When I was a Youngster, I started a savings account to help teach me about banks and personal finances. At the time I thought banks were an important part of everyday society, like Pokémon Centers.
For those of you who don’t know, pokémon centers play a major role in pokémon society and culture. They are a place where trainers bring their pokémon to restore their health, store excess pokémon, offer areas for trainers to connect and all for free. Every town or city, no matter the size, has at least one. Some are even located outside of towns on routes and near caves.
In my mind, banks were a lot like pokémon centers. They kept our money safe, made trades easier, helped our finances stay healthy, everybody used them and they were free!
Before heading to college I opened my first checking account. Over the following ten years, I slowly learned that banks are not pokémon centers. Yes, they both provide storage and make trading easier, but banks are actual businesses. They can only heal our finances so much for free and they all offer different services to do that.
Storing and Trading
Since trainers can only carry six Pokémon at a time, pokémon centers have provided pokémon storage with Bill’s Pokémon Storage System since the 1990’s. Banks have been storing money since the invention of money. In both systems, trainers have access to their pokémon or money whenever they visit a pokémon center or bank. Without either of these systems already in place, trading could not be what it is today.
Pokémon centers from Kanto to Unova had an area, usually upstairs, where trainers could go to connect with other trainers. While connected, they could trade, battle, chat and even play minigames. In the mid-2000's, pokémon centers gained the ability to connect to the internet and use the Global Trade System which allowed global trading over the internet. In 2010/2011 Doctor Fennel introduced mobile trading as part of her revolutionary C-gear in Unova. Although trainers could still access trading at the pokémon centers, this was the first time trainers no longer needed to visit pokémon centers in order to trade. As trading became more mobile with the PSS, pokémon centers lost the connection areas while retaining the Pokémon Storage System. Nowadays the PSS or Festival Plaza access the trainers’ pokémon storage accounts at the pokémon centers to help ease their trading process.
Banks have also evolved to ease our trading process. Over thirty years ago people needed to visit a bank to deposit money, withdraw money and waited to receive their account statements in the mail to balance their checkbooks. Banks’ adaptability to the mobile and online markets has made them easier to use. Today, I rarely need to step into a bank, even though they still have all of my money. Now I can deposit a check, move money between accounts and check my balance from almost anywhere I have an internet connection. Cell phones can even be used to pay, instead of cash, in a lot of places. Purchases still run through the banks as my money goes from my bank account to their account.
Business and Operations
Pokémon centers are not in the same business as banks. Banks make money and pokémon centers don’t appear to make any? How pokémon centers can afford to stay open 24/7, heal every Pokémon, host the Pokémon Storage System and not charge trainers anything is beyond me. I imagine that they are run by a company that makes tons of money just to keep them going or they are run by the government. I also envision they have a pretty sweet contract with PSS and Festival Plaza to provide access to the Pokémon Storage System. Their merger with Poké Marts probably helps too.
Banks, however, are very open about how they make their money. They make money from our money either through fees or loan interest. I was shocked when I learned there are fees for not having enough money in an account or depositing too much. I guess, after thinking about these fees, they do make some sense. Pretending that they keep our money in little boxes, they don’t want a practically empty box taking space for another client. They also don’t want boxes taking up too much extra space from other clients.
Since banks prefer to make money, different banks offer different types of services with different incentives to compete for our patronage. There are even different types of banks, from credit unions to online banks that provide numerous options to fit each individual’s financial training style. Pokémon centers do not do this and are all the same. They even all have a Nurse Joy.
Just having my money in a bank is a great idea, but with all of this diversity, having my money in the right bank for me is an ultra idea. Each bank wants to help us keep our finances healthy, but they can only do it with what services they offer. It then becomes our job to figure out which banks and which accounts help us train our money toward our own financial goals.
While in college I started attending annual financial reviews with my bank. Every year we looked at my accounts and confirmed that I was using the best of their services to reach my goals. Occasionally, they would recommend starting or switching to a new account for added benefits. We were keeping my finances pretty healthy within the services they could offer me. After I started learning more about personal finances, I asked for an increase in my saving’s interest rate. They just could not increase it. One week later, I had moved my money to a savings account with an online bank and an interest rate 100 times the other account’s rate.
My Pokémon and money are tools that I am glad to have a place that keeps them safe. Pokémon centers are the “banks” of pokémon and banks are close enough to the “pokémon centers” of personal finance. They both protect our tools until we’re ready to use them and make trading easier. Banks use fees more than pokémon centers, but they still help us with our finances by offering a variety of services. Training our money has never been easier.
How do you think Pokémon Centers and Banks relate? What types of banks or bank accounts do you use? What is the most embarrassing banking fee you have ever had to pay?