A checking account is an account that a person opens with a bank. The account allows the person to write checks and comes with a debit card that can also be used in ATMs. You must be 18 years old to open a checking account or you will need an adult to be a co-account owner. These are the fundamentals associated with checking accounts; however there are many different types of checking accounts. Below you will find a description of the different types of checking accounts and the things you should be aware of with each of them.
ONLINE CHECKING ACCOUNTS
Online checking accounts consist of accounts held with your local bank such as Wachovia and Bank of America. The online account allows you to access your account to review recent transactions, pay bills, and transfer funds. There are also online accounts available with companies such as IngDirect where you transfer funds from existing bank account or you may direct deposit with directly from you bank account (see your payroll department for instructions on how). The difference between an account with Wachovia versus IngDirect has to do with access to physical locations. Online checking accounts are often free, but each bank is different so check with your branch to be sure. Online checking offers a convenient way to manage your account from home.
BAD CREDIT CHECKING ACCOUNTS
For those of you who suffer from bad credit, never fear there are options out there for you. First, you can try and secure a co-signer to open your checking account. If you don’t have a co-signer you can get an account with a company like Ready Debt or Rushcard. These companies allow you to direct deposit money directly onto a debit card. The debit card can then be used like any bankcard and at an ATM. The advantage is that you don’t have to worry about insufficient funds fees with conventional bank accounts because you can only spend what you have. The downside is no live location to visit for customer service issues. Wondering how about the checking part? An online check writing service allows you to send checks to anyone, anywhere.
CHECKING ACCOUNTS WITH NO CREDIT CHECK
Checking accounts with no credit check are very similar to bad credit checking accounts. See the information above and check out options such as Ready Debt and Rush Card.
FREE CHECKING ACCOUNTS
Banks often offer a variety of checking account options and one of them is often free checking. Free checking means that you can write checks from your account on a monthly basis for free. Free checking accounts boast of being free, but there are hefty penalties to pay if you overdraw your account. Most banks charge upwards of $30 for each insufficient funds transaction. Too many transactions of this type and you could find your account permanently closed and a negative item on your credit. Free checking accounts are offered by most of the major national banks and many come with free online banking as well.
CHECKING ACCOUNTS WITH LOW MONTHLY FEE.
Certain checking accounts require a low monthly fee, typically below $10. These accounts are geared towards people who don’t actively use their checking accounts and often come with check writing limits per month and do not come with the perks of online checking or Visa/Mastercard debit cards. The same insufficient funds fees that would apply to a free checking account apply to checking accounts with low monthly fees.
You have to determine what your needs are. Are you computer savvy and interested in keeping a close eye on your account? Do you have bad credit and think you may have trouble opening a bank account? Will the account be rarely used? The good news is no matter what your need there is a checking account out there for you.