In this post we are going to discuss how to choose the right checking account for you. We’ll discuss what criteria make up a quality checking account and recommend some potential options. Remember that everyone has a different best so make sure to do your research and be an informed consumer.
Again, let’s start with a reflection. Think of how you currently spend your money. When are you paying your bills? What are your monthly spending habits? Where do you want to be in 5, 10, and 15 years? Don’t ever make a financial decision without first clearly and honestly analyzing your spending tendencies.
4 Tips for Choosing the Best Checking Account
Now that you’ve reflected let’s dive into the metrics you need to consider to find the best checking account for your needs:
1. Account Type: Interest or Non-Interest?
With interest checking your money can grow but is still accessible. The only problem is interest checking accounts generally impose minimum balance requirements and limit your transfers per month. Honestly if you’re seeking to grow your money there are better means than a checking account, such as a savings account, CDs, stock, etc. I use my checking to hold my locked in monthly expenses with a little buffer. Any extra money goes into savings, or a more profitable investment.
2. Bank Type: Internet or Branch?
Again, the Internet is becoming a popular medium for finance because it reduces physical overhead costs. Since the online banks need not worry about maintaining branch locations, they can pass the savings along to you in the form of higher interest rates and reduced fees. Managing your account online may take some getting used to, but don’t count the option out as you shop around.
3. Interest Rate
Interest Rate (APY) is the same as the APY for a savings account, however it is generally a much lower rate. Like I mentioned earlier your checking account isn’t the vehicle by which you should grow your money. An APY of 0% is fine for a checking account because funds are variable in a checking account, meaning there are more transactions relative to a savings account. Your APY won’t have any significant impact unless you let the money sit and grow interest in a checking account.
4. Fees, Watch Out!
The uproar over charging a fee for debt card use has recently been resolved. The verdict? Banks decided not to charge debit card fees. However, there are a plethora of other fees you need to look out for when researching checking accounts. Many fees are waived by meeting certain requirements, so make sure to ask a lot of questions and find out how you can waive fees.
Finally, I’ll leave you with some checking accounts to consider. Remember though that every person has a different best, so always do your research (I can’t stress it enough):