Checking Accounts
All About Checking
A checking account is a safe and convenient place to store your money and still use it any time you need it.

Why Use a Checking Account?

Checking accounts help you better manage your money, provide you proof of payment and save you from spending money on cashier's checks and money orders to pay bills.

Types of Checking and Deposit Accounts

  • "Free" Checking Accounts should not have monthly service charges or certain per-item fees. Some require direct deposit and paperless statements. Other fees may apply.
  • "Basic" Checking Accounts are general accounts used to pay bills and daily expenses. Some require direct deposit and/or a minimum deposit. Other fees may apply.
  • Senior Checking Accounts (around 55+ years of age) offer various discounts and services for older customers such as free checking and free traveler's checks.
  • Interest-Bearing Accounts require a minimum or average balance and will pay interest on your balance. Fees may apply if minimum balance is not met.
  • Money Market Accounts pay higher interest than most other interest-bearing checking accounts. They may also require minimum balances. Transactions are limited.

Accounts, requirements, and programs will vary by bank.

Online Banking and e.Statements

  • Accessing your account online is convenient and safe. Banks are required to encrypt your information and install firewalls to protect your account.
  • Some banks give you the ability to pay bills and transfer money between accounts, and most allow you to reorder checks with online banking.
  • e.Statements are a great way to stay organized. Instead of receiving a paper statement in the mail, you will be notified by email when your statement is ready. You can access past statements for up to 18 months at your convenience. It's a simple way to reduce clutter and it's free.

e.Alerts by Text or Email

  • e.Alerts (account alerts) can be set to tell you when your account has hit a balance level that you determine, when certain transactions occur on your account, and more.
  • For example, you can set your e.Alert to send you a text message or email when your account reaches $100 so you don't overdraw your account. Message and data rate fees may apply from your mobile carrier.

Mobile Banking

  • Mobile banking shows similar information to online banking while providing you the convenience of checking your accounts anytime, anywhere using your smart phone. Some banks also offer mobile banking services through a tablet.
  • Some mobile banking apps have remote deposit capture or "mobile check deposit". This is a feature that allows you to take a picture of an endorsed check for deposit and send the picture to the bank through the app instead of going to a branch to deposit the check. Funds are not always available for immediate withdrawal. Each bank has different policies and fees regarding this service.
  • Some fees may apply with mobile banking features.

Online Bill Pay

  • Online Bill Pay works with online banking and allows you to set up automatic or manual payments by entering in bill information.
  • Easy to track spending on utilities and other necessities and more efficient than writing checks and saves money on paper mail and stamps.
  • Some fees may apply to online bill pay. Each bank has different policies and fees for each type of account.

ATM Fees

  • Surcharge Fee – this is a fee that the owner of the ATM charges the consumer using the machine. (When you withdraw $40.00 from another bank's ATM and it shows on your account you withdrew $43.00, the surcharge is $3.00)
  • Foreign ATM Fee: this is a fee charged by your bank to you for conducting a transaction outside of their network of machines.
  • Denial Fee: this is a fee charged to a customer for attempting to withdraw more money than they are either allowed or for which they have sufficient funds.

Overdraft Fee

An overdraft fee is a fee the bank may charge when it pays an item that causes the balance in your account to go below $0.00. The bank covers the purchase (you are not declined), your account goes into the negative and you are charged a fee for the service. Each bank has a different overdraft program and fees associated with it.

You must "Opt In" if you want the bank to cover your ATM and debit card purchases for amounts larger than the balance in your account. Each bank has different policies and fees related to overdrafts.

Returned Item Fee

A returned item fee is a charge when an item "bounces" or does not clear, meaning that you do not have enough money in your account and the bank will not cover the amount you do not have. As a reminder, checks and other items could attempt to clear your account several times and fees may be charged each time.

Service Fees

The most common service fees are incurred in connection with inactivity, transfers of funds, stop payments, card replacements, wire transfers, cashier's checks, money orders, and excessive withdrawals. These fees vary by type of account and bank. A fee schedule from the bank about the type of account you have can give you specific details about its fees.