity and opened my bank account. I was able to avoid having to go to a currency exchange or paying a third party extra fees to cash in my first and upcoming checks.
Not having a bank account can cost $40,000 in check cashing fees and other extra costs over your lifetime.
When I opened my checking account, I also decided to open a savings account. I was about to begin my most awaited journey: college. As a first-generation student, I wanted to reach my goal with very little assistance from my parents and graduate without taking out any loans. I have always been a big saver since I was little, and I wanted to continue practicing saving to cover all my college expenses, so I knew having my savings account would help me with this big step.
Although it wasn’t easy, but with careful planning I had sufficient funds to cover my college expenses while building up my savings. Therefore, during my 3rd year of college, I felt prepared and responsible to take the next step: begin building my credit.
I learned having a higher credit score can make it easier to borrow money for a house or other major purchases and save thousands of dollars in interest. Therefore, I opened a credit card line and used it to pay for things like gas and then fully pay off my balance at the end of the month. I was successful in doing this, and ever since my credit score has remained in the 750+ range. Moreover, my credit limit continues to increase over the years.
Bank On has safe, affordable accounts for youth, adults, and entrepreneurs. Compare different Bank On Chicago accounts. You can also access a friendly comparison table with our different banking products.
Now that I am banked and have a credit history, I am working on my next two goals. First, I would like to buy myself a new car which I have saved for to avoid taking out a loan or to take out the smallest loan possible. Right after that, I would like to begin saving to buy myself a condo or even a house. I know all these things will take some time to achieve, but I already have a head start and if I continue managing my money well, it is something I can achieve within the next 10 years.
Throughout the years, I have realized having a bank account is important to have not only to protect our money but also to achieve short and long-term goals such as purchasing a car or house. By banking, not only can you practice saving but also learn how to budget and prepare yourself to build your credit. It is important to note that there are steps to everything, and the first step before building credit is to be banked and demonstrate to oneself that you are responsible with your bank account. I would recommend to anyone that is not banked to start their research to set up their first bank account. The Bank On Chicago site, BankOnChicago.com, is a great resource and can introduce people to affordable banking products and other financial services or benefits.
Many people nowadays struggle with trusting or finding the right bank for them. If you are one of these people and are tired of paying check cashing fees or struggling to save for emergencies, Bank On is a great resource. Bank On Chicago works to connect everyone to safe and affordable financial products. By increasing individuals’ access to financial services, Bank On Chicago strives to increase socioeconomic opportunity, especially for individuals living in low to moderate income communities, liberating people and communities from cycles of poverty by providing banking access and other economic opportunities. Through Bank On Chicago, people are able to:
- Open safe, affordable bank accounts to better manage their money.
- Participate in financial education and get assistance to work to meet their financial goals such as becoming a homeowner or starting their own business.
- Learn about resources to help build credit, create emergency savings, repair credit, obtain small dollar loans as needed and participate in other financial empowerment programming to avoid predatory lending.
- Connect aspiring entrepreneurs to safe, low-cost accounts at partner banks and credit unions.
Bank On Chicago community & financial institution partners act as a resource to:
- Help people access funds such as stimulus checks via direct deposit to avoid delays and to ensure funds are received securely and for free.
- Provide products such as savings accounts to help people better manage their funds and save for the future.
- Connect people to non-banking partners for other assistance programs such as credit building, employment, rental assistance, etc.
- Inform families about benefits such as the child tax credit that they may be eligible for.
Overall, Bank On Chicago’s goal is to continue to reduce the number of unbanked or underbanked people and to continue to assist people to meet their financial goals.