Choosing the right banking account is part of reaching your financial goals. The best accounts have high interest rates, low fees and a generous overdraft policy.
Whether you want to park your cash over the long or short term, it's important to find the right option.
The Checking Account
Checking accounts are for daily banking, including paying bills, withdrawing cash and depositing a paycheck. There are multiple ways to access your cash — like personal checks, ATMs and debit cards — and usually no limits on how many monthly transactions you make.
While some checking accounts offer interest, it's likely your money won't sit long enough to earn much. Instead, look for a checking account with no monthly fee. You also want one that doesn't require a minimum balance, reimburses out-of-network ATM fees and has a generous overdraft policy.
The Savings Account
A savings account is where you will store money for large purchases, emergencies and other big expenses. Unlike a checking account, there may be a limit on the number of monthly transactions.
The best savings account will offer a high interest rate and low fees. Check out traditional banks, credit unions and online banks to find the most competitive rates and attractive terms.
The Money Market Account
Money market accounts (MMAs) are for long-term cash storage and have a monthly transaction limit. These accounts often have a higher interest rate than basic savings accounts but come with a higher minimum balance requirement. Some MMAS offer debit cards and the ability to write checks.
Compare MMA interest rates from traditional and online banks. Look for the account with the best rate, the lowest fees and a minimum balance requirement you can easily meet. If you can't keep the minimum balance amount in the account, you will get hit with fees.
The Certificate of Deposit
With a certificate of deposit (CD), you're making a timed deposit. You are promising to leave your money in the bank for a set period of time, and the bank gives you a higher interest rate in return. The higher the rate, the longer the term.
A CD is a big commitment, so don't be afraid to shop around for the best rates and lowest penalties. You need to fully understand the terms and feel comfortable with the agreement. If you take the money out before the period ends, you will pay a significant penalty.
Finding the right banking account for your needs might take a little time, but the end result is worth it.