Can I Write Checks From My Savings Account?

Quick Answer

You generally can’t write checks from your savings account since most banks don’t issue a checkbook or debit card with these accounts.

A hand holding a pen prepares to write a check in the office

Savings accounts are an excellent option to stash your cash and earn interest on your deposits. Of course, your money is always available for withdrawals, but can you use your account for other purposes, such as to write checks? The short answer is no. You won't generally be able to write checks from your savings account.

Similarly, you usually won't receive a debit card with your savings account, hampering your ability to make purchases from your account. The purpose of your savings account is to park your cash in a safe place—separate from your spending accounts—so you can grow your money and work toward your savings goals.

Can You Write Checks From a Savings Account?

Check writing isn't generally a feature of savings accounts, primarily because these accounts are not designed to be transactional accounts. On the contrary, their purpose is to store the money you don't intend to spend. The bank even rewards you for keeping your money in your savings account by paying interest on your funds. And since a savings account isn't meant for frequent transactions, you typically won't receive a checkbook or debit card when you open one.

Another reason you can't write checks from a savings account is because of a federal rule called Regulation D that limits it. Before 2020, the Federal Reserve limited savings account transactions to six per month but eased their enforcement due to the pandemic. The agency doesn't enforce the transaction limits, but some banks still adhere to them. Remember, the limit doesn't apply to transactions you make directly at an ATM or with a bank teller.

What Accounts Can You Write a Check From?

Choose from the following options to write checks for bills and other expenses.

Checking Accounts

Your most straightforward option is to use a checking account. Many savers open a checking account in tandem with their savings account. Traditional checking accounts allow you to write checks, use a debit card for transactions and ATM withdrawals and pay bills online.

Keep in mind, other types of checking accounts may benefit you more than a traditional one. For instance, if you tend to keep large balances in your checking account, you could earn money on your balance with an interest-bearing checking account. Similarly, college and vocational school students may be eligible for a student checking account if they meet the bank's age requirement. These accounts often waive maintenance fees and come with perks tailored for students. Other specialized checking accounts include business, premium, rewards and senior accounts.

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Money Market Accounts (MMAs)

If you don't anticipate writing more than a handful of checks each month, opening a money market account could be a smart move. This deposit account combines the benefits of savings and checking accounts. They usually earn higher annual percentage yields (APYs) than traditional savings accounts and enable you to make a limited number of checks or debit transactions.

However, you could incur fees if you exceed the transaction limit for checks, withdrawals or debit transactions. According to November 2023 data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the average money market APY is 0.63%, but you may find yields between 1.55% and 4.40% through an online bank. By contrast, a traditional savings account earns 0.46% on average, as of November 2023.

Cash Management Accounts (CMAs)

Like money market accounts, cash management accounts enable you to earn interest on your savings and allow you to write checks and handle transactions like a checking account. But you won't be able to open an account at a standard bank, as these accounts are only available through brokers and investment firms.

A CMA could benefit you if you keep a high balance because they typically provide higher interest rates. Additionally, these accounts could potentially provide higher FDIC insurance limits by distributing your funds across multiple partner banks.

How to Use a Savings Account to Make Payments

You can't write a check from your savings account, but all is not lost. If you need to use your savings to cover a payment, you still have options, such as:

  • Transfer to your checking account: The safest and easiest way to tap into your savings is to transfer the amount you'll need to cover your monthly bills to your checking account. Then, you can use your checking account to make payments as needed throughout the month.
  • Use your savings account: It's possible to pay bills from your savings account by entering your account and routing numbers into the payment form. Once processed, the funds will be taken from your account, usually without a hitch.
  • Get a cashier's check: Another option to make payments from your savings account is to purchase a cashier's check from your bank. A cashier's check is one of the most secure forms of payment and is guaranteed by the bank or credit union that issues it. They'll print your name as the purchaser and the name of the person or business you're paying in the recipient line on the check. The bank will cover the cashier's check with your cash upfront or, in this case, a withdrawal from your savings account.

The Bottom Line

You typically can't write checks from your savings account, as most banks simply don't allow for it. They also don't issue debit cards with savings accounts for making payments or purchases. Your best bet for writing checks is to use your checking account to make payments quickly and safely. Consider using a high-yield savings account to earn larger yields on your savings deposits and a checking account to cover your bills and other spending. An interest-earning checking account could make sense, especially if you usually maintain a high balance.

It's also wise to set up automatic payments to ensure you never miss a payment. Remember, your payment history is the most important factor in calculating your FICO® Score , so having a process to pay your bills on time is worth it. Experian Boost®ø could also help your credit-building efforts by giving you credit for bills and expenses that don't typically appear on your credit report, such as your cellphone bill, home utilities and even your rent.