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Things to Know When Choosing a Checking Account

Not every checking account is the same. There are several types of account and a few things to be aware of with these different accounts. Not everyone can qualify for every checking account either. You must verify what the requirements are, so you can open an online bank account more easily.

Having a checking facility is a lifesaver when you have a paper check that you need to get deposited and cleared, or you’re just needing a place to keep some quick cash safely before taking it out later that month. It’s all about having access – and that’s what checking accounts are best for.

The Basics

A checking account provides simple access to your money. You can receive a payment from your employer without difficulty and manage your spending between paydays to avoid running out before you get paid again.

Most checking accounts come with personal checks and either an ATM card or a debit card facility, which can be used to pay for restaurant bills, clothes, or to shop online too. Some banks offer higher interest checking facilities too if you can always keep the balance above a certain amount.

Having money is great, but when you cannot access it when you need it, it gets to be a real pain. Unlike savings accounts where there’s a limit of six withdrawals each month (federally mandated), checking accounts don’t come with the same restrictions.

What Fees Are There?

With a checking account, you’ll almost always have fees to pay. The most common one is a maintenance fee, which is usually charged monthly on accounts that levy it. Depending on the bank, a few waive this cost based on the account type or maintaining a minimum balance to qualify for the waiver. There are also checking facilities that don’t charge the maintenance fee when having your salary paid in via direct deposit. It’s best to check the account you’re considering opening to understand more.

If you take out more money than is in your account, this may be allowed if you have overdraft protection. The fee for covering an overdraft varies from account to account, and not all checking accounts offer the same facilities. It is also subject to qualifying for credit, as you’re effectively borrowing from the bank when you do so.

How to Choose an Account That’s Right for You?

Every checking account is different. Some have lower fees than others. If you tend to manage your cash flow less well, then a bank account with overdraft protection will be a must. Traveling around on business, you’ll use different ATMs away from your bank’s network, so the fees for non-bank ATMs should be considered too. The opening balance requirement is different depending on what account you require too. Student accounts often have very low minimums whereas high-interest checking accounts have much higher opening balance requirements. You must decide what features are most important and match your needs to get the right account.

Checking accounts aren’t cookie cutter; they come in many varieties. It is up to you to select the most appropriate one that has the right combination of features. The bank fees vary from account to account, but being with a reputable bank that has good credit and strong customer service is important too.

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