- Banks are rolling out the red carpet and handing out cash to new checking account customers.
- It’s much easier to transfer, withdraw, and spend money that’s stored in a checking account.
- Spend too much? Thanks to overdraft protection, that’s no problem.
The first step on the road to financial stability is opening a bank account. While it may be true that hard work, perseverance, and a few good bounces does most of the heavy lifting, bank accounts work hard too. But that still leaves one question: which account type is right for you?
Taking the time to understand banking fundamentals can save you a lot of stress and a lot of money long term. In fact, choosing the right bank and bank account may actually make you money. So, in that spirit, let’s begin this financial discussion by breaking down some of the many benefits of choosing a checking account over a savings account.
What Is a Checking Account?
Versatile, practical, and widely available, checking accounts are the workhorses of the consumer banking industry. Checking accounts are designed to both keep your money safe and easy to access. This is critical when you consider that these accounts are usually handle the lion’s share of an individual’s daily transactions.
Direct deposits, bill payments, withdrawals, debit transactions, and transfers are all done with these accounts. Checking accounts offer security without having to sacrifice much in the way of financial flexibility, which is part of why they’re so popular.1
What Is a Savings Account?
Savings accounts are the other side of the consumer banking coin. The money in these accounts accrues more interest. But in doing so, the owner sacrifices a lot of the flexibility that checking accounts offer.
These accounts are not made for everyday transactions, instead they’re used to store money for long periods of time. The goal being to harness the power of compound interest to grow your savings year over year.2
Checking Account vs. Savings Account
Deciding which bank account is best suited to storing your hard-earned cash requires answers to a few personal questions. You’ll need to figure out how you plan on using the account and how often. Are you looking for something to earn you interest over time or do you need something more functional?
You’ll no doubt find a million and one articles praising savings accounts. The list of places saying good things about checking accounts is certainly shorter. Which, as you’re about to learn, is quite surprising when you consider how beneficial these accounts truly are.
The banking industry is competitive, which is great news for you. As a result, just about every banking institution is willing to pull out all the stops to attract new customers. New checking account customers, that is.
It may not happen all the time, but patience and timing could net new customers a great sign-up bonus. Cash incentives, gifts, and waived service charges are just a few of the tricks banks use to attract attention to their checking account services. Those on the hunt for a new account should definitely be on the lookout for these opportunities.
They Come with a Debit Card
Checking accounts are all about safety and convenience. Customers can rest easy knowing that their money is insured by the FDIC and enjoy unfettered access to their funds. This convenient access is accomplished in many different ways. One of those ways is through the intuitive debit system.
Most checking accounts come with debit cards that serve as a stand in for cash at just about every retailer in the country. With one, you don’t have to carry around a pocket full of cash or mess around with a purse full of change ever again. That is, unless you want to.3
You Also Get Paper Checks
Checking accounts usually come with a book or two of personal checks too. While most business is done digitally, paper checks are far from a relic of the past and do serve several modern-day purposes.
Many use personal checks to pay bills, rent, or their taxes. They could help you save yourself a credit card processing fee from a retailer that charges to use one. Checks also serve a vital purpose for those without regular internet access.
There Are No Withdrawal or Transfer Limits
Daily financial tasks are made much easier and cheaper with access to a checking account of your own. Cheaper because banks don’t generally charge service fees or limit the number of withdrawals or transfers you make.
On the other hand, a lot of savings accounts limit the amount of money you can withdraw, as well as the number of withdrawals you can make each month. All the more reason to take extra care when deciding where to store your money.
Many Come with Overdraft Protection Options
Overdraft protection is a service designed to process the cost of a particular expense, even if doing so would see the available balance of the account go below zero. Banks will sometimes charge a fee for this type of service — unless you pay for overdraft protection.
Overdraft protection can link a line of credit, savings account, or a separate checking account to your main one to automatically transfer fees to and cover costs. These services are optional but are indeed a great option to have.4
Types of Checking Accounts
The term checking account can be broken down further into a variety of tailor-made checking account types available to most consumers and at most banks. Each type tailors its services even more specifically to the client for the purposes of safety and convenience.
There are traditional checking accounts tethered to physical banks and online checking accounts that provide digital only services. There are joint checking accounts that can be shared between multiple people, youth checking accounts that include spending limits and alerts, and business checking accounts too.
See? There really are a whole lot of benefits, incentives, and conveniences associated with checking accounts. They may not offer a lot of opportunity for savings growth, but they still keep your money safe, secure, and nearby.
Choosing which bank to settle with requires a deeper understanding of your financial situation and a comprehensive internet dive. There are tons of deals to be found, so you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled.
Financial literacy is never complete and learning more about money is always advisable. So, take care of your money and enjoy the stress-free security that often rewards those that do.