Using Your Checking Account
With your checking account, you'll want to know how to deposit funds, how to get funds out (as a purchase, a bill payment or a cash withdrawal), how to keep track, and how to avoid overdrawing your account. This section describes how to do each of these things at Commerce.
- Making a Deposit
To make a deposit at a branch
You'll need to complete a deposit slip to make a deposit at a branch, whether you drive through, or go to the teller window inside. Follow the simple steps below.
- Tear the deposit slip from the back of your checkbook.
- Make sure the deposit slip has your account number on it.
- Note: You will need to add your account number if you are using a deposit slip from a teller.
- Write the date on the left side.
- In the box marked "CASH," show the total amount of currency and coin that you're depositing.
- List each check separately, and make sure your checks are endorsed.
- If you don't have enough room here for all of your checks, there is additional space on the back of the deposit slip. Then you list the total of the checks on the back at the bottom of this section. If you're depositing checks, they must be endorsed. You endorse a check that's made out to you by signing your name on the back of the check, exactly as it's written on the front. Once you've written your name, write "For Deposit Only" on the back of the check above your name. This will protect you if you lose the check and someone tries to cash it.
- Calculate the total of the deposit.
- If you'd like to get cash back, you'll need to indicate the amount and sign the deposit slip.
- Show the net deposit (total minus cash back).
- Give the completed deposit slip, with checks and/or cash, to the teller.
- You will receive cash back (if requested) and a receipt. Be sure to record the transaction in your check register.
To make a deposit at a Commerce ATM
Not all ATMs accept deposits. ATMs do not accept coins.
- Take a deposit envelope from the front of the ATM. No deposit slip is required.
- Write the amount that you are depositing on the outside of the envelope and then seal it with your cash and/or endorsed checks inside.
- Insert your Commerce Visa® Debit Card or other ATM card.
- Follow the step-by-step instructions on the ATM screen.
- Be sure to take your receipt and your card; then record the deposit in your check register.
Funds may not be available for your use immediately upon deposit. At Commerce, our policy is to make funds from deposits available on the next business day after the banking day we receive your deposit, except under certain circumstances as described in our Deposit Account Agreement. Availability depends in part on the type of deposit. For example, funds from an electronic deposit may be available immediately.
Commerce has several ATMs that allow you to make a deposit without using a deposit envelope.
- Writing a Check
While most of the time it is easiest to pay for things with a debit card, there may be times when you need to write a check. The example below describes your check and how to complete it.
- Check number- Record this in your check register.
- Date - Write the date the check is written in this spot.
- "Pay to the order of" - Write in blue or black ink the person or company that you want to pay.
- $ Amount - Write the amount to be paid in numbers, dollars and cents.
- Always write the numbers close to the dollar sign, so that additional numbers cannot be added by someone else.
- Amount - Write the amount of the check in words. Start at the left edge of the line, right under "Pay To The Order Of." Once you've written the amount, draw a line from the end of the amount to the word "Dollars."
- Signature - Sign your name to promise that the funds are available and may be taken from your checking account.
- "For" line - Write yourself a note to help remember the purpose of the check.
- Be sure to record the check in your check register.
- Using a Debit Card
Your debit card (sometimes called a Visa® Debit Card) can be used in many ways to access your money or make purchases. When you use your Visa Debit Card, the money comes directly from your checking account.
You can use your debit card to:
- Make purchases at retailers that accept Visa debit and Interlink®
- Get cash, either at an ATM or when you make a purchase and enter your PIN
- Make Internet and telephone purchases
- Pay bills (like car insurance, cell phone, health club, etc.) automatically
- Making a purchase
To use your debit card, you can either sign the receipt, or enter your PIN.
Sign the Receipt Enter your PIN
- Swipe your card or give it to the clerk.
- Choose "Credit."
- Sign the receipt.
- Swipe your card or give it to the clerk.
- Choose "Debit."
- Enter your PIN.
- Enter the amount of cash back, if desired.
NOTE: The money will come out of your checking account either way.
- Getting Cash
From an ATM:
- Insert or swipe your debit card
- Enter your PIN
- Choose "Withdrawal"
- Select the account from which you want to withdraw
- Using the keypad, enter the amount you wish to withdraw. At some ATMs, your withdrawal must be in increments of $20
- Take your cash, your receipt and your card, and record your withdrawal in your check register. If you're using an ATM not owned by Commerce, you may be charged a fee by Commerce and the bank that owns the ATM.
With a purchase:
Many retailers allow you to get cash back at no extra charge when you make a purchase using your debit card.
- Swipe your card
- Choose "Debit"
- Enter your PIN
- Select the "cash back" option, if available
- Select the amount of cash you'd like to receive back
- When recording the transaction, be sure to record the total - your purchase amount, plus any cash you received
At a branch:
To get cash from a teller in a branch or through the drive-through:
- Write a check payable to yourself (enter your name in the "Pay To" section)
- Sign the back in the space provided for endorsement
- Present the check and your identification to the teller. If you're in the drive-through, send your ID along with your transaction information
Caution: Don't make your check payable to "cash." If you lose it, anyone can cash it.
Or: Give the teller your debit card and ask to make a withdrawal.
- Show the teller your ID
- Complete and sign the receipt
- Record the withdrawal in your register
From a deposit:
If you're depositing one or more checks into your account, you may request some of your deposit back in cash (the amount may be limited by your bank's policy regarding the availability of funds).
- Indicate on the deposit slip how much cash you'd like to receive
- Sign the deposit slip
- Present identification
- When recording the deposit in your check register, be sure to note the amount of the deposit shown on your receipt
- Keeping track of your money
Your check register is a spending record and is the best tool for keeping track of money going into and out of your account. If you keep accurate records in your register, it should always reflect your most accurate balance. Keep in mind the available balance shown online or at the ATM may not include outstanding checks, debit card or ATM transactions, fees or unposted deposits.
- Check Number - Take this from the check that you have written
- Date - Write in the date of your transaction
- Description of the Transaction -
- For a check - write the name of the person you wrote it to, and the what it's for
- For a deposit - write "deposit" and the location (i.e. - Corinth Branch or Clayton ATM)
- For an ATM withdrawal, write the amount plus any fees
- For a debit, write the name of the merchant
- Amount - Record the amount paid or deposited
- For a check - write the amount paid in the "Payment/Debit" column
- For a deposit - write the amount deposited in the "Deposit/Credit" column
- For a debit card transaction - write the amount in the "Payment/Debit" column
- For an ATM withdrawal - write the amount in the "Payment/Debit" column
- Balance - This is where you keep a running total of your account balance. When you take money out, subtract the amount from this total. When you make a deposit, add the amount to this total.
What to record
To keep your account in order, record the following in your register:
- Deposits - both direct deposits, and deposits you've made by check or cash
- Cash withdrawals, plus any fees for using an ATM not owned by Commerce
- Checks you've written
- Debit card transactions. If you received cash back from a purchase, be sure to include the cash amount
- Payments that come out of your account automatically
- Transfers of funds from one account to another
- Bills paid through Online Bill Pay
- Bank fees, such as service fees, overdraft fees or fees for ordering checks
- Avoiding Overdrafts
Your account is overdrawn when it has a negative balance. For example, if you began with a balance of $90, and wrote checks totaling $100, your balance would go to -$10, resulting in an overdraft.
Overdrafts can be costly. If you write a check or use your debit card and you don't have enough money in your account, you may overdraw your account. The bank may pay or return the check to the payee (person or company to whom the check is written). Both the bank and the payee may charge substantial fees.
To avoid overdrafts:
- Keep good records of every deposit into your account, and every withdrawal, including checks you've written, ATM withdrawals, debit transactions, automatic payments, money you've transferred out and any fees that you've been charged.
- Be sure to check your monthly statement or review your account online to be aware of any fees that have been charged in your account.
- Double-check your math.
- Consider applying for overdraft protection. Learn more
- Online Banking is a great (free!) tool for keeping track of your balances.
Your check register is the best tool for keeping track of money going into and out of your account. If you keep accurate records in your register, it should always reflect your most accurate balance. Keep in mind the available balance shown online or at the ATM may not include outstanding checks, debit card or ATM transactions, fees or unposted deposits.
- Setting Up Automatic Transactions
Automatic transactions can make it easier to manage your checking account. You can set up automatic deposits, make recurring payments and have transfers made to your savings account automatically.
Recurring deposits, such as your paycheck, can be set up to go into your account automatically via electronic transfer. This is called direct deposit.
Benefits of direct deposit:
- The funds are available to you much faster - no need to wait for the check to clear.
- The deposit is made electronically - you don't have to pick up your paycheck and deliver it to the bank.
- Direct deposits are safe - no chance you will lose your check.
To set up a direct deposit, talk with your employer's payroll department. If you receive financial aid, check with your university to see if they can deposit refunds of excess financial aid directly to your account. You'll need to know your bank's routing number and your account number.
If you have recurring payments (such as a monthly car payment or car insurance premium), you can set up automatic payments from your checking account (as long as you have sufficient funds in your account).
Benefits of automatic payments
- Once the payment is established, it gets paid automatically - so you can't forget to make a payment
- The payment is credited on the date you specify (as long as the funds are in your account), so your payment won't be late
- You save time, paper and postage
To set up a recurring payment, enroll in Online Bill Pay. You'll need:
- The company name, address and phone
- Your account number with the company
- The date and frequency (for example, weekly or monthly) of each payment. Should anything change, you can always change or cancel the payment at a later date
Or, you can call the company you want to pay automatically; most companies are happy to set up an automatic payment plan for you. You'll need to know:
- Your account number with the company
- Your bank's routing number or your debit card number
- Your checking account number
- The date and frequency of each payment
Caution: Remember to record automatic payments in your check register on the date they're scheduled to be paid.
A great way to start your savings plan is to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account.
Benefits of automatic transfers:
- Develop the habit of saving
- Help with budgeting, by setting up a regular amount to save
- Put money in savings without having to write checks or make deposits
- To send an email that contains confidential information, please visit the Secure Message Center where there are additional instructions about whether to use Secure Email or Online Banking messaging.