Bank deposits consist of money placed into banking institutions for safekeeping. These deposits are made to deposit accounts such as savings accounts, checking accounts and money market accounts. The account holder has the right to withdraw deposited funds, as set forth in the terms and conditions governing the account agreement.
The deposit itself is a liability owed by the bank to the depositor. Bank deposits refer to this liability rather than to the actual funds that have been deposited. When someone opens a bank account and makes a cash deposit, he surrenders legal title to the cash, and it becomes an asset of the bank. In turn, the account is a liability to the bank.
There are several different types of deposit accounts including current accounts, savings accounts, call deposit accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).
A current account, also called a demand deposit account, is a basic checking account. Consumers deposit money which they can withdraw as desired on demand. These accounts often allow the account holder to withdraw funds using bank cards, checks or over-the-counter withdrawal slips. In some cases, banks charge monthly fees for current accounts, but they may waive the fee if the account holder meets other requirements such as setting up direct deposit or making a certain number of monthly transfers to a savings account.
Savings accounts offer account holders interest on their deposits. However, in some cases, account holders may incur a monthly fee if they do not maintain a set balance or a certain number of deposits. Although savings accounts are not linked to paper checks or cards like current accounts, their funds are relatively easy for account holders to access. In contrast, money market accounts offer slightly higher interest rates than savings accounts, but account holders face more limitations on the number of checks or transfers they can make from these accounts.
Financial institutions refer to these accounts as interest-bearing checking accounts, Checking Plus or Advantage Accounts. These accounts combine the features of checking and savings accounts, allowing consumers to easily access their money but also earn interest on their deposits.
Like a savings account, a time deposit account is an investment vehicle for consumers. Also known as certificates of deposit (CD), time deposit accounts tend to offer a higher rate of return than traditional savings accounts, but the money must stay in the account for a set period of time. In other countries, time deposit accounts feature alternative names such as term deposits, fixed-term accounts and savings bonds.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides deposit insurance that guarantees the deposits of member banks for at least $250,000 per depositor, per bank. Member banks are required to place signs visible to the public stating that "deposits are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government."