• January 26, 2023
  • Posted by General Electric Credit Union
  • 4 read

How Much Money to Keep in a Checking Account

Whether you have one checking account or multiple across different banks and credit unions, you may not think twice about how big your balance is. But there are several considerations when it comes to how much money is stowed in these everyday spend accounts. From keeping your money insured to growing it in an interest-earning account, there are many benefits to an intentional approach. 

Checking account balances: What to consider 

1. Your expenses

If the checking account in question is the primary one you use for expenses, it’s crucial to keep enough funds in it to cover those expenses – plus a little extra for spending money. This will ensure you won’t overdraw your account. You’ll also be able to stay current on important accounts you frequently make payments to, such as those for a utility service or mortgage loan. 

2. Spending habits

Once you have your bases covered for important expenses, it’s wise to review your spending habits and determine the best place for any additional funds. If you’re tempted to use funds in a primary checking account that should be set aside for saving, put them in a separate account so they’re out of sight, out of mind. Whether this means placing them in another checking account or in a savings account, you’ll grow your balance faster by siloing them elsewhere. 

3. Minimum balance requirements

Some checking accounts require you to maintain a balance above a certain threshold and will charge you a fee if you don’t. Move more money into the account if you notice you’ve been paying these fees to avoid them in the future. Or consider opening a new checking account that doesn’t have a balance requirement. This may be beneficial if you don’t anticipate being able to maintain the required balance or if you simply don’t appreciate minimum balance fees on principle. 

4. Interest-earning opportunities 

The best checking accounts allow you to earn interest on your balance. This compounding interest is especially beneficial during times of high inflation that stretch your dollar thin. While some accounts have a balance requirement to even open them, others allow you to earn off any balance and even reward you for growing it with different earning tiers. Consider adding to your balance if you want to hit a new earning tier and grow your money even faster. 

5. Insurance coverage

Did you know funds kept at federally insured financial institutions are protected up to a set amount? Regardless of whether they’re in a bank or a credit union, they are insured up to $250,000 per financial institution, per depositor, and per ownership category. But the entities that insure these funds differ; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) covers bank deposits while the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) covers credit union deposits. 

There are a lot of intricacies, so do your due diligence and use an online calculator to confirm that your funds are completely covered. If they’re not, watch this quick video to learn strategies that may extend your coverage on qualifying accounts.   

Our members love their GECU checking accounts because they come with access to nearly 100,000 free ATMs nationwide,2 free Online Banking and a top-rated mobile app3 for on-the-go money management, and interest-earning options like our Choice Checking4 and Amplified High-Yield Checking5 accounts. Open an account online today and start experiencing membership with Cincinnati’s Best Credit Union.

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