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The Graduate’s Guide to Banking

The day has finally come – graduation! You have your cap and gown, ready to take the next big step in your life. But there’s something you may not have learned in all your years of schooling…the ABCs of Banking! Moving on to college, trade schools, or starting a new job brings about a lot of changes – and understanding the ABCs of banking can help make your transition to this new chapter easier.


A is for ACH (Automated Clearing House): This is an electronic network that allows funds to be transferred electronically between financial institutions. ACH transactions work by debiting the originating bank and crediting the receiving bank. A clearinghouse then batches the transactions and sends them to the recipient’s bank. ACH transactions are typically executed on the same day if completed before 5 PM, but traditional ACH transfers can take 1–3 business days. Keep this in mind when scheduling electronic payments for things like bills or loan payments that have a specific due date!

B is for Balance: The balance of your bank account may not always reflect the actual amount of funds you have available. Electronic transactions, such as debit card and online payments, will usually reflect in your balance at the time of the transaction – but not always. And keep in mind if you write a check that has not been deposited or cashed by the payee, you will need to keep track of that yourself in order to know what your account balance is. Utilizing online banking can help you keep tabs on your balances in real-time, but be sure to deduct any money you’ve spent that you don’t see processed yet in your transactions.

C is for Co-op: At Cutting Edge, we are a financial cooperative (also known as a “co-op”) – which means we are not-for-profit financial institution and work in cooperation with other credit unions and co-ops to provide maximum value, benefits, and service to our member-owners!

D if for Debit Card: A debit card is a card tied to your checking account that uses a 4-digit pin number for security – remember to never share your PIN with anyone else! Alternatively, it can be sometimes be used as a credit card, where you don’t input the PIN but authorize the funds to still withdrawn right away. With a debit card, you spend the money at the time of usage whether you run it as debit or credit. Keep in mind that if someone were to compromise your debit card, they can wipe out your checking account and it may take some time to recover the money, based on the circumstances!

E is for e-Services: In the digital age, your access to your accounts is easy as ever with our e-Services. We offer online banking, mobile banking and mobile deposits, as well as electronic statements, all at no cost to you! You can also apply for accounts, loans, and services online so you never have to step foot in a branch if you don’t want to.

F is for Financial Coaching: Every employee of Cutting Edge Credit Union is a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor, and as a member you can receive financial coaching at no cost!

G is for Grace Period: Some loans and lines of credit offer a grace period to make your monthly payment. Although this can be useful when you make a mistake, it is important to make your payments on time to maintain your credit score!

H is for Hold: Sometimes a hold will be placed on a recent deposit, suspected as fraud or other reasons depending on your usual banking activity. This is another way financial institutions work to help protect your money!

I is for Identity Theft: Identity Theft has become a large problem, especially in the digital age. As a member of Cutting Edge Credit Union we offer identity theft research and recovery as no cost to you or your family!

J is for Joint Account Owner: If this is the first time you will be moving out of the house and living on your own, your parents may want to continue to help you with your finances. They can be on your accounts as a joint owner to help monitor and have access to your accounts.

L is for Loan: A loan is a contractual agreement where you are given an agreed upon amount of money for a purchase, like a car loan or a personal loan. Approval for a loan is based upon many factors like credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and ability to repay.

M is for Mobile Banking: Online banking is great, but you aren’t always by a computer to login and check your account. That’s where mobile banking comes in – using the Cutting Edge Credit Union Mobile Banking app on your phone, you have access to check your transactions and even deposit a check by taking a photo!

N is for No Monthly Service Fee: Some financial institutions require you maintain a minimum average monthly balance or receive a specified amount in direct deposits each month, or you will be charged a monthly maintenance service fee – but not at Cutting Edge Credit Union! There are no minimums or hoops to jump through, your checking account has no monthly service fee, ever!

O is for Overdraft Protection: We’re all human, and mistakes happen. That’s why we offer overdraft protection, also known as Courtesy Pay, on your checking account. If you have funds in your savings, another option is to link it to your checking account to help cover charges if you don’t have enough funds there.

P is for Phishing Bank Scams: Phishing scams are when a scammer contacts you through email pretending to be the credit union. They create a sense of urgency to lead you to share personal or banking information. We will never ask you for your banking information via email – but if you are suspicious of an email claiming to be from Cutting Edge you can call us at 866-653-4392 to verify!

Q is for Quick Loan: Life is unpredictable, and sometimes you need funds that you didn’t have in the budget. People often turn to a payday lender to quickly get some additional money in their pocket – but payday lenders charge absurdly high interest rates, and are generally considered predatory alternative financial services. At Cutting Edge, we offer a payday loan alternative called a Quick Loan. To learn more about the Quick Loan, come into the branch, reachout online, or call us at 866-653-4392!

R is for Routing Number: Every financial institution has a number that allows other financial institutions to know where the transaction is coming from. At Cutting Edge our routing number is 323274788.

S is for Share Savings: It’s called share savings account because it represents your “share” or ownership of the credit union. With only a minimum balance of $10.00 in this account you are considered a member-owner of the credit union, with all the benefits that provides! Set up payroll deduction or automatic transfers to start a good habit of regularly saving to pay yourself first.

T is for Telephone Banking: Cutting Edge iTalk Teller Telephone Banking is a free service that gives you 24-hour access to your accounts to check balances, make transfers, loan payments, and more! All you need is your member number and to set up an access code. All account activity is detailed on your monthly statement, and can be reviewed by phone or online. To access iTalk Teller Telephone Banking, call 888-794-0052 and follow the prompts.

V is for Volunteer: As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, Cutting Edge Credit Union is governed by members who volunteer their time for our Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee, and Community Advisory Board. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, reach out to the credit union to learn more!

W is for Workplace Partnership: To be eligible for membership you, or a family member, need to work at one of our Workplace Partners.

Y is for Youth Accounts: We offer accounts for all ages, from newborns and up!


We know you are at point in life where a lot of changes are happening, and that’s why we are here to help you navigate these milestones and challenges. If you have any questions about the ABCs or banking (or anything else related to your financial wellness) stop by one of our branches or give us a call at 866-653-4392 to chat with one of our Member Advocate Specialists!

NCUA LogoThis credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration
Equal Housing LenderEqual Housing Lender - We do business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law and the Equal Housing Opportunity Act.