Tellers pay out money and keep records for banks, savings and loan associations, personal finance companies, credit unions, and large businesses that operate credit offices. Tellers work to improve good public relations by being prompt, efficient, and courteous to customers. They promote new products and services in order to increase business for their companies. They count the cash supply in the morning before the institution opens, and balance accounts at the end of the day. They operate adding, calculating, and computerized equipment. In larger institutions, tellers may specialize in a particular transaction, such as loans, foreign currencies, or traveler’s checks. Commercial tellers, the most common type of teller, accept customers’ deposits for commercial and savings accounts, cash checks, and pay withdrawals. Credit union tellers spend most of their time on clerical and bookkeeping responsibilities, and less time at windows interacting with customers.

Job Skills

Because of financial privacy issues, it is very important for tellers to be able to keep every financial transaction in total confidence. They must have excellent communications skills, due to the amount of time they spend speaking with customers as representatives of their employers. They need to have strong numerical and clerical skills, as well as the ability to operate computer terminals. Other desirable qualities include a pleasant personality, tact, neatness, speed, a good memory, and comfort with details.


Banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions offer tellers starting wages of between minimum wage and $9.50 per hour. Experienced tellers may earn up to $18.00 per hour. Earnings depend on a number of factors, including the size of the firm, work experience, formal education, ability, and initiative. Tellers in metropolitan areas tend to earn more than tellers in rural areas. Most employers offer sick leave, vacation and retirement plans, and some offer medical, dental, and life insurance.

Training and Education

Employers of tellers usually look for applicants who are high school graduates, have cashiering, clerical, or public contact experience, and have completed courses in business arithmetic, business law, bookkeeping, typing, speech, and office machine operation. Most banks offer on-the-job training that includes classroom instruction and lasts from two weeks to six months. Entry-level tellers are closely supervised by experienced employees until they have gained the knowledge to work independently. Tellers can obtain certification through the American Institute of Banking. Advancement depends on experience, length of employment, demonstration of leadership qualities, and the type of institution. In banks, paying and receiving tellers can advance to chief, note, loan, or collection and exchange teller positions. Head tellers may advance to operations supervisor and even assistant branch manager. In savings and loan associations, tellers may advance to lead or supervising tellers.

Job Outlook

Bank consolidation and improvements in teller productivity will reduce job growth in this occupation. However, the use of more part-time workers, as well as the high turnover in the occupation, will create many job openings. Swings in the economy do not have much impact on employment of tellers. Opportunity will be best for those who have at least six months of work experience. However, those applicants with the necessary skills and aptitude, as well as those willing to work part-time, will usually find job opportunities.