When you open a checking account, there are a few things that you need to find out so that you can use your checking account in the best possible matter.
#1 What Fees Are Associated with the Account?
First, you need to find out what fees are associated with the checking account. Some banks charge monthly fees, which are taken out of your account at a set time each month. Other banks will charge you a monthly fee if your balance is below a certain amount. For example, you may be required to carry at least a $5,000 balance in your checking account or face a $5 fee per month to use your checking account.
If you are lucky, you will find a bank that offers a free checking account. Free checking accounts are great because you don't have to pay any monthly fees and often don't need to carry a high balance in your account as well. You want to cut expenses where you can, and a free checking account is one way to reduce expenses.
#2 Do I Have to Maintain a Certain Minimum Balance?
Second, find out if you have to maintain a minimum balance in your account. Some banks offer free checking accounts only if you keep your balance above a certain amount. Other banks just ask that you keep your account from becoming overdrawn. Knowing this can help you choose the right checking account based on your financial situation.
#3 Where Are Your Branches Located?
You want to choose a bank that you can access when you need to. You want to go with a bank where you can drop off deposits and get money out of. Be sure to find out where the bank is located and make sure that it has enough locations nearby to be easy for you to use.
If you travel frequently, make sure that the bank also has locations where you travel. Many banks are more regionally based, and other banks are located in certain areas, such as just rural areas or in big cities. Make sure the locations fit with your needs.
#4 What Can I Access & Do Online?
There is no denying that a lot of banking is done online. If you are a frequent internet user, you are going to want to make sure that you can do your banking online. Find out what functions you can do online. Can you check your balance? Can you look at your bank statement? Can you transfer money? Can you send out checks? Make sure that the online functions fit your needs.
Don't assume that every bank can take care of your needs. Make sure that you learn about any fees and requirements attached to the account, as well as where the physical branch locations are at and what type of banking you can take care of online.