Financial Education Blog

Features to consider when opening a new checking account

Opening a new checking account is easy. Deciding on the right financial institution and choosing the right product for you is another story. The best accounts have low fees, high interest rates and overdraft protection services. We’ve compiled a list of features to consider when opening a new checking account.
Here’s what you want to look for:
 
  1. No monthly fee.  Look for an account with no monthly fee, or one that’s avoidable when you meet certain criteria (like setting up a monthly direct deposit).
  2. No minimum balance requirement. A good bank account has no minimum balance requirement. Some financial institutions charge minimum balance fees that can range between $500 and $10,000.
  3. No limitation on the number or method of transactions. A good checking account allows you to have as many transactions in your account as you need. It also lets you withdraw, deposit or transfer money between your checking and savings accounts without incurring charges.
  4. Free ATM access. You shouldn’t be charged for withdrawing your money, and when making your choice, you should consider whether you’ll have access to a large network of ATMs or will be reimbursed fees imposed by other banks.
  5. Online and mobile access. You should be able to have access to your money on the go. Find an account that lets you check your account, pay bills and make deposits electronically.
  6. Some nice freebies. Some additional nice-to-have features include branch access, free checks and a high interest rate.
  7. Annual Percentage Yield. Some checking accounts pay interest and others don’t. Some of the highest-yielding checking accounts pay 1% APY or higher. However, make sure you read the fine print before signing up to see what it takes to qualify for the product’s APY.
  8. Overdraft protection services. Overdraft fees are some of the biggest fees that consumers face. An easy way to avoid overdraft fees is to link your checking to your savings so you don’t have to borrow from the bank if you overdraft. But this can drain your savings if you aren’t careful. Look for an account that offers an overdraft protection program.
 
To learn more about choosing the best bank account for you, visit one of the following: