How to manage your checking account

Keeping your account in check.

A checking account is a great way to start building good financial habits. Once you’ve decided on the First Financial checking account that is right for you, the next step is learning how to manage it.

Making deposits.

We know your time is valuable so we give you several ways to deposit money to your checking account. You can make deposits in cash, by check, or arrange for Direct Deposit through your employer. Whichever is most convenient for you. And speaking of convenient, did you know we have more than 62 locations and 70 ATMS, many of which accept deposits, throughout Texas to meet your financial needs? Even if there’s not a location close by, our Mobile Banking app brings the branch to you.

When depositing checks at one of our locations, you will need to complete a deposit slip. Your teller will be glad to assist you if you need help filling it out. The check will need to be endorsed by signing the back. You may choose to deposit the entire amount, or request a portion of the check in cash. There may be restrictions on the withdrawal amount since the bank doesn’t receive the funds right away.

With Direct Deposit, your employer will deliver your paycheck electronically to your First Financial bank account. You’ll need to provide them with a completed authorization form including your bank information. Funds will be available on payday for your withdrawal.

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Making Withdrawals

At First Financial, we know how important it is to have your money available whenever you need it. That’s why we give you plenty of choices: use an ATM, your debit card, write a check, use bill pay or authorize direct payments for electronic withdrawals. No matter which method you use, always remember to update your check register. It’s important to keep a good record of all deposits and withdrawals so you don’t withdraw more than your balance which could result in additional fees.

Using your debit card

Your debit card gives you purchasing power! It’s fast, convenient, and easy to use. Simply select credit and sign your name, or select debit and enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN) number when making a purchase. Some merchants offer a cash back option when using your debit card.

You can also use your debit card to make cash withdrawals at ATMs. First Financial has over 70 ATMs throughout Texas where you can use your debit card without any charges. You can also use it without a charge at Stripes Convenient Stores in Texas. If you choose to make withdrawals at an ATM not owned by First Financial, you may incur additional charges. The amount varies and will be disclosed to you prior to accepting the fee and completing your withdrawal.

You’ll enjoy the convenience of your First Financial debit card while maintaining peace of mind when you use our mobile app to take control of your debit card.

Writing a check

Writing a check is always an option. There are 6 steps to writing a check

  1. Date
  2. Payee
  3. Amount
  4. Written Amount
  5. Your Signature
  6. Record the check in your check register

Using Bill Pay

What is more reassuring than being in control of your finances? With our FREE Online and Mobile Bill Pay, you have the ability to stay on top of your monthly bills with the utmost east and turnkey efficiency. No more stamps, no more envelopes to seal. To learn more about our bill pay services, click here.

Authorizing Direct Payments

Automatic payments are a convenient choice for paying routine bills like your utilities, loan payments, and membership dues. Service providers will require you to sign an authorization form including your bank information and the amount agreed upon. The payment is withdrawn on the scheduled date until you notify the provider to cancel the payment.

Keep Good Records

Good recordkeeping is very important to your finances. Use your check register to document all deposits and withdrawals. Make sure you record the withdrawals you’ve scheduled through Bill Pay and authorized as direct payments.

Online Banking is an excellent tool to monitor your account activity and avoid overdrawing your account. An overdrawn account will result in bank fees and if the payment request is returned to the payee due to insufficient funds, you may be assessed another fee.

Protect your money

What First Financial can provide for you:

  • Free Online Banking - monitor your account 24/7 using your computer.
  • Free Mobile Banking – your connection to the bank is as close as your mobile device.
  • Mobile alerts to notify you when debit card activity occurs.
  • Online Banking alerts to notify you by phone, text, or email about account activity.

What you can do:

  • Maintain good records – know your balance. Avoid fees for Insufficient Funds (NSF).
  • Safeguard your checks – don’t share your account number.
  • Treat your Debit Card like cash.
  • Don’t write your PIN on the card.
  • If you lose your checkbook or Debit Card, notify the bank IMMEDIATELY.
  • Notify the bank IMMEDIATELY, if an unauthorized transaction posts to your account.
  • Shred all documents that have your name, account number, or other private information printed on them.

Balance your checkbook

It is important to match your records with your bank statement. This should be done when your monthly statement arrives or even easier, you can go online. Contact the bank if you have any questions or concerns about the activity reported on your statement or online.

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