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What is a Passbook Savings Account?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 16, 2024
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A passbook savings account is a bank account that uses a specific kind of record keeping method. With a passbook savings account, the account holder actually keeps track of all transactions in a little notebook that the bank provides. The bank will check the balance against the balance recorded by the account holder for accuracy when the account holder visits the branch, or at other times as requested.

Although passbook savings accounts are not for everyone, they may be an attractive option for people who do not have to keep track of many different transactions on a daily basis. One of the benefits of a passbook savings account is the slightly higher interest rates that some of these accounts offer. As consumers look everywhere for higher interest rates on deposits, passbook savings accounts seem to be one potential solution, especially for those whose money does not have to move often.

Passbook savings accounts can be ideal for some of the youngest depositors, as well as some of the oldest. Parents might open a passbook savings account for their child in order to help this younger account holder learn about saving money. Keeping track of the passbook account with the provided notebook helps the child hone their math and organization skills. For seniors, the passbook savings account can be a good alternative to dealing with more advanced technologies or accounting methods.

The passbook savings account has been moved more toward the margin of the financial world by new options like online banking. Where someone with a passbook savings account has to keep track of their transactions on paper, online banking allows instantaneous monitoring of all transactions for a savings or checking account. Other disadvantages to a passbook savings account include restrictions, such as a minimum balance that banks may impose on the account holder.

Although so many depositors have moved to online banking, there still may be a demand for passbook savings accounts to do bank business “the old-fashioned way.” Individual consumers can ask their banks about options for passbook savings accounts and any other savings plans that come with a higher rate of interest. Getting higher interest rates makes the money that is parked in savings grow at a faster rate, and searching for interest gaining opportunities is part of basic financial planning that professionals recommend for nearly any saver.

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Discussion Comments
By bear78 — On Aug 09, 2014

@donasmrs-- I've not seen a passbook checking account. I think it might be only available for savings accounts.

Passbooks are really a thing of the past. Online banking is so convenient and easy to use. Everyone has access to internet nowadays, including on their phone. So one can log in and check all of the details of the account from anywhere. I've been using online banking for years now and I'm very happy with it.

By serenesurface — On Aug 08, 2014

@donasmrs-- I'm not sure but I think they have to be that way from the beginning. You can always ask for your balance when you're at the bank. But if they don't have a passbook system, they can't give one to you.

My mom has a passbook savings account. She carries the passbook with her and has it updated every time she visits the bank. The passbook shows the balance, and also deposits and withdrawals. She keeps track of her income and spending that way. Since she visits a bank regularly, she doesn't mind having to have the passbook updated each time. I wouldn't be able to deal with it though.

By donasmrs — On Aug 08, 2014

Can any checking account be made into a passbook savings account? Or does it have to be that way from the beginning? I mean, I have a checking account, can I get a passbook for it?

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