For most people, opening a checking account is their first step in managing their finances. Not only is it not as intimidating as a credit card, but it is convenient, and a safe place to keep your money.
You’re able to access your money through your mobile phone, online, or through a debit card which is a huge plus. There is also a multitude of checking accounts available for you to choose from, depending on what you are looking for.
With so many options for you to choose from, it can seem very overwhelming, especially if you have never had experience with managing your money on your own before. However, no worries because we will be going into detail about 10 tips that you should know so you’ll know the best ways to manage your checking account!
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10 Tips To Know
- Opt-Out of Overdraft Protection:
- Overdraft protection is helpful because it’ll prevent your debit card from being declined or your check bouncing back if you don’t have enough money in your account. Although it is a useful feature to have at times, be aware that it works because the bank is “loaning” you the difference that you need to cover your purchase.
- This means that they will also charge you a hefty overdraft fee. If you aren’t careful this can quickly add up and end up costing you much more than what you originally thought you paid for.
- Our tip is to opt-out of any overdraft protection and just check your account regularly before you make a purchase.
- Set Up Account Alerts:
- Setting up online & mobile alerts for your checking account will help you prevent fees, overdrafts, and notify you of any suspicious activity on your account.
- The best part is that you’re able to customize your alerts to best suit your needs such as setting up a notification letting you know if your balance falls below a certain amount.
- Our tip is to set up your alerts as soon as you open your checking account to make sure that you don’t occur any fees and to keep you on top of your finances.
- Sign Up for Paperless Statements:
- Most banks offer you the option to sign up for paperless statements which will allow you to review your statements online instead of waiting for them to come in the mail which can lead to theft and paper waste.
- Our tip is to establish text or email alerts to notify you when your new monthly billing statement is available for review online. Most banks will also store your statements for up to 7 years which will ensure you that your information is safe and easily accessible.
- Take Advantage of Your Bank’s In-Network ATM’s:
- ATM’s are convenient machines that you are able to use to withdraw cash directly from your checking account, deposit money into your checking account, and perform other transactions. Most of the time when you open your checking account, it will come with a free debit card which you can use to access ATM’s.
- Our tip is to make sure that the ATM that you are planning to use are in-network with your bank to prevent you from occurring usage fees. However, also check with your bank to see if you will be reimbursed if you use an out of network ATM.
- Regularly Balance Your Account:
- It’s easy to continually swipe your card and not take the time to see if your balance is accurate or not.
- Our tip is to check that your records matches with the bank’s. This will make sure that you are not charged any fees and that there are no unauthorized transactions.
- Look before you swipe:
- If you’re someone that uses your debit card regularly than you may be spending more than you have or incurring fees.
- Our tip is to check your checking your account to make sure that you have enough money to cover your future expenses. You may be surprised how fast your balance deteriorates.
- Stay up to date on the schedule of automatic transactions:
- Automatic bill payments and direct deposits are extremely convenient, however they can easily complicate your checking account. Some payments don’t go through your account immediately and will sit in your account as “pending” which may lead you to think that you have a higher balance than you actually do.
- Our tip is to check your checking account and understand your actual balance including the “pending” transactions. As for direct deposits, you should give it a few days before you just assume that the money is in your account.
- Take advantage of special features:
- Many banks have features that are meant to make your banking experience better and simpler such as setting up automatic transfers from your savings to your checking to cover any overages to avoid overdraft fees.
- Our tip is to check with your bank to see what options that they have to offer because every institution is different. This way you can utilize your checking account to the fullest.
- Report suspicious transactions immediately:
- Although most banks take the best security measures in order to protect you and your money, there are always instances where something slips through.
- Our tip is for you to regularly monitor your account and set up alerts in order for you to report the suspicious activity right away before the situation gets worse.
- Look over your shoulder in public places:
- You may be overly content with the security that your bank or credit union offers, however you never know who is watching you and trying to steal your information.
- Our tip is to be cautious and be aware of your environment, especially when you are entering any personal information such as your pin. If you are using an ATM or even pumping gas you may want to give the card reader a quick tug to make sure there is not a fake reader attached to it.
There are many ways for you to utilize your checking account and even more things involved with managing your account. Those top 10 tips are just a few that we’ve highlighted for you to read up on and considered as the best ways to manage your checking account.
A checking account should be a tool that is here to help you rather than do the opposite, so take advantage of the features that yours offers to maximize your money.
If you’re a student we’ve also composed a list of the best Bank Accounts for College Students that you can check out. Also if you would like to see all the latest bank deals nationwide, be sure to view our full list of Bank Bonuses and find one in your area!
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