A bank is a place that looks after people’s money. We all know that you can keep money in lots of different things: a piggy bank, a wallet, a coin jar, even in an envelope under a mattress. However, most adults put their money in a bank. In ancient times, merchants used to lend and borrow money, but banks as we now know them began in the big, rich cities of Europe about six hundred years ago. Banks keep money safe. They also sometimes add special payments to people’s money, called interest. Additionally, banks keep track of how much money people have. Most people have their wages paid directly into their bank. Banks also lend out money, letting people buy big things, such as houses and cars. In return for lending money, banks charge a fee called interest.