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Checking accounts

A Four Step Plan to Finding the Best Checking Accounts

We humans are creatures of habit. Once we have a checking account, we tend to stick with it, regardless of whether it’s a good deal or not.

But it might just pay to start looking around to see what kind of benefits are available elsewhere. Different banks appeal to people in different ways, which means the best checking accounts worth considering for you might be altogether different from the ones that appeal to other people.

Try these four steps to compare checking accounts and seek out the best one for you:

1. What do you want?

It might sound like a silly question, but some banks offer incentives to get people to sign up for their checking accounts. Are there any which appeal to you?

Some offer a much higher rate of interest provided you pay in a specified minimum in salary every month. Others offer a one time payment if you switch your checking account over to them. Some accounts are designed to appeal more to a specific age group, such as accounts aimed at teenagers offering free cinema passes. In any event, make sure all your needs will be met by any checking account you are considering.

2. Do your research.

Use online comparison sites such as this one to compare checking accounts and see which banks are offering the best checking accounts for your needs at the moment. You will normally need to answer a few questions to make the search relevant; you can then visit each bank’s website to find out more about each account.

It’s also worth finding out how well each bank tends to perform. How well do they satisfy their customers? Do their checking accounts consistently perform well against the competition? If you start coming across lots of negative reviews of a particular bank, you may want to start looking elsewhere.

3. Look out for high interest rates on credit balances.

These can be a great plus for new customers, and a wonderful incentive to switch banks, but make sure you read all the fine print before you do.

Some of these only last for a certain period of time, while others only apply for balances over a certain amount, so make sure you know what’s involved before you move everything over to a brand new checking account. For example, you might have to keep the account funded with $2000 at all times to qualify for the high interest rate. If you don’t tend to have much of a credit balance each month, then don’t be tempted by high interest rates; look for other features that will benefit you more instead when you compare checking accounts.

4. Watch for low rates on authorized overdrafts.

If you always find yourself in the red, make sure you compare checking accounts that offer a low rate of interest on pre-agreed overdrafts. This is an important point, as if you don’t agree it in advance you could find yourself stuck with a hefty fee.

It’s estimated that a lot of people could save well over $100 in unnecessary charges by switching to find the best checking accounts, so if this applies to you it might mean you have some money left at the end of the month for a change! There are even one or two accounts which offer a fee free overdraft, although they may make up for it by introducing more charges in other ways, so be sure you know all the ins and outs before going ahead and opening an account.

Conclusion

While there are plenty of websites and surveys which list the best checking accounts available today, the criteria for these can vary enormously. In the final analysis, the best account for you will be the one which best meets your needs. If you follow the four steps outlined above you should soon be able to locate the best checking accounts when you compare checking accounts.

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