What is a checking account?

A checking account is a great tool for managing your money day-to-day. Shop and compare to find the best checking account for you.

What is a checking account, exactly?
A checking account is a type of bank account that allows you to put money in (make a deposit) or take money out (make a withdrawal). It also allows you to pay for things in other ways than using cash — like writing checks or using a debit card.
It’s really convenient. A checking account is a great way to manage your money for everyday spending — like buying groceries or paying for a haircut. Both writing checks and using a debit card are safe and convenient ways to pay for things from your checking account. Plus, you can get your cash whenever you need it.
Each time you write a check or make a purchase with a debit card, you have a record of how much you spent, and where. That can help you pay closer attention to what you’re buying, how much you’re spending, and avoid spending more than you planned.
Having a checking account also makes it easy to deposit checks that others give you.
And having a checking account is a great way to avoid the high cost of check cashing stores.
And finally, remember, different financial institutions offer a variety of checking accounts with different features, benefits, and fees. Shop around for the checking account that best meets your needs.

Why have a checking account?

  • Keeps your money safe
  • Deposit and withdraw cash easily
  • Convenient bill pay/purchasing
  • Helps you track spending
  • Avoids the high-cost of check cashing stores
  • No or low cost checking
  • Typically, checking account holders can use a bank’s online bill pay system
  • Online and mobile banking allow you to access your account from anywhere

To learn about Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and debit cards, see the lesson ATM and debit cards.

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