Free Checking Accounts And Where To Find Them

Free Checking Accounts And Where To Find Them
  • Opening Intro -

    Bank fees continue to rise, approaching $40 at some institutions for just one returned check.

    Bounce five or more checks at a single time and you could end up paying $200 in fees to cover these costs.

    While some bank fees are truly out of this world, other fees are bit more manageable, even reasonable considering costs incurred.

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Free checking accounts, which were once taken for granted, seem to have all but disappeared. However, on closer scrutiny you’ll find that they’re still around and available to many consumers.

5 Ways To Find Free Checking

piggybankHow can you find free checking? And who is eligible for a no fee direct deposit account? These questions and others are answered as we take a look at banks which let you get free checking with or without strings attached:

Senior Checking – You don’t have be to sixty-five years old to qualify for free checking at some banks. A handful of financial institutions offer free checking to anyone who is at least fifty years old, with others setting threshold a bit higher, perhaps at 55, 60 or 62. Some banks do not advertise these plans all that much which means that if you’re “of a certain age” then you should ask.

Student Checking – If you’re a student at a community or technical college or are enrolled at a four-year college or university, many banks want your business and offer free checking accounts to qualified customers. Choose a bank with branches located both in your home town and college town to take advantage of this arrangement. Free ATM cards, reduced fees on other services and online banking are some of the perks with these accounts.

Minimum Balance Checking – Most banks offer free checking as long as you maintain a minimum amount of money in your account. How much would that be? From $100 to $5000, depending on the bank. With interest rates being so low, you can probably afford to leave money in your account and not worry about how little (if any) interest is given in exchange for a fee waiver. The best deals are those with the lowest minimum possible – why should you tie up all that money to avoid a monthly fee?

Credit Unions – Credit unions are owned by the depositors, therefore fees are often much more reasonable with these types of financial institutions. That doesn’t mean that free checking comes easily, but it does mean that you could get free checking especially if you have another account, such as an auto loan with the credit union.

Community Banks – With all of the Troubled (Toxic) Assets Relief Program or TARP money rolling around, you’d think the big banks would bless their consumers with some relief. Not a chance. Standing to the side and well behind the national banks are home grown financial institutions who cater to the community, hence their name. A community bank can be the best place to go if you need a loan or are seeking a free checking account.

Ask, Ask, Ask!

Even if you don’t think you qualify for free checking, ask. Most banks offer free checking if you have your mortgage, auto loan or other consumer loan with them, but they may not volunteer this information to you readily. So ask.

Adv. — College students heading out for classes in the coming weeks will want to make sure that all of their funding is in place. Student loans from Sallie Mae can help close the financing gap this year.

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Categories: Consumer Tips