Financial Education Blog

How do I choose a checking account?

Opening a new checking account is a pretty cut and dry procedure, right? You walk into the Credit Union or visit its website, you review your options, you open or apply for the checking account and you’re set. That’s true, but it’s also true that there are several options out there and some important points to consider before determining which checking account is best for you.
 
Out-of-network ATM fees
 
If you travel often, it might not always be convenient or easy to find an in-network ATM for your cash needs. You might not think twice about the fee that comes with it – it’s just a few dollars here and there, right? Wrong! Those fees can put a serious dent in your cash flow if you’re not careful. Look for a checking account, like 7 17’s free WOW Checking Account, that will help you defray those costs.
 
What are the checking account fees?
 
There’s no such thing as a free checking account, right? Wrong. There are still free options out there for a personal checking account. If you find one that has a fee, but feels like it might be the right option for you, talk with your financial institution to see if those fees can be reduced or even eliminated if certain checking account requirements are met.  
 
Does the account offer interest or dividends?
 
Generally, a checking account is one that you use for paying your monthly bills and making everyday purchases while a savings or money market account, or certificate will help you achieve the highest interest rates. However, there are checking accounts that will give you a boost with monthly dividends or interest. Use these to your advantage to help you grow your money. Remember, even small amounts add up.
 
Does your checking account reward you?  
 
Checking accounts with debit cards are often linked to rewards programs that let you earn points with every purchase, and those points can be redeemed for a variety of rewards. You’re spending the money anyway, why not be rewarded for it?
 
Consider your mobile options
Most accounts come with mobile apps and online banking, making it easy for you to access your finances 24/7 as well as schedule future or recurring transfers to savings. Taking advantage of these features and scheduling ahead of time can make saving much simpler. Not to mention, many of those mobile apps also offer mobile deposit, which makes it oh-so-convenient to deposit payments directly to your checking account.