Checking accounts are a staple for millions of Americans across the country. They provide an unmatched convenience when it comes to making payments as well as deposits and withdrawals. That being said, there are a lot of pitfalls that many of us may not know about which could cost us hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. In this post, we’ll take a look at some quick and easy tips to help you make the best out of your checking account.
Take Advantage of a Debit Card
Checking accounts usually come with an obligatory debit card that you can use in multiple locations. A debit card is useful since you can only use it to spend money that you have, unlike a credit card. In addition, debit cards offer an extra layer of security since they can be blocked should you lose them. They are a great way of teaching yourself financial discipline since, unlike a credit card, you can’t make multiple purchases without leaving a dent on your finances.
Consider Setting up Automatic Payments
Withdrawing money to pay for things like rent, utilities and eating out can cost you miniscule extra charges which snowball with time. For fixed, recurring payments such as rent, car payments, mortgages and water as well as electricity bills, setting up automatic payments will help you avoid these extra charges, saving you quite a bit over time.
Stick to Your Bank’s ATM’s
ATM’s are found all over the place these days. From the mall to the local 7-11, there’s always ready access to cash. Most times, these ATM’s may not be affiliated to your bank but may accept your card. Using these non-bank ATM’s means that you have to contend with extra fees. If you absolutely have to use non-bank ATM’s, make sure that your bank has a fee refund policy to help you minimize charges.
Link Your Checking Account to Your Savings Account
A great way of ensuring that you’re on top of your finances is to link your savings and checking account. This feature allows you to shunt money from one account (preferably your checking account) to another conveniently. It also may inculcate a culture of saving which can go a long way in setting up a retirement, investment or emergency fund.
Get Overdraft Protection
You should always have some kind of protection that automatically lets you know if your account balance is in the red. This usually can be in the form of a text alert or email from the bank letting you know that you’re spending way over what you currently have in your account. Overdraft protection puts stops and checks on your account effectively safeguarding your balance.
If you’re more into convenience, consider asking that your bank provide you with online banking services. Online banking not only makes it easier for you to pay bills, they also make it possible for you to carry out online transactions securely. Ultimately, checking accounts, if used well, will provide you with a dearth of benefits that are within easy reach at all times.