Not all checking accounts are created equal. So, before you open a new checking account, it helps to do some research so you can understand the different advantages, specifications, and options available to you. Ask yourself these questions to help ensure that you use the correct account for your priorities and needs.
Can You Choose Between Checking Accounts?
It’s possible your bank or credit union has a range of checking accounts to choose from. Some checking accounts will provide advantages that are compatible with your financial objectives and spending practices, while others may have conditions that make them less suitable for your needs. It’s important to research all of your choices and analyze the checking accounts based on your financial condition and your spending patterns.
For example, if you’re planning on maintaining a high balance, you could consider an account that provides the opportunity to earn interest. RMLEFCU offers the Kasasa Cash Checking account that offers up to 3% APY* on balances up to $10,000. If automating payments and online banking is the convenience you want, search for accounts that offer free online banking. All RMLEFCU accounts offer online and mobile banking so it’s easy to bank on the go!
Is There a Monthly Fee?
An important question to ask when choosing a new checking account is whether you would need to maintain a minimum balance or if there’s another step you need to take to prevent a monthly charge. If you open a checking account with a minimum balance requirement, make sure you know not only the minimum requirement but also the duration of the charge and how it is incurred.
Make sure you ask if there are other possible monthly fees and find out how to stop them. For example, setting up a direct deposit or using your debit card for transactions will help you avoid falling below the minimum balance. With RMLEFCU, there are NO monthly fees for checking accounts so you’ll never have to worry about your money disappearing!
Is There Protection for Overdrafts?
You never want to spend more money than you have in your account, but sometimes mistakes happen. Overdrafts can occur and result in overdraft fees or bounced checks. If you want extra insurance in case of overdraft, check to see if you can sign up for overdraft protection.
Like most overdraft security programs, if you write a check or make a payment when your checking account has insufficient funds available, the bank can move money from a related savings account, a credit card or a line of credit to your checking account to cover the fee. Overdraft insurance can come with a charge when it is used, but it is generally less than the standard overdraft fee. RMLEFCU offers free overdraft protection to protect your account.
Are There ATM Fees?
ATMs allow you to withdraw money from your bank account without visiting a bank branch. But some withdrawals may cost you a fortune. Many banks charge you a fee to use machines run by other banks or third parties, and this can add up quickly. If a bank has a wide network of ATMs, you have greater access to non-fee withdrawals. RMLEFCU is a part of the MoneyPass ATM network where you can use thousands of ATMs across the country for free. Talk about convenient!
Is There Online and Mobile Banking?
If you don’t have quick access to your branch, online banking can be very useful. You can check balances, move money, make statements and pay bills from your own home. Make sure you know your online banking rights and protections in the event that someone steals your money fraudulently from online services. RMLEFCU’s online banking has great benefits like access to SavvyMoney, a credit building and tracking application, and more.
Some banks have smartphone apps for easy banking. You can deposit checks by taking pictures of them on your phone and make person-to-person payments easily. You will want to read the reviews of your bank’s app and see what different services are provided, because they may differ. Take a look at RMLEFCU’s mobile app for iOS and Android!
Do I Get Paid Interest?
Generally, if the accounts pay interest, the rate is very small. That’s not the case with RMLEFCU’s Kasasa checking accounts. You can get up to 3% APY* depending on what account you choose. You can choose between a Kasasa Cash Checking which is great for high balances or Kasasa Cash Back Checking where you can get money back for debit card transactions! Compare our checking accounts here.
Free Kasasa Cash Checking:
*APY=Annual Percentage Yield. APYs accurate as of 05/31/2016. Rates may change after account is opened. Minimum to open is $50. If qualifications are met each monthly qualification cycle: (1) Domestic ATM fees incurred during qualification cycle will be reimbursed up to $25 and credited to account on the last day of monthly statement cycle; (2) balances up to $10,000 receive APY of 3.00%; and (3) balances over $10,000 earn 0.50% dividend rate on portion of balance over $10,000, resulting in 3.00% – 0.73% APY depending on the balance. If qualifications are not met, all balances earn 0.05% APY. Qualifying transactions must post to and settle account during monthly qualification cycle. Transactions may take one or more banking days from the date transaction was made to post to and settle an account. ATM-processed transactions do not count towards qualifying debit card transactions. “Monthly Qualification Cycle” means a period beginning one day prior to the first day of the current statement cycle through one day prior to the close of the current statement cycle. Transfers between accounts do not count as qualifying transactions. PIN based transactions do not count towards qualifying debit card transactions. Limit one account per SSN. ATM receipt must be presented for reimbursement of an individual ATM fee of $5.00 or higher.
Free Kasasa Cash Back Checking:
*When monthly qualifications are met, you receive 3.00% cash back on debit card purchases that post to and settle account during monthly qualification cycle up to a total cash back of $9 per monthly qualification cycle. Qualifying transactions must post to and settle account during monthly qualification cycle. Transactions may take one or more banking days from the date transaction was made to post to and settle account. ATM-processed transactions do not count towards qualifying debit card transactions. “Monthly Qualification Cycle” means a period beginning one day prior to the first day of the current statement cycle through one day prior to the close of the current statement cycle. Domestic ATM fees incurred during qualification cycle will be reimbursed up to a total of $25 per monthly qualification cycle. Transfers between accounts do not count as qualifying transactions. ATM receipt must be presented for reimbursement of an individual ATM fee of $5.00 or higher.