The Best Checking Accounts
When it comes to checking accounts, they seem pretty simple right? However when you start to think about it, there are so many banks in America that offer checking accounts. Each bank will have their pros and cons, so you ought to think about your choices carefully before accepting anything.
Thankfully, we are here to help you make the best decision possible. Here is a run down of the best checking accounts there are, their facts, pros and cons, and more. Let’s start off with the basics first.
What’s a Checking Account?
A checking account is a bank account that lets you have easy access to your cash. Typically whenever you pay for something, such as transactions or pay for bills, you would use a checking account.
Additionally, a checking account allows you to write checks for other people. You can also create and use things such as automatic transfer. A checking account is meant to be used regularly, since you would use it to pay for your bills and other things.
What are the differences between a checking account and a savings bank account?
There is a huge world of difference between the two and it is important to know what the difference is when you get one. Most people have both, but if you are getting one for the first time, you should still know what the differences are. For instance, you can tell the difference by the name alone.
A savings account will allow you to save and pile up cash, but there is a withdrawal limit per day and per month. On the other hand, a checking account allows you to have more freedom, hence it is used to pay online bills.
Additionally, there are times that you cannot use your savings account to pay for things. A checking account’s main use is to have money in it to be spent, which is why whatever money you would put into your checking account may not be there for too long since it’s used for your everyday needs.
However since a savings account typically has a card that is given to you so you can withdraw from an ATM, it might be easier to spend your money with a checking account. However a checking account has a lot of convenience when it comes to paying for things, especially if that’s what you need.
How Do I Choose the Right One?
Not every checking account from one bank will be right for everyone. Everyone has different needs and will only be able to offer a certain set of requirements. The only way to choose the best one is by doing your research on what’s available and knowing what your needs are.
You should think about where you most regularly spend your money when choosing a good checking account. Looking into the different features of various checking accounts will help you decide what you need.
For example, you may want to know the minimum balance of the checking account to know whether or not you will be able to maintain it. It can be easy to forget that since a checking account’s main use is for spending. Additionally there are certain accounts that will have limits regarding the debit transactions of how many checks are made each month.
There are even some that will limit how many bills can be paid every month. If the numbers feel like they are too small to suit your needs, then you need to look at a different bank.
Another thing to keep in mind are what fees are offered by the bank. There are monthly services fees along with overdraft fees to consider. A bank would normally offer more affordable fees if you are able to meet the minimum transactions per month or have automatic deposit.
However a credit union may also offer you much lower rates for their fees. Although, you may be able to find a checking account that has no fees, but don’t forget to do your research on that first.
Now that you know the basics of what a checking account is, here is a list of some of the best checking accounts in America. Don’t forget the tips we mentioned earlier about choosing the best checking account. They will help you make a better comparison amongst the banks and checking accounts to make the best possible choice.
1. Charles Schwab Bank
Overall, this is a great checking account for most people and many people with a checking account will agree. However keep in mind that they are not really categorized as a bank, but rather as an investment company. These accounts were originally created in mind for the convenience of their investors. What makes it so great is that you can use any ATM in the world without paying for fees. The other fees are much lower than other banks, and there is no minimum balance required. The only disadvantage of this checking account is that you can’t deposit money.
Some other huge benefits are when you do online bill pay there are no fees. You also get to make free transfers not only to other Schwab bank members but to other banks too. A free debit card and free checks are huge bonuses that you can get here. Travellers love this bank because using ATMs in other countries can have costly fees, but this one allows you to withdraw anywhere fee-free.
2. Ally Bank
If you are focusing on online payments,Ally Bank is your best bet when it comes to checking accounts. There are 43,000 Allpoint ATMs and you get a $10 reimbursement for each month that you used other banks for ATM withdrawals. The phone support team is great as well since it is very easy to access and you get to talk to real people rather than automated messages. If you use it with Zelle, you can use it for speedy money transfers to your relatives and friends.
A great bonus is that there are practically no fees involves with regular use. You may even acquire a free cashier’s check. However since this account is only online, you can’t deposit cash, just like Schwab Bank. However in this day and age, cash deposits are really not done that often since most people prefer to pay online. So Ally Bank is a great choice if you are mostly focused on online payments anywhere and you will still be able to transfer money to others and have access to tons of ATMs.
3. Capital One 360
Capital One 360 is a high tech company that doesn’t really refer to themselves as a bank. Rather they call themselves a tech company that has banking services. The major plus is that everything that they have to offer in their features is amazing and the tools are unlike what many other banks have to offer. Another great benefit is that they don’t have fees and do not have any minimum balance required in their checking accounts.
You can use their 39,000 and growing number of ATMs at your convenience. They are free Capital One and Allpoint ATMs. They also have some branches in bigger cities, but they are called cafes. Since they are new with cutting edge technology, they are actually the first to have remote deposits from your phone along with amazing applications for you, making it a great experience online and offline. Keep in mind they have some pretty nice, competitive interest rates on their savings and checking accounts.
4. Discover Bank
They are more known for their credit cards rather than their checking accounts, but their checking account deals are pretty great as well. They have online checking accounts that are tempting for almost anyone because of its features. Their main drawing factor is their amazing cashback feature. If you spend $3,000 a month, you can get 1% cash back on that, and if you total that in a year you can get about $360 a year or more on cash back alone! You were able to earn money that you had to spend anyway, especially if your expenses reach at least $3,000 every month.
There is no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees for your checking account, along with online bill pay. You get to access over 60,000 ATMs, create official bank checks, have debit card replacements, check reorders, and more. What’s more is that it is very affordable to start a checking account with them and you get to earn more from their cashback policy. However keep in mind that the debit card may not be able to be used at all stores, unlike a credit card.
If you are looking to keep your spending in order and want to follow a budget, then Simple is the way to go for you. It is a fairly new bank, as it was officially launched back in 2012. They do not have any physical offices at the moment. They focus their services online and their apps that you can download on your phone. Additionally, they have about 55,000 current ATMs that you can use for free.
They have free mobile check deposits amongst their other features that you would normally get with online banking. What makes it so great, especially for the first time bankers and millenials looking to spend their money carefully, is that has many tools for budgeting and automatic savings. If you are struggling to manage your cash every month, you would definitely benefit from this bank. There is no fees, so you can use those tools for free.
Another great choice for millenials is Chime, which is another mobile bank. There are no fees, depending on your case direct deposit, and automatic savings plans. It also has no charge for overdraft and will also not charge you for foreign or maintenance fees. The mobile app is very user friendly, which is great for day to day use. Additionally, it will send you notifications and you can make and send a paper check through your phone! Chime is a very straightforward and simple app, great for anyone looking for the basics.
If you notice, the list is focused on online banking and apps since that is what most people prefer to use nowadays. However if you are more into face-to-face banking and doing things in person, then Chase is the bank for you. They are known to be considered the best when it comes to physical branches, since they are one of the biggest networks in the country to have that amount of branches.
However, there are some pitfalls that you may not like from Chase. For instance, Chase bank offers low interest rates while charging “high” fees since it is a rather traditional, bank. They will charge a fee for a minimum balance and will have other fees that you might expect from other traditional banks. However their customer service is the top of the line and their checking accounts can handle almost everything, including cash deposits which is what many of the other banks we mentioned earlier lacked. Keep in mind to be careful if you are going to use it at another bank because you are going to be charged with some fees.
8. Bank of America
This is a well known bank that offers two kinds of checking accounts – core checking and interest checking. However keep in mind that both of these checking accounts have a monthly fee. It costs $12 for the interest checking account. The core checking account costs $25 a month. However for the core checking account, that fee can be avoided if you can meet their requirements – if you keep a $1500 minimum balance in your checking account everyday and make a $250 direct deposit. Alternatively, if you are a student who is younger than 25 years old, you can skip that payment too but you have to be currently enrolled.
Interest checking account monthly fees get waived as long as there is $10,000 in the account. However don’t worry too much as that total amount can be combined by linking money market accounts, savings accounts, etc. Bank of America also tends to have different bonuses when you sign up for their checking accounts online, so keep your eye out for them.
If you don’t want to pay big monthly charges, PNC might be what you are looking for. They have both real branches and online services, so you can pick whichever you feel more comfortable with. Their maintenance fee only costs about $7 every month and will only charge you $2 if you want a statement printed. However a big benefit from PNC is that all you need is a $500 minimum balance each month to have the maintenance fee waived. They will also waive the fee if you are a senior who is at the age of 62 and above.
If you were able to meet the requirements for the PNC performance select checking account, you will be given a bonus of $300. One of the requirements is that you have to deposit at least $5,000 into the account within the first two months (60 days) of it being opened. Within those 60 days, you should have had made at least bought 10 things using the PNC debit card. After about 10 business days after you have met the requirements the money will be put into your account.
Remember, all checking accounts do not offer the same things. You should look over the choices carefully to see what would suit your everyday needs. All these banks have their benefits and disadvantages, so take your time when you are choosing one. If you want to read more about some of the best checking accounts and banks, check out dedebt.com.