While you often hear that you can open a free bank account, sometimes that account really isn’t ‘free.’
Sometimes a free bank account has contingencies that you must meet for that account to remain free, and this is why so many people make mistakes. Yes, you can get free bank accounts, but here is some of what you must know when looking for the right account.
1. Minimum Deposit
When you open a free bank account, usually there will be a minimum deposit when you open that account. Some banks require as little as $50 whereas others want $100 or more for their free accounts.
Always look to see what the minimum deposit is when seeking a free account.
2. Minimum Daily Balance
You will also be asked, in most cases, to keep a minimum daily balance. If you don’t maintain this balance, you may be charged a fee, which would cost more than a monthly administrative fee, so be careful here.
Always check to see if there is a minimum daily balance required and if so, look at what they will charge to your account if you should inadvertently fall beneath that amount.
3. Number of Transactions per Month
Some, if not most, free bank accounts set a maximum number of transactions per month. This could be in terms of checks you write or debits with your bank-issued card. Every time you make another transaction above and beyond that number, you will be charged a fee.
Is that going to be higher than a monthly service charge on another type of account? Seriously look at how many transactions you will realistically undertake in any given month before choosing an account that limits your transactions.
4. Free Bank Accounts for Seniors
Finally, many banks offer free bank accounts for seniors as a service to those who are now most likely living on limited income. Some seniors rely on their pension or Social Security checks, and so banks reward them by offering free checking accounts.
Some free accounts for seniors don’t have the above-named restrictions but others do. If you do a bit of research, you just might find a real checking account for seniors that doesn’t limit transactions or require minimum deposits or daily balances.
The point in researching free checking accounts is to find one that is really free. Some charge per transaction with or without a minimum balance in lieu of a monthly administrative or service charge.
Others stick to the above restrictions or yet don’t set all those restrictions, but enough so that your account really isn’t free if you don’t meet their stipulations. Even so, free bank accounts do exist, so do the legwork prior to opening a new account.
If a free account is important to you, then that means every penny counts.
If it’s a free account, choose a bank that honors their word and you will have what you need.