Freqently Asked Questions About Checking Accounts

1 What type of checking account should I open?

The main function of a checking account is simply to hold money for check writing. However, in exchange for a higher minimum balance, you can find checking accounts with high-interest rates. If this is your first time opening an account, think about your financial goals to determine if a high-interest checking account is appropriate for your needs. The most popular accounts are basic checking and free checking. Free checking is usually the best deal for most people, as it is not encumbered with a monthly service fee or per-item charges, such as extra checks, regardless of your balance.

2 What kind of fees should I expect and how can I avoid them?

Truly free checking accounts have been rapidly disappearing, as new fees pop up to offset rising costs. Today, no free account will waive foreign ATM or overdraft fees. The bank will likely nickel and dime you if it gets the chance.

Nevertheless, you can avoid most fees imposed by the banks by maintaining the minimum account balance (if there is one), not overdrawing on your account and setting up direct deposit. Once your money starts to grow, high-yield checking accounts are a great way to make your money work for you.

3 What are the benefits of direct deposit?

Aside from the convenience of just having your paycheck magically appear in your account, there are substantial financial benefits attached to direct deposit. Most banks require a number of direct deposits and a certain minimum amount to waive maintenance fees.

You will also save time by not having to go to the bank. Furthermore, you’ll also receive your money faster -- you do not have to wait for your paychecks to clear and they cannot get lost in the mail.