The Benefits of Having a Checking Account
Checking accounts offer a secure, accessible place to store funds. If you are considering opening a checking account at a bank or credit union, or you already have one, here’s what you need to know about this account’s benefits and how to best manage it.
Easy access to your funds
Checking accounts offer easily accessible funds. You can withdraw your funds at your bank or credit union, get cash from an ATM or transfer funds to another account. You can also use the account’s debit card to pay for purchases with the funds in the account. Finally, you can write a paper check, and the written amount will be withdrawn from your checking account when the check is deposited. This ease of access makes your checking account the ideal place to keep funds for everyday expenses.
Minimal balance requirements
In contrast to other financial accounts, checking accounts tend to have very low minimum balance requirements. Often, you’ll only need to meet this requirement when opening your account. At North Star CCU, you can open a checking account with as little as $10.
Low or no maintenance fees
Here’s where checking accounts at banks and credit unions differ. It is not uncommon for banks to charge a monthly maintenance fee for checking accounts; sometimes as high as $30 a month. However, if you open a checking account at a credit union, you generally don’t have to worry about steep fees. North Star Community Credit Union's Star checking account has no monthly fee, and the rewards Star+ has a low monthly fee.
Some checking accounts offer a modest Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on deposited funds. Often, interest-bearing checking accounts will require a minimum monthly balance and/or a minimum number of monthly debit card transactions. At a credit union, the interest paid to your account is called “dividends” because it’s an earnings rate paid on the shares you own in our cooperative. Click here to view North Star CCU's current dividend rates.
Checking accounts take the stress out of paying bills. Most financial institutions now offer a mobile banking app and website. Use the payment dashboard on this platform to pay your credit card, utility and service bills directly from your checking account. Alternatively, you can have the balance automatically withdrawn from your account when the bill comes due each month. With the convenience of a bill-pay through your checking account, you’ll never miss a payment again.
Convenient account management
Managing your checking account is simple. Use your financial institution’s mobile banking app or website to access your account, view your balance, deposit checks remotely, transfer funds to another account and more. In addition, checking accounts help you track your spending by providing a paper trail of all your transactions. When you use your debit card for your everyday spending, you can easily review those purchases by checking your account history.
Budgeting just got easy!
Funds kept in a checking account at a bank are federally insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000. Credit unions feature similar protection, with all federal credit unions offering government protection through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). State and private credit unions may be insured by the NCUSIF as well, or through their own state or private insurance. North Star Community Credit Union is insured by the NCUA to offer you protection for your funds and peace of mind in knowing that your savings is secure.
Managing your checking account
Managing a checking account is easy as 1-2-3:
1: Know your balance at all times to avoid an overdrawn account.
2: Automate your finances. Set up automatic bill payment through your checking account and consider automatic monthly transfers from your checking account to savings as well.
3: Keep your account funded with one to two months’ worth of living expenses at all times. This way, you’ll always have enough funds to cover your transactions.
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