• November 7, 2017
  • Posted by General Electric Credit Union
  • 3 read

5 Things to Look for in a Checking Account

We often are creatures of habit and stick to what we know; that can be true with banking, too. What if the grass really was greener on the other side? Have you evaluated your checking account to see if it’s the right fit for you?

Whether you’re searching for a new checking account entirely, looking for a secondary checking account, or just unsure if your current one is working out, here are a few things to keep in mind while you do your research.

1. Hidden fees

Some financial institutions rely on fees to make money. If you’re not paying attention to the fine print and fee schedule, you could see a variety of fees down the line when you: open the account, write a check, fall below a minimum balance, use online or mobile banking, pay bills online, or more.

Before opening an account, look online or ask for a fee schedule. If your bank charges you even $5 a month to keep your checking account open, switching to a free checking account could save you $60 a year.

2. Online and mobile banking

Selecting a checking account from a financial institution with industry-leading technology will provide secure access to your accounts wherever you are. You should be able to check your account, pay bills, and deposit checks from your phone without the worry of fees.

Interested in paying bills online all in one place? Find an account with a free bill pay platform to easily manage and pay all your bills in minutes.

If you’d prefer to visit a branch weekly and talk to someone face-to-face, a financial institution with branches near your home or work is ideal!

3. ATM access

Having access to your cash is important; you don’t want to drive all over town to find an ATM. When weighing account possibilities, investigate ATM accessibility to ensure they are readily available when you need cash. Keep in mind, the number of branches a financial institution has or ATMs they outright own isn’t indicative of the number of ATMs available to you.

Many financial institutions partner with a network of ATMs accountholders can use fee- or surcharge-free.

4. Extra perks

While comparing different checking account options, consider potential extra perks. Do you like earning cash-back on your everyday purchases? Consider an account with Purchase Rewards where you can activate and redeem offers to have cash credited to your account.

5. Other services available

Choosing the best account for you is the first step in reaching your financial goals; you want to make sure you choose the right financial institution who can help you along the way. Take time to see how you can benefit from the financial institution aside from just a checking account. Do they provide tools to help you manage your money better? Do they care more about profits or your financial well-being? Your money is important; choose a financial partner you can trust.

Your banking needs are unique, and you have options. Switching to a new, better checking account isn’t as scary or complicated as it sounds. Take a minute to look at what your current bank offers – is it what you need? Comparing bank accounts can help you find the account to help you financially succeed.

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