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According to Time, over 14 million people are unbanked.
This is a popular term to describe people who don’t have a checking account.
But these people are hurting themselves by not having a bank account.
In this post, I’ll share with you 13 reasons to open a checking account.
As you will see, not only will you save a ton of time, you will also save money too.
Table of Contents
13 Reasons To Open A Checking Account
#1. Easier To Pay Bills
If you’re trying to pay your monthly bills, a checking account makes it easier.
Without a checking account, you need to either pay in cash or you need to find a place that offers money orders.
Even if you know where you can get money orders, it is still a waste of time.
With a checking account, you can simply sit down, write out a paper check quickly, and mail out your payment.
If you aren’t interested to write checks to pay your bills, you can opt for using bill pay and make payments electronically.
#2. Ability To Direct Deposit
When you are paid, you either do one of two things with your paycheck.
#1. You find a place that cashes checks for a fee.
#2. You go to the bank where the check is drawn and cash it out.
Neither one of these is a great solution.
This is because both options take time out of your day and most likely, you are paying a fee.
If you have a checking account, you can sign up for direct deposit.
Then when you get paid, your paycheck is automatically deposited into your checking account for free.
Many employers even allow you to split your paycheck too.
With this, you can put a small portion of your income into your savings account and the rest into your checking account.
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#3. You Have A Paper Trail
When you write out paper checks or make debit card payments, you have a trail of your spending.
In other words, you have proof you paid a bill or you know where you bought something.
Simply log into your account online and you can scroll through both recent transactions and older transactions.
Most banks allow you to filter your searches too, making it easy to find what you are looking for.
If you pay for everything in cash, you don’t have this benefit.
In order to know where your money went, you need to record every transaction.
It is much easier to have a checking account and look through your monthly statement for proof of payment than it is to keep track of everything yourself.
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#4. Easier Money Management
An important reason to have a checking account is that it offers easier access to manage your finances.
Checking accounts help you to track spending and income, especially small transactions that aren’t worth opening up a savings or investment account for.
By keeping track of your spending and income, you can easily set up a budget as well.
Finally, depending on the type of budget you use, you can import your transactions into the budgeting software automatically, making budgeting a breeze.
And even if you don’t use a budgeting system that offers automatic downloads, most banks allow you to download files that you can import into your budget.
#5. Save Money
You save a lot of money when you open a checking account.
There are no fees to cash checks or write checks.
These are the two biggest fees you would pay if you avoided having a checking account.
While these fees might not seem like a lot, they do add up.
To be fair, there are banks that charge fees on checking accounts.
These include a minimum balance fee, ATM transaction fees, or a monthly maintenance fee.
However, there are many basic checking accounts offered that have no monthly fees or easy ways to avoid most of these fees.
Here is a short list of some of the best checking accounts for you.
Alternatively, you can choose and online bank.
They rarely charge any fees or have you jump through hoops.
My favorite is CIT Bank.
With one of the highest paying interest rates in the U.S. CIT Bank stands out as the best high yield savings account. Add in ease of use and great customer service, and you have a clear winner.
Finally, arguably the biggest drawback to checking accounts is that if you don’t have enough money in your account, any payment you make will still go through.
This is because most checking accounts have overdraft protection.
What this does is allows you to pay bills and use your debit card for purchases and not have the transactions decline.
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Your account balance will go negative and you will get charged a fee.
The good news is you can avoid overdraft fees by turning off this protection.
#6. Make Money
Yes, you can make money with a checking account.
This will be more of a reality with an online bank than with an account at a traditional bank or credit union.
How do you do this?
You get open an interest checking account, which allows you to earn interest on the cash in your account.
While you won’t get rich overnight with the interest you earn, it is better than nothing.
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#7. Build Wealth
Put the idea of saving and making money together and you can start building wealth.
For example, you can make electronic transfers from your checking to your savings account so you can fund your savings goals.
Not only are these factors important in wealth building, but as you will see from the other tips on this list, you can get ahead financially by having a relationship with a bank and being able to talk to a banker.
Access to these financial products and the knowledge of people in the industry will only improve your finances over time.
#8. Checking Accounts Offer More Ways To Pay People
Without a checking account, you pay people with cash.
You also can pay with a money order or check, but you have to pay a merchant for this.
When you have a checking account, you can pay in cash, by check, or with your debit card.
- Read now: Learn how to write a check to yourself
You can even make purchases online, which you would otherwise have to use a credit card for.
Another benefit is you can sign up for automated bill pay through your checking account and pay all your monthly bills electronically.
This opens to the door to a much easier financial life.
#9. Access Cash Anywhere
Another benefit is the ability for easy access to your money anywhere.
If you only use cash and travel, you are going to have to take a decent amount of cash with you.
But with a checking account, you can travel with a lot less cash.
This is because you can pay for things with checks or your debit card.
Plus, most financial institutions and credit unions offer an app so you can access your bank accounts on your mobile device.
And some of the best banks offer digital wallets too, including integration with Apple pay, making financial management that much more convenient.
#10. Keeps Your Money Safe
Keeping your money at the bank is a lot safer than keeping cash laying all over your house.
First, when are storing cash at home, you risk it get stolen or lost in a fire.
You might even forget all the places you hide the money.
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By keeping it at the bank, you avoid these potential losses.
And if something happens to the bank, your money is FDIC insured, making the risk to you close to zero.
This is because all checking accounts and savings accounts are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
So if the bank fails, this insurance will reimburse you the balance you had in your bank accounts.
The catch here is there is an FDIC coverage limit of $250,000 per depositor, per bank, per ownership category.
#11. Build Credit
Creditors use your financial history to assign you a credit score.
When you have a bank account, it is easier for them to review your history and it makes it easier for you to build your credit.
They will see that you are able to handle money in a responsible manner, assuming you don’t overdraft your account or bounce checks.
Over time, you will increase your score by handling your money well.
#12. Earn Rewards
Many banks have taken a page from the playbook of the credit card companies and started to offer rewards on their debit cards.
You can either earn cash back whenever you use your debit card, or you can earn cash back at certain retailers.
This cash back will automatically get deposited into your checking account.
If you pay cash for everything, you miss out on this option for free money.
#13. Have A Banking Relationship
Finally, you build a banking relationship.
This might not sound important, but over time it can be.
Having an account at a bank makes it easier for you to apply for and get approved for loans because you have a relationship with the bank.
You might even get discounts on the loans for being a client.
You also have access to people are more knowledgeable about personal finances to talk to.
Maybe it makes sense for you to also open a savings account.
Or maybe you could benefit from investing in a certificate of deposit.
By sitting down and talking to a bank representative, they can look at your personal financial situation and make recommendations on the best moves for you.
Opening A Checking Account
Now that you see the many benefits of having a checking account, you need to take the next step and open one.
The good news is the process is simple and fast.
In fact, most checking accounts can be opened online in a matter of minutes.
You will need to provide some personal information, but other than that, it should take you no time at all.
And while you will have to wait for your checks and debit card to be mailed to you, you will have online access immediately.
This will allow you to set up bill pay if you want.
Here are some of the top rated checking accounts to look into.
You can also open a savings account at the same time so you can take total control of your finances.
When choosing a bank, make sure you review the following:
- Are there any fees, and if so, what are they and can they be avoided
- What are the options to decline overdraft protection
- Does it offer free bill pay
- Are there debit card rewards
- Do the checking accounts pay interest, and if so, what is the rate
There are 13 reasons to open a checking account.
At the end of the day, the biggest reasons come down to time and money.
Having an account to pay bills from and to deposit your income into will save you loads of time compared to the current way you do things.
Plus it will be much less costly.
Finally, checking accounts are the start of your journey to a better financial life, which will help you reach your long term financial goals.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.