The banking industry is one that has a hard time letting go of old terminology, especially when new terminology has been created in its place. A good example is the demand deposit account(DDA). The idea of a DDA goes back to the 1500s when wealthy business people needed access to the cash they had deposited with cashiers. From this idea of immediate access to funds came the concept of the check, and that is how one of our most common banking concepts was born.
What Is A DDA?
A DDA is, for all intents and purposes, a checking account. It is a financial transaction vehicle where the money deposited into the account is made immediately available for transactions. The account owner can either withdraw the money to pay for goods and services, or they can write a check that can be cashed through the institution that holds the funds.
A Little History
In the early days of the DDA, transactions would often take weeks to complete because of the need for cashiers to connect with each other and transfer funds. The process was streamlined a bit in the 1700s when the idea of the printed and numbered check was created. The serial numbers on the checks allowed cashiers to speed up the process of transferring funds and wealthy land owners and other business people could contract business much quicker.
Modern DDA Accounts
There are some financial institutions that call their checking accounts DDAs, but the principle behind both accounts is the same. Some banks offer small interest rates with their DDA accounts to attract customers, but it is usually customary for a DDA to not carry any interest. One of the main reasons DDAs do not offer interest is because the money held in the accounts is usually not there very long. A DDA is meant to be a dynamic and active transactional account where the user tracks most of their financial activities.
Be Sure You Know What You Are Getting
One of the common misconceptions about checks is that only checking accounts, or DDAs, offer checks. Other types of accounts such as credit cards and money market accounts often issue checks to customers, but those checks usually come with conditions that limit how you can use the checks. With a DDA, the money in your account is immediately available to be put towards any check you write. Many DDAs also offer overdraft protection which assesses a fee for a bounced check, but will still cash the check up to a certain amount. You are expected to deposit money to cover the check within a reasonable amount of time.
Checking accounts have been around for hundreds of years, and they are also known as DDAs. While most banks refer to their immediate transaction accounts as checking accounts, you will still find the occasional bank that offers DDAs to all of its customers.