Choosing a bank for your checking account is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make for everyday finances. While you may make bigger financial decisions in terms of investing and saving, a checking account is something you’ll probably use regularly and access often, and so will need to make sure you have the features you need. By choosing a checking account at one of the nation’s best banks as rated by consumers and consumer groups, you can be fairly certain you’ll find exactly what you are looking for. So then, what should you look for when choosing the right bank for your checking account?
1. Minimum Balance Requirements
If you are often living from hand to mouth, as the saying goes, you will want to find a bank that has no minimum balance requirements. This type of account is usually set up so that if you keep a prespecified minimum balance, you aren’t charged monthly fees. Fees will then vary bank by bank.
2. Monthly Fees
Speaking of monthly fees, there was a time when a ‘Silver’ checking account was coveted because some banks gave seniors checking accounts with no monthly fees. Now there is a greater amount of competition and it is easier to find banks with no monthly fees. In fact, why choose a bank at all if they want you to pay for the account plus get that interest they collect as you let your money sit with them over time.
One of the most important features to look for in a bank is convenience. Most people have little enough time on their hands as it is without worrying about a bank which is hard to access in daytime traffic, has few free ATMs and quite simply, too time-consuming to bother with. For this reason, many consumers choose a bank that is not only easily accessible in the physical realm but one that offers online banking as well. If your bank offers a mobile app for your smartphone, all the better!
4. Overdraft Fees
How many times have you miscalculated and been charged a $35 overdraft fee for being a few cents short on an automatic debit you’ve set up on your checking account? It could be a car payment, a mortgage payment or even a recurring utility bill, but for a few cents, that $35 is a hefty penalty. Some banks offer overdraft protection for your checking account that offer a certain number of overdrafts before charging that fee. Check to see if you can qualify for that kind of checking account. Of course, it may depend on your credit rating, but if you qualify, you could save yourself major headaches when it comes tome to balance your checkbook!
5. Limits on Amount and Number of Transactions
Finally, one more important consideration should be made here. Some banks place daily or monthly limits on the number of ATM transactions you can make and these always seem to reach their limit when you least expect it. Have you ever been out of town and in need of fast cash only for the ATM to tell you that you’ve exceeded your limit? That is a real pain and one that you can avoid with the best banks.
Looking for the right bank for your checking account? This information should get you started in the right direction. Make sure to read customer reviews, consumer group ratings and compare banks before choosing one that meets your needs. The right one is out there, now it’s up to you to find it.