Choosing the right checking account is a crucial step toward achieving financial stability and security. By finding an account that caters to your financial needs and priorities, you can ensure your money is working for you. Luckily, there are several types of checking accounts available, each with unique features, benefits and rewards.
Read on to learn more about 10 checking account types that can do everything from earn you rewards to help your business.
Types of Checking Accounts
1. Traditional Checking Account
A traditional checking account is the most common bank account you'll encounter. It provides basic functionality for everyday banking needs. With a traditional checking account, you typically have access to services including check writing, a debit card and online banking. It's essential to be aware of any banking fees, such as monthly maintenance fees, minimum balance requirements, ATM withdrawal fees and overdraft policies that may apply.
Find Digital Checking Accounts
Traditional checking accounts are a good option for a straightforward banking experience without additional perks or benefits.
2. Online Checking Account
Online checking accounts are offered by digital or traditional banks, including through fintech companies with online banking platforms. These accounts are typically accessed and managed primarily through online and mobile platforms, offering convenience, often with lower fees and competitive interest rates.
Certain online checking accounts offer cutting-edge features that aren't typically offered by traditional checking accounts. For example, the Experian Smart Money™ Digital Checking Account & Debit Card has the unique perk of allowing you to build credit without taking on debt by automatically linking to Experian Boost®ø, which gives you credit for eligible bill payments. Other benefits include no monthly fees¶ and access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs worldwide**.
You can get an Experian Smart Money account through a free or paid Experian membership, which also gives you access to your FICO® Score☉ and Experian credit report. See terms at experian.com/legal.
3. No-Fee Checking Account
A no-fee checking account may be your ideal choice if you want to avoid monthly maintenance fees. These accounts are designed to provide basic banking services without charging monthly fees, regardless of your account balance.
While no-fee checking accounts offer simplicity and cost-effectiveness, it's essential to review the account's terms to ensure there are no hidden fees or limitations associated with specific transactions or services. And keep in mind that these accounts aren't entirely fee-free: You may be charged fees for overdrawing your account, using an out-of-network ATM or purchasing checks, for instance.
4. Interest-Bearing or High-Yield Checking Account
An interest-bearing checking account allows you to earn interest on the funds deposited in your account. Typically, the interest rates for checking accounts are lower than those for savings accounts, but high-yield checking accounts are a step up on this front, providing an opportunity to grow your balance over time.
When considering an interest-bearing checking account, pay attention to the account's interest rate, any minimum balance requirements and whether the interest is compounded daily or monthly.
5. Rewards Checking Account
If you're looking for additional perks and rewards, a rewards checking account can be an attractive option. These accounts often offer rewards such as cash back on debit card purchases, ATM fee reimbursements and other incentives.
Rewards checking accounts usually require meeting certain criteria, such as making a minimum number of monthly debit card transactions or maintaining a minimum balance. Review the terms and conditions associated with the rewards program to understand how you can qualify for and maximize the rewards; it might not be worth having this type of account if you're unlikely to earn or use the rewards.
6. Premium Checking Account
A premium checking account is typically designed for customers with higher balances and more complex banking needs. Banks have different names for these accounts, but commonly they offer enhanced benefits like higher interest rates, access to exclusive features like free wire transfers or personalized customer service and discounts on other banking products.
Premium checking accounts might have higher minimum balance requirements and monthly maintenance fees. The key here is to determine whether the additional benefits of a premium account justify any associated fees.
7. Student Checking Account
A student checking account is designed to meet the unique financial needs of students, who are often starting their financial journey. These accounts often come with lower or waived fees, lower minimum balance requirements and other student-friendly benefits.
Student checking accounts also offer features like mobile banking and easy access to ATMs on or near college campuses. If you're a student, it's worthwhile to explore the options available and take advantage of the benefits provided by these specialized accounts.
8. Business Checking Account
A business checking account is essential for business owners to manage their finances efficiently. These accounts provide specific features for business needs, such as processing payments, tracking business expenses and managing cash flow. Business checking accounts may offer additional benefits, such as merchant services, overdraft protection or specialized business tools. Evaluate the fees, transaction limits and account management tools different banks offer to find the best business checking account for you.
9. Joint Checking Account
A joint checking account is designed for individuals who want to share an account with another person, like a spouse, partner or family member. This type of account allows both account holders to deposit and withdraw funds, write checks and manage the account together.
10. Multicurrency Checking Account
Some banks offer checking accounts denominated in foreign currencies. These multicurrency checking accounts benefit individuals or businesses that frequently deal with foreign currency transactions, allowing them to hold and manage funds in different currencies. If you travel a lot or have family in a different country, this might be a good option for you.
There are also other types of checking accounts that are only available to specific groups, such as senior citizens, people associated with the military or those who've been denied traditional banking services. It's important to note that the availability of these account types may vary depending on your bank and where you live.
No matter what type of account you decide to open, it's always a good idea to research and compare the offerings of different financial institutions to find the account that best suits your specific needs.
How to Choose a Checking Account
Once you're up to speed on several types of checking accounts, you'll need to choose the right one for you. Take these steps to help you narrow down your choices.
- Assess your banking needs. Determine the features and services that are most important to you. Are you mainly looking for a simple account for everyday transactions, or do you need additional benefits like interest earnings or rewards?
- Evaluate your financial situation. Take stock of your financial picture, including your average balance and the likelihood of meeting specific requirements, like minimum balances.
- Review the fees and terms. Carefully read the account disclosures and fee schedules to understand any charges associated with the account. Consider monthly maintenance fees, ATM withdrawal fees, overdraft fees and transaction limits.
- Compare interest rates and rewards. If interest earnings or rewards are important to you, compare the rates, criteria and benefits different accounts offer to find the most favorable option.
- Research the checking account provider's reputation and customer service. Look for a provider with a solid reputation for customer service, online banking capabilities and accessibility through ATMs and branches.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right checking account can significantly impact your day-to-day financial life. From accounts that prioritize simplicity and convenience to those that offer interest earnings, rewards programs and specialized services, there's likely a checking account that will work for you.
Understanding the different types of checking accounts available can help you make a well-informed decision, so make time to assess your financial needs, review account terms and fees and compare the features and benefits offered by different banks. By keeping in mind these factors, you're well on your way to finding the best checking account for you.