Activity One: Bank accounts
1. Ask students if anyone has ever been inside a bank, credit union or An Post? Does anyone know what services these organisations offer to consumers, to help them manage their money?
2. Explain that bank accounts are one type of service offered by financial institutions. People use bank accounts to help them manage their money on a day-to-day basis and there are different types of accounts to suit different needs.
3. Write the heading ‘Bank Accounts’ on the white/blackboard and underneath write two column headings: ‘Advantages’ and ‘Disadvantages’.
4. Divide the class into pairs.
5. Invite each pair to come up with a list of ‘Advantages’ and/or ‘Disadvantages’ associated with having a bank account. Depending on your class you may wish to provide one or more of the following prompts:
- Interest earned on money in account
- Receive payments such as salary/wage, social welfare or pension income
- 24 hour access to cash using ATM
- Pay for things using debit card
- Pay bills in the branch, by direct debit or standing order
- Transfer money to another account
- Internet/phone banking facilities
- Overdraft facility
- Shopping online
- Paying for things while abroad
- Less temptation to spend money if it is in your account than when it is in your wallet/purse
- Establishes a relationship with the financial institution which might be needed in future
- Not always accessible – for example, restricted by bank opening hours, branch location etc
- Monthly charges and fees
- Stamp duty on cards and cheques
- You might not always know exactly how much is in your account unless you have internet access
- Minimum balance requirements
- Other fees and charges, e.g. charges for additional statements, ATM charges etc.
6. Explain that a bank account is an efficient and convenient way to receive income and pay for goods and services, pay bills, transfer money to other people or to other bank accounts. Depending on what type of account you have you will receive different bank cards.
7. Remind the class that bank accounts are one type of service provided either by the banks, credit unions or An Post. Ask students if they can name any other services? You may wish to provide one or more of the following prompts:
- Banks – online banking, savings, foreign exchange, mortgages, credit cards, loans, investment accounts, debit/laser cards etc.
- Credit Unions – savings, loans, investment accounts etc.
- An Post – savings, investment accounts, money transfers, insurance, foreign exchange etc.
8. Conclude by explaining that many of the same advantages are available across financial institutions. However, banks allow online banking (which can facilitate payments), and provide ATMs (which allows access to cash), and not all credit unions or An Post provide these two facilities.
Activity Two: My ideal bank
1. Ask students to spend a few moments imagining what it would be like to go into their ‘ideal’ bank. You may wish to use some of the following questions as prompts:
- Where would the bank be located?
- Who would need to work there to make sure that the services were delivered efficiently?
- What would the people that work there be like (for example, would they be welcoming or not)?
- What types of services would the bank offer?
- Where would the different services offered be located in the bank?
- How might the bank let people know about the services it offered (for example, would they use pictures or text or both)?
- Where would useful information be displayed?
- How would the bank attract young people in?
- What colour would the walls be?
- What would the furniture look like?
2. Divide the class into small groups.
3. Distribute flipchart sheets and markers to each group.
4. Invite each group to discuss and design their ideal bank.
5. Ask each group to present the floor plan of their ‘ideal bank’.
6. Conclude by facilitating a whole class discussion using the following questions as prompts:
- What was the most attractive service presented?
- Do you think this is available/exists in reality?
- Is it feasible (from a financial perspective etc)?
- Did you come up with any services that are currently available in banks, credit unions or An Post?