Dec 11, 2023

Think it’s time for a change? When you’re looking to open a new checking account, you’ll find a wide variety of incentives and features to gain your attention. While the possibility of earning rewards can be enticing, there are several important factors to take into consideration. Be sure to know about these factors to find the best checking account for you.

“Free” or Fees

What does “free checking” mean? Do fees still apply in some instances? Review all the possible charges, if any, associated with an account and compare them with other financial institutions. Some checking accounts may seem like a better deal than others, but fees could make more of an impact on your money over time. Some of these fees are known as “hidden,” which are normally extra charges tacked on to a bill or monthly statement. Although they are a smaller amount (between $10 and $20 on average), avoiding them can save money and hassle in the long run.

Overdraft Protection

Sometimes unexpected circumstances arise, causing your checking account to have a low balance or insufficient funds altogether. Overdraft protection automatically moves funds from an existing savings account in case your account balance cannot cover transactions. Like a free checking account, this feature has a number of benefits, however, most financial institutions charge larger overdraft fees around $35 per transaction for accounts with insufficient funds. Take a close look at the terms of overdraft protection and your account, as a low or minimum balance fee may apply as well.

Debit Card Rewards

Most checking accounts come with rewards such as cash back on purchases, interest on your balance up to a set amount, or points that can be redeemed towards items such as gift cards or clothing. Identify the incentive that will benefit you most and compare it with other checking account options. If you’re interested in cash back, review which account offers the highest rewards with your spending habits. Some accounts may give you a higher percentage of cash back on purchases but only at certain stores and restaurants you may not normally visit.

There’s a lot to take into consideration when choosing and opening a new checking account. Research the terms and conditions on each account so you’re aware of the steps required to maximize your earnings and avoid any fees. Don’t let one-time incentives such as a sign-up bonus or introductory offer steer you away from priorities that could lead to financial success.

As a credit union, Cinfed is proud to offer free Kasasa Cash and Kasasa Cash Back checking accounts that earn rewards*. A financial coach at any Cinfed branch will be glad to explain all the details to you.

*Learn more about our checking options.