Checking accounts are a must for modern life, but not all checking accounts are made the same. I was recently asked what someone should look for when seeking out a new bank. There’s a lot to consider when looking for a checking account, so let’s dive into what you should look for when you’re hunting for a bank.
Let’s start with the basics.
Why checking accounts?
Having a checking account is a must. It’s the best way to store your money for monthly bills and spending money. It can keep you from losing cash, overspending, and you can access your funds in a variety of ways. From taking cash out at an ATM to mobile payments you can use your money how you need to when you need to.
The main goal with a checking account is to make it simple to pay for things, access your money, and grow your nest egg. Often you’ll use the same bank for a checking account and add on savings account, CDs, money market, credit, and other accounts. This makes it easier to save for long-term goals without the stress of your money being tied up. That way if a car emergency happens you can just transfer funds from your savings to cover it.
Banks offer a variety of types of accounts with a number of perks and issues all rolled together, so let’s dig into what you should look for when choosing a checking account.
Look at monthly fees.
Many banks (cough*the big banks*cough) charge a fee if you don’t have a certain balance in your account, or you don’t direct deposit, or you don’t stand on your head when you use the ATM. Okay, I made that last one up, but it does feel like some banks charge you a fee for everything.
Paying to access your money?
ATMs are supposed to be a convenient way to access your money in cash, but some banks charge you money for not using their ATM or using it often. Look for a checking account that allows you to withdraw funds anywhere and refunds those ATM fees.
Mobile is where it’s at.
You need a checking account that you can access on the go and bonus points if it has a great app that allows you to deposit checks on your phone, transfer funds, and more. You also want to look for a mobile pay option. Being able to use mobile pay options like ApplePay on the go can be a time and sanity saver. Check out the reviews on a bank’s mobile app before you sign on.
What can you earn?
We usually think about checking accounts in terms of fees, but you should consider what you can earn with your checking account instead. Yes, you can earn money just for having a checking account.
Check the interest rates for your checking account and look at the fine print. Many offer an ‘intro’ rate to hook you or only offer you that shiny, big rate if you have over $25,000. No good. Look for a bank that offers decent interest so the money you have to have socked away is working for you.
Radius Bank Checking has all these features and then some! Great rates on checking, online banking, mobile pay and mobile app options, no minimum balance, and they offer unlimited free ATM use. Based in Boston, Radius Bank has customers nationwide. Learn more about their hybrid checking account (and other checking account options) here.
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