#MSWIWeek: About Certified Accounts

Certified accounts are financial products that are designed to help consumers access safe and affordable banking products and services. They meet certain standards for safety, affordability, and transparency and can be particularly helpful to people with a limited or poor credit history. Certified accounts may include features such as low or no monthly fees, low minimum balance requirements, and no overdraft fees.

Bank On Greater Milwaukee works with local financial institutions to offer certified accounts that meet national standards set by the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund). The CFE Fund is a national organization that works to improve the financial stability of households by promoting safe and affordable banking products and services. To qualify as a Bank On certified account, financial institutions must meet the following standards:

1. Fees: Certified accounts must have no or low monthly maintenance fees, and no overdraft fees.

2. Minimum balance requirements: Certified accounts must have no minimum balance requirement or a low balance requirement of $25 or less.

3. Online bill pay: Certified accounts must offer free or low-cost online bill pay services.

4. ATM access: Certified accounts must offer free or low-cost ATM access at in-network ATMs.

5. Deposit insurance: Certified accounts must be FDIC-insured or NCUA-insured.

5 Reasons to Open a Certified Account

  1. Security: By opening a certified bank account, your money is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000. This means that even if the bank were to fail, your money would still be safe.
  2. Convenience: A certified bank account allows you to easily deposit and withdraw money, write checks, and pay bills online. You can also set up automatic payments for bills, making it easier to manage your finances.
  3. Credit: Having a certified bank account can help you establish credit, which is important if you plan to take out a loan or apply for a credit card in the future. Banks report your account activity to credit bureaus, which can help you build a positive credit history.
  4. Savings: Many certified bank accounts offer savings accounts with competitive interest rates. By opening a savings account, you can earn interest on your money and grow your savings over time.
  5. Access to Financial Services: Banks offer a wide range of financial services, including loans, credit cards, and investment accounts. By opening a certified bank account, you can gain access to these services and work towards your financial goals.

By working with local financial institutions to offer certified accounts, Bank On Milwaukee is helping to improve access to safe and affordable banking products and services for everyone in the community. These accounts can help people build their credit history, save money, and achieve greater financial stability.

During the week of April 15-21, 2023, Bank On Greater Milwaukee joins the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability and the WI Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) in celebrating Money Smart Week, a financial literacy awareness and education campaign (learn more here). We’re featuring posts with tips and resources on teaching kids about money, certified accounts, debt relief, employer retirement plans, and 529 savings plan.