Looking for a Checking Account
Determine what you are looking for in a checking account. Compare different institutions to see what checking accounts most closely match the qualifications that you are looking for. Some things to consider when finding a checking account are.
1. Account Fees
Be sure to research the banks that have free checking accounts without many hidden fees. Some fees that are common are monthly checking account fees, fees for transactions, ATM fees, and minimum balance fees. Ten dollars per month might not seem like a bad deal; however, when you figure that you could be saving $120 per year on a monthly checking account fee, it would be better to find the free options. Find a checking account that will give you free transactions, ATM usage, and no monthly fee.
2. Minimum Initial Deposit and Balance Amounts
Keeping money in a checking account to meet minimum balance requirements is cutting down on money that could be accumulating interest in a higher interest account. Some banks require a minimum balance of between $500 and $1500 just sitting in your account each month. Minimum initial deposits are almost always required. Make sure it is a low amount that you have to make, anything less than $100 is acceptable. Try to aim for a $25 minimum initial deposit until you determine that this account is one that you want to keep.
3. ATM Accessibility
Before opening a checking account, be sure that the bank you are choosing has plenty of ATM’s that are conveniently located for you to use. Most banks charge an ATM fee for out of network ATM use. You will be racking up the fees if your bank doesn’t have ATM’s in your area. Check the fees your bank charges for ATM usage as well. Some banks are known to charge for each transaction, balance checks, or deposits done using an in network ATM. You should always get a checking account that offers free ATM access.
4. Mobile Banking Access
In this day and age people are always on the go and mobile banking is a convenient way to keep up on your finances. Any good bank will have a mobile app or ways to track your account activity online. You should look for mobile banking that allows you to transfer money, pay bills, deposit checks all from your computer and/or mobile device.
5. Overdraft Protection
The most complained about issue dealing with banking is overdraft fees. When you over draft a checking account, spending more money than you have available in your account, you will be hit with a sometimes very costly overdraft fee. Many banks charge around a $30 fee for overdrafts, with additional fees until the amount is paid. Look for a bank with overdraft protection to avoid incurring unnecessary fees. Overdraft protection allows you to link your checking account to a savings account that has money available in case of an accidental overdraft.
When researching to find the best checking account for you visit the branches, talk to customer service representatives, look at the website and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Keep all information that you collect in a folder in case you have any issues after opening an account.
A list of major banks to consider are:
2. Wells Fargo
3. JPMorgan Chase
5. US Bank
7. TD Bank
8. Capital One
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