Financial Literacy for Everyone

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Do you track your purchases? It may be a bit alarming to see how much they add up to, but it's an important habit to develop. With a checking account, you have an official record of every purchase you make using funds from that account, as well as money you receive and deposit. That can come in handy when you're creating a budget, preparing for taxes, or need proof of payment. Each month you'll get a statement that tallies every purchase you've made.

Opening a Checking Account

Choosing the Right Account
Which account is right for you? Most banks and credit unions offer a variety of checking account options, so when making your decision, consider your habits and preferences.

One common way to get a free checking account is to have your paycheck directly deposited into the account. This demonstrates that you intend to become a loyal customer with consistent deposits. Other ways to secure free checking include agreeing to keep a minimum balance in the account or agreeing to open a second account at the same bank.

Pay particularly close attention to the additional fees that a bank may charge. The two most common:

  • ATM Fees – If you withdraw cash from an ATM owned by a bank other than your own, your bank could charge you for a withdrawal outside the system, while the other bank charges you for not being one of its customers.
  • Overdraft Fees – Customers who withdraw money from an ATM or make a debit card purchase that exceeds the balance in their account will have to pay a penalty.

Once you've researched checking account options, it's time to make a decision. You can feel confident knowing where your money is going and take advantage of features your chosen account offers.