By financen | September 9, 2010 - 4:10 pm - Posted in Checking Account

There are many people who have a checking account, probably one or more than one. A checking account is like a saving account, but the money is usually easier to access in a checking account. If you do not have a checking account, you must be thinking of opening one. Before you open a checking account, there are certain things that you should keep in mind.

The most important thing you need to decide before opening a checking account is to know where to open one. There are many people who prefer to open it with their local banks, however you have other options available to look at. Different banks have different requirements and restrictions on opening a checking account. You need to check with different banks and examine their requirements and restrictions.

Many banks require you to open a savings account before opening a checking account. However, if you have already got some kind of loan from the same bank, then you can open a checking account without opening a savings account.

In addition to a savings account, you need to deposit a certain amount of money in the savings account before they will let you open a checking account. You need to keep at least $50 all the time in the savings account, otherwise the bank will charge you a small monthly fee.

When you open a checking account with a certain bank, check the fees associated with that account. Many banks charge a monthly fee, also referred as a bank service charge. There are many banks that will offer you free promotional gifts like a free set of checks within a specified period of time. If you need additional checks during that period, the bank will charge you a fee. Every bank or financial institution has its own terms and policies. Check with your bank before opening an account with them.

When a checking account is opened, many individuals do not consider all their options. If you shop with different banks, you will find some that won’t charge you any fees at all. Free checking accounts are available all around the world. You need to do a little research before opening a checking account with just any bank.

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By financen | September 25, 2008 - 3:59 pm - Posted in Checking Account, Personal Finance

1) Never give your checking account number and the routing number to any unknown person. If you are going to make payment transactions with a company, make sure that you have researched on that company with the local authorities and the Better Business Bureau. If you are thinking of doing business with some company for the first time, give your checking account information only if you have initiated the transaction. Scammers will take the bank account number from you and withdraw funds by creating a demand draft. This is also known as remotely created check. They might also try to do an electronic transfer if they get the access to your account. Don’t give our credit card or the debit card number to anyone whom you don’t know. If you fell into the hands of a scammer, they will take out all the money from your checking account and make your account overdrawn. You can get your name removed from the telemarketing calls by registering on the National Do Not Call list on the website

2) Review your monthly statement: When you review your online statement, make sure that you check all the debits, automatic payments, and other withdrawals. If you see an unauthorized transaction, notify your bank immediately and dispute it.

3) If you face any problems with your checking account, notify your bank immediately. The sooner you alert your bank when you face a problem, it will get resolved at the earliest. In some cases, your bank will request you to notify them in writing. Keep everything documented and get the problem resolved by the bank as soon as possible. If any kind of fraudulent activity is taking place in your checking account, then you should contact the attorney general’s office.

4) If you don’t have enough funds in your checking account, don’t write any checks or authorize debits by any company. This will cause your account overdrawn and your bank will charge a NSF. If some company is authorized to take out the money on a certain date when you don’t have the funds ready in your account, then you should call the company and work out prior arrangements to change the payment date.

5) Know your rights under consumer protection laws. Every consumer has certain rights under the federal electronic fund transfer act. If you face any problems with your checking account regarding a demand draft or an electronic transfer done, then you should be able to use your rights under the EFTA.

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I got a nice 4 percent APY online savings account from Washington Mutual with a free checking account. I find it very interesting because I have a savings account with Brick and Mortar WaMu that pays me only 0.50% interest.

I get the benefits of free ATM cash withdrawals with the new savings and checking account. I can start with an opening balance of $1. There are some more benefits like other banks like cash back for debit purchases, free checks for life. One thing that I find attractive is the free overdraft/NSF fee waiver program every year. Other banks charge a lot of NSF/Overdraft fees. I have the facilities of free outbound wire transfers and a high yield 4% interest savings account.

There are several great features offered by WaMu along with services. The sign up process for a new account is very simplified. Besides, there are security features so that the online transactions remain protected.

There is a 24 X 7 online banking facility so that I don’t have to wait for my monthly statements to be mailed. This helps in balancing the checkbook. I find it very easy when everything is just one click away from a mouse. I don’t have to pay any charge for these numerous services.

I can also pay my utility bills online. I don’t need to pay any fee for these services. They are offering it to attract large number of consumers. I can schedule a day for certain bills to be automatically paid. I just have to call the customer care and give standing instructions. I know there are other banks that charge a certain percentage for this kind of service.

You can order a new checkbook online. This is an ideal feature for people who don’t have the time to go to the banks to put such small requests. A few of the others features that I get to enjoy with my WaMu account is the online stop payment on a check, get a copy of a paper check returned to my address.

With so many added features with WaMu and the 4 percent interest rate, I am sure many people will be interested towards opening accounts and enjoy the variety of services.