Which Kind of Checking Account Should I Open?

Banks Editorial Team · December 13, 2017

There are many different types of checking accounts out there, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. If you’re looking to open a new checking account, you might be unsure of which kind of account to open.

If you’re shopping around for a new checking account, consider what you want out of it. Do you want to save money safely? Do you want to earn a little interest? Do you want to avoid the stress of entering a brick-and-mortar bank? Your intentions determine which account would benefit you the most.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the main kinds of checking accounts.

If you want to save, open a credit union checking account

If you begrudging pay your monthly bank fees, a checking account from a credit union could be the answer. The majority of credit unions out there offer checking accounts without maintenance fees.

You might have to pay for out-of-network transactions and overdraft fees, but generally, it’s a little cheaper. Many credit unions are members of national ATM networks. This makes it possible to avoid surcharge fees. You can also avoid other costs by doing certain things, like opening another account or keeping a certain balance.

Disadvantages: You need to find and join a suitable credit union. Customer service may be too informal, depending on your preferences. Their mobile apps may be less sophisticated than that of banks.

If you want to earn interest, open an interest checking account.

These accounts are hybrids between savings and checking accounts. The key advantage is big: your funds are easy to access and you earn a bit of interest.

To qualify to earn interest you need to make between 10 – 15 debit card transactions per month. You’ll also need a bank balance below a set cap to qualify for the advertised APY.

All America Bank offers a 1.50% APY on their Mega Money Market checking account. Other banks offer anything between 0.2% to a staggering 5% APY.

Disadvantages: Only a hand-full of interest checking accounts are available nationwide. If you use a credit card often, you may find it difficult to meet the debit transaction requirements. Also, depending on your income you may find it easy to hit the cap.

If you want to avoid queues, switch to an online checking account.

If you tend to bank online and haven’t set foot in an actual bank for months, an online account is perfect for you. Online banks offer greater interest rates and lower fees than traditional banks. By saving on typical overheads, online banks can offer consumers these great benefits.

Reputable online banks have near perfect online security and are also federally insured. And their mobile apps and websites are some of the best out there.

Disadvantages: Traditionally easy-to- solve concerns can take longer to resolve online. Some banks may need you to post documents to them when opening an account which may prolong the process. Similarly, you may have to wait to receive money that is deposited via mailed checks. Additionally, there is no bank to visit if the website experiences problems.

The right account for you is one that best suits your needs. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of the types of accounts offered will help you effectively weigh up your options. By doing a little bit of homework, you can find yourself a checking account that makes managing your finances just a bit easier.

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