Banking Basics

Do I Really Need a Checking Account? Yes, and Here’s Why.

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    • FNBO

      Nov 08 2021

Do I Really Need a Checking Account? Yes, and Here’s Why.

With so many options for making payments today, you may be wondering if it’s still worth it to have a checking account. The simple and emphatic answer to that question is, yes!

What are the Benefits of a Checking Account?

Your checking account can act as a hub for all your financial transactions and help you stay on top of bills and in tune with your budget. It’s also an account with a lot of flexibility, allowing you to easily manage everyday finances like receiving paychecks, making purchases, and paying bills. Some banks will even pay you interest on your checking, giving your finances a little boost each month.

Get Paid Easier & Faster

Most employers prefer to pay by direct deposit.  Opening a checking account and setting up direct deposit gives you the ability to have your employer deposit your paycheck directly into your checking account.  This eliminates the need to run to the bank each payday or waiting for your paycheck to clear.

Pay Bills Easier & Faster

After you’ve set up direct deposit into your checking account, it becomes simple to pay your everyday bills. Link a debit card to your account to make easy card payments, send checks electronically through online bill payment services, and even receive payments from others via wire or other digital payment services.

3 Things to Consider Before You Open a Checking Account

Not all checking accounts are created equal, so you’ll want to do your homework before opening an account and making a deposit.

Will I be Charged Checking Account Fees?

Many banks include fees on checking accounts and related services. These begin with a monthly service charge that is assessed as long as your account remains open.

While these fees can vary widely, it isn’t uncommon to be charged $10 or more a month, depending on the balances you hold and how you do your banking. This monthly fee could quickly add up to $120 or more over the course of a year.

ATM fees are another charge to consider as you compare checking accounts. Some banks charge fees when you use their ATMs and then tack on a higher fee if you use an ATM from another bank.

Some banks may also charge fees for basic services, such as ordering checks, overdraft protection, incoming wires, cashier’s checks, the ability to stop payments on checks. While you may not use some of these services on a regular basis, fees can be quite costly when you do, something that can significantly impact your wallet even with limited usage.

On the other hand, accounts like FNBO’s Free Checking account, waives typical fees like the ones mentioned above, including no overdraft fees.1 And better still, you’ll pay no monthly charge for your account regardless of your average monthly balance.  We also believe in making your life easier – that’s why there are no fees from us at more than 55,000 ATMs worldwide. However, other banks might if you use your FNBO debit card in their machine.

How Will I Use My Checking Account?

Beyond fees, it’s important to consider how you will use a checking account when looking for a bank. For instance, if you make most of your payments via debit card, particularly if you make online transactions, security is important. Look for an account, such as FNBO’s Free Checking to receive Visa’s Zero Liability2 as well as free text alerts about possible fraudulent charges and other important information about your account.

In today’s world, paying bills online is one of the most common methods for managing payments, but going to individual vendor sites can be time consuming and hard to manage. If you think about it, you could easily log in and out of five or more different websites each month as you make payments for bills such as utilities, cable, internet, car loans, mortgage, and insurance.

Checking accounts that offer bill pay services can easily streamline this process. For example, FNBO’s BillPay, available with every Free Checking account, lets you quickly and easily manage payments by prescheduling up to 90 days in advance.

For even more time savings, all payments happen through a single portal, allowing you to view pending transactions as well as those that have posted. You can even set up recurring payments for bills, such as auto loans, where the amount remains consistent from month to month. 

FNBO’s Free Checking account also supports Apple Pay, allowing you to securely make payments at hundreds of stores from your account via your Apple device.

Don’t have an iPhone or watch? We also support Samsung Pay, so you can use funds in your account to cover purchases right from your Samsung phone.

How Many Checking Accounts Should I Have?

That depends on how you use your checking account and manage your finances. Many people have one checking account they use to manage their bills and another they use for their spending. If you go that route you should see if you can set up your direct deposit to split your paycheck between your two checking accounts depending on your budget. That way you won’t have to transfer money between two accounts. If you don’t have the option to split your direct deposit then opening two checking accounts at the same bank will make transferring money between the two easy.

It’s easy to see that by choosing the right checking account you receive more than paper checks. You can more easily manage your finances with the peace of mind that your transactions are protected and secured, all without paying for valued services.

The articles in this blog are for informational purposes only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. When making decisions about your financial situation, consult a financial professional for advice. Articles are not regularly updated, and information may become outdated.

1 The payment of transactions into overdraft is discretionary and we reserve the right to not pay. Generally, we do not pay overdrafts if you are not making regular deposits, or you have excessive overdrafts, or based on your account history and how you maintain your account. We may change your overdraft privileges due to poor account management.

We may pay overdrafts for checks and other transactions using your account number and for automatic bill payments (ACH and recurring debit transactions), and if you give us permission, we may authorize and pay overdrafts for ATM transactions and everyday non-recurring debit transactions (individual debit card purchases such as grocery store or one-time online purchases). Our expectation is you bring your account to a positive balance immediately (including payment of all bank fees and charges).

2 Visa's Zero Liability policy covers U.S. issued cards only and does not apply to PIN transactions not processed by Visa or certain commercial card transactions. Cardholder must notify issuer promptly of any unauthorized use. Consult issuer for additional details or visit