When you evaluate checking accounts, keep three things in mind: convenience, security and value.
Here's a checklist for these important account benefits:
You want banking solutions to simplify your life. Saving time with your day-to-day money management leaves more time for enjoyable tasks. So, look for your checking account to include:
- Online banking with bill pay. You'll be able to check your balances in real-time, making it easy to track your expenses. You'll know exactly where you stand whenever you want. And you can transfer funds between accounts with the click of your mouse. Plus, online bill pay provides a safe and easy way to pay your bills.
- Mobile banking. Like online banking, mobile banking gives you account access 24/7. Plus, you can set up alerts to let you know when your account needs your attention, such as a low balance.
- Branch and ATM locations. Make sure your bank has branch and ATM locations in the area you live, work and shop. You'll only want to use your bank's ATMs to avoid transaction fees.
Security breaches, fraudulent transactions and identity theft protection get a lot of buzz these days. And for good reason. The bad guys work hard to steal your money, so make sure your bank is working harder to protect you. At a minimum, you'll want the following safeguards in place:
- Account security: When you set up your account, be sure to choose a password that is hard to guess. Using both numbers and letters, along with capitalization or special characters (when accepted), will help to make your password more secure and protect you from identity theft.
- Phone security: Scams do exist. Don't give out your personal information over the phone unless you are the one who initiated the conversation by calling your bank. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with your bank, ask for their contact information and call the bank to verify.
- Other security services. Don't be too shy to ask your bank about other security services. Many banks offer identity theft and fraud protection services for your convenience.
The right checking account for you will provide value in a variety of ways. Here are some things to look for in your account:
- A reasonable fee structure. A good option will provide ways to lower or eliminate fees by using services like direct deposit or maintaining multiple accounts. And, you should check into account overdraft protection through savings, money market accounts and lines of credit.
- Start by reading your account agreements and learn all fees associated with your account. Avoiding unnecessary fees lets you keep more of your hard-earned money and helps you better manage your daily finances.
- Online tools and resources. Online calculators, advice articles and money tips help you manage your finances and keep your financial life on track. Be sure to review Regions' online resources, including our budget calculators and life stage articles.
- Personal relationships. Although a bank's products and services can add value to your financial management, don't forget to build a relationship with your bank's employees. Get to know your bank's tellers and managers. The more you establish a partnership with your bank, the more help you'll likely get when you need other banking services.
Checking accounts have become a mainstay in personal financial management. You most likely deposit the majority of your paycheck into a checking account. And, you pay your bills from this account. So it's important to evaluate your options carefully to get the best match for your situation.
- Save Time - Sleep more. Yes, sleep more. By incorporating a 15-20 minute power nap into your routine, you'll be more alert and efficient at work, saving time during your day.
- Save Money - Slow down on the highways: according to the Department of Energy, every five mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an average extra 29 cents per gallon (based on a $3.65 per gallon price).
- Save for the Future - Considering building a second home? Think small. Notable sites such as weehouses.com, cottagecompany.com, smallhousestyle.com, tumbleweedhouses.com and of course, notsobighouse.com, offer clever and appealing sustainable designs that will save money both in the short term (construction costs, materials) and long term (utility bills, upkeep).
- Save Time - Everyone's inbox is overflowing with email. Don't put off getting to the bottom of it at least once a day by opening one item at a time and don't look at the next until you decide a course of action for the first. Deal with it now to save time later.
- Save Money - Save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply adjusting the temperature 10°-15° for the eight or nine hours you're at work with a programmable thermostat. It's easy to install and ensures you save money while you're away from home.
- Save for the Future - It’s never too soon to teach your children about the value of saving money. Use helpful online tools and resources like The Stock Market Game™, Money Talks (in English and en español), and Reality Check.
This information is general in nature, is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. Regions neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.