What is a Checking Account?
A checking account, also known as a demand or transactional account, allows you to make both withdrawals and deposits at a bank. You can use checks, electronic debit cards and automated teller machines (ATMs) to access the account. While many other types of accounts—such as savings accounts—have limits on the number of transactions you can make, most checking accounts offer unlimited withdrawals and deposits.
Types of checking accounts include commercial accounts, joint accounts, student accounts and others. A commercial account or business account allows officers and managers of a company to sign for deposits or withdrawals. Student accounts can offer youth and young adults perks like free checking accounts for college students until they graduate. With joint accounts, more than one person can write checks on the account.
Though daily ATM withdrawal and debit limits may apply, there are numerous reasons checking accounts are so popular. In addition to the flexibility to access funds without limit, a main advantage to checking accounts is safety. If your account is located at a chartered banking institution, the FDIC guarantees its security up to $250,000 per individual deposit.
Checking Accounts vs. Savings Accounts
Savings accounts are designed to be a safe place to stash money for the future while allowing you to earn a little interest. Let’s delve a little deeper as we continue to highlight the differences between checking and savings accounts.
- Limited number of transactions
- Offers low interest rate
- Direct payments using your account information
- Withdrawal limits
- No withdrawal limits
- Offers little to no interest
- Direct payments using checks, debit cards and other methods
Fees and Overdraft Options
Checking accounts have a monthly service fee, but F&M Bank empowers you to reduce or eliminate your monthly service charge based on how you prefer to bank.
Another cost to be aware of is an overdraft fee, which is charged when you don’t have enough money in your account to cover a purchase you’ve made. F&M Bank offers multiple overdraft solutions, which allow you to reduce or avoid a penalty. One way banks help you do so is to link another bank account to your checking account to automatically transfer money and, therefore, avoid overdraft.
If you don’t use overdraft protection, transactions that exceed your checking account’s balance may be declined and you won’t be able to complete your purchase.
Opening a Personal Checking Account
What you’ll need to open a personal checking account:
- Social Security Number
- Personal information, like your full name and date of birth
- Form of Identification, like a driver’s license
- A minimum deposit
- A co-signer if you are younger than 18 years old
When opening an account, banks run a quick check to find out if you’ve had any accounts with a long-term negative balance. If that’s the case, you might not be allowed to open a new checking account until you resolve the negative balance issue.
If you’re looking for the best checking account for you, F&M Bank in North Carolina is at your service. To get in touch, you can locate a branch from our website or contact us by filling out the form on our website.
Note: See product disclosures and schedule of fees for additional information on each account.