How Much Should I Leave in My Checking Account?
Checking accounts are best for day-to-day transactions, whereas savings accounts are for, well, savings. This distinction isn’t just about the words we use.
You should be storing your emergency fund money in a high-yield savings account in order to maximize the income you earn from interest. All the same, you’ll need a checking account for easy access to cash via A.T.M.s, and any other bills for which you might need to write checks.
In your checking account, you should store money for rent, fixed expenses, cash from the A.T.M., and a slight bit for cushion so you don’t suffer overdraft charges. That’s it. Once you’ve covered the necessities, store as much as possible in a savings account that provides high interest rates.
A convenient checking account:
* Has many A.T.M.s nearby.
* Doesn’t charge you to withdraw cash from its A.T.M.s.
* Has no—or a very low—minimum balance for free checking.
* Charges no monthly fees for having the account.
* Features online banking so you can monitor your account and pay bills online.
* Has FDIC insurance coverage.
* Gives you free checks.
You can search for checking accounts here, or read below for a list of LearnVest-approved companies:
* Do not use a nickname when opening your account (“Allison” vs. “Ally”).
* Your employer may be able to recommend a bank and even offer special deals.
If you would like to learn more before opening a checking account, see “I Need a Checking Account.”