Best Checking Accounts 2022
Learn the benefits of opening a checking account and the differences from saving accounts. Discover some of the top checking accounts for 2022.
With so many businesses making the shift to digital marketplaces, it may seem like all transactions take place through apps or credit card payments. While credit cards are a convenient way to pay for smaller purchases, it is not always the ideal payment method. There are many important purchases you cannot use a credit card for. Part of the limitation of credit cards comes from the spending limit. There are two limits, your total maximum as well as how much you can pay for a single charge. It is not uncommon for credit cards to place a $500 limit per charge, which is not enough to cover your larger purchases.
Unlike credit cards, checks can be used for any amount you want. Typically, any purchase over a few hundred dollars requires a check. For example, many landlords require you to pay your rent using a check. Many employers also issue a paycheck to employees. In the past, an inconvenience with checks was getting to the bank to cash them, but this has largely been solved by the number of banks providing apps to immediately scan your check. Another positive of checks is there are no transaction fees or other hidden expenses to worry about.
Checking vs. Savings Account
While checks are often compared against credit cards, another consideration is whether to use a checking or savings account. The majority of banks offer both checking and savings accounts, and while they may seem similar at a glance, there are notable differences. Both accounts allow you to withdraw money to spend on purchases. A savings account is used to build up your finances. Most individuals only use their savings account when their other accounts are unavailable, typically to pay for emergency expenses. Savings accounts have higher interest rates, earning you passive income as long as you keep money in the account.
In comparison, money in your checking account is meant to be spent. Payment apps and credit cards are often linked directly to your checking account, allowing you to spend your money without having to worry about dipping into your emergency funds.
Opening a Checking Account
Opening a checking account is a fairly straightforward process. Most banks allow you to open an account online, but some still require you to visit in-person to create an account. No matter where you apply, there are a few common items you must bring with you. The first is a valid form of photo-ID. Driver’s license, State ID cards and Passports are the most common options. You must also complete an application, which requires you to submit your birthdate, Social Security number, primary address and phone number. If you are opening a joint account, all applicants are required to submit information. If you are under the age of 18, you also need a parent or guardian to act as a co-owner.
Most banks require you to submit a minimum deposit to officially open your account. How much you’re required to deposit varies based on the bank, but most have a minimum of $25. For special checking accounts, a higher deposit of $75 to $100 is required.
Many banks will provide a bonus when you open a checking account. Some bonuses are available right away, but most have additional stipulations. For example, you must have a minimum amount deposited in your account for several months to get your bonus. Another common requirement is using the account a certain number of times within a set period, typically the first six months.
Capital One 360 Checking
Capital One 360 checking is one of the best checking accounts to start with. While it does not provide as many benefits as other banks, there are still quite a few perks. Unlike nearly every other bank, there is no minimum deposit requirements. There are also no monthly service charges or foreign transaction fees. It is compatible with direct deposit, taking around two to three days on average to process the transaction. It also includes a 0.10 percent APY on your account balance. The application process is also simplified if you already have a Capital One account.
Capital One has almost 500 physical branches if you prefer to cash your checks in person. They are partnered with many ATM providers, but there is a $2 ATM fee whenever you use a machine outside of the network. Most customer service takes place either online or in-person, with limited over the phone options.
PenFed’s Access America Checking
If you do not have a savings account but still want to earn interest, PenFed is an excellent checking service. PenFed has some of the highest APY available, which scales depending on how much is in your account. The APY starts at 0.15 percent but goes as high as 0.35 percent. This requires having at least $20,000 in your account. There is a small monthly fee of $10, but this is waived as long as you have a balance of $500. You are only required to make a $25 deposit to open the account.
PenFed allows you to integrate with Visa credit cards. This allows you to easily withdraw money from your account without having to visit a bank. PenFed has access to one of the largest ATM networks, with over 80,000 ATMs. There is a small $1.50 fee if you use an outside ATM network.
Chase offers a checking account primarily aimed at college students without an existing bank. There are several student perks available, including a $100 sign-on bonus and no fees until after graduation. Chase even has college financial planning options available. In order to qualify for the bonus, you must make at least 10 transactions within 60 days of opening your account. Purchases made with a Chase debit card count towards the total. After graduation there is a $6 maintenance fee each month. If you get a direct deposit every month or maintain $5,000 in your account the maintenance fee is waived. You also earn one percent cashback on every purchase, up to a maximum of $3,000 each month.
Discover is primarily known for credit and debit cards, but they also provide checking accounts. As of writing, there is only one physical branch, so nearly all applications and interactions occur online. All users are eligible for free overdraft protection. There are also no monthly fees to worry about. Like Chase, you can earn one percent cashback on each purchase, up to a monthly maximum of $3,000. It is another checking account that does not require a minimum deposit to open an account.