In my last two posts I offered some thoughts on why you might want to have a checking account and what your options are. In this post, I will offer a few tips on the care and feeding of your checking account.
As it relates to checking accounts, feeding is an important activity. That means making sure you maintain adequate funds in your account to cover any transactions. This could be checks you write, debit card purchases, online bill payments, or ATM cash withdrawals. There are few things more embarrassing than bouncing a check or having your debit card refused by a merchant.
With mobile banking it’s easy to stay on top of your balance, but you have to remember that your balance will change as items are processed by your bank.
- You will need to know when the funds you deposit today will be available to spend – not all banks provide credit the same day.
- You will need to remember that if you have written checks that have not been processed by your bank that your balance will potentially be overstated if you check it online. That is just one reason it is important to keep a check register or other record of your spending.
- I can’t stress enough the importance of balancing your checking account each month – that way if you make and error you can catch it and address it quickly. If an error goes undetected for several months it can be a nightmare to figure out exactly what happened and how to fix it.
- Keep your checks (if you have them) in a secure location and if you ever notice any checks are missing, notify your bank immediately. That way you can put an alert on the account or issue stop payment orders for the checks you know are missing.
A checking account is a wonderful tool in today’s complex financial world, but your experience with a checking account will be much better if you are diligent in your care and feeding of it.