According to the American Bankers Association, 70 percent of bank balances in 2017 were held by depositors over the age of 50. That’s good news if you’re a senior or retiree shopping for a checking account. Banks are vying for your business by slashing fees and offering services designed to meet your needs.
Here are four of the best checking accounts to complement your retirement, medical, or bucket-list savings.
1. Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account
This highly rated account comes with a long list of perks and conveniences.
If you’ve never banked with Schwab and just want to test the waters, you can start with a ridiculously small amount since there’s no required minimum to get started. Even better, you needn’t worry about incurring a fee if your balance dips below a certain minimum. Whether you keep $10,000 or a single dollar in the account, you won’t be charged a monthly maintenance fee.
Opening a checking account with Schwab automatically opens a free brokerage account as well. You’re under no obligation to use it, but most customers take advantage of the convenience. It’s easy to view the two accounts together online and transfer funds between them.
Another perk that users love is the generous ATM policy. In fact, Schwab doesn’t charge for the use of its own machines, but that’s not uncommon among banks. This, however, is unheard of: Schwab offers unlimited fee rebates when you use other institutions’ ATMs anywhere in the world.
The Visa Platinum Debit Card gets high marks too. You’ll get the most bang for your buck every time you use it. For instance, the price protection feature triggers a refund if one of your eligible purchases goes on sale shortly after you buy it. Using the card could also result in better warranties on your purchases. Plus, if you hate keeping track of receipts and critical warranty documents, you’ve come to the right place.
As of this writing, you can earn a 0.40 percent annual percentage yield. By comparison, most competitors offer between 0.01 and 0.05 percent.
For all these reasons, the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account is a popular choice.
2. Citizens Bank Senior Citizens Advantage Checking or Senior Budget Checking
Citizens Bank is known for its age-friendliness. As such, there are two checking options created specifically for clients ages 55 and older.
Senior Citizens Advantage Checking stands out for free unlimited check-writing. At least $100 is required to open the account, but there’s a lot to like about it. For one thing, it encourages saving. So, the $10 maintenance fee is waived if you maintain an average monthly balance of at least $1,000.
Either way, it’s a good option for people who are set in their check-writing ways and need certain products and services, including:
- Free standard paper checks
- Free cashiers’ checks
- Free notary services
- Overdraft coverage up to $400
The no-frills Senior Budget Checking Account is better for clients who don’t need unlimited checks or a variety of features. You’ll still get up to 30 free paper checks per month and most of the free services offered with an Advantage account are included with the Budget account as well. The Budget account also requires an initial deposit of $100, but regardless of your balance, there’s no monthly maintenance fee.
You can access live support 24/7 with either account and both are interest-bearing. Going rates are provided upon request.
One of the biggest benefits to banking with Citizens is its commitment to protecting older customers. For example, the website provides valuable information on avoiding check fraud and other financial scams that target seniors.
3. Travis Credit Union Silver Wings Checking
Travis Credit Union (TCU) is famous for its versatility. Consumers love options and TCU boasts customized checking accounts for seniors, boomers, millennials, teens, and kids. Imagine a scenario in which whole families converge on the same bank to reach short-term goals, start businesses, teach kids how to handle money, fund retirements, and invest in future generations. That’s the sort of family-driven environment that TCU has created.
For family members 60-and-older, Silver Wings Checking is available. Despite the minimum deposit is $50, there’s no monthly fee or required minimum balance. Plus, lots of freebies, including assistance with identity theft, are included. The account pays dividends if you maintain an average daily balance of at least $500. Dividend and APY rates are currently at 0.05 percent.
In addition to the Silver Wings account, be sure to check out traditional IRAs, Health Savings Accounts, and more in TCU’s online brochure. TCU is truly a one-stop financial experience for seniors and their families.
4. Discover Cashback Debit Account
This is strictly an online account, so you may not like it if you enjoy yakking with the tellers in your local branch. Otherwise, the cash back feature may appeal to you.
Up to $3,000 in debit card purchases per month earn a decent one percent cash back. So, if you spent $1,250 a month, for instance, you’d earn $150 per year. That could come in handy at Christmas or tax time. You’ll also enjoy free access to more than 60,000 ATMs and no-fee, no-minimum-balance checking.
To its credit, Discover is completely transparent about the few fees that it does charge. Take the unusual feature known as fee forgiveness. Except for a wire fee, the first eligible fee charged each calendar year is waived and refunded.
With all these features, this is a rewarding account for seniors with good banking habits.
Do Your Research
If you’ve done your homework, you shouldn’t have to pay excessive fees just to keep a checking account. Compare requirements and benefits at several banks and credit unions. Read plenty of customer reviews before you decide. And don’t forget to factor in transparency, customer service, and convenience.
Fortunately, there are lots of banks bending over backward for seniors like you these days.