There are lots of checking accounts out there, but finding the best one isn’t only about the accounts themselves: it’s very much about your needs. Here are the three questions you should ask yourself to determine which checking account is the best fit for you.
1. How will I use the account?
Identifying how you want to use your account can help you determine which offers are most favorable.
• If you want to use the account to pay your monthly bills, look for one that offers free online banking and bill pay.
• If you want to use it mainly for cash withdraws, get an account at a bank with convenient ATM locations or an account that does not charge or reimburses you for using other ATMs.
• If you want to regularly make purchases using a debit card look for an account that rewards you for using your debit card.
• If you intend to write a lot of paper checks, look for an account that issues free paper checks and doesn’t impose a limit on the number of checks you can write in a month.
• If you plan to use other electronic services such as direct deposit, e-statements, mobile, and more look for an account that provide these services for free or even rewards you for using electronic services.
2. What other products or services do I care about?
New technologies mean a range of possibilities for additional products and services surrounding your checking account.
• Do you want internet banking? Is it important to be able access your account through a mobile app, or are you okay with desktop-based transactions? If you are on the go and rarely at a computer, choose a bank with a mobile banking app.
• Do you want e-statements?
• What kind of support do you require? Do you want an account with 24-hour support? Do you want to be able to speak to a live person? Chat online? Communicate through email?
Considering your requirements for accessibility and service can help you zero-in on an account that aligns well with your lifestyle.
3. Am I interested in perks and rewards?
Certain checking accounts come with perks and rewards. These accounts sometimes have fees associated with them – they could apply monthly, or when your balance dips below a certain amount or when another condition is met. While the conditions surrounding them vary, the following perks are available if you look:
• High interest rates
• Waived service fees or special rates on other banking services like loans
• Bonus cash when you open an account and meet certain criteria
• Cash back with purchases
Not one checking account is perfect for everyone, but State Street Bank’s Better Interest Checking is definitely worth checking out. This account offers unlimited checking with no fees or minimum balance requirements, 2.00% APY* on balances up to $10,000, nationwide ATM fee refunds and several other perks. Learn more at https://www.statestreetbank.com/better-interest-checking
* Annual Percentage Yield (APY) accurate as of January 1, 2017. Minimum to open account is $100. Rate tiers are as follows: 2.00% APY applies to balances of $.01 - $10,000 and .25% APY applies to balances over $10,000 as long as qualifications are met each statement cycle. 0.05% APY applies to all balances if qualifications are not met. All balances will earn 2.00% - .25% APY as long as qualifications are met. ATM fee refunds up to $20 per cycle when qualifications are met. If you do not meet the qualifications per cycle, your account will still function as a free checking account and earn interest at the non-qualifying rate; however, it will not receive ATM refunds. Qualifications are as follows: 1) Have at least 10 Debit Card purchases (excluding ATM transactions) post and settle per qualification cycle, 2) Receive eStatements each qualification cycle, and 3) Have at least 1 Direct Deposit or ACH Auto Debit post and settle per qualification cycle. If after 60 days, we have not received verification that you are able to access and open your eStatement, your account will be changed to Free Checking. Rates may change after the account is opened. No minimum balance required. No monthly service charge. Available to personal accounts only. Certain restrictions may apply. Member FDIC.