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Bank Teller Career Guide

What is a bank teller?

A bank teller serves as a key customer service representative in banking institutions, facilitating various financial transactions for clients. This front-line role is critical to maintaining the efficient operation of a bank’s daily activities and ensuring the satisfaction of its customers. They are the face of the bank, often serving as the first point of contact for customers. Tellers are critical to building and maintaining the bank’s reputation, establishing trusting relationships with customers, and delivering high-quality banking services.

These professionals operate in a transaction-oriented environment, providing a vital conduit between the bank and its customers. They handle a wide range of financial activities, including cash handling, deposits, withdrawals, check cashing, and more. Their role is pivotal in maintaining the flow of money within the bank, contributing significantly to its liquidity management. Tellers also ensure that all transactions are conducted under established banking policies and procedures, ensuring the security of customer funds and the bank’s financial assets.

Duties and responsibilities

Bank tellers are responsible for managing various financial transactions, including cashing checks, accepting deposits, and processing withdrawals. They balance cash drawers, reconcile discrepancies, and maintain records. They also handle the sale of financial instruments such as traveler’s checks or savings bonds.

Tellers also provide customers with information about bank products and services, answering inquiries and referring clients to appropriate banking personnel when necessary. They play an essential role in identifying potential sales opportunities for the bank and fostering strong customer relationships.

Work environment

Bank tellers work primarily in bank branches, although they may also be employed in other financial institutions, such as credit unions or savings and loan associations. They typically work behind counters, where they can access cash drawers and financial documents. The role often requires working in teams and interacting with other banking professionals, including personal bankers, branch managers, and other tellers. The work environment is typically professional and clean.

Typical work hours

Bank tellers usually work during the bank’s operating hours, including weekdays and Saturdays, depending on the bank’s policy. Full-time tellers typically work around 40 hours weekly, while part-time tellers might work fewer hours.

It’s worth noting that their hours can be longer than the bank’s operating hours, as they often start work before the bank opens to prepare for the day and may need to stay after closing to reconcile their cash drawers and complete other administrative tasks.

How to become a bank teller

Becoming a bank teller involves developing strong customer service skills, understanding financial transactions, and familiarizing yourself with various banking products and services. The following steps will guide you through acquiring the necessary skills and qualifications to succeed in this career.

Step 1: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent

A high school diploma or GED certificate is typically the minimum education requirement for becoming a bank teller. While in high school, focus on courses that develop your math, communication, and customer service skills.

Step 2: Gain experience in customer service

Prior experience in customer service can be an asset when applying for this position. Seek part-time or full-time opportunities in retail, hospitality, or other customer-facing roles to hone your interpersonal and communication skills and ability to handle cash transactions.

Step 3: Learn about banking products and services

Familiarize yourself with various banking products and services, such as checking and savings accounts, loans, and credit cards. This knowledge will help you answer customer inquiries and provide accurate information about the bank’s offerings. You can learn about these products through online research, financial publications, workshops, and seminars.

Step 4: Develop essential skills and continue education

Bank tellers must possess strong attention to detail, as they accurately process cash transactions and balance their cash drawers. Develop your organizational, problem-solving, and time-management skills to excel in this role. Additionally, become proficient in using computers and financial software, as most banking transactions are processed electronically.

You can take advantage of online courses to help nurture the essential skills needed to become a bank teller. These classes will broaden your scope of the banking world and expand your knowledge: 

  • The course, Complete Retail Banking Training, from Udemy will help prepare you for banking interviews while giving you tips on creating a strong LinkedIn profile and growing your banking knowledge. They will provide information about credit officer roles, deposit-based products, retail bank credit analysis, and much more. 
  • To learn more about the virtual aspects of banking, dive into the Coursera course, Digital Transformation in Financial Services Specialization. You will build your financial services, digital strategy, and open banking skills to evolve with the digital age of banking. 
  • Understand Banks & Financial Markets is another great course on Udemy that will improve your skills to work in the finance industry. Identifying the three types of money and how banks create money, understanding financial products and the language of finance, and risk management are some of the basic skills reviewed within the course. 

Step 5:  Create a professional resume and cover letter

Prepare a professional resume and cover letter highlighting your education, customer service experience, and relevant skills. Emphasize your ability to provide excellent customer service, handle cash transactions accurately, and work well in a team-oriented environment.

Step 6: Apply for jobs and prepare for interviews

Search for bank teller openings in your area and submit your resume and cover letter to potential employers. Prepare for interviews by researching common bank teller questions and practicing your responses. Demonstrating your knowledge of banking products and services and your customer service skills will help you stand out to potential employers.

Step 7: Pursue professional development opportunities

Once you’ve secured a bank teller position, consider pursuing professional development opportunities to enhance your skills and advance in your career. Some banks offer training programs for their tellers, while others may support continuing education or certification programs, such as the American Bankers Association’s (ABA) Certified Bank Teller credential. Staying updated on industry trends and regulations will also help you excel in your role and provide better customer service.

How much do bank tellers make?

The salary of a bank teller is influenced by several factors. One of the most important is the level of experience. As they gain more experience handling transactions, their speed, accuracy, and ability to handle complex tasks often improves, which can lead to higher earnings.

The bank’s geographical location can also play a significant role in determining a their salary. Tellers in areas with a higher cost of living or more substantial banking activities often earn more.

The size and profitability of the bank can also influence their salaries. Large national banks may pay more than smaller regional or community banks. Some banks also offer bonuses based on the overall performance of the branch or the bank, which can augment a teller’s earnings.

Highest paying industries

  • Financial Investments: $40,250
  • Local Government: $39,970
  • Computer Systems Design: $39,610
  • Computer Infrastructure: $38,180
  • Colleges: $37,810

Highest paying states

  • Massachusetts: $44,505
  • Rhode Island: $43,452
  • New Hampshire: $42,919
  • Maine: $42,789
  • New Jersey: $42,695

Browse bank teller salary data by market

Types of bank tellers

In this section of the career guide, we explore the distinct roles and specializations within the profession of a bank teller. Depending on the specific services the bank provides, their roles can vary.

Retail bank teller

Retail bank tellers work in banks’ branches, assisting individual customers with their financial transactions, which entails handling cash deposits and withdrawals, processing checks, and performing other basic banking services. They often engage in significant customer service, answering questions and providing information about other bank products and services.

Commercial bank teller

Commercial bank tellers work with business clients, handling transactions that often involve larger amounts of money or more complex services than retail banking. They may process payroll deposits, assist with business loans, or handle other specialized transactions for business customers.

Drive-through bank teller

Drive-through bank tellers provide services to customers who remain in their vehicles. While their duties are similar to those of other tellers, they require special equipment to handle documents and money through the drive-through window securely.

Vault teller

Vault tellers are responsible for managing the bank’s vault, handling more significant cash transactions, providing cash to other tellers as needed, and maintaining records of all money entering or leaving the vault. This role requires additional trust and responsibility due to the large amounts of cash involved.

Head teller

Head tellers play a vital role in maintaining customer service standards and ensuring the smooth operation of the teller line. They supervise the work of other tellers, handling scheduling, training, and problem-solving. These professionals also perform regular teller duties and often handle more complex tasks or assist with customer issues.

Top skills for bank tellers

Skills essential for success in this role include strong numeracy skills, attention to detail, customer service aptitude, and basic knowledge of banking procedures. A proficient teller can efficiently handle transactions, resolve customer queries, and contribute to a positive banking experience.

Numeracy skills are vital, as tellers deal with money and perform calculations daily. They must be able to count cash accurately, handle transactions correctly, and balance the cash drawer at the end of the day. Strong numeracy skills ensure the accuracy of transactions, minimizing errors and maintaining customer trust.

Attention to detail is crucial in the banking sector, where even minor errors can have significant implications. This critical trait leads to error-free operations, customer satisfaction, and compliance with banking regulations.

Bank tellers should have strong customer service skills, including effective communication, patience, and a friendly demeanor. They must listen to customer needs, provide appropriate assistance, and resolve queries promptly. Excellent customer service can enhance customer satisfaction, foster loyalty, and improve the bank’s reputation.

Finally, these professionals need a good understanding of banking procedures, including transaction processing, cash handling procedures, and confidentiality protocols. This knowledge helps in efficient service delivery, adherence to banking regulations, and preventing fraudulent activities. Continuous learning and staying updated on new banking services and technologies is also beneficial in this evolving sector.

Bank teller career path

The career path for a bank teller typically starts with an entry-level role as a teller. This role provides the foundational experience of handling cash transactions, servicing customer needs, and understanding banking procedures and regulations.

After gaining experience, these professionals may progress to a head teller or teller supervisor position, where they oversee the work of other tellers, handle more complex transactions, and manage cash drawer limits.

From there, with strong performance and a deeper understanding of banking products, they can transition to customer service roles such as a customer service representative or personal banking representative. These roles involve more customer interaction, providing advice on bank products and services, and handling loan applications.

Continued career progression may lead to roles such as branch manager or assistant branch manager. In these roles, individuals are responsible for the entire operation of a branch, including staff supervision, customer service, and meeting branch sales targets.

At the highest levels, professionals may aspire to positions like regional manager or director of retail banking, where they oversee multiple bank branches and are responsible for meeting larger organizational objectives.

The role of a bank teller is being significantly reshaped by advancements in technology and changing consumer preferences. One of the major trends impacting this profession is the increasing adoption of digital banking. Consumers are now performing many of their banking tasks online or via mobile applications, leading to a decreased reliance on traditional teller services for routine transactions.

Simultaneously, the use of ATMs and automated systems in branches for cash handling and basic services is becoming more widespread. This automation is transforming the role of bank tellers from primarily transaction-based to more of a customer service and advisory role. They are more often engaged in helping customers navigate digital services, addressing more complex queries, and cross-selling banking products and services.

Another notable trend is the growing emphasis on security and fraud prevention. With increasing instances of financial fraud, tellers are expected to play an active role in identifying suspicious transactions and maintaining the security of customers’ financial information.

Employment projections for bank tellers

As per the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for bank tellers is projected to decline 12% through 2031. This decline is primarily due to the increasing use of technology in banking, reducing the need for tellers for routine transactions. However, there will still be a need for these professionals to handle complex transactions and provide customer service, especially in community banks and smaller branches. Those with solid customer service skills and comfortable using digital banking technology will likely have the best job prospects.

Bank teller career tips

Understand banking procedures

Understanding banking procedures, from cash handling to check processing, is crucial. This knowledge ensures you provide accurate and efficient service to customers, maintaining the integrity of their transactions and the reputation of your banking institution.

Emphasize customer service

Providing exceptional customer service is at the heart of a bank teller’s role. This includes greeting customers warmly, efficiently addressing their needs, and handling any issues or complaints professionally. Delivering exceptional customer service can boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Enhance accuracy and attention to detail

Handling monetary transactions requires meticulous attention to detail and high accuracy. Even minor errors can lead to significant financial discrepancies. Enhancing these skills ensures that all transactions are processed correctly, reducing the chance of errors and discrepancies.

Familiarize yourself with financial products

These professionals often help customers understand different financial products and services the bank offers. Therefore, being familiar with these products, from various types of accounts to loans, can help you guide customers to the services that best suit their needs.

Continuous learning

Keeping your skills updated and learning about new banking products and technologies is vital. This could include:

  • Participating in training programs offered by your bank
  • Reading about new banking technologies and trends
  • Pursuing additional certification, such as the Certified Teller from the American Bankers Association

Build a professional network

Networking can provide opportunities for learning, sharing experiences, and career advancement. Some professional networks and associations include:

  • American Bankers Association (ABA)
  • Credit Union National Association (CUNA)
  • Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA)

Develop digital skills

As more banking services move online, familiarity with digital banking systems is becoming increasingly important. This could involve helping customers navigate online banking platforms, understanding cybersecurity best practices, or using digital tools to process transactions.

Practice confidentiality and ethics

Tellers handle sensitive financial information daily. Maintaining confidentiality and adhering to ethical standards is vital to maintaining customer trust and complying with legal and regulatory requirements.

Where the bank teller jobs are

Top companies

  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Wells Fargo
  • Bank of America
  • Citigroup
  • U.S. Bancorp

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Illinois

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • Monster
  • CareerBuilder


What skills are necessary for a successful bank teller?

The role of a bank teller requires a range of skills for successful execution. Critical ones include excellent customer service skills, as they interact directly with customers, helping them with transactions and answering their queries. Strong numerical skills are also necessary to count cash accurately, handle deposits and withdrawals, and manage other transactions. They must have strong attention to detail to avoid mistakes and ensure compliance with banking policies and regulations. They should also have good communication and problem-solving skills to handle customer complaints and issues effectively.

What is the level of physical activity required in the bank teller role?

A bank teller role is not physically demanding, as it is primarily a desk job. However, it requires prolonged sitting periods and some manual dexterity to handle cash, cheques, and banking documents. It’s also important to note that they may spend a lot of time on computers, which can be physically taxing regarding eye strain.

What are some of the common challenges that bank tellers face?

Bank tellers often deal with high-pressure situations due to the volume of transactions and the necessity for precision and speed. They also deal with challenging customer service situations, as customers may become frustrated or upset about banking issues. Lastly, banking policy and regulation adherence can be complex and demanding, and any mistakes can lead to severe consequences.

What does a typical day look like for a bank teller?

A typical day for a bank teller involves processing various financial transactions like cash deposits, withdrawals, check cashing, and issuing money orders. They also interact with customers to answer queries, provide information about bank products and services, and assist with account issues. Part of the day may also be dedicated to administrative tasks such as record-keeping and reporting.

Do bank tellers need specific qualifications or education?

Most bank teller positions require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some banks may prefer candidates with a degree in finance, business, or a related field, but it is not usually required. Experience in customer service or cash handling can be advantageous.

What opportunities for advancement exist for bank tellers?

Bank tellers often have the opportunity to advance within the banking sector. With experience and further training or education, they can move into roles such as personal banker, loan officer, or branch manager. Some banks provide training programs to help tellers advance their careers.

How important are IT skills for a bank teller?

Bank tellers need basic IT skills because most of banking operations are computerized. They must be comfortable using banking software to manage accounts, process transactions, and generate reports. Additionally, knowledge of digital banking trends and security protocols can be advantageous, considering the rise in online and mobile banking.

How can I prepare for a bank teller interview?

To prepare for a bank teller interview, research the financial institution and be familiar with its products and services. Be ready to discuss your relevant experience, especially in customer service and cash handling. Practice answering common interview questions related to your skills, problem-solving abilities, and handling challenging situations. Emphasize your attention to detail, accuracy, and commitment to excellent customer service.

Do bank tellers need to be bonded?

Yes, bank tellers are typically required to be bonded as a condition of employment. A fidelity bond is a type of insurance that protects the bank against potential losses due to employee dishonesty or theft. This bonding process usually involves a background check and credit report review to ensure that they are trustworthy and have a history of financial responsibility.

Is a bank teller job suitable for someone seeking part-time work?

Yes, many banks offer part-time positions for bank tellers, making it a suitable option for individuals seeking flexible work schedules. Part-time tellers may work 20 to 30 hours per week and are typically responsible for the same duties as full-time tellers. This can be attractive for students, parents, or individuals with other commitments.