How to make your checking account work for you
You already know a checking account is a spending account. Daily expenses, withdrawing cash, paying bills and credit cards—it all comes from your checking. But is your checking account fully optimized for your needs?
Before anything else, you want to make sure you’re not losing money to fees that come just from having the account. If the account does come with fees, they can sometimes be waived either by maintaining a minimum balance or by setting up direct deposit. Be sure to read the fine print.
Money leaves your checking account all the time. Why not make sure the money going in is automated and secure? Setting up payroll direct deposit means you never have to worry about depositing a check. Direct deposit is especially useful to make sure you have enough of a balance to cover monthly expenses that come from your checking. Some financial institutions, like Stanford FCU, release your direct deposit as soon as it’s received so you can get paid up to two days early.
If you keep a significant amount of money in your checking account and it’s not earning interest, you’re leaving money on the table. (Psst. Most of Stanford FCU’s checking accounts have the opportunity to earn interest.) Opting into a money market or a high yield checking account can be a great way to get more cash.
Online banking and the mobile app
Having the best checking account can only take you so far unless you have the right tools to manage it. Tools like online banking or a mobile app make it easy to keep an eye on your money, track expenses and monitor your accounts.
If you think accidentally overdrawing your account is a possibility, it’s important to understand your financial institution’s policy on non-sufficient funds. (Stanford FCU does not charge an NSF fee.) In any case, a good option may be to set up your own overdraft protection. This involves designating a savings or money market account to automatically transfer money when your checking has insufficient funds. While this service is free at Stanford FCU, some banks charge for this, so it’s always a good idea to research the fees.
Ultimately, a checking account should be meeting your needs by fulfilling the requirements listed above. Is your account (or the account of someone you know) not up to par? Anyone can join Stanford FCU and enjoy great rates on checking and savings accounts.