Checking accounts are basic financial tools, allowing you to pay bills, transfer funds, and make purchases through electronic transfers, paper checks, and debit cards. However, not all banks and credit unions offer the same checking accounts. Below are six types of checking accounts before you decide where to put your money.
1. Traditional checking account
A traditional checking account typically offers checks, a debit or ATM card, and online bill payment options. This checking account is best for anyone seeking an account to pay bills and make debit card transactions. You may need to sign up for a direct deposit or maintain a minimum deposit requirement to avoid maintenance fees. These accounts may also offer overdraft protection to cover payments beyond your account’s available balance, though such services often come with a cost.
2. Premium checking account
Premium checking accounts may have a higher initial deposit and minimum balance requirements. They offer various valuable benefits, including rewards, bonuses, deposit interest, safe deposit boxes, personal checks, official checks, free money orders, and fees waived on some or all out-of-network ATMs. The requirements of premium checking accounts depend on the bank or credit union. But generally, the more money you deposit with your bank, and the more financial products you sign up for, the more benefits your bank will likely provide. This account is best for customers with a high account balance.
3. Student checking account
Student checking accounts are designed for the needs of high school and college students. These accounts might not have maintenance fees for those who qualify. They may offer overdraft forgiveness, ATM fee reimbursement, free checks, or other perks. When opening a student checking account, understand what happens to that account once the student graduates. Knowing any chances beforehand allows you time to decide if you want to switch to a different account or institution altogether.
4. Interest-bearing checking account
These checking accounts help you earn interest. Some of these may have specific requirements to earn a certain annual percentage yield (APY), such as minimum direct deposit or debit card transactions. There may also be limitations on how much your balance earns a certain APY. Such accounts are more likely to only pay a higher APY on funds up to a certain balance threshold, with additional funds making a lower rate. This checking account is best for those who maintain a large checking account balance.
5. Rewards checking account
Some checking accounts reward you for your daily spending when you make debit cards. This checking account is for those who make frequent debit card purchases. Ensure you review the criteria for rewards, such as minimum balance, maintenance fees, and whether there’s a cap on the amount of cashback or the number of points that can be earned.
6. Second chance checking account
Those denied a standard checking account due to a history of excessive overdrafts or unpaid negative balances should consider second-chance checking. These checking accounts typically only offer some of the services as standard accounts. Monthly service fees might be mandatory, and overdraft protection might not be an option. These accounts help you start over and maintain good standing with a bank.
The best checking accounts keep minimum requirements and fees low by meeting specific requirements. They also tend to offer a sizeable ATM network, avoid out-of-network ATM fees, or even get free checks. Some accounts also offer interest earnings and the ability to get your direct deposit paycheck a little early. When choosing a checking account, determine which factors are important to you. Once you’ve decided what type of checking account may work best, compare individual checking accounts to find the one that offers the best combination of features, benefits, convenience, and cost.
- Traditional checking account
- Premium checking account
- Student checking account
- Interest-bearing checking account
- Rewards checking account
- Second chance checking account