4 Things To Look For In A Checking Account
Whether you're planning to open a checking account for the first time, or you're just shopping around in the hopes of finding a better banking experience, take a look below at just four of the most important things you should look for in a checking account.
Extensive ATM Network
One of the main benefits of any checking account is that it allows you to withdraw funds with far greater flexibility than a savings or investment account. Yet it's impossible to take full advantage of this if a bank's ATM network is limited. Before opening any account, check to make sure that nationwide access is available and that there are dozens of ATMs in the areas where you spend the most time.
Easy Transfer of Funds
If you're opening a checking account, chances are that you're planning to transfer funds on a regular basis to other accounts. To ensure you don't experience any major hassles, confirm that an account is eligible for both ACH (Automated Clearing House) and wire transfers and that the terms and fees of each are clearly stated. Most large banks and credit unions give you the ability to transfer funds to other account holders via an app or website.
Another major benefit of a checking account is that it allows you to be paid via direct deposit, instead of by cash or check. Assuming your employer offers direct deposit, a solid checking account should make it easy to set one up, and many banks may even offer the ability to receive your funds a couple of days before payday. There are very few downsides to having a checking account with direct deposit, which is all the more reason to look for accounts that feature it.
Option to Change Accounts
Opening a checking account is one of the easiest and most popular ways to begin a relationship with a financial institution, whether it is a large commercial bank or a local credit union. As such, the importance of having several kinds of checking accounts to choose from is key. A basic checking account is all you may need for now, but you may be eligible for a premium interest-bearing account in the near future, which brings with it added benefits such as lower monthly fees. You may also decide to switch to a student account if you plan to enroll in school or create a joint checking account after you get married.