I work in a bank. I have for years, off and on.
My first teller job was in 1999 in Virginia. Back when banks had actual banker hours, and checks were still a thing.
I’ve seen what a plastic culture we’ve become.
Every day I see people that don’t have a register to keep track of their spending.
Don’t even know how to balance a checkbook.
Then wonder why they are in the hole, how could a charge have hit?
There have been so many times I’ve asked, “Do you keep a register?” only to get the identical response every time, “No…but I know what is in my account. I check it online every day.”
I’ve had teenager upon teenager, and quite a few adults come up to my window in a panic because they forgot their card, and “How on earth can I get money out?”
I am stunned on a regular basis on the ineptitude of people and how to handle their checking account. (and for the record, it is checking account…one of my biggest pet peeves is calling it checkingS. ~shudder~)
How did we come to this?
Plastic. It’s made everything so easy. I’m guilty of it myself.
So I implore every single one of you.
If you don’t know how to handle a checkbook, LEARN. Do NOT count on what you see on your online banking every day. Pending charges can drop off only to return. Some online payments don’t show up right away. And god forbid you actually write a check…you are bound to forget about it.
If your kids are coming of age to get their own accounts, teach them how to balance a checkbook. Teach them what a withdrawal is, and how it can be done without an ATM.
Remember that just because the card works doesn’t mean the money is there. It’s very possible your bank allows a certain amount of overdraft.
Also, remember you are dealing with real money, even if it doesn’t cross your fingertips. Plastic doesn’t make it fakes, just easy to abuse.
Oh, and please don’t blame the tellers for fees or errors. While we do make mistakes, often your issue is not our mistake. I promise, we really are there to help.
And lastly, teach them, and yourself, some basic bank protocol. I have some examples, but this’ll turn into a lecture. Let’s just say, use common sense and be kind to your tellers.
One final note: Try going plastic-free for one month. Use checks and cash. It’ll change the way you view money inw ays you never imagined.