How To Compare Features to Find the Right Checking Account
Looking to open a new checking account, but not sure how to find the right account that works for your lifestyle and spending habits? Finding the right checking/debit account can help you fight inflation, pay for holiday purchases, or simply save money on monthly fees, but with so many options out there, it can be hard to determine which one is the best fit for your needs.
Since we often use our checking accounts as the hub for most of our spending and bill paying, choosing the right one can be more important than we might first think. This post will help you decode the common terms and benefits associated with most checking accounts, to help guide you into making a solid choice that provides convenient banking options with cost-effective perks.
What are common checking account perks and requirements?
While every account is different, here are a few of the most common checking account features to familiarize yourself with when selecting an account.
Checking Accounts with Special Perks
Not all checking accounts come with the same benefits, and sometimes the accounts with the most perks come with tradeoffs. In other words, finding an account that meets your financial needs and requirements might mean sacrificing some perks for others. When choosing an account, consider which are the most important for you.
Cash Back Checking
Some checking accounts offer cash back on purchases—just like you’d get with your credit card. In fact, our Free Kasasa Cash Back Checking Account offers 4% cash back! Some cash back accounts require a minimum balance or have a monthly maintenance fee, others require a minimum direct deposit each month, while others require a certain number of transactions—so check the fine print to make sure you are able to meet those terms on a regular basis to take advantage of this perk. For instance, our Kasasa Cash Back account has no monthly fee or minimum balance, but does require at least 12 debit card transactions each monthly cycle that post and settle, along with enrolling in e-statements and visiting your online account monthly in order to get your cash back. If you plan on using your debit card often and already love the convenience of online banking, it might be a great fit for you.
Niched Rewards Checking
Some checking rewards often niched rewards, designed to appeal to specific lifestyles or tastes. One example, our Kasasa Tunes Checking Account, allows you to earn rewards toward purchases on iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play, and is a great way to introduce teens to responsible banking.
Perhaps the most popular perk associated with checking accounts is interest. An interest checking account is one that accrues interest on the money in the checking account. The interest earned is expressed as an annualized rate known as annual percentage yield or APY. While many associate interest with savings accounts and certificates of deposit, many checking accounts, including our Free Kasasa Cash Checking and Advantage Checking, offer competitive interest rates. Generally, the higher the interest, the more requirements there may be, but if you use your account regularly, it’s often easy to meet these conditions.
Other Checking Account Features
First and foremost, an important feature to look for when opening a checking account is online and mobile banking. This allows you to access your account with ease from your computer, phone, or tablet—anywhere you go. Don’t feel like navigating a complex phone tree to get your balance? Want to know what a surprise charge was after hours? Not able (or interested) in running to your branch. This service provides detailed account information, from the convenience of your home.
Other features that make life better:
- Free notary services
- Complimentary order of checks each year
- Unlimited ATM withdrawals at designated ATMs or ATM fee reimbursement
- Free stop payment services
- No monthly service fees
- Low or no balance checking account balance requirement
Want to learn more about features our accounts offer? Visit our Compare Personal Checking Accounts page!
Common Checking Account Requirements
Some checking accounts require you to maintain a minimum balance in order to receive your perks. At Citizens Savings Bank, none of our checking accounts have this requirement. (Just a minimum balance to open an account) With a minimum balance requirement checking account, know that there are different ways your bank may determine what constitutes a “minimum balance”:
- A Minimum balance requirement means that there is a minimum amount that must be in your account at all times. Our money market accounts have a minimum balance requirement to avoid the monthly maintenance fee.
- Minimum daily balance requirements mean that you have to have a minimum balance in your account at the end of the banking day.
- Lastly, when your account requires an average monthly balance, you must have a minimum average amount in your account for the duration of the statement-cycle (check with your bank for statement cycle timing). At the end of the statement-cycle, your daily balances will be added up and divided by the number of days in the cycle to determine if you’ve met this requirement.
Minimum Monthly Transactions
Banks often use perks as a way to entice customers to use their account regularly, making it their primary bank account for personal use. One common way to do that is to require a set number of debit card transactions each monthly cycle post and settle (12 for our checking accounts). If you plan on using your account regularly for purchases or bill pay, it’s usually easy to meet these requirements. Be careful though—some banks may charge fees if you don’t. At Citizens Savings Bank we never charge fees for not hitting a transaction minimum, but you might not get the perks if you don’t in an individual statement cycle.
Digital Banking Requirements
Lastly, you might be required to enroll in online banking or e-statements to earn your perks. These are not only convenient features for customers, they also can save your bank money by reducing time spent mailing and printing statements or fielding simple account questions. Banks pass this savings onto you in the form of some kind of perk. At Citizens Savings Bank, our Kasasa checking accounts do require enrollment in e-statements and at least one online or mobile banking login each month—an easy requirement to meet!
Can I Open a Checking Account Online?
So you’ve read this article, and now you’re ready to open an account. One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is if our customers need to head down to their local branch, or if they can simply open a checking account online. Fortunately, with securely encrypted platforms, you can easily open an account without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. Plus, you don’t have to look to a huge chain bank to do it—you can use a hometown bank like Citizens Savings, too.
Is it safe to open an account online?
Opening an account online can be as secure as opening one in your local branch. Here’s why:
- Banks are insured through the FDIC. As soon as your account is open, the security of your money is guaranteed.
- Complex encryption and security measures are always used in the applications you use to open an account online.
- While there are small cybersecurity risks involved with any secure online translation, taking measures like using secure wi-fi or a vpn when opening an account and choosing a strong password can provide an extra layer of security. For more smartphone banking safety tips, check out this post.
Of course, opening an account online isn’t for everyone. We have friendly and knowledgeable bank representatives ready to help you at all of our conveniently located branches to help you navigate the process in person, too.
Open a Checking Account at Citizens Savings Bank
An ideal checking account provides ease of use, has straightforward requirements, and is offered by a bank with a history of excellent customer care. At Citizens Savings Bank, we strive to offer accounts with great perks, without the drawbacks of minimum balances and monthly fees common at other banks. With many choices, we’re sure you’ll find one that works for you.
If you’re still wondering What checking account is right for me?, remember that you can always discuss perks and requirements with one of our experienced bank representatives to find an account that truly meets your needs. Apply for an account online today, or visit one of our convenient branches in Clarks Summit, West Scranton, South Scranton, Taylor, Honesdale, or Mount Pocono to learn more about all we have to offer!
Citizens Savings Bank has multiple locations throughout Lackawanna, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. For branch locations and hours, visit our website. We also have a Customer Support Team ready to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 1.800.692.6279 or email [email protected]. Member FDIC.