Find the best checking accounts, including free online checking and high interest checking accounts. Make the most of your checking account now.
Because it's the account you'll conduct most of your day-to-day transactions through, finding the right checking account is essential. When you're shopping for a checking account, here are some features you may want to look for:
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to checking accounts. You may want free checking for a low balance and cutting-edge mobile banking options, while your neighbor may prioritize having better interest rates. This is why shopping around is critical.
Having an online checking account can offer many benefits, including the potential for lower fees and higher interest rates, but there may be limitations too. Things to consider before opening an online checking account include:
If you're comfortable conducting business online and don't visit your local branch often anyway, you want to examine what today's top online banks offer.
You've heard of rewards credit cards, but did you know that there are also rewards checking accounts? These are checking accounts that offer you interest rates that may be comparable to the best savings rates on the market, or offer miles/points or other perks.
To obtain these rewards, you usually have to meet certain requirements. Typical requirements might be completing a certain number of signature-based transactions with your debit card each month, accepting paperless statements, setting up direct deposit or maintaining a minimum balance.
Particularly if the terms of the rewards checking deal are activities you may do anyway, rewards checking can mean having your cake and eating it too.
Even a great checking account is useless if you accrue a lot of fees when you use it. Luckily, smart consumers can avoid many of the fees that occur with checking accounts, such as monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, overdraft fees and more, by following good financial practices and making sure you're honest with yourself about your banking habits.
For instance, you can often avoid monthly maintenance fees by adhering to the bank's terms for the account. If you're worried before you sign up whether you can jump through the necessary hoops each month to get free checking, don't choose that checking account in the first place. Sooner or later, you're bound to slip up and get hit with a fee, and there are lots of free checking deals that are likely to suit you better.
Overdraft fees, which banks charge when a customer's spends more than they have in their checking account, can be shockingly high. The Federal Reserve has curbed some of the worst overdraft-fee abuses among banks, but these charges can still add up quickly.
To avoid exorbitant overdraft charges, you may prefer to link your checking account to your savings account, allowing your bank to transfer funds automatically from savings to checking when you overdraw your checking balance. You might still pay a fee, but it'll likely be substantially less than the usual overdraft fee.
If you want to do even better, focus on avoiding overdrafts entirely through stronger financial habits. Most overdrafts can be prevented by keeping track of your expenses.
Now that you know what to look for in a checking account, where can you find the one that is right for you? One way is to compare checking accounts online at SavingsAccounts.com to see what top banks are offering today.
Review the account listings on this, and other pages, to see what's available. Look over the terms of each account carefully, particularly the information on fees and interest rates, and consider which option would best suit your banking habits.