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What Makes a Good Checking Account?


A checking account is, in many ways, the most basic bank account. Your paycheck and other deposits go in, and you draw from it when you swipe your debit card or stop at an ATM. It is a reliable sedan, an everyday vehicle for storing and accessing your money.


But that does not mean there aren’t features and varieties that can give it a shine. Here’s what should come standard, what to look for and how to pick a good checking account.


The basics of checking accounts


Your parents’ checking account probably came with a checkbook and the hours that the local branch was open. But people don’t bank like that anymore. When choosing a checking account at a financial institution such as Community First Federal Credit Union, you want it to fit how you do your banking and how you want to monitor and use your money.


This likely means online and mobile banking features, bill pay, perhaps an app for your smartphone. It means withdrawal limits that work for you. And it means understanding any and all fees — for maintenance, minimum balances, ATM use, overdraft charges — associated with the account.


Broadly speaking, with a checking account you want low or no fees and a convenient ATM network. Again, this is the account you’ll be in and out of most every day, and you want those interactions to be easy and to not cost you.


Best features for your checking account


All checking accounts are not created equal. When shopping around, here are some features to look for:


  • Free (or easily free) checking: This means there’s no monthly maintenance fee or other basic charges. It’s become rare, but some institutions that have these fees will waive them if you set up direct deposit or make a small number of debit card transactions every month.
  • Earned dividends: Most checking accounts do not allow you to earn dividends on your money; that’s what savings and money market accounts and CDs are for. So if you find one that does pay a dividend, take notice. And if you find one that doesn’t make you jump through hoops to qualify, even better.
  • No minimum balance: When an unexpected expense comes, you don’t want to get dinged because your account balance dips as a result. Look for an account that doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement, or one that will waive it with little effort on your part.
  •  A debit card: If you find checks antiquated and prefer not to rely on cash or a credit card too heavily, pick a checking account that comes with a free debit card.


Knowing what makes a good checking account is important, as it’s how you’ll arrive at one that is convenient, has the features you want and is maybe even a little bit rewarding.


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238 Archbishop Flores Street, Suite 102, Hagåtña, Guam 96910

Telephone: (671) 472-8210 | Fax: (671) 477-5522

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