Banks keep your money safe and offer an alternative to carrying piles of money around with you all the time. The first banks were religious temples in Greece that let merchants store their money and cash in notes at other temples, instead of carrying around coins. In the United States, the first bank was started by Alexander Hamilton in 1791, but it wasn’t until the 1860s that a standardized, national banking system was developed. Today, the Federal Reserve (Fed) monitors and regulates all the banks in the country. Checks act like bill notes that allow you to transfer money from one bank account to another. Electronic banking lets you access your account 24 hours a day-not just when the banks are open during business hours. Balancing your checkbook is important to make sure you don’t spend money you don’t have. While checking accounts give you easy access to money you want to spend almost every day, saving accounts let you save money while earning interest. Learn all this and more in Banking Basics.