checking account tips

Checking Accounts 101

You’ll find certain features from your checking account to be more useful in one situation of your life, but unnecessary in other moments. If you are going for a checking account, you better keep on reading! With our Checking Accounts 101 guide, you will find some benefits that will come in handy to help you materialize that desition. 

WHY TO CHOOSE A CHECKING ACCOUNT?

This type of account allows you to write checks and grants you a debit card to make purchases and withdraw money from your account. It's usually used to manage monthly incomes and daily expenses. The downside is that it earns little to no interest.

When to choose a checking account? 

1. When you want to have regular access to your funds to pay day-to-day expenses.

2. To earn rewards. Some checking accounts allow you to earn cashback from your purchases with debit cards.

3. You want stress-free deposits and withdrawals.

Why to choose a checking account?

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CHECKING ACCOUNT

Choosing the best checking account for you will help you save money with it. It depends on your daily habits; this is why it’s such a personal decision. However, there are certain situations when most people go through the same thing, so it’s possible to make some generalizations that can help you match your checking account with your lifestyle.

For instance, if you’ve moved out to another city or state, it doesn’t matter which where your reasons: you’ll have to see if your bank has branches and ATMs in your new location. If not, you may want to switch accounts, or you’re signing up for many ATM fees for using ATMs that don’t belong to your bank to do some transactions, just because they’re physically more convenient.

In another scenario, you may realize that a bank with a vast network and many branches doesn’t really fit your needs, because you don’t use them as much. If you’re mainly interested in ATM access, you should consider an online checking account. There are many to choose from, so it’s likely that you’ll find one that meets your expectations.

Another possibility is that you’re not keeping as much money in your account as you used to. The reasons for this can vary, but the important thing is that you may end up paying fees for not meeting the bank’s minimum balance requirement. In this case, you’d have to look for a new checking account with a lower or non-existent minimum balance requirement.

On the other hand, you can be someone that usually keeps a high balance in your checking account. If this is the case, you can make money with this if you choose an account that pays you interest on your money. Check these high-yield checking accounts!

If you use your debit card a lot on your daily basis, you can make the most of it by maximizing its rewards. Cashback earnings can make a great difference, so take a look at your past statements and do the maths to calculate how much you could potentially save with a new checking account that offers these benefits.

Your future plans will also condition the type of checking account that’s best for you. Keep these in mind before choosing an account, so you can prevent which your priorities will be and what you should look for. Such life events can include marriage or the arrival of children.

Save money on possible fees!

SAVE MONEY ON POSSIBLE FEES

Once you’ve forgotten how much of the money you’re paying belongs to which aspects of your checking account, it’s easier to end up paying more than what you need to. It’s recommended to regularly check the terms on your account, so as to make sure you know what you’re being charged with.

This can help you reduce the costs because you’ll have a better understanding of the money you’re spending and you’ll be in a better position to cut back on unnecessary costs. Some of these can be certain fees, which you’re currently paying because of small and easily avoided mistakes. Reviewing your policy is an additional first step to save money with your checking account!

Most of the fees that you can be charged with are a result of not meeting certain requirements. The key is knowing which these are and see if the reasons why you haven’t met them are avoidable or not. For example, you can be paying for a monthly fee for not keeping a minimum of money in your account. It’s possible that you have enough money to meet this requirement, but you didn’t because you forgot it existed. There are many fees, like this one, that you could avoid paying and save money.

In this article, you can learn the difference between checking and savings account, as well as the existence of some of the most common fees from the first one. You’ll be looking at ATM fees, overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees, and more.

How can you avoid these fees? You can review your statement and try to meet the requirements or simply choose a different checking account whose requirements (or lack of) suit you better. To avoid ATM surcharge, go for a bank with many branches and ATMs near your location. If you’re looking for no-fee checking, this is very common in online banks. Do your research and reduce the costs of your checking account fees!

Learn how to write a check

HOW TO WRITE A CHECK:

Before you go writing your first check, you should check this guide, follow these tips and learn the basics of what you need to know about check-writing.

Ten tips to write a check

1. Understand what a check is: First things first, let's define what a check is. It's a legal document the guides the bank to transfer a determined amount of money from the writer's account to another person or business's account. If you write a check, then you will be known as the drawer,  while the person receiving it is the payee.

2. Where to get them: Once you open a checking account you will receive a small number of blank counter checks. They can be ordered either from the bank or an online retailer. Always make sure that your contact information is correct. If it's wrong, you will need to get them reprinted.

3. Write the date:  You will find a blank line to write the date on the top right side of the check. You will have to write the date in the following way: xx/xx/xxxx. You can either write the current date or a post-date, this means that the payee will receive the money in their account after that date.

4. Write the payee's name: You will then find the box stating "Pay to the order of...," where you will need to write the payee's name. Make sure that you write it correctly in order to avoid problems when the payee tries to cash the check. In case you are writing it at a business, you will have to complete the company name.

5. Write the amount: After you write the payee name, you will have to complete the empty box with a dollar sign at the end. Fill in the amount of the check. Make sure you write in the decimal and double zeros, or just draw a line.

6. Write out the amount: Below, you will find a black line with the word "Dollars" at the end. Here you will have to re-write in words the amount of the check.    

7. Memo line: Below the written dollar amount you will find a line with the word "Memo." You can use this box to write the reason for the check (rent, for example). This box is used as a reminder for the check-writer, who will receive a copy of the check.  

8. Signature: Try to keep your signature clear and uncomplicated. As you do with other legal documents! Make sure you don't sign the check until you give it to the payee o send it.

9. Numbers at the bottom of the check: You will find three sets of numbers at the bottom: The first one is the bank's routing number (9 digit code) which identifies the institution; the second one is your account number, and the third one is the check number.

10. Keep up with the checks: You should always keep up with the money you pay through checks. Take notes of the checks you wrote in a register, the small book the bank provides you along with the checks. You can also use carbon checks, which allows you to have an instant copy of the check or use apps or electronic spreadsheets. Choose the option that suits you best!

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