Picking the right checking account is important – the wrong account can cost you hard-earned money in pricey fees. Fortunately, there are many options offering great benefits and perks:
Here are a few different options offering great benefits, including cashback rewards, overdraft protection, extensive ATM networks, and even airline miles.
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Discover Cashback Checking
It turns out Discover offers more than credit cards. Many people overlook the Discover Cashback Checking account because they assume Discover is just a credit card company. Also, they may only think of retail banks when they want to open a checking account. Considering the cost savings, convenience, and, of course, the cashback this account offers, overlooking it can cost big bucks.
This checking account offers one percent cashback on any purchases, up to $3,000 per month. That’s $360/year if you write that many checks. Considering the account could be used for all your monthly bills — such as mortgage, rent, car insurance, and car payments — it’s not hard to figure out how to maximize this unique benefit.
Just remember that not every transaction counts. ATM transactions, money order and other cash-equivalent purchases, and peer-to-peer payments are ineligible. In case you are thinking of defeating the ATM prohibition by getting cash back on point-of-sale purchases, over purchase cash amounts on point-of-sale purchases are also ineligible. Purchases made using third-party payment accounts, such as PayPal, may also face exclusion. Still, in most households, that leaves plenty of eligible purchases. If you live in a high-rent district, your housing payment and utilities might garner you a nice cashback award every month.
The Discover Cashback Checking account offers free online bill pay, which should make maximizing the cashback benefits easy. Though online bill pay may seem common nowadays, Discover’s policy of no-fee check reorders puts it a step above a lot of competitors. If you need a replacement check card expedited, Discover does that for no fee as well. You also won’t be charged a fee for incoming wire transfers.
As great as all this cashback and no-fee services sound, there are a few fees that might qualify as cons for this account. Outgoing wire and insufficient funds fees run $30. Stop Payment fees are $15. Discover does limit insufficient funds fees to one per day, which cannot be said for some other banks.
With no minimum account balance, Discover certainly offers an account that might just beat your current checking account. Maybe it’s time to discover Discover checking?
BankDirect Mileage Checking with Interest
If airline miles are your thing, BankDirect has the checking account for you. With this account, you not only get American Airlines reward miles when you open the account, you can keep building miles every month.
New members get 10,000 miles for establishing direct deposit, and 5,000 miles each for using the free bill pay and their check cards. Members also receive 100 miles per $1,000 of their average daily balance each month. If you’re a moderate spender, you’ll have that winter vacation ticket paid for in no time. If that’s not sweet enough, this checking account also bears interest. The interest is compounded daily, which should make you feel good about keeping a high enough balance to gain some significant mileage.
As great as these features are, the downside is a $500 minimum opening balance and a $15 closeout fee if you shutter the account within 90 days. There is also a $12 monthly fee. You do get free checks upon request, but a fee kicks in after the first 50 checks.
Despite a few drawbacks, the mileage rewards are tremendous. If you’re saving for your dream vacation, this account could put you well on your way!
Huntington Bank Asterisk Free Checking
Most people dread seeing an asterisk on their checking account statement. It usually means some hidden fee or an overdraft. Whatever the asterisk is, you can bet it costs you money.
Huntington Bank goes out of its way to avoid putting an asterisk on your statement. As you can guess, there is no minimum balance to open an account and no fees if your balance falls below a certain level. You can also link a Huntington Bank savings account and enjoy a no-fee savings account as well.
Customers also benefit from no-fee overdraft protection transfers from their linked savings accounts. To save customers on overdraft fees, Huntington goes a step further and provides customers with a 24-hour grace period on overdrafts. If you’ve ever been socked with those insidious fees, that is a feature you can appreciate.
With free bill pay, over 1,800 ATMs, and a mortgage closing cost discount for customers, it’s hard not to like no asterisk checking. However, should your 24-hour grace period on overdrafts expire, expect to be socked with a $37.50 fee, though this is reduced to $23 for the first per-year occurrence. There is also a $25 extended overdraft fee, should the overdraft remain for more than five business days.
Capital One 360 Checking Account
If you want a no fee, no minimum balance, interest-bearing checking account with over 39,000 nationwide ATMs, Capital One’s 360 is the answer. Just the savings you can rake in by using one of the 39,000 Capital One or All Point ATMs for free can lead to big savings. Also, you get .020 percent interest on balances below $50,000. Balances from $50,000 to $99,999 earn .75 percent, and balances $100,000 or above earn one percent.
Capital One 360 also offers some helpful overdraft protection options. The auto decline feature rejects electronic transactions that cause an overdraft. You can also link a Capital One savings account or overdraft protection line of credit, which will automatically cover any negatives. You can also opt in to the next day overdraft grace period. However, if none of these options work out, you are hit with a $35 fee. Bounced checks always incur a $9 fee, regardless if one of the overdraft protection options was employed.