Checking accounts are some of the simplest, most popular, and least lucrative bank products on the market. They’re amazing for when you want a simple way of keeping your money in a bank while ensuring that it is readily accessible, but if you’re looking for an investment solution, then a checking account might not be your best option, particularly when you compare it with other ways to grow your money.
The best way to make sure that you’re using your checking account correctly, is to only access it for money that you need to be able to use whenever you need it. Keep any additional funds that you might have in a different account that yields a higher interest rate, such as a savings account.
Where to Find a Checking Account:
In the past, when people wanted to open a checking account, they simply went to the brick and mortar bank where they had their mortgage, savings account, or credit card. Now, chances are that your bank or building society probably won’t offer the best deals when it comes to all of your accounts, so it’s best to shop around if you want to make sure you’re getting the best opportunity.
Today, you can find a host of banking options available on the internet today. Just like traditional accounts, these banks issue checkbooks, credit cards, and paper statements. The only difference between an online account and an offline alternative, is that you don’t have a brick and mortar location to visit if you need to speak to your bank.
Internet banking options are thriving today because most people would prefer not to visit their bank in person anyway. What’s more, the fact that internet banks don’t have to pay as many fees for actual brick and mortar locations means that they can generally offer you better deals on your financial products too.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that you can also consider opening a checking account with a credit union. Credit unions are non-profit organizations designed and built for members of a specific group. Besides the fact that you need to be a member to join, most credit unions work in a similar way to a standard bank. Additionally, since credit unions don’t need to pay as much tax as a standard bank, they can sometimes afford to be more generous when it comes to serving their customers.
Where Should You Open a New Checking Account?
The truth is, opening a new checking account shouldn’t be too much of a difficult task. Banks have long-since mastered the art of recording deposits correcting and sending useful bills, which means that people don’t have to be too choosy when selecting an account that’s right for them. Unlike other accounts, a checking account doesn’t generally come with additional benefits to help you make a decision.
You might decide for convenience sake that you’d like to open your checking account with a bank that already manages your money in some way. However, going with a bank that’s located close to home out of convenience could mean that you end up paying higher rates and having access to fewer deals.
Ideally, you should open your checking account with the institution that can offer you the lowest fees and the highest interest rates on your savings. Usually, this will be an online account that doesn’t have physical branches, and prefers its customers to get in touch via call or email. Internet banks may also require you to mail your deposit slips and checks to them, which means that it can take a little longer for a check to be deposited into your account.
Tips for Finding the Best Checking Account:
Ultimately, when you’re looking for a checking account, you should start by considering each bank’s fees and interest rates. You can compare options online, and determine which of your options are the most appealing based on the numbers you get.
Figuring out which account delivers the best interest rate is a simple process, as the higher the interest rate, the better. This is in contrast to when you’re looking for a loan or mortgage deal when you’re searching for the lowest interest rate whenever possible. Credit unions can sometimes have good deals, but internet banks are typically the options that offer the best offers to today’s financial companies, thanks to their lack of physical presence.
When looking for details on banking fees, it might also be a good idea to keep ATM fees in mind. After all, any bank that doesn’t have its own physical branches is unlikely to have any ATM machines. You should probably assume that you’re going to be hit with a fee when you visit a bank ATM, the good news is that many banks reimburse these fees for their internet customers.
Additionally, you should also think about account minimum fees. These are the costs that you have to pay if the amount you keep in your bank falls below a certain amount. Most internet banks won’t charge these fees, but it’s important to be sure. While you’re checking, make sure to look for overdraft fees. After all, a lot of banks will allow you to avoid the stress of bounced checks, by ensuring that you can overdraw your account, then charging you a fee for the privilege.
Choosing an Internet Checking Account:
If you think that an internet bank account might be the best solution for when you want to save and use your cash, then the best way to get started is by doing your research. You can even call the internet banks that you’re interested in to ask them any questions you might have about their service. If you’re concerned about user experience, this will give you an insight into what it feels like to work with a bank before you start handing over your money.
When you choose the checking account you want to use, remember to check for any terms and conditions that you need to be aware of when it comes to keeping costs low. For example, you’ll need to check if there are any exit fees you need to worry about, in case you decide that you want to switch to another bank at a later stage.