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Questions to Ask When Opening a Checking Account

May 17, 2021

If you’re ready to open a checking account for the first time or to transfer your existing account to a new bank, you want to make the smartest financial choice possible. Asking your bank these common questions about opening a checking account will help you make the right decision for your money.

checkbook open with calculator and cash

8 Common Questions 

 
1. Will I be charged an account fee?
Most banks charge a small monthly service fee to maintain your checking account. Occasionally, there will be standards you can meet that will allow you to avoid an account fee. Sometimes the standards are as simple as maintaining a minimum balance in the account. Ask about the exact fee at each bank to compare the costs and benefits.
 
2. What happens if I accidently withdraw more than the balance in my checking account?
When you take out more money than you currently have in your account, it’s called an overdraft. Sometimes a bank will allow the purchase but charge an overdraft fee. There are Consumer Overdraft Services to help cover you when you don’t have enough cash in your checking account. In other circumstances, your checking account may have a Decline All Overdraft Setting. At First National Bank and Trust Company, you can request this setting if you never want to risk an overdraft. Charges that go beyond your account balance will simply be declined. In some instances, a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee may be charged. Many parents feel more comfortable with a Decline All Overdraft Setting on an account for their teen children.
 
3. Is there a minimum account balance?
Banks often require a minimum deposit to open a checking account, and they may add an extra charge if you don’t maintain a certain balance in your account. Some account holders choose to set a minimum balance for themselves and ask their bank to alert them if their funds dip below that number.
 
4. Will I be charged ATM fees?
Your bank may not charge you to use their own ATMs, but often they will charge you when you use other banks’ ATMs. Does that mean you’re just out of luck if you’re far from a bank branch? Among your questions about opening a checking account, ask your bank if they offer foreign ATM refunds and how often you could qualify for those reimbursements. Additionally, some banks, including FNBT, provide surcharge-free access to thousands of ATMs through networks such as Allpoint and MoneyPass.
 
5. Can I manage my account online?
Everyone’s schedule is different, and your timetable may not always align with a bank’s business hours. Modern banks allow you to check your accounts and pay bills from your computer or mobile device. At FNBT, we offer a secure mobile banking app, in addition to online banking services, so you can manage your checking account, deposit checks, transfer funds, pay bills and find ATMs from your phone.
 
6. Can my employer send my paycheck via direct deposit?
Direct deposit has become such a widespread practice that most banks will offer this service, but you’ll want to be sure before you open a checking account. Direct deposits give you more freedom with your funds than traditional paper checks because you don’t have to wait for the money to clear. Once your income has been transferred, it’s yours to use.
 
7. Will my account earn interest?
This may be the most important questions about opening a checking account. Often interest rates for checking accounts are lower than rates for savings accounts. But any amount of interest ensures that while you’re working to save money, that money is working for you in return. Everyone can use more passive income streams.
 
8. What other benefits could I enjoy?
Customers who open a checking account may qualify for other important perks from your bank. Some examples that customers can receive at First National Bank and Trust are cell phone protection, ID monitoring and theft aid, roadside assistance, discounts with local merchants, $10,000 travel accidental death coverage, a health savings card, shopping and dining coupons for local merchants.
 
If you’re interested in transferring your account or have any further questions about opening a checking account, reach out to your local First National Bank and Trust. Our local experts would be happy to provide answers or help you open a checking account with us. We’re proud to offer extensive advantages on our one and Privilege Plus checking accounts, as well as standard checking benefits for Standard and Renew checking accounts. We’d love to discuss which option might be right for you.

Posted in: account, balance, card, checking, debit, fees, minimum, overdraft, questions