Checking still reigns supreme among the many payment method options out there. That's because checking accounts are established, stable, and convenient. As technology has evolved, checking accounts have changed along with it, and new benefits like automated bill pay and direct deposit have come along. Debit cards have made using your checking account a painlessly paper-free experience, but paper checks still carry their weight and are in wide use throughout the country.
That said, it's easy to take the time-tested checking account for granted, and to overlook its key benefits. Whether you already have your own bank account or you're unbanked and looking for a place to get started, take a minute to read a bit more about the usefulness and functionality of checking accounts, their unique advantages and many benefits.
What is the advantage of having a checking account?
What is a checking account, exactly? Like a savings account, a checking account is a bank account where you can deposit and withdraw money. Generally speaking, you put bigger sums of money that you want to set aside for later use in a savings account, and use your checking account for day-to-day expenses. Together, savings accounts and checking accounts are called deposit accounts, as it's your money deposited there. Banks and credit unions that offer deposit accounts also typically offer loans: everything from your auto loan to your small-expenses-only credit card.
One advantage unique to checking accounts in particular is so obvious it might not come immediately to mind: using checks. Physical checks are still a great way to pay in certain scenarios, like when you want a paper trail confirming your payment, or you need to transfer funds to someone who doesn't have easy access to digital payment methods. Most banks and credit unions will give you a checkbook to use with your checking account, though it doesn't come as a default anymore.
Even if you're a card-or-app-only type, a good online checking account is an essential part of your financial plan. It helps you avoid overspending, which is hard to do if you rely on a credit card for most purchases. Checking accounts are usually fully compatible with your tech of choice, whether that's mobile banking or online banking.
4 benefits of opening a checking account
Checking accounts have a long history, from the first paper money orders centuries ago to the swipe-and-tap digital payment methods available today. Checking accounts are all about moving money — to pay a friend, pay for a utility like gas or water, and (more importantly) to get paid.
1. Primary source of money movement
Most of your bills and everyday purchases are funded from your checking account. Your debit card and autopay simplify daily expenses. Your credit card can do that too, of course — but a credit card is a loan you're paying interest on, whereas a checking account should be paying you interest. If you still need a place just for saving money, you can always connect it to your checking account so they can work together to your benefit.
2. Makes it easier to get paid
Most employers offer, and most prefer, paying via direct deposit. Once you set up that regular transaction, it remains in place until you change accounts or change employers. No better feeling than waking up to a big bump in your checking account balance!
3. Cost to maintain account can be minimal
Some checking accounts will come with a monthly service fee just to maintain the account, minimum balance requirements, and other costs you don't necessarily need to be paying. You can find a checking account that caters to your individual spending needs. Even better, a rewards checking account can offset or eliminate ATM fees when you use an ATM outside of your financial institution. Check out our Kasasa Cash® and Kasasa Cash Back® checking accounts if this sounds like it's up your alley!
4. Keeps your money safe
All money kept in a checking account with any bank or credit union in the US is insured by either the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or NCUA (National Credit Union Administration). Those government agencies protect the money kept in a checking account.
Checking accounts come with debit cards, which are safer to carry than cash for many reasons. If you lose your cash, or your wallet gets stolen, you're out of luck. Debit cards can be canceled and replaced swiftly and remotely.
Choosing the right checking account with benefits
The best checking accounts, in Kasasa's opinion, are free checking accounts with the best rewards. We're not just talking about interest checking accounts (though getting a high interest rate on your checking account balance is a huge plus too). Rewards are what make a really good checking account.
Choosing a checking account can be difficult if you're just starting out, since there are so many options. Let us give you a shortcut: Kasasa's reward checking accounts offer you cash back and other spendable perks depending on your personal habits and hobbies.
Making the most of checking account advantages
If you've read this far and don't have a checking account yet, keep on reading at Kasasa's guide to checking accounts.
If you already have one, ask yourself this: What does your checking account do for you? Does it hit you with an unnecessary monthly fee? Does it pay a high interest rate? Does it offer you cash back rewards if you meet certain qualifications?
If you answered no to the last two, it's time to make the most of checking account advantages by checking out Kasasa's range of best-in-class checking account products.
Discover more ways to be proud of your money in our previous blog post, "How checking accounts work."