6 Essential Bank Teller Skills (and How to Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Bank tellers play an important role in providing customer service at banks. They help customers with banking transactions, answer questions and handle cash. If you're a bank teller or want to become one, then understanding their key skills can be useful. In this article, we explain what a bank teller is, list some important bank teller skills and explain how you can improve these skills in five steps.

What is a bank teller?

A bank teller is an employee of a bank, credit union or similar institution. They typically handle most of the organisation's face-to-face customer interactions. Tellers handle cash and cheques, help new customers open accounts, process deposits, exchange money, receive loan payments and answer questions. They can also help customers who are encountering problems with their account, assist with troubleshooting online banking and offer advice regarding credit options.

Related: How to Get a Banking Job (With Banking Jobs List)

6 important bank teller skills

Here are six important bank teller skills which can help you be more effective in the workplace:

1. Customer service

Bank tellers often constitute a significant proportion of a bank's front line staff. Consequently, they may deal with customers more frequently than most others at the bank. Good customer service skills are therefore essential for ensuring that the bank's customers are happy and continue to use their services. It's also essential for getting new customers, as some people may approach a bank teller if they're thinking of opening an account. Good customer service is a mix of interpersonal skills, active listening, patience and in-depth knowledge of retail banking.

2. Communication

Bank tellers benefit from having good communication skills, both written and verbal. This can also help them with their customer service, as effective communication can help a customer or potential customer feel satisfied. Written communication is also important for following up on in-person interactions. Moreover, bank tellers typically work as part of a team, and good communication can facilitate their work with colleagues, managers and others. The ability to speak clearly and explain potentially complex matters is also very useful. Customers may have questions about certain policies or services, and explaining this clearly can help customers greatly.

Related: 5 Communication Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

3. Numeracy

Good numeracy skills are important for a bank teller. The ability to apply mathematics to their interactions means that they can keep track of the amount of physical money they're handling regularly, which they typically keep in a cash drawer. It's also useful to be able to make estimations using mental arithmetic, such as for answering questions from customers. Moreover, some customers may have trouble with numbers and good numeracy skills can help you explain things to them, especially in combination with good communication skills.

4. Attention to detail

Tellers often handle many transactions a day. These could be cash or cheque, deposits or withdrawals, and attention to detail helps to ensure they record everything accurately. This is important for both the bank itself and its customers, so tellers benefit from developing a habit of double-checking everything and ensuring that everything is in order. This is also useful for identifying other people's mistakes, such as a misspelling on a cheque. They can therefore alert the customer or bank to the problem, potentially saving them a lot of time and effort.

Related: Attention to Detail: Definition and Examples

5. Integrity

A bank teller may handle a wide range of transactions. In some cases, they handle very large sums of cash. They're also going to see a lot of private information about a bank's customers. Integrity is therefore very important for a teller to maintain professionalism in these circumstances. This is also important for customer service, as bank tellers are in a position of trust and it's important to reassure customers.

6. Basic bookkeeping or accounting

Although a bank teller can get a job without a degree in accounting, some accounting or bookkeeping skills are often going to be useful in this role. Tellers often input data and information to keep a record of transactions and also handle cash. Basic accounting or bookkeeping skills allow the teller to remain aware of the transactions they've completed and record them effectively.

Related: How to Become a Bookkeeper in Australia (With Steps)

How to improve your bank teller skills

If you're already a bank teller and want to improve your skills, or want to improve them in anticipation of getting a job, consider following the steps below:

1. Assess your performance

There are multiple ways of assessing your performance. For instance, if you've worked as a teller for some time you can try to recall interactions or situations where you felt like you weren't adequately prepared. Try to determine which skills would've helped you navigate the situation better or achieve a better outcome. You could also consider the skills which you've improved and compare them to those on this list. This can help you identify any skills that you haven't developed as much. Alternatively, you may consider your colleagues and attempt to judge whether they have skills that you lack.

It's also a good idea to consider your strengths, not just your weaknesses. This means you can understand your skill set as a whole and can help ensure your confidence remains high despite trying to focus on your weaknesses. Moreover, certain strengths can help you to overcome certain weaknesses. For instance, if you have excellent communication skills but lower customer service performance, the former can help you improve the latter.

2. Ask for feedback

Once you've assessed your own performance, you can ask others to assess it. There are multiple people whom you can ask for this. If you're working as a teller, then consider asking your supervisor. You might also ask any colleagues whom you trust to give you their honest feedback. Many roles that involve customer service have the option to ask customers to leave feedback. If this is the case, then ask customers if they'd be happy to fill in a feedback form or similar. You may find that they're more likely to do so if they're happy with your performance.

Related: The Importance of Positive Feedback and How to Deliver It to Others

3. Create a strengths and weaknesses table

Now that you've got information from both your self-assessment and from colleagues, customers and supervisors, you can compile this information. These processes are going to give you information regarding what you're already good at and what could benefit from improvement. Therefore, make two parallel lists in a table. One column contains the skills you're good at and the other contains those that require development.

You can also develop this list further. For instance, you could create a hierarchy for the skills you want to develop. The skills that you believe are going to have the greatest effect are toward the top of the hierarchy, and the others are lower down. Alternatively, you could identify which skills are easiest for you to develop and which are going to require the most time.

4. Actively develop the necessary skills

Once your list of skills to develop is ready, you can start to work on developing them. There are multiple ways of doing this, and this can vary depending on the skill. For many of them, you may be able to find development courses to help you improve. Some of these might be paid, whereas others could be available for free online. Moreover, there are certain skills that you can simply practise in your own time. For example, if you want to improve your numeracy skills, try to develop a habit of calculating daily transactions in your head.

You could do this at the supermarket, where every time you put an item in your basket you maintain a running total in your head. If you're going out with friends and you're splitting the cost, try to calculate it yourself without a calculator. For communication skills, it's usually good to focus on active listening and then try to improve your ability to explain things. Try to determine how often someone asks you to repeat yourself for clarity, and see if you can make this less common.

5. Ask for more responsibility at work

If you feel like you've started to develop your skills, the next way to take this even further is in the workplace. Consider speaking with your supervisor and asking them for additional responsibilities. You can do this voluntarily to improve your skills and simultaneously demonstrate your seriousness and commitment. If your supervisor offers you some options, consider selecting those which most closely align with the skills you want to develop.

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