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4 things to consider when opening a checking account

What is a checking account?

Is it time to open a new bank account? Maybe you’ve just started a summer job that requires direct deposit for paychecks, or you’re off to college in a new city so you’d like to find a bank closer to campus – a checking account is a great way to get started!

Checking accounts are for everyday transactions, like groceries, bills or other purchases. Typically, you’ll receive a debit card upon opening the account, but you can also access funds with checks or digital banking apps. It’s important to find the right account for you, so consider the items below before choosing a home for your money.

Evaluate the fees

  • Is anything really “free”? Opening the account may be, but it could cost for maintenance service, ATM access, monthly paper statements, transfers between accounts, or check writing. Review all the fine print before selecting an account.

Determine the minimum requirements

  • Many accounts require a minimum opening deposit, so have cash or a check available to start the account. Always keep an eye on your balance to ensure you meet any minimum balance requirements to avoid monthly service or overdraft fees. Overdraft fees occur when a debit card purchase or cashed check leaves your account below $0. Student accounts might waive some or all these conditions.

Locate the nearest banking center and ATM

  • ATM fees can sneak up on you. Find a bank that partners with an ATM network, allowing you to make withdrawals or deposits without fees.
  • Although many institutions now offer mobile and online banking, don’t discount the need for in-person conversations with a banking advisor.

Let it grow

  • Checking accounts are liquid, so you can make transfers, deposits and withdrawals at any time. Although liquidity is a benefit, you don’t want to spend money as soon as you get it. It’s best to leave your money in the account to grow and be available for emergency use down the line.

These are just a few of the topics you’ll want to consider before choosing your bank. If you have questions, check out our First Free Checking or chat with any of our banking advisors. We’re here to help you on the journey to financial wellness!

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