What Does a Bank Teller Do?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 August 2021

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 are customer service professionals who directly interact with clients to help them with a range of tasks. They are often the first point of contact for a customer at a bank. Bank tellers generally work behind a desk with a computer, cash drawer and various tools. In this article, we discuss the answer to the “what does a bank teller do” by exploring their duties, skills and required qualifications.

What is a bank teller?

Bank tellers are generally the first employee a customer interacts with when they enter a bank branch. Bank tellers may greet customers and point them in the direction of the service they require. Other bank tellers sit behind counters, often with a screen separating them from the customer. They help customers with a variety of tasks including depositing and withdrawing cash, getting change and cashing cheques.

The job requires attention to detail and high levels of communication with both customers and other employees. A bank teller usually has a list of daily tasks plus extra jobs that may come up. Bank tellers usually report to a supervisor or manager.

What does a bank teller do?

Some common duties a bank teller may perform include:

  • Counting the cash drawer at the beginning and end of their shift

  • Handling cash, credit cards, debit cards and cheques

  • Answering customer account inquiries

  • Preparing money orders, travellers' cheques and savings bonds

  • Exchanging and providing foreign currencies for customers

  • Recording every single transaction on their computers

  • Answering phones, emails and maintaining a clean working area

  • Providing information about the bank's services

  • Helping customers order new cheque books, cards and other products

  • Promoting new deals that the bank is offering

How to become a bank teller

There are no specific qualifications required of bank tellers. Though some institutions may view qualifications favourably when looking for potential employees. Most banks offer on the job training for their tellers. Here is what you can do if you're interested in becoming a bank teller:

1. Earn a Senior Secondary Certificate

Many bank teller job descriptions require applicants to have completed high school or the equivalent. When students complete high school, they receive a Senior Secondary Certificate. There are alternative pathways for those who didn't complete high school.

2. Pursue a formal qualification

If you'd like to increase your chances of employment and gain some valuable skills and knowledge, you may complete a formal qualification. A Certificate in Financial Services or a bachelor's degree in finance can both be relevant options. These courses teach good basic knowledge that can be applied in a variety of finance jobs. Many employers view these sorts of qualifications favourably when reviewing applications.

3. Apply directly to bank teller positions

As there are no formal requirements needed to apply for a bank teller position, you can apply directly to the financial institution. It's a good idea to read the job description carefully and honestly tailor your resume and cover letter to suit it. There may be an interview process that involves multiple stages, such as a phone call and face-to-face interview.

Related reading: How To Make a Resume

What skills do you need to be a bank teller?

Bank tellers require a variety of hard and soft skills to effectively perform duties and communicate with customers and fellow colleagues. You can develop a majority of these skills on the job or through outside training programs. To be a successful bank teller candidate, you can develop the following skills:

Communication

A large proportion of a bank tellers' job is customer service. Excellent verbal communication skills are necessary to successfully answer customer inquiries and requests. Bank tellers can also communicate with colleagues, supervisors and managers. There are many types of employees in a bank, and clear, concise communication between teams can help boost efficiency.

Related reading: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

Mathematical skills

Bank tellers spend their days working with money. They are required to count cash and balance figures. This requires a good base understanding of mathematics including addition, division and percentages. Modern technology can help bank tellers with these equations. However, a basic understanding of math can make a teller's job easier.

Customer service

A bank teller can use excellent customer service skills, to communicate with customers in a productive manner. Tellers can answer questions with ease, perform tasks upon request and maintain a friendly demeanour. Good customer service skills can help a bank's sales and customer retention.

Related reading: 12 Good Customer Service Examples

Computer literacy

Bank tellers typically work with computers, so having a good level of technical skills is important for this role. Tellers can use computers to log onto customer accounts and handle their transactions. The cash draw is usually linked to the computer and cannot be opened without computer access. Tellers also use computers to monitor emails, log transaction details and run reports. Candidates for a bank teller position can improve their chances of getting hired by developing computer literacy skills.

Related reading: Computer Skills: Definition and Examples

Organisation

Bank tellers can use organisational skills to maintain a clean workspace. This is especially important when working with large sums of money. Bank tellers can use their organisation skills to limit possible errors and maximise efficiency. A tidy bank branch also demonstrates professionalism and helps customers to feel comfortable.

Related reading: Top Organisational Skills for Your Resume and Workplace

Attention to detail

Working with numbers and finance requires significant attention to detail. Bank tellers need to pay close attention to detail when handling money, recording transactions and following security protocols. Maintaining close attention to detail limits possible mistakes and even fraud attempts. Banks are highly secure places with extensive security protocols, so attention to detail skills can help bank tellers reduce errors to ensure the security of a bank. You can receive training on these security protocols after you secure a bank teller position.

Related reading: Attention To Detail: Definition and Examples

Salary for a bank teller

The salary of a bank teller differs depending on the financial institution they work for. The average national salary of a bank teller is $50,146 per year, according to Indeed Salaries. The highest paying salary is recorded in Sydney, NSW. Other banking jobs such as personal bankers and financial representatives have similar salaries.

Working conditions for bank tellers

Bank tellers usually work in commercial bank branches. Some work in large buildings while others work in smaller offices. Bank tellers tend to work daytime hours during the week with minimal overtime. Many branches open on Saturday, but usually close by midday. Bank tellers can expect the following from their work environment:

  • Sitting at a desk, behind a screen, alongside a computer and other team members

  • Interacting directly with customers

  • Sitting or standing for long periods

  • Sharing desks and spaces with co-workers

  • Working reasonable hours either part or full-time

  • Receiving public holidays off work

Example bank teller job description

Here is an example of a bank teller job description you may see advertised online:

A well-known regional bank is searching for a friendly new team member to join our bank teller crew. The successful applicant must be confident handling money and speaking to customers. Computer literacy is essential, specific training can be provided on the job. This role is responsible for greeting customers, carrying out customer requests and completing transactions. A friendly, confident demeanour is required. The successful candidate will have:

  • A high school certificate or similar

  • Three years of customer service experience

  • Bank teller experience preferred but not essential

  • Experience handling cash

  • Excellent time management and communication

What makes a good bank teller?

There are many skills, attributes and characteristics that can make an effective and efficient bank teller. These often include being informed on the bank's policies and processes, keeping an organised workspace, actively communicating with colleagues and customers and being precise and accurate surrounding numbers and information. Possessing the ability to work autonomously and as part of a team can be advantageous for bank tellers too.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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