How do I Choose the Best Free Checking Account?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 February 2018
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Finding the best free checking account means choosing an account option that matches one's spending practices and is tailored to one's lifestyle and personal preferences. Although this may sound like basic, almost silly advice, one of the most important features of a checking account is access to the bank and bank ATMs associated with the account. Bank customers also should check to see if free accounts require a minimum balance and whether customers can access the accounts online.

It is not uncommon to spend up to $4 US Dollars (USD) for each transaction at an ATM not associated with ones bank, so make sure that there is a nearby or convenient bank branch with an ATM before opening a free checking account. Otherwise, it is quite possible to wind up spending over $100 USD a year on transaction fees if not more. Furthermore, people who travel to other towns or cities on a regular basis may want to maintain a checking account with a bank that has a large network of branches and ATMs in those locations. This will make accessing cash easy all the time, even while one is on the road.


Another important factor to consider is access to information. Will the free checking account come with a phone service that allows customers to check their balance 24 hours per day? Is there a system by which the account can be managed online? And will this online service allow customers to pay bills? Being able to easily access information about one's balance and also manage one's money are very important features to consider.

Some banks offer free checking accounts that include bonuses such as frequent flier miles. These kinds of accounts are useful for people who travel on a regular basis or want to save up points for a vacation. Bonuses and similar amenities are other points of consideration when choosing between checking accounts.

It is quite common for a bank to offer a free checking account or even a few types of free checking accounts. It is important, however, to search for hidden fees before choosing a free checking account. For example, a free checking account may go from being free to levying regular monthly service fees if a minimum balance is not met. As such, it is important to read all of the fine print and make sure that a free checking account is really as free as it sounds. This will help to avoid unpleasant financial surprises down the road.



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