Finding the Right Checking Account for You

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Finding the Right Checking Account for You

There are a lot of financial decisions to make in your life: How much money should you deposit in your 401(k)? Should you apply for a rewards credit card or a traditional one? Should you put your money into a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA?

With so many big decisions to make, you may think picking a checking account isn't one of them. However, not all checking accounts are the same.

Here's what you should look at before opening a checking account.

Your Spending Habits

Do you write a lot of checks each month? Do you worry about bouncing checks? Do you frequently withdraw money from ATMs that aren't connected to your financial institution?

These can all factor into which checking account makes the most financial sense for you.

For instance, if you write many checks, you'll want to apply for a checking account that allows you to write an unlimited number of them each month. Some checking accounts allow you to write a limited number of checks per month, paying a fee for every check you write over that limit.

What about bouncing checks? You'll pay a fee from your financial institution every time you bounce a check. If you are habitual bouncer, you might consider a checking account with overdraft protection. Of course, overdraft protection may also have a free, however, it is most likely less than what you would pay in overdraft fees.

You can also pay a lot of money each month if you frequently withdrawing money from out-of-network ATMs. You can solve this problem by choosing a checking account with a bank that boasts a large network of ATMs. If that is not feasible, you might find a bank that covers any out-of-network ATM fees that you incur.

Finally, some checking accounts charge a monthly maintenance fee. Avoid these if you can. There are plenty of free checking account options out there.

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