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A personal account is an account for use by an individual for that person's own needs. It is a relative term to differentiate them from those accounts for corporate or business use. The term "personal account" may be used generically for financial accounts at banks and for service accounts such as accounts with the phone company, or even for e-mail accounts.
In banking in the United States, "personal account" refers to one's account at the bank that is used for non-business purposes. Most likely, the service at the bank consists of one of two kinds of accounts or sometimes both--a savings account and a checking account.
Banks differentiate their services for personal accounts from business accounts by setting lower minimum balance requirements, lower fees, free checks, free ATM usage, free debit card (Check card) usage, etc. The term does not apply to any one service or limit the banks from providing the same services to non-individuals. Personal account can be classified into three categories: 1. Persons of Nature, 2. Persons of Artificial Relationship, 3. Persons of Representation.
At the turn of the 21st century, many banks started offering free checking, a checking account with no minimum balance, a free check book, and no hidden fees. This encouraged Americans who would otherwise live from check to check to open their "personal" account at financial institutions. For businesses that issue corporate checks to employees, this enables reduction in the amount of paperwork.
In the financial industry, 'personal account' (usually "PA") refers to trading or investing for yourself, rather than the company one is working for. There are often restrictions on what may be done with a PA, to avoid conflict of interest.
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