OnPath Credit Union

What You Need to Know About Opening a Checking Account

Checking accounts are essential financial tools for fulfilling your day-to-day spending and bill paying needs.

Not every checking account will fit your personal needs or finances, so understanding the differences between the types of checking accounts out there is critical. When choosing the account that’s right for you, take your time and consider all your options.

What Are the Common Types of Checking Accounts?

Most banks and credit unions offer similar checking account tiers, but they usually differ when you dig into the finer details like monthly service fees, overdraft protection or interest.

Think about how a checking account’s structure might impact your finances. It should ideally benefit you and your unique financial situation.

  • Regular Checking Accounts: This is the most common type of checking account. It enables account holders to perform routine banking transactions such as writing checks, depositing and withdrawing money from an ATM, paying bills and making purchases with a debit card. Most regular checking accounts pay little to no interest on your balance.
  • Premium Checking Accounts: This form of checking account is designed for individuals who can meet certain minimum balance requirements. In most cases, having a premium checking account helps you avoid monthly fees. It may also entitle you to additional perks like earning interest, ATM fee reimbursement and free checks or financial advice.
  • Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts: This type of checking account gives you a small return each month on your balance. You can likely expect a flat interest rate based on your account balance. Interest-bearing checking accounts offer perks similar to savings accounts while functioning like a regular checking account with unlimited transactions. Just keep in mind that some financial institutions may charge a monthly fee that could negate the benefits of earning interest if you don’t maintain a minimum balance.
  • Free Checking Accounts: This type of checking account is known for having zero monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements. While those perks are convenient, it doesn’t mean every service associated with the account will be free. Some financial institutions that offer free checking accounts charge overdraft fees, check fees, foreign transaction fees and out-of-network ATM fees.
  • Low-Balance Checking Accounts: This form of checking account is designed for individuals with small balances who want access to traditional banking services. Some banks or credit unions may require you to receive monthly bank statements electronically and limit the number of checks you can write each month.

What Is Commonly Included with a Checking Account?

Checking accounts usually come with a variety of financial tools, including:

  1. Branch access
  2. Internet and mobile banking (including mobile check deposits)
  3. A linked debit card
  4. ATM access
  5. Checkbook
  6. Email and text alerts and notifications

All bank accounts (checking accounts included) are also protected and insured by the United States Government. Rest assured, OnPath Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. All accounts opened with us are federally insured up to at least $250,000.

Before You Open an Account, Ask Yourself These Four Questions

  • Is this my first checking account? (Students or their parents may need to open a starter checking account. OnPath FCU offers both a Teen Access Checking Account and a Student Checking Account.)
  • Will I maintain a higher account balance? (If so, you may want to look into premium or interest-bearing checking accounts. OnPath FCU’s Wise Choice and Money Master Checking accounts pay dividends to account holders.)
  • What type of banking do I feel comfortable with? (Will you need in-person branch services or do you prefer sticking to mobile and online banking? All of OnPath FCU’s checking accounts offer in-person, online and mobile banking services.)
  • Will I need overdraft protection? (Fees can add up quickly if you frequently overdraw on your checking account. If you might overdraft, look for an account with overdraft protection. All of OnPath FCU’s checking accounts include Overdraft Protection and Overdraft Privilege.)

Find Banking You Can Trust at OnPath Federal Credit Union

Your money matters, and OnPath Federal Credit Union is here to help you protect what matters most. Speak with a member of our team today to learn about the types of checking accounts available to you.

If you’re ready to open an account, get started on our website or give us a call at 800.749.6193 today.