So you considered CD products, thought about starting a savings account and mulled over Money Market accounts before deciding to open a checking account. Don’t take your decision-making cap off just yet: Choosing the right checking account can serve your financial needs, but picking the wrong checking account can cost you.
Checking accounts are the main reason many people use banks. That fact is not surprising, given the convenience of opening and maintaining a checking account.
Many kinds of checking accounts are available, so make sure to explore your options. You can choose between accounts with interest-based rewards for maintaining a reasonably large balance, cost-free accounts for students, and convenient accounts for people aged 50 and up. Opening a personal checking account often does not require an initial deposit, and many include free checks for new members. You can generally open an account by applying Online, at a store, or by phone.
Weigh Your Options And Choose The Best Fit
No two checking accounts are exactly alike, so it is important that you do research and make an educated decision. For example, some checking accounts make it easy to accumulate monthly fees and overdraft penalties. By doing some research and ensuring you open the right account you can avoid those fees. With some accounts, you can:
- Apply for overdraft protection, which insures you in the event your account balance drops below zero.
- Open an account that does not include monthly maintenance fees, as long as you meet reasonable minimum daily balance requirements.
Checking accounts not only offer a safe place to put your funds, they also can help you earn money. Some checking accounts reward you for depositing more money by raising your interest depending on how much money you have in your account. Smaller savers can also earn interest by opening an account that pays interest as long as you have 1 cent or more in your account. Many checking accounts do away with troublesome ATM fees by refunding any money spent at non-home bank ATMs.
Checking Accounts More Than A Place To Put Money
The ability to make deposits and withdrawals is not the only important feature of a checking account. A good checking account provides services above and beyond being a place to store money.
Make sure your bank includes free Online Banking and Bill Pay with your checking account. By banking Online, you can access your account information at any time and transfer funds between accounts. Online Banking helps protect your funds, too. You can view images of your checks, stop payments on checks and review up to 18 months of account statements. Online Bill Pay will save you money on checks and stamps and save you headaches by providing an automatic bill payment service.
One perk you should inquire about is a debit card that offers rewards for making purchases. It’s also important your card has a Liability Policy to protect your money in the event your card is lost or stolen.