There are many different types of bank accounts whether that be a savings, IRA, certificate of deposit, or even a money market account. Though each has its own set of perks, the most known and utilized is called a checking account. This type of account can be used for everyday financial needs. This account is a very safe place to keep your funds because it is opened with a bank or financial institution. This is a bonus because banks are insured, meaning your money cannot be stolen, damaged, or destroyed, unlike cash. With a checking account, individuals are able to make deposits and withdrawals, pay bills, and connect to apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle.
The first step to accessing a checking account is to open one with your bank of choice. Most people sign up online, but you could also take a trip to the local branch for in-person assistance. Some banks include but are not limited to: Citibank, Chase, Capital One, Discover, and TD Bank. When opening an account you will need to provide:
Once these materials are in order, you will have to fill out a short application consisting of a few questions about you. After this is complete, the bank will run a report on you and either approve or deny your request for their checking account. The report is basically a background of your spending habits and activity. If you are approved you will receive a debit card which will allow you to make payments, take out cash and manage your money. In order to open an account by yourself, you must be 18 years of age or older. Individuals under 18 can also have a checking account, but a parent must accompany them when creating their account.
When deciding if you want to open a checking account it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Some of the advantages include having a record of your spending making it easier for you to budget yourself. This can be found through both electronic and paper statements which you can access any time of any day. Most checking accounts give interest based on the amount you have saved. This means the bank gives you money each month. Most rates are below 1%, but something is better than nothing. In addition, to these benefits, you will not have to worry about carrying cash around.
Although there are many highlights to having a checking account, there are some safety measures in place that can be seen as a negative. If the bank or institution sees odd behavior from your debit card, they will block that transaction from being fulfilled. You will have to speak with a representative to tell them that you authorize the transaction and they will release your account. In addition to this, your spending habits will also allow companies to create targeted advertisements. This means you will see more ads from the places you shop and products like or have bought. Some individuals like this and think it’s personalized, whereas, others see it as an invasion of privacy. It all depends on how you want to view it.
Some banks or financial institutions have hidden fees associated with their checking accounts. It’s important to be cognizant of what these fees are so you can avoid them or have them waived. These fees include:
To learn more about these hidden fees and how to avoid them, click here.