Checking accounts allow you to access and withdraw your funds. Unlike savings accounts, they don’t have a limit. Some checking accounts can also bear interest, granted that you keep to the minimum balance requirement.
However, there many types of checking accounts. If you plan to open a checking account, you may want to know where to put your money’s worth.
This article will explore what to consider in a checking account and the types available in banks and credit unions. By the time you have finished this article, we hope to have given you a clearer picture of your choice.
6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Checking Account
Not all checking accounts are made equal. When opening a checking account, you must consider factors related to your situation and the account in question. For example, can you keep up with its minimum balance requirement? Do you pay taxes online? Your checking account must fit your lifestyle and finances.
Below are six factors you must consider before opening a type of checking account.
Convenience and Accessibility
Your lifestyle must coincide with the features of your checking account.
Do you prefer to shop online or through physical stores? Do you prefer to make bill payments online or at physical locations? If you’re in a place that doesn’t have a lot of branches or ATMs, consider their online platform. Are their mobile app and website easy to use?
Average Monthly Balance
Some checking accounts will charge a monthly maintenance fee if you don’t maintain a minimum balance requirement. Therefore, when choosing an account, check its minimum balance requirement against the average monthly balance you can maintain.
Setting up a direct deposit can help you avoid maintenance fees. When your paycheck automatically goes to your checking account, it can offset any reductions on your funds.
Checking Account Fees
Beyond monthly maintenance fees, some banks charge service fees such as in-branch transactions, ATM use, and overdrafts. By knowing the fees a checking account can have, you can avoid unnecessary penalties. However, as mentioned before, some banks will waive these if you maintain their balance requirement.
Check the rewards and benefits of the checking account. Do they offer refunds from big stores, cash back, or exclusive deals? When you check their balance requirements and charges, are the rewards worth the account for you?
Do you prefer personalized service? Or do you prefer to be up-sold to better and higher products and services? If you prefer personalized service, consider opening a checking account with a credit union.
Credit unions are smaller and more familiar with their customers and financial situations. Since they are non-profit, they answer to members and not to shareholders. However, banks have better email, chat, and phone customer service technologies.
Screen the Account’s Terms and Conditions
Reading the account’s terms and conditions before opening a checking account is reasonable. But, truthfully, not all of us have the time. If you’re opening an account online, you can use websites that will read the terms and conditions and summarize them for you.
Or you can install their extensions. Terms of Service Didn’t Read is currently the best website for it. TOSback also tracks updates on the terms and conditions of organizations.
The Types of Checking Accounts
Checking accounts from different banks and credit unions vary in features. Some may have higher interest rates. Others can have limitations due to the customer’s overdraft history. Others are designed for seniors and young adults. Below are the types of checking accounts in a bank or credit union near you.
Traditional Checking Account
Best for: people paying bills or doing online shopping and other debit transactions.
The traditional checking account is a great start for creating a reliable foundation for your money.
This type of account gives you checks you can write. They also give you a Debit or ATM card to deposit and withdraw money. Your card is also convenient for moneyless shopping. Furthermore, your traditional checking account allows you to pay your bills online.
You can also opt for overdraft protection if you make emergency purchases beyond your balance.
Some checking accounts give you dividends. But they may be little, although credit union checking accounts have higher interest rates than banks.
Some checking accounts come with a monthly maintenance fee. However, some banks and credit unions will waive this fee if you meet certain requirements, such as maintaining a minimum daily balance.
Premium Checking Account
Best for: People with a five-figure balance or more.
Premium checking accounts require a high minimum balance. In return, you avoid other fees and charges. You also get better perks, rewards, and freebies.
This type of checking account can earn slightly higher interest than the traditional one. However, if you aim to invest, other accounts, such as the money market and certificate of deposit, may be better for you.
Student Checking Account
Best for: Students aged 18-23
The student checking account is a great start for young adults to get their first bank account. It’s similar to a traditional checking account. But it is designed for a young adult’s needs and situations, such as having lesser fees and grace periods for overdrafts.
When getting a student checking account, read the conditions that will happen once you pass the age limit. Some banks would automatically switch it to the traditional bank account, where you will have increased fees or lose some of the benefits.
Senior Checking Account
Best for: People aged 55 or 60 and older.
The senior checking account is for retired people or those living on a fixed income. The account has no monthly maintenance fees and has perks designed for seniors.
However, even if you fit the age requirement, keep in mind your financial goals. Other types of accounts may suit your needs, even if this one is marketed for your age.
Best for: People with a large maintaining balance.
An interest-bearing account gives small monthly returns. The interest can be flat regardless of your balance. The account can also pay more the higher your balance.
The interest-bearing account can be competitive with a savings account but without withdrawal limits. However, check if its fees cancel the interest significantly for you. If you cannot cover the charges, look for checking accounts that give monthly dividends instead.
Business Checking Account
Best for: Business owners
The business checking account comes with business tools. The tools can include cash management services, online invoicing, and more.
This type of account can also offer freebies, such as writing several checks for free or getting a return base on your balance.
Best for: People who often use debit cards.
A rewards checking account rewards you for your debit card transactions. Whether it’s part of your job or part of your lifestyle, your account rewards you with refunds, cash back, and discounts. Do consider the account’s required minimum, fees, and cap limitations.
Private Bank Checking
Best for: People looking for a private banker
A private bank checking account is managed by your private banker. A private banker helps only one customer with their banking needs. It is similar to a premium checking account but has higher rewards, such as lower loan rates and a free safe deposit box. It also has higher minimum balance requirements.
Best for: People denied of the traditional checking account
If a person has a history of closed checking accounts due to overdrafts, banks can refuse them from opening one again. The second-chance checking account is given to them instead.
This type of account can have monthly fees. However, if you can maintain your balance for a year or more, they can convert it to a traditional checking account.
Free Checking Accounts
Best for: People who don’t want balance requirements and monthly maintenance fees.
A free checking account has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly maintenance fees. That said, they can have other fees. Some banks and credit unions offer free checking accounts with a return, like the Kasasa High-Dividend Cash Checking Account.
Low-Balance Checking Accounts
Best for: People who can only maintain a low balance minimum requirement.
A low-balance checking account is for people who need banking services but can only maintain a small balance requirement. This type of account can have limitations and requirements, such as only having only online transactions and preventing you from overdrafts.
Which Type of Checking Account is For You?
When choosing a checking account, you must consider your convenience and certain features. What minimum balance can you afford? Do you agree with the fees? Are the rewards something you have use of?
Beyond that, there are diverse accounts to cover each individual’s different needs. There are student accounts for young adults and even senior accounts for those who have retired. There are even accounts that allow you to invest. From the types of checking accounts above, which one suits your needs the most?
By now, you may already know what account you want. See our checking accounts to see if they suit you.