Things You Should Know before Opening a Checking Account

Having a personal checking account is an important financial step in this day and age. It sets you up for financial independence and accountability, and it protects and insures your money from theft, loss, and other problems. Read on to learn important information you should know before opening your first checking account.

Person Holds Money

There Are Different Kinds of Accounts

The first thing to know before opening up a new account is that there are different kinds of accounts to choose from. You can choose to set up a checking account, a savings account, or both.

Checking accounts give you a safe place to store your money, and checks or debit/ATM cards to access that money. Some banks charge monthly fees to maintain a checking account, but credit unions typically don’t have those service fees. Checking accounts rarely have minimum balance amounts required in order to keep the account open.

Savings accounts are also a safe place to store your money, but your bank will generally pay you a monthly or quarterly interest fee on the amount you have in the account. Based on the annual interest rate and the money you have in savings, you get an amount deposited into your account. Often, people open a checking and savings account at the same time and use both to meet their various needs.

Different Institutions Offer Different Rates and Fees

It is also important to know that not all banks or credit unions are created equal. Ask about the various fees that may be involved with the services used and rates that may impact your checking account.

Look into the Various Services Offered

One of the best ways to differentiate between banking institutions is to explore the various services that are offered. Taking advantage of things like online banking or auto pay for your bills is extremely convenient for you and can save you a lot of time, effort, and headache. Ask about their online banking platform, mobile app abilities, the ability to transfer money to family members, if there are options for auto payments for your bills or recurring payments, access to other branch locations, overdraft protection, and other services that make banking with a certain institution more appealing.

Important Details That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Of course, it is important to ensure that the place you choose to house your money is insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This protects your investment and ensures that you aren’t getting scammed. Look into your options for physical account balance statements vs. online statements that you can access as needed.

Person Using App

Get Your Documents in Order

Once you’ve decided on the type of account you want to open and have shopped around to find the best fit for your needs, it’s time to get your documents in order. You’ll need to verify your identity with at least 2 forms of identification. Passports, driver’s licenses, or state IDs work for your photo identification, and a social security card is your second form of ID. Make sure the legal name on your documents matches the name you want associated with your new account.

To open up your personal checking account in Kalkaska, MI, head to Forest Area Federal Credit Union today!