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Is There Really Such a Thing as Free Checking?

What is free checking? What are the benefits? Do you think you need to apply for a free checking account? The answers to these questions can be found when you read through this short guide. Find out the basics of the free checking services offered by many companies, learn if it is a worthwhile venture to go into, and see if there are hidden fees that you need to know about.

OK, so here is some basic information for people who are interested in opening a free checking account or free bank account. Checks, of course, are convenient means by which we can pay for our necessities, especially when we are short on cash.

Checking accounts work different from credit cards as non-cash payment options because the funds to pay checks you write will be deducted from your free checking or free bank account. This is opposed to having to deal with credit card billing statements every month for cashless payments you have made and potentially pay interest on balances.

When you apply for free personal checking or free business checking, you only need to submit your personal information confidentially and meet some minimum requirements, like a minimum monthly balance or specified number of in-branch transactions.

The advantage of a free checking account is that, in many cases, you only need to pay a fixed annual membership fee, plus a little extra for ordering additional checks or checkbooks. With some banks, there is no minimum balance requirement for free checking accounts, and most banks who offer these do not impose a limit on the amount or number of checks that you can write each month.

What are the features that you as the client should look for when applying for a free bank account with checks? As said before, check if the bank waives off charges for minimal or low checking balances. Also, you should be able to get the privilege of applying for an optional ATM or debit card.

Another great convenience feature when assessing bank account options it the ability to use the internet to view and complete online transactions. Online checking is often a plus feature given by banks to their free checking clients. Through online checking, you can pay your bills, make transfers, and check your balance. Be sure your bank supports online banking, especially if you don’t have the time to go to the bank every time you need to conduct a transaction or obtain balance information.

However, keep in mind that bank policies and account features differ, so if one bank offers these perks for their free checking account holders, don’t expect the packages to be the same for another bank. You’ll want to examine at least several banks before deciding on which one to use when opening your account.

Some banks impose a charge for direct deposits and also over-the-counter withdrawals from your checking accounts. Some experts say that a disadvantage of having a free checking account is that you don’t receive a statement indicating which checks you’ve written were cleared in that month.

Also, look for overdraft protection options; many times people get caught in the cycle of writing checks without knowing their balance and overdrawing their checking account, which incurs substantial overdraft fees with most of these free checking accounts. Opening a savings or money market account with automatic overdraft protection for your checking account would be advisable.

If you are willing to overlook some of the disadvantages, then a free checking account is more than just a convenient payment option for you. Find out which banks in your area or go online to see what features and terms are being offered and get started on your free bank account today!