In a world full of options—from browsing products online to picking out a box of cereal—making the right choice can sometimes feel overwhelming. While there are equally as many options when it comes to checking accounts, there are plenty of ways to narrow down your choices and find the perfect fit.
A balanced life is a happy life
A well-known secret to happiness is to live a balanced life. It’s all about the middle path. The same wisdom applies to opening a new checking account—you want to balance your personal banking needs and your wants, aka those extra services you’re happy to pay for because they make life easier. To help you find the right checking account, we’ve pulled together a short primer on the different types of checking accounts you’ll encounter and what benefits you’d enjoy.
First, the basics of checking
A checking account makes everyday activities like managing your finances—depositing and withdrawing money and paying for stuff—easy and seamless. With a checking account, you can securely pay for things with a debit card, online money transfers and (usually) good ol' paper checks.
There are different types of checking accounts to consider, from free checking with no balance requirements to premium checking accounts packed with extra perks. You’ll find custom-tailored accounts for students opening their first checking account or checking accounts geared towards people over the age of 60. There are even interest-bearing checking accounts that can help you earn a few extra bucks.
Get the most from your checking account
Once you know more about checking accounts, it’s time to answer a fundamental question: What are some of the needs that your new bank and checking account need should meet? Here are a few standard benefits to look for.
- Low (or no) costs: No ATM fees and/or low (or no) monthly maintenance fees
- Convenience: Nearby branch & ATM access
- Helpful: 24/7 customer service and the ability to talk to a live person
- Easy to use: User-friendly app & online experience
Be happy with your checking account
You might want to pay a little extra for a premium checking account that comes fully loaded with perks. Why? These feature-rich checking accounts make for happy financial partnerships. If banking fees drive you nuts, consider opening a premium checking account that offers free overdraft protection and multiple account linking, so your finances are always covered. In the market for a new home? Look for a bank that provides discounts on home mortgages and personal loans with a premium account. Other nice perks worth investigating:
- Instant-issue card replacement
- Interest-earning accounts
- Free money transfers
- ATM fee reimbursements
- Ability to make automatic transfers to savings account
- International travel benefits
Understand your banking needs
Pro tip: Make a list of your absolute must-haves when figuring out how to choose a checking account. No two checking accounts are created equal. Take a few minutes to write down all the things you’re looking for before opening a checking account. Keep the list handy while you research, so you don’t get lost in all the offerings. Remember, it’s all about balancing your checking needs with those perks you simply can’t live without.
There are lots of online resources that can help you find the right checking account. (Feel free to try our product selector tool as you start your research.) In a world with countless options, you’re bound to find an account that’s a great fit.