The use of paper checks has declined from 60% in 2001 to 20% in 2011, and the rate is continuously declining every year. As the United States of America proceeds towards cashless economy, features of checking account such as online banking, mobile banking, etc. are becoming the essential needs of today’s generation.
However, you must not get caught in the race of such features while selecting a checking account. It is recommended that you have your maximum accounts in one place and have greater security of your accounts. The tried and tested feature is that you must be able to access several free ATMs for your checking accounts.
You must also check for these additional features:
Checking account rewards and bonuses
Many banks offer rewards and bonuses on checking accounts just like a credit card. You can use this rewards scheme to earn or redeem reward points for making purchases on travel, merchandise, and gift cards. Some reward points can also be cashed if you collect them using your debit card.
Checking accounts with Interest
Some checking accounts let you earn interest on the account balance. You may get exceptionally high rate of interest with some banks, but most of them offer APY between 2% to 4%, which is over 50 times compared to the national average interest rate of 0.04% APY.
Zero fees for checking account
More than 38% people in America pay maintenance fee or ATM transaction fee on their checking account, which may account to $3 or lower every month. The traditional banks charge around $12.95 on an average. Several credit unions and community banks around the nation offer zero monthly fees for checking accounts. You can check with such banks to save money.
Low fees for overdraft and overdraft protection
Despite legislation meant to protect the bank account holders, many people are not aware that banks need to ask them to choose overdraft services on their debit cards. While you are shopping for your checking account, check the overdraft services offered by the banks, their linked fees, whether you need them or not.
Mobile apps and online banking
Mobile banking and online banking are popular methods to manage your daily finances like reviewing purchases and paying bills. You can also look for features such as depositing checks by using your mobile phone to make quick money transfer.
Keep the change scheme
You can save a lot of money by using the ‘keep the change’ scheme of your checking account. It means that when you make a purchase, the change amounting to the nearest dollar is automatically credited to your savings account. For instance, you have spent $4.60 on buying a shirt, $5 will be deducted from your account and $0.40 will be transferred to your savings account. Now, if you make dozens of such purchases, significant amount will be deposited to your savings account every month.
Many large banks often provide poor customer service and treat their customer like a number only. While large financial institutions are often known for their notoriousness, many people feel satisfied with smaller community banks. If you find that despite best services, your bank does not listen to its customers, you may consider being associated with a credit union or a local bank, which provide better account features and customer service.