Bank account

Letter from the Midland Bank to a customer, informing them of the introduction of electronic data processing and of account numbers for current accounts

A bank account is a financial account maintained by a bank for a customer. A bank account can be a deposit account, a credit card account, a current account, or any other type of account offered by a financial institution, and represents the funds that the customer has entrusted to or borrowed from the financial institution.

The financial transactions which have occurred on a bank account within a given period of time are reported to the customer on a bank statement, and the balance of the accounts at any point in time is the financial position of the customer with the institution.

The laws of each country specify how bank accounts may be opened and operated. They may specify who may open an account, for example, how the signatories can identify themselves, deposit, withdrawal limits among other specifications. The minimum age for opening a bank account is 18 years old in most countries. However, in some countries, the minimum age to open a bank account is 16 years old.

Account structure

Bank accounts may have a positive, or credit balance, when the financial institution owes money to the customer; or a negative, or debit balance, when the customer owes the financial institution money.[1]

Broadly, accounts opened with the purpose of holding credit balances are referred to as deposit accounts, whereas accounts opened with the purpose of holding debt balances are referred to as loan accounts. Some accounts can switch between credit and debit balances.

Some accounts are categorized by the function rather than nature of the balance they hold, such as savings account, which routinely are in credit.

All financial institutions have their own names for the various accounts which they open for customers.