The word account can mean different things. In finance, it can mean the amount of money deposited in a financial institution or the statement of financial transactions. The latter is often called statement of account.

To narrow down the discussion let us focus on the basic types of bank accounts.

Transactional account. Also called checking or current account, this account is primarily meant to provide a number of convenient ways for the depositor to access money. These ways include, but are not limited to: ATM or debit card, SWIFT (international money transfer), direct debit, and checks. The downside of this is that transactional accounts usually offer no or very little interest.

Savings account. An account where the depositor’s money earns modest interest. Compared to transactional accounts, withdrawal of funds is not as convenient. Still, many find it convenient enough, since money in many savings accounts can now be withdrawn via ATMs or even act as debit cards.

Joint account. An account shared by two or more individuals. All account holders can deposit and withdraw from the account. If one account holder dies, the remaining account owner(s) will get the remaining balance and/or debt. A joint account can be a savings or transactional account.

Time deposit. Also called certificate of deposit, this is actually a type of savings account with the distinction of having higher interest rates. In return, depositors agree not to withdraw the money before a specified date. Early withdrawals are penalized.