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How to Become a Bank Teller

Do you enjoy interacting and working with others? Are you accurate and precise in the work you accomplish? Then a position as a bank teller might be the right next step in your career path. 

Bank tellers use their expert analytical skills to assist in minimizing fraud and meeting their customers’ needs with accurate cash transactions and data entry. 

Bank tellers are found in every bank branch to help answer any questions a customer may have about their accounts and to enhance financial security by educating them about certain products a bank has to offer. Bank tellers are also responsible for accurately processing standard transactions, including cashing checks, withdrawing money, issuing savings bonds, and more.     Tellers also identify risk factors for fraudulent activity or potential scams in order to protect the customer and the bank.  

Bank tellers are usually the first point of contact when customers enter a bank, so the job requires excellent communication skills in order for these employees to ensure each customer’s financial needs are being taken care of. They are also great problem solvers, utilizing their knowledge and resources to understand the customer’s problem and then taking the necessary steps to overcome the current situation at hand.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced bank teller to join our retail branch. The teller is the first person that our customers see. If you would like to apply for the job, you need experience in a customer-focused environment with elementary accounting skills, allowing you to feel comfortable with handling large sums of cash for our trusting customers. You should have a knack for paying attention to small details and possess a natural ability to actively listen to our customers about their concerns and needs.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Follow companies procedures to calculate and manage all the funds they give out and receive from customers
  • Build and maintain customers’ trust by providing quality service 
  • Answer any questions customers may have about their account or other products/services
  • Collect checks, money, debit and credit payments from members 
  • Utilize the provided electronics to correctly document all the transactions carried out on the shift
  • Solve any problems that arise on the account or during a transaction
  • Make sure the drawer is balanced at the end of the shift to ensure all transactions went smoothly

Education and experience

  • A completed high school diploma or an equivalent GED certificate
  • At least six months of experience handling customer service

Required skills and qualifications

  • Being able to pass a background check
  • Basic math skills, including addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication
  • Ability to communicate any issues or opportunities to colleagues or customers effectively
  • High moral standing and strong sense of integrity
  • Ability to accomplish thoroughness and accuracy when completing a transaction

Preferred qualifications

  • Being fluent in a different language other than English
  • Obtaining an undergraduate degree in a finance-related field
  • Experience with handling large sums of money
  • Experience with utilizing different computer programs, such as Microsoft teams and Outlook 
  • Experience in a sales-related role that prioritized the customers’ wellbeing 
  • Mathematical experience in algebra to increase accuracy with transactions

Typical work environment

Bank tellers most often work in a specific bank branch with other coworkers and supervisors. They are constantly interacting with customers in order to take care of their needs and to answer any questions they may have about their accounts or financial health. While many bank tellers are full-time employees for their company, some work part-time and others split their tellering operations with loan work.

Bank tellers have a variety of different schedules. Those working full-time will most likely be working five days a week with Sunday and another day off. Meanwhile, part-time employees will typically work through busy periods, such as lunch hours or Saturday mornings. Tellers should expect to work some Saturdays and be prepared to stand for the majority of their shifts helping clients.

Typical hours

While work hours may vary depending on the branch, most tellers work from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Most banks are open on Saturdays, but they usually open later and close earlier than the rest of the week. 

Available certifications

As bank tellers carry out several responsibilities throughout the day, there are a variety of institutions that offer certifications, including: 

  • AIB Customer Service Representative Certificate. The AIB is the undisputed professional credential for a variety of banking personnel with the desire to increase their knowledge and applied skills into their routine banking transactions. You will need to complete 11 different courses, including Banking Today, Building and Retaining Customer Relationships, Cross-Selling Deposit Products, Dealing Effectively with Co-Workers, Effective Referrals, Ethical Issues for Bankers, Introduction to Relationship Selling, Regulatory Compliance for Customer Service Representatives, Revitalizing Customer Service, Telephone Etiquette, and Understanding Bank Products. The main emphasis of all these courses is increasing product knowledge and customer satisfaction. 
  • ABA Bank Teller Certificate. This certificate is perfect for anyone looking to develop the essential skills you need to become an effective bank teller. You will be able to master core competencies such as cash handling, check cashing, cash payments, deposit and withdrawal processing, and settlements of teller cash along with proof of transactions. You will also be introduced to ways to build interpersonal skills with customers and coworkers. 
  • Certified Bank Teller. The CBT is one of the most popular certificates earned for new tellers. You will first go through comprehensive training that will cover the following professional knowledge areas: Teller Operations, Sales and Service, Banking Basics, Specific Business Competencies, and Ethics. After that, you must pass a test that will cover all these topics. In order to be eligible to complete the certificate, you will need a minimum of six months of experience as a teller, a completed AIB Bank Teller Certificate, a letter of recommendation from your senior manager, and a completed application that confirms you met all the eligibility requirements. 

Career path

The journey to becoming a bank teller is an exciting one since you can begin as soon as you finish your high school diploma or pass your GED exam. 

Students who want to become a bank teller are encouraged to have a strong mathematical background along with quality experience in customer service. It can also be useful for bank tellers to obtain certain certificates within the industry or pursue an undergraduate degree with a financial emphasis. 

Bank tellers need to develop specific soft skills, like expertise in problem-solving and communication. Many customers expect tellers to solve all their banking problems, so it is important for tellers to be able to identify the problem in order to find a solution. In the meantime, it is important for tellers to communicate their ideas and actions to prevent confusion with their clients.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-3071

2019 Employment449,000
Projected Employment in 2021380,400
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift 15% Decrease
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift68,600 Decrease

In the past, a large number of bank tellers were needed because of the huge expansion of bank branches, where the majority of bank tellers work. However, the number of bank branches have been steadily decreasing the past few years due to technology. The development of online and mobile banking allows customers to perform many of the transactions tellers normally would do for them. As more people use these new resources, there will be less demand for tellers to help out with those transactions.  

Staying on top of industry trends and having experience in the online world will be beneficial to keep up with the advanced technological changes within the banking systems. With “Enhanced ATMs”, customers will be able to do most of their banking on their own with the occasional video call to a teller that will be hired to be on standby for any questions.