Teaching ESL Money Vocabulary: Banking & Credit Cards

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

This lesson will provide teachers of ESL students with common money vocabulary related to banking and credit cards. Additionally, teachers will learn activities for implementing the vocabulary into instruction.

Teaching About Money

To understand the importance of money in American culture, just consider all the words we use to describe it: cash, bills, bucks, dough, loot, moola, and smackers, just to name a few. To help prepare your English as a second language (ESL) students for life in the 'real world,' it's important to teach them vocabulary related to banking and credit cards. The following are vocabulary words and activities that you can use to help teach your students about money:

Banking Vocabulary

  • Checking account
  • Savings account
  • Teller
  • ATM
  • Branch
  • Check / checkbook
  • Debit card
  • Withdraw / withdrawal
  • Fee
  • Deposit
  • Transaction
  • Overdraft
  • Balance
  • Bounce
  • Direct deposit

Credit Card Vocabulary

  • Statement
  • Annual percentage rate (APR)
  • Debt
  • Interest
  • Credit limit
  • Annual fee
  • Credit rating
  • Grace period
  • Credit report
  • Max out
  • Credit history
  • Default


You can help students acquire and practice their new vocabulary with the following activities.

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