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Checking Account Essentials

Avoid Checking Account Mistakes


A good checking account is important. You’ll send thousands of dollars through your checking account, and you need to make sure it’s the right one for you. The wrong checking account will leave you with less money, and mistakes can cause headaches. Learn the basics and where you should open a checking account.

Why Use a Checking Account?

A checking account is a payment account. You have easy access to cash via checks, debit card, or online bill pay. Your checking account should only hold money that you intend to spend quickly - so look for a checking account that best meets that need and ignore any other fluff.

Where to Open a Checking Account

Almost any bank or credit union offers a checking account. Check with your existing bank to see what they offer. Read reviews of each checking account you’re considering.

Investigate an online bank checking account if you’re web-savvy and want to earn a little interest: If you want to earn more on balances in your checking account (and you’re willing to jump through some hoops), look for a "reward" checking account in your area.

Using Your Checking Account

If you need to go back to basics, make sure you know how to use your checking account. Mistakes can be costly and time-consuming.

Checking account tutorials:

Fund a Checking Account

How do you get money into a checking account? The easiest way is to have it show up electronically with direct deposit. You can also deposit checks to your checking account so you always have money to cover payments you make.

Too Little Money

You may run out of money in your checking account, and you should know about the alternatives and consequences. Ideally you'll balance your checking account so the problem never arises. However, you might use overdraft protection in your checking account just as a safety net.

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