Saving & Investing
Do you feel like you have a lot of important financial decisions to make? Do you find yourself questioning whether you’ve made the right choices? Well, you’re not alone, everyone questions their financial decisions. However, there is one financial choice we all make that we may not consider enough, and that’s our checking accounts.
Most of us give little thought to our checking accounts, and that can be a mistake. If you choose a checking account that doesn’t mesh with your spending habits, you could end up paying substantial fees every month. It’s important to consider how you spend money and what your checking account provides in terms of service. Here’s what you should look at before opening a checking account.
Do you write dozens of checks each month? Do you have the bad habit of bouncing checks on a regular basis? Do you frequently find yourself withdrawing money from ATMs that aren’t connected to your bank? These questions can all factor into which checking account makes the most financial sense for you.
If you write many checks, you’ll want a checking account that allows you to write an unlimited number of them each month. Some checking accounts allow you to write a limited number of checks per month. You’ll then pay a fee for every check you write over that limit. If you use checks to buy your groceries, pay your bills and fill up your gas tank, you could end up paying big each month if you do not take out an unlimited checking account.
Do you bounce checks on occasion? If you do, you know that gets expensive. The fees for bounced checks are pretty steep. One way to protect yourself is to have a checking account with overdraft protection. If you write a check at your local department store for $200, but only have $150 in your account, your financial institution will cover the difference, allowing you to complete your purchase. Of course, overdraft protection is not free. You’ll have to pay for the service, but it will be less expensive than overdraft fees.
You can also lose a lot of money each month if you are frequently withdrawing money from out-of-network ATMs. You can solve this problem by getting a checking account with a bank that boasts a large network of ATMs. If that is not feasible, you might find a bank that covers any out-of-network ATM fees that you incur.
Another consideration is checking accounts that charge maintenance fees. You should avoid those. There are plenty of free checking accounts. Do not pay maintenance fees for a checking account.
One issue that should have little impact on your decision, though, is earning interest. Yes, it’s nice to earn interest on the money in your checking account. However, if you use your checking account to pay your bills, the odds are that you will not have all that much money sitting in it at any one time. If that is the case, you will not earn much interest on a relatively low balance. You would be better off opening a savings account and keeping funds that you don’t need to pay bills in that account.
It’s wise to take a little more time researching and understanding different checking accounts. Evaluate your spending habits and choose an account that works for you. It will save you some grief and it could save you some money. 1st Source Bank has some excellent checking account options for you to consider. Please contact us if you have any questions.
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