Banking Terminology and Concepts FAQs

What is the difference between a bank and a credit union?

Both banks and credit unions offer very similar financial services but there are some prominent differences.

Credit unions are non-profit and owned by members. Members usually pay a fee and can vote on how the credit union is run.

Banks are for-profit companies that are owned by shareholders. Customers, not members, use banks and there is no membership fee at banks. Credit unions may have membership requirements, where banks do not.

Will I be charged to use my Mountain West Bank ATM card?

Transactions done at ATMs in the MoneyPass network are surcharge free. Use this easy online ATM locator to find surcharge-free ATMs across the country.

What is the difference between APR and APY?

The APR or annual percentage rate is the basic interest rate on an interest-bearing account. The APR does not take into account the compounding of interest within that year. Alternatively, the APY or annual percentage yield does take into account the effects of intra-year compounding.

Typically interest on interest-bearing accounts compounds monthly, weekly, or daily. The APY or annual percentage yield takes into account how often interest is applied to the principal balance. Thus the APY is known as the "effective annual return" and is slightly higher than the APR.

What is Check 21?

Check 21 authorizes banks to create Substitute Checks from electronic images of original checks. Substitute Checks are paper recreations of original checks and are the legal equivalent of the originals. A Substitute Check can be presented for payment in place of the original. The ability to convert an original check to an electronic image, transmit the image and create a Substitute Check from it is expected to facilitate the processing of checks electronically.

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