A checking account. In a sea of pre-paid debit cards and even PayPal accounts, we don’t really think about the lowly little checking account. However, some things in life just need a checking account. There are many cases where businesses will give you a better deal if you can actually get a checking account — it lets them automatically debit the cost of the services without even having to fight with you. Once that agreement is in place, it’s in effect until you cancel it. Sometimes you even have to cancel in writing — something that they don’t tell you until you really look at the terms and conditions that are outlined in your contract.
A checking account also lets you go to the physical location of the account and pull money out, which is also a good thing. Banks let you cash checks, and many of us that work for traditional companies still get paid checks. Even if you run your own business, many other businesses will pay you with checks rather than cash. Sometime sit’s the cost of doing business, and that cost can get pretty high.
Your goal through life when it comes to your money is essentially to find a safe home for it. If you’re not sure what that means, let’s break it down further: you will need to find a checking account that just makes sense. This is an account without a lot of fees that will also let you store money and even write checks. Are you ready to navigate the world of finance for the perfect checking account? We warn you — it can be a lot like trying to find a date. Messy, complicated, and filled with rejection.
First and foremost, you will need to look at your current financial landscape. Credit actually plays a lot larger role in getting a checking account than you might imagine. Many banks feel that if you already have a lot of debts, you will take risky actions that could jeopardize your account. This is something that they definitely want to make sure that you avoid, which is always a plus. You will need to really sit down and think about what your finances look like. Now, if you’ve had some trouble with banks before — like if an ex wrote a lot of checks and overdrafted your account, stiffing you for the bill — you might want to go with what’s known as second chance banks. They will give you an account that you can use, but be prepared for restrictions. Many of these banks restrict you from using a debit card for at least 12 months — but transfers are okay. This means that if you already have say, a PayPal debit card, you can still use your debit card or even push money into your bank account.
From here, you will need to think about the features that you actually want in a checking account. It can be tempting to just think that all checking accounts are created equal, but this is really not the case at all. Some checking accounts do bear interest, but the interest really isn’t going to be that high. If you’re trying to build a nest egg, there are a lot better vehicles for the task than a checking account. However, some people like to know that all of their money is not only liquid, but still making them a little money — even if it is really just pennies on the dollar. Some banks will also offer fringe benefits, like free copies and faxes, or money orders. It just depends on the bank.
Look online for banks as well — some banks will let you apply online and even push your money into the account from another source. You just have to decide how you want to do things.
Finally, you will want to actually go through the process of applying to the bank of your choice. Make sure that you keep all answers on the application factual, as the banks do check. Since you already did your online research, you are going with a bank that offers you the best benefits with the lowest fees — right? Well if you really read this guide and put things into action, the answer is always yes! Get out there and get yourself a checking account!