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Valley National My Choice Checking Account Review

Learn all the details of the Valley National My Choice Checking Account, a basic checking option offered to young adults by this regional bank serving the Northeast. Find out what fees could be charged to accountholders and how you can avoid them. Compare the features to other checking accounts offered by competitors.

Valley National Bank ATM

Valley National Bank is a regional, New Jersey-based bank that operates just over 200 branches. Its branches are located in New Jersey, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and Florida.

One of the many services that Valley National Bank offers is the My Choice checking account.

This account is designed for young adults, ages 17-25.

It offers account holders a low-fee account that makes it easy to access their cash when they need it.

If you’re looking to open a checking account, learn everything you need to know about the Valley National My Choice checking account.

In this Valley National My Choice Checking Account review, we'll compare rates, fees, and services to other national and online banks.

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VNB My Choice Checking Account Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • No monthly fee
  • Up to $20 in ATM fees refunded monthly
  • Earn rewards on account activity
  • Mobile apps available
  • Only available for those age 17 to 25
  • Does not pay interest

With the My Choice checking account, you can get rewarded for opening the account. You can earn up to $150 in the first two months after opening the account.

When you open the account, you’ll have the option to enroll in mobile banking.

If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a $75 bonus deposited to your account.

You can earn an additional $75 by making 20 debit card transactions of at least $5 or making three online bill payment transactions.

Getting paid to use your checking account is relatively novel, and a good argument in favor of opening a Valley National My Choice checking account.

This is an ongoing feature of the account, not a limited-time offer.

Keep Your Account Secure with Automatic Account Alerts

Credit cards have one significant benefit over debit cards: they offer much better consumer protection.

If your debit card is used without your permission, the money is immediately withdrawn from your account.

Then, you have to fight with the bank to get your money back.

Because debit cards offer fewer protections, it’s important to keep very close track of your checking account and all of the debit transactions that occur.

Valley National Bank helps you do that by offering automatic account alerts.

You can set up automated text and e-mail alerts based on a number of triggers.

You can ask for alerts when your balance falls below a specific threshold or when a large transaction occurs. You can also sign up for automatic fraud alerts.

If Valley National notices any suspicious activity on your account, you’ll receive a text or e-mail alert.

You can then contact the bank to figure out how you should handle the potential fraud.

Get $20 in ATM Fee Refunds Each Statement

One of the most important features of any checking account is the ATM access.

Even as more financial transactions go digital, cash is still king, and visiting an ATM is the easiest way to get cash out of your account.

Because it is a regional bank, Valley National does not operate a huge network of ATMs.

If you’re near a Valley National ATM, you can easily withdraw money from your account, without paying any fees.

If you’re not near a Valley National ATM, you’ll have to be on the lookout for ATM fees charged by other banks.

If you ever leave the New York/New Jersey area, you won’t find any Valley National bank locations, unless you’re visiting Florida. When you’re outside the geographical areas served by Valley National, other banks’ ATMs will be your only option.

Valley National knows that you might want to visit an ATM even when there aren’t any Valley National ATMs nearby.

To that end, the My Choice checking account offers $20 in ATM fee reimbursements per statement period.

You can use any ATM in the country and get the transaction fees refunded, up to the $20 limit.

Using non-Valley National Bank ATMs

One thing to be aware of is that Valley National does charge its own fees for using non-Valley national ATMs.

You’ll pay $2 per withdrawal or balance inquiry at another bank’s ATMs. These fees can be refunded, but count towards the $20 monthly limit.

Keep these fees in mind when calculating what fees can still be refunded as you go through each month.

Earn No Interest

The Valley National My Choice checking account does not pay any interest. If you want to earn interest on the balance of your checking account, you’ll have to choose one of Valley National’s other checking account options.

If you want to earn interest on your checking balance, online checking accounts are better options.

No Monthly Fees

Many bank accounts charge monthly maintenance fees which can quickly eat into your account balance.

Usually, there are ways to avoid these fees, but then you have to spend time making sure you meet the fee waiver requirements.

One of the biggest draws of the My Choice checking account is that it does not charge any monthly fees.

There’s no minimum balance to maintain and there are no hoops to jump through.

There’s simply no fee to pay.

Age Restriction

This account was designed for young adults (ages 17 to 25), which makes it not available to older folks.

When you turn 26, your My Choice checking account will automatically convert to a VNB All Access checking account.

This is another low-fee account, so you don’t have to worry about losing your great account when you reach the age limit.

Other Fees

Although you won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee for the Valley National My Choice checking account, you might face other fees.

Most of these fees are uncommon, but it is still good to be aware of the terms of your checking account.

The most common fee that you’ll face with the My Choice checking account is the overdraft fee.

If you ever use your debit card to spend more money than is available in your account, you could incur an overdraft fee.

At Valley National, the overdraft fee is $36 per overdraft. If you keep your account overdrawn for five consecutive business days, you’ll also be charged a $15 daily fee.

Some of the other fees that the account charges are:

VNB My Choice Checking Account Fees

Type Fee amount
Monthly Maintenance Fee $0
Out-of-Network ATM Fee $2
Overdraft Fee $36
Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee $5
Returned Item $36
Deposit Item Returned $10
Stop Payment $35
Incoming Domestic Wire Transfer $15
Incoming International Wire Transfer $15
Cashiers Check $10

Convenience

Convenience revolves around the ability to manage and access your money when you need it.

Branches and ATMs

Again, if you live in the geographical area served by Valley National, the My Choice checking account is a good choice for convenience.

Though there aren’t many Valley National branches and ATMs compared to the number of locations that larger banks operate, the ATM fee reimbursements compensate for this.

You can use any ATM you find without worrying about fees, so long as you don’t go overboard.

Once you get outside of Valley National’s geographical area, the account becomes less convenient. If you use ATMs regularly, you can quickly use the $20 in ATM fee reimbursements quite quickly.

The fact that Valley National charges a fee for using another bank’s ATMs doesn’t help.

Mobile banking

One point in the account’s favor is that you can get standard online convenience features, such as mobile banking and bill payments.

Valley National Bank offers mobile banking apps on iOS, Android, and Amazon devices.

Mobile check deposit is available, subject to the following limits:

  • $5,000 per check
  • $5,000 per day
  • $25,000 per rolling 30-day period

How Does It Compare?

Nearly every bank in the United States offers a checking account. In fact, checking accounts are the most common type of bank account in the US.

What that means is that you have no end of options when you’re looking to open a checking account.

Given the wide variety of options, you should take the time to shop around. Don’t open the first account you find, think about whether it’s the best choice for your needs.

Look into local banks, which might be able to offer more personalized service.

Also consider online banks, which charge low fees and pay a lot of interest.

Other than the fees you’ll pay and how easy it is to access your money, you should consider these key factors when choosing a checking account:

  • Monthly fees
  • Minimum deposit
  • Fee waiver requirements
  • Interest rates
  • ATM access

Conclusion

If you live in Valley National’s geographic area and meet the age requirement, the My Choice checking account is a great choice.

It has low fees and gives you some flexibility to use other bank’s ATMs.

The major reasons to not go with this account is if you want to earn interest on your checking account and if you don't meet the age requirement.