A checking account is a checking account, right? WRONG! Checking accounts have become a “staple” of banking, but you have more options than ever before. If you’re going to have a checking account, make it work for you!
Choosing a checking account that is right for you can require some research before you dive in. Here are a few things to consider:
Mobile Capabilities There is an app for everything nowadays, and your checking account should be no exception. Depending on your financial institution, the features of mobile banking can change the way you use your checking account. You’ll want to use your mobile checking account for any and all of the following:
View your balance in real-time
Make bill payments
Make a loan payment
Find the nearest ATM
Lock and unlock your debit card
View your FICO score
If you’re interested in using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, you may want to confirm your financial supports the applications.
Fees Typically, financial institutions charge a monthly service fee for having an open checking account. This fee is often waived by meeting certain criteria such as keeping a minimum balance in the account, minimum debit card swipes or a minimum direct deposit requirement. Research what those requirements are before opening an account so that you aren’t caught off guard if those fees are taken right out of your account. Some financial institutions have requirements that are easier to follow than others.
Overdraft protection Most financial institutions will offer overdraft protection at no cost. This allows the financial institution to automatically transfer from a different account, perhaps a savings account, in the case of an overdraft from a checking account. This protects you from overdraft fees and, in the end, having to deal with collections. It will help your accounts remain in good standing. It is still important to monitor your accounts daily so that you know when that overdraft protection has kicked in. Try setting up e-alerts in your online banking so that you know when overdraft protection has been applied.