Guide to Opening a New Checking Account

by FinancialTips4U

What you need to know when opening a new checking account, and how to make sure that your bank is safe and reliable.

Getting the Best Rates and Services for Your Money

opening a checking accountChecking accounts are such a common and popular banking product that it seems everyone has at least one.  But whether you’re just starting out in the financial world, or you’ve moved and are looking to set up an account, it’s easy to forget just how crucial they are!  Here’s how to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable bank and getting the best deal for a safe and secure place to store your funds. (image credit)

Ask Around and Compare Rates

This might sound like overkill, but you absolutely want to take the time to ask around and compare rates.  Ask friends and family members which bank they use and whether they like it or not.  Although asking won’t reveal anything about the actual banking features they use (since everyone is different), it will give you an idea of what kind of flexibility they have with regards to accessing their money when they need it, and it will reveal what customer service is like.  Are they easy to reach?  Friendly and helpful?  Can you do the basics with online banking yourself?  For example, Aurora Bank online checking accounts offer all the features you’d expect from a traditional branch checking account, but with 24/7 online access, money transfers between accounts and much more.


How The Internet Can Help You Compare Accounts

If you’ve just moved to a new town, you may not have anyone to ask!  No problem.  That’s where the internet can help.  There are plenty of banking product comparison websites that allow you to check and compare rates between some of the leading banks.  See what features you get for your money and what the minimum account balance or other requirements may be (for things like savings accounts and money market accounts).  There are also checking accounts that pay interest as long as you keep your account balance over a certain amount.  Aurora Bank online checking accounts do this, and it’s worth having if you can consistently maintain your balance over the minimum requirement.  

Find the Features You Want

opening a checking accountNot everyone uses the same banking features, so having a laundry list of free or low-cost benefits along with your checking account won’t matter much if you don’t use them.  Here again, this often depends on your lifestyle and the kinds of things you want from your bank account. 

Ask yourself:  is having nationwide access to a network of ATMs important to you?  Or would you rather have access via online banking and account to account money transfers?  Points like these are important to consider when shopping around for the best checking accounts. (image credit)

Bank Must-Have: FDIC Insurance

One features you definitely don’t want to go without is a bank deposit that is FDIC insured (or in the case of a credit union, NCUA insured).  The FDIC is a federal corporation created by the government to help protect customers’ money in the highly unlikely event that the bank itself becomes insolvent.  The FDIC was created in the 1930s after the Great Depression when so many people lost their money from one day to the next because the banks closed up shop.  Until January of 2014, the FDIC will insure deposits up to $250,000 per deposit type, per depositor.  After that date, it is speculated that the insurance will return to the pre-recession levels of $100,000.  It is recommended that you  ask the bank if their accounts are FDIC  to protect your money.

Are you considering opening a checking account soon?

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How to Open a Checking Account

Updated: 10/11/2011, FinancialTips4U
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