Back in the day, most banks offered consumers a checking account with the emphasis on “a” which means one size did fit all. Today, banks of all sizes offer a sometimes dizzying array of different checking accounts. Some have fees, some pay interest, some are free, and others are “free”. There are accounts that require you receive your statements via email, accounts on which you are not allowed to write checks, and accounts that offer free ATM usage around the world. So, how does a person figure out which account is right for them?
Start by thinking about how you will use the account – do you have direct deposit of payroll or some other monthly income, will you be writing checks or using your debit card and online bill payment features, is a printed statement necessary, and when and where do you use ATMs to get cash?
Another key data point is how much money you expect to leave on deposit. At most banks today customers leaving larger balances earn a higher rate of interest on their funds and also receive more added perks, such as free ATM usage. Once you have a general idea of which features and benefits are important to you, go to the bank’s website and see what they offer. If you find the information confusing, stop by a convenient branch office and talk with a banker. At Biddeford Savings, we will listen to your needs and match you up with the right account. We can even help smooth your transition if you are switching banks. But whichever bank you choose, remember over time your financial picture may change, so don’t hesitate to revisit your checking account choice from time to time and see what options matter most to you.