Banking has evolved quite a bit over the last several years. It might be time to open a new checking account. Perhaps you are opening one for the first time. Maybe you opened one years ago and haven’t considered new options since. In either case, these are some of the features that you should be on the lookout for when choosing the right checking account.
Benefits or Rewards
Many checking accounts today offer incentives for certain activity in your account or on your debit card. This can include things such as:
- Earned monthly interest — If you can maintain the minimum balance requirement and tend to keep a hefty balance, many checking accounts offer 0.5% and higher APY which allows your cash to grow over time.
- Cash back rewards — For spending up to a certain amount of money on your debit card each month, some accounts offer cash back on every purchase.
- Sign up bonuses — Some banks offer a direct cash bonus for opening an account (usually if you can meet a couple easy requirements).
Fees and Balance Requirements
Always watch out for fees and balance requirements before opening an account. In fact, you may be getting hit with fees in your current account without knowing it and switching to a new one may alleviate that. While researching, look for:
- Minimum balance fees — If you are finding it challenging to meet your bank’s minimum balance requirement every month (which range in size dependent on the account), you may want to consider finding an option with a lower requirement or no requirement at all. If you’re not sure about your bank’s minimum balance requirements, check your previous bank statements to check for any fees being charged.
- ATM out of network fees — This is particularly relevant for accounts held at a brick-and-mortar institution. Many banks will only allow you to withdraw from ATMs in a certain proximity of their location, and some only allow you to withdraw from ATMs directly associated with that bank without being charged a fee. There are plenty of options to avoid this, such as online banks, which usually have thousands of fee-free ATMs nationwide. There are also accounts that will refund any ATM fees to your account at the end of every month.
- Waived fees — Even with accounts that have monthly fees, some banks are willing to wave them for maintaining a certain minimum balance. For example, Republic Bank’s Essential Checking account waves the $7 monthly fee for maintaining a balance of $100.
When it comes to convenience, you want to compare the checking account you need with the lifestyle you live. Are you always on the go and easy access to your funds is important? Do you get paid in cash? Here are some things to consider:
- Mobile check deposits — If you are remote, travel frequently, or are unable to make it to a branch, many banks provide a mobile deposit feature through their mobile apps where you simply take a picture of your signed check, and it goes directly into your account.
- Online banking — This is another great option for those who have no need to visit an in-person branch. If most of your transactions are done digitally or you get paid through direct deposit, online banking is a convenient alternative to traditional banking.
- A large ATM network — If you need to pull cash out of your account regularly, you’ll want a checking account through a bank that allows ATM withdrawals across a large network and requires little to no fees.
- Customer service — Being able to reach your bank and access your account at a moment’s notice in the case of any concerns or questions is paramount. Many institutions now offer 24/7 or after-hours customer service for quick assistance in a pinch.
Choosing the right checking account takes some research seeing as there are so many options. However, it’s important to investigate all your options to ensure you choose an account that’s perfect for you, your financial goals, and your lifestyle. If you need assistance or recommendations for the right checking account, Republic Bank has great options to choose from. Reach out to one of our expert bankers at 800-526-9127 for more information! And, for more financial tips, be sure to read all of our posts.