Opening A Checking Account? 3 Questions To Ask The Bank

Posted on: 25 October 2019

A bank account is a safe and secure way to store your money. With the right type of account, it can also be a convenient method of storing money, saving, and paying your regular bills. Unfortunately, all accounts are not created equal, so it is important to read the fine print and understand the specific details of your bank accounts. Thankfully, you can reduce the stress by asking the proper questions when opening up a new checking account. Here are the questions to ask the bank before opening up that account.

What Type of Account Is Best?

When you first sit down with the bank, you may be overwhelmed to learn how many different types of accounts are available. Each option offers their own pros and cons, so you need to compare details and find the one suited to your specific needs.

Regular checking accounts are most common. They provide a basic service, but they may charge you a fee for using their account services. In some cases, you can negotiate a lower or waived fee if you keep a specific balance in the account.

Banks may offer account holders with a higher balance a premium checking account that has no fees or restrictions. Many of these premium accounts can also earn interest over time, but this is entirely up to the bank.

There are also accounts designed for people with credit issues who have had bank accounts closed in the past. These are known as second-chance checking accounts.

If you are a small or large business owner, ask your bank if they offer special accounts with special perks for business owners, as well.

Will My Balances Be Protected?

Another question to ask is whether and how your money will be protected once you deposit into a specific bank. It is important to note that this protection is not necessarily offered by the bank but offered and mandated by the federal government.

The FDIC, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, insures deposits of pretty much all banks in the United States. If the bank fails for any reason, the FDIC offers up to $250,000 in coverage per customer.

Also, if you have your retirement savings in the same banking institution, the FDIC insures this as well but keeps it separate from your insured balances in your checking/saving accounts, up to $250,000 per person. Therefore, if you had $250,000 in your checking account and $250,000 in your retirement accounts, all of your balances would be protected.

What About Checks?

Most people are surprised to learn that their checks are not always automatically given to you by the bank when you open an account. However, you can order them directly through your bank.

You may have the option of ordering a specific number of standard checks for free. Or, you can order custom checks for a small fee.

If you have no desire to use checks for paying bills, ask if the bank offers bill-pay services. This service allows you to enter all of your bills in the system so they can be paid either automatically on a specific day or on dates that you choose. You will need to have your bill account numbers accessible when setting up the bill pay service.

Fortunately, most banks do provide this service for free as long as you open a checking account with them. Make sure to ask if there are any stipulations on balance minimums or bill-pay minimums per month to determine if the service will be free to use or not.

Whether you are opening up your first checking account or you are just looking for a change, help is available. This guide will ensure you know which type of checking account is right for you.