How to Avoid Common Checking Account Mistakes
Checking accounts are an important tool for managing day-to-day finances. So it’s important to understand how a checking account works so that you can use it effectively and ensure that you do not make any of the common mistakes that can lead to unnecessary fees. Below are a few of the most important ways you can get the most out of your checking account and manage your finances with confidence.
Regularly Monitor Your Account
Keep an eye on your balance, as well as any transactions and any changes in fees or terms. Digital and Mobile Banking allow you to easily check your account statements and stay aware of all debits and credits to your account. If you spot any discrepancies or unauthorized charges, you can address them quickly with your financial institution and protect your funds.
Maintain a Buffer Balance
One of the most common fees for a checking account is an overdraft fee, which is when a transaction takes your balance below zero. To avoid this, set a minimum balance that you aim to keep to cover unexpected expenses or fluctuating bills. By having this safety net, you can help to avoid overdrawing your account and incurring fees. Regularly review your spending and adjust your buffer balance as needed to align with your financial goals.
Track Your Spending
Keeping a clear picture of your transactions and expenses is essential to avoid common checking account mistakes. Regularly review your statements and use the personalized budgeting tools with Digital Banking. This practice helps you identify areas of overspending, manage your budget effectively, and ensure your account remains in good standing. Consider setting up alerts for large transactions or when your balance falls below a certain amount to stay on top of your financial activity.
Be Mindful of Fees
Even with a Free Checking account that has no monthly maintenance fees, checking account penalty fees can add up if you're not careful. Familiarize yourself with the fee schedule provided and understand when and why they might apply. Common fees include ATM fees, overdraft fees, and paper statement fees. To minimize fees, keep your account in good standing and above the minimum required balance, choose in-network ATMs, and opt for electronic statements instead of paper ones.
Use Direct Deposit and Automatic Bill Payments
Direct deposit and automatic bill payments can make it simpler to manage your finances and reduce the risk of missing due dates or incurring late fees. Set up direct deposit with your employer to have your paycheck automatically deposited into your checking account. Similarly, you can automate your recurring bills by setting up automatic payments from your account through Digital Banking. These practices help you save time and pay on time.
Keep Your Account Secure
Protect your account information, including passwords, PINs, and Digital Banking login credentials. Use strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Avoid sharing sensitive information over insecure channels and be cautious of phishing attempts or suspicious links and emails. By prioritizing the security of your account, you can prevent fraud and unauthorized access.
Ensure you make the most of your checking account by following these simple steps that will help you take control of your finances and avoid common mistakes that can affect your financial wellbeing.