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4 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Checking Account
You’ve probably had a checking account for most of your life and never gave it much thought. It’s just there to store your everyday cash, right? Not necessarily.
If you’re considering questions about checking accounts as you take a closer look at your current setup and explore opening a new one, it’s important to note that checking accounts are designed with different and unique features. Some may even be more beneficial to you than you realize.
For starters, most checking accounts offer a host of conveniences, providing customers the ability to set up automatic payments for routine bills, schedule electronic transfers and make all deposits and transfers via a smartphone app. Some accounts even allow you to earn cash back on your debit card purchases.
âA checking account can have a long-term impact on your financial well-being, so it’s worth taking the time to figure everything out,” says Jeff Kreisler, money expert and author of the personal finance book “Dollars and Sense.”
At this point, you might be thinking, “What questions should I ask before opening a checking account?” To help you decide which account is right for you, here are four key questions to ask yourself:
1. What types of checking accounts should I consider?
Before you open a new checking account, do a little homework to learn about the different types of checking accounts offered by banks, Kreisler says. There’s the standard personal checking account that allows you to write checks and make payments with your debit card or electronically. But when thinking about questions to ask when opening a checking account, go beyond the basic features to find an account that best fits your lifestyle and financial goals. Here are some examples:
- Online checking account: Ready to bypass the teller lines with the benefits of an online bank? Then this is the checking account for you. Doing your banking from any computer or mobile device is sweetâand since online banks don’t have brick-and-mortar locations, they can often pass their savings from overhead down to you. Just verify that the online bank or credit union supplying the checking account is backed by the FDIC or the National Credit Union Administration.
- Rewards checking account: One question to ask before choosing a checking account is if you can earn rewards or incentives for certain activity. Discover Cashback Debit, for example, lets you earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.1 That means your monthly cashback earnings could yield $360 in total rewards each year (finally, dinner and drinks at that new French bistro in town!). Some banks may also offer a checking account bonus just for opening a new account, while others have a variety of reward options based on certain qualifying purchases. A rewards checking account works for almost anyone looking to maximize their debit spend or a balance they regularly hold in their checking account.
Say hello to
cash back on debit
No monthly fees.
No balance requirements.
Discover Bank, Member FDIC
- Joint checking account: Most checking accounts can be opened as a joint checking account, which is an account held by two or more people. This can be a convenient solution for couples, minors and their parents and even seniors and their caregivers who are trying to manage a household budget. It does require good record keeping and communication, so make sure you understand the ins and outs of joint accounts before choosing this option.
The above checking accounts are the most standard and usually have appealing benefits. But if you have more questions about checking accounts, there are options that can cater to more specific needs. However, they often have less flexibility. For instance:
- Interest-bearing checking accounts are available for those who want to earn some money while their cash is parked in the account. The rate of return is usually low and minimum balance requirements high.
- Student checking accounts are often low-cost, but they could come with limitations. Whether or not a student account is available may be a good question to ask before choosing a checking account if you’re looking for a starter account for yourself or your child.
- Second-chance checking accounts could be a fit for those who may not be able to get a standard checking account due to their banking or credit history; however, they often have higher fees.
“A checking account can have a long-term impact on your financial well-being, so it’s worth taking the time to figure everything out.”
2. Are there fees associated with the checking account?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about checking accounts. Before choosing a checking account, be sure to research its fees, says Marc Bernstein, financial planner and strategist for MWealth Advisors. Types of fees and fee amounts can vary greatly from bank to bank, and even among accounts at the same bank.
A question to ask when opening a checking account is if the account charges fees for ATM use, automatic bill pay, monthly maintenance, ordering checks, replacing a debit card or ordering official bank checks. Banks may charge any combination of these feesâor none. Discover Cashback Debit comes with no fees. Period.2 That means you won’t be charged a fee for any of these services.
Along with including the fee topic on your list of questions to ask before choosing a checking account, you should also consider obtaining “a document outlining the fees you’ll be paying, in case you have any questions, and check the fine print,” Bernstein says. You can also typically find a list of fees (if any) on the bank’s website or in the account agreement.
3. Is there a minimum balance requirement?
According to Bernstein, among the questions to ask when opening a checking account is if it requires an initial minimum balance to open. You’ll also want to know if a minimum balance needs to be maintained to avoid a fee.
Bernstein suggests looking for an account with no minimum balance requirement if you tend to keep less than $1,000 in your account or like to have flexibility when making large withdrawals.
If you’ve asked this question about checking accounts and are still comparing accounts that have a minimum balance requirement, realistically determine how much you can keep in your account per month and what you will be charged if you can’t keep that balance.
Even if your account falls below a minimum requirement, there could be a way to save on fees. If you have multiple accounts at one bank, the bank may allow you to combine the balances to waive checking fees.
The total average cost of withdrawing cash from an out-of-network ATM is $4.68. That’s 36 percent higher than it was 10 years prior, with no signs of decreasing.
4. What ATM fees could I incur?
If you frequent the ATM to take out cash, a good question to ask before choosing a checking account is: Where are the bank’s ATMs located in relation to your home and work?
Availability of ATMs is an important question to ask when opening a checking account that can really affect your wallet. For instance, if you decide to withdraw money from an ATM that’s not in your bank’s network, you can get hit with two separate charges: a surcharge from the ATM owner (since you’re not a customer) and a fee from your own bank.
And those fees can really add up. According to Bankrate’s 2018 checking account and ATM fee study, the total average cost of withdrawing cash from an out-of-network ATM is $4.68. That’s 36 percent higher than it was 10 years prior, with no signs of decreasing.
One way to get cash without paying an ATM fee is to use your own bank’s ATMs. The more ATM locations that your bank offers that are conveniently located, the less likely you are to use one that’s out-of-network and rack up unnecessary charges. If you can’t always use your own bank’s ATM, one of the questions to ask when opening a checking account is whether your bank allows you to use a broader ATM network for no-fee transactions.
Find the best checking account for you
Opening a new checking account is an important step toward establishing, or rebuilding, your financial foundation.
Now that you can ask the right questions about checking accounts, you’re one step closer to choosing an account that fits your individual needs. And that feels like money in the bank.
1 ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as VenmoÂ® and PayPal, which also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple, the Apple logo and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
2 Outgoing wire transfers are subject to a service charge. You may be charged a fee by a non-Discover ATM if it is not part of the 60,000+ ATMs in our no-fee network.
The post 4 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Checking Account appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
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CIT Bank Locations? Where Are They?
CIT Bank locations: are there any near me?
CIT Bank is an online only-bank, so, unfortunately, they do not have any physical locations.
However, if you’re looking to know how to open a CIT Bank account beyond wondering if they have a location what are their current products and offers, then you have come to the right place.
|*TOP CIT BANK PROMOTIONS*|
|CIT Bank Money Market||1.00% APY||Review|
|CIT Bank Savings Builder||0.95% APY||Review|
|CIT Bank CDs||0.75% APY 1 Year CD Term||Review|
|CIT Bank No Penalty CD||0.75% APY||Review|
CIT Bank Locations
CIT Bank has one office. It’s their headquarters located in southern California in Pasadena.
The address is: 75 North Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, California 91103. However, you cannot just walk in there to do business, opening an account, etc.
There is also no ATMs. Everything is done online.
With their “echecking” account, CIT Bank will provide you with a card where you can use it at another bank’s ATM.
However, CIT bank does not charge you any ATM fee. And if the bank charges you a fee, CIT Bank will reimburse you up to $15 every month.
CIT Bank’s Products & Current Promotions
While CIT Bank has no physical locations, it’s a great bank for those who are willing to have their savings online.
So, if you’re looking to have access to branches, then CIT Bank is not for you.
CIT Bank offers high yield savings accounts, money market accounts and CD accounts. They also have an “echecking” account.Â
CIT Savings Builder – Earn 0.85% APY. Here’s how it works: Make at least a $100 minimum deposit every month. Or Maintain a minimum balance of $25k. Member FDIC. Click Here to Learn More.
They offer competitive APYs, especially on their Savings Builder account, which is almost 20 times more than what a typical savings account would offer.
The money market account is also very competitive, but it does not offer checking-writing privileges or a debit card.
Their CDs also provide higher yields, offering both a fixed and variable-rate, including a no-penalty CD.
CIT Bank Savings Builder
Because CIT Bank has no locations, CIT Bank Savings Builder accounts are offered online, where you can earn a competitively high yield.
The CIT Bank Savings Builder will allow you to earn 0.85% APY, but only if you make at least one monthly deposit of $100 or more.
Or, if you keep a balance of at least $25,000. Interest in this high-yield savings account compounds daily to boost your earning.
Click here to learn more about CIT Bankâs Savings Builder.
CIT Bank Money Market Account
The CIT Bank money market account is one of the best ones out there. Currently, the money market account offers a 1.0% APY.
This is very competitive comparing to other MMAs. Moreover, CIT Bankâs MMA has a required account minimum of only $100.
Open a CIT Bank Money Market Account.
CIT Bank Certificate of Deposits (CDs)
CIT Bank has several terms CDs, which range from 6 months to 5 years.
There is also a no penalty 11-month term, where customers can withdraw money with no penalty.
CIT Bank also offers jumbo CDs, ranging from two to five years. You can open a term CD, including the no-penalty CD, with a minimum of $1,000.
The Jumbo CDs require a minimum of $100,000.
Click here to learn more about CIT Bank CDs.
Contacting CIT Bank
Given that CIT Bank has no locations, the best way to speak with a representative is by telephone or online.
For online, simply go through their homepage.
By telephone, call 1) 855-462-2652 (within U.S.) and 626-535-8964 (outside U.S.).
Customer service is available from Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET; on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 pm ET.
They closed on Sunday.
Advantages and disadvantages of CIT Bank Savings Accounts
- No monthly fees on deposit accounts;
- a minimum deposit requirement of $100;
- Refunds ATM fees â because the bank does not have ATMs, it does not charge customers who use another bankâs ATMs. And if there is a fee, CIT will refund you up to $15 per month.
- No CIT Bank physical locations or ATM;
- No 24/7 customer support â as with all high yield savings accounts, most inquiries are handled online. While live telephone is available, hours are limited.
How to open a CIT Bank Savings account?
As mentioned above, CIT Bank has no physical locations. So to open an account, simply go online through the CIT Bank homepage, and create the account there.
Youâll need to provide your name, address, phone number, and ID. Youâll also need to provide your social security number.
Note that CIT does not have any branches. Everything must be done online.
If youâre opening a CIT Bank Builder Savings account, you will need to make an initial minimum deposit of $100.
CIT Bank has no locations. So, everything is done online. CIT Bank offers competitive rates on its products. Its Saving Builder account is one of the most popular accounts out there, offering a 0.85% APY. This yield is 15 to 20 times higher than what a regular savings account offer.
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions beyond CIT Bank locations, you can talk to a financial advisorÂ who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs withÂ SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals,Â get started now.
|*TOP CIT BANK PROMOTIONS*|
|CIT Bank Money Market||1.00% APY||Review|
|CIT Bank Savings Builder||0.95% APY||Review|
|CIT Bank CDs||0.75% APY 1 Year CD Term||Review|
|CIT Bank No Penalty CD||0.75% APY||Review|
The post CIT Bank Locations? Where Are They? appeared first on GrowthRapidly.
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A Credit Card That Adapts to All of Lifeâs Changes
7 Cheap or Free Meditation Apps to Foster Mindfulness
If the free version of Calm isnât enough, users can upgrade to a premium subscription for .99/year and get access to even more mindful content.
Simple Habitâs goal is in its name â make daily meditation a simple, easy habit. This free app offers five-minute meditations, progress trackers and downloadable meditations for situations like air travel or remote adventures.
1. MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness
To access even more mindfulness content, Simple Habit has a premium subscription for .99/month.
This free meditation app promotes community by offering numerous discussion groups and ways to connect with other Insight Timer users.
It has programs guided by top mindfulness experts from Google, former monks and leading mental health experts. Whether you need a quick decompression before heading into work or a longer, pre-sleep session, Simple Habit makes meditation easy.
2. Simple Habit Sleep, Meditation
Ten Percent Happier opens by asking users a series of questions about their life and lifestyle, then curating a plan specific to each person. You can select goals such as fostering daily calm, lowering anxiety levels and more. You are also invited to choose the way you learn best, whether thatâs through audio, reading, videos or hands-on experiences.
For those who are ready to kick things up a notch, the meditation app has a premium membership for .99/month or .99/year that unlocks 400+ activities, guided journaling prompts, yoga and soundscapes.
The Ten Percent Happier app was Appleâs best of 2018 award winner and was the top app in the Wirecutterâs list of âBest Meditation Appsâ .
This app lets you track the number of days youâve meditated, helping to make using Calm a rewarding habit.
3. Ten Percent Happier
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
Headspace is changing the meditation app space by offering mindful workouts, too. Led by Olympians Kim Glass and Leon Taylor, Headspace workouts combine mental grounding with body-pumping training sessions to promote holistic wellness.
With 71,000 ratings totalling 4.8/5 stars on the Apple App Store, Simple Habit Sleep, Meditation is one of the top free mindfulness apps available today.
The app is free to download. But to access its features, you can join the Breethe membership community for .99/month or .99/year.
Another heavy hitter in the free meditation app space is Insight Timer, which was named App of the Year by TIME Magazine and Womenâs Health.
With more than 10 million downloads, Breethe: Meditation & Sleep is one of the best meditation apps in the mindfulness market.
According to the app, users were 82% more likely to be less anxious with consistent use of MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness. Sign us up! This free meditation app also offers breathing exercises to catalyze calm and groundedness, tracking mental health with a daily feelings log, and guided meditations recommended just for you.
5. Insight Timer
Hereâs the catch: the Ten Percent Happier program isnât free , though you can start with a 14-day free trial before paying .99 for a one-year subscription.
One of Headspaceâs more unique offerings is its Weathering the Storm collection, a series of guided meditations, prompts, body scans and stories geared toward helping folks navigate the challenges presented by the past year.
Kristin Jenny is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
Selected as the Apple App Storeâs âApp of the Dayâ in 2020, MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness is a free meditation app that is personalized to how you feel and only asks for a few minutes of your day.
Whether youâre looking to sleep better, move through an addiction, improve leadership at work, or work on your meditation practice, Insight Timer has a guided meditation for you.
With its free version, users get access to loads of guided meditations, sleep stories, ambient sounds and breath timers that all seek to promote a more tranquil, fulfilling life.
Calm is one of the original mindfulness programs for smart devices. It boasts 40 million downloads worldwide and 1.1 million reviews on the Apple App Store.
This affordable (but not free) meditation app has a free 14-day trial before charging .99/month or .99/year (which brings the monthly total down to .99/month).
Calm offers a wide variety of meditations, from flight anxiety to SOS panic sessions designed to ground users in the present. Some of its meditations and bedtime stories are led by famous voices like Bindi Irwin, Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry, to name a few.
7. Breethe: Meditation & Sleep
Best of all, thanks to modern technology, meditation has never been so accessible. You need no equipment, and there are hundreds of free meditation apps and mindfulness apps to assist you in finding your zen.
Headspace is one of the best-known mental health apps. Its nearly five-star rating and 65 million downloadsshow Headspace is on it for meditation practice.
Wellness experts like mindfulness coach Lynne Goldberg walk you through practices to help you achieve a smiling mind and a calm body. Breethe seeks to help all users find peace with their emotions, physical sensations and current events through deliberate mental health practices.
Breethe has over 1,000 tracks of nature sounds, guided meditations, bedtime stories, five-minute and three-minute meditations and more.
This easy-to-use app is led by Emmy-award winning journalist Dan Harris, who works with some of the best meditation teachers in the world to bring you sessions focused on meditation practices like self-compassion, emotional balance and navigating crises.
Insight Timer is a must-have for those who want a wide variety of meditation practices, as the app offers thousands of guided meditations and is constantly adding more. It also has no-cost music and ambient soundtracks to promote better sleep and focus.
Stress is something we all deal with in varying forms. The past 12 months have tested everyoneâs ability to cope with unprecedented stressors, and well, itâs tiring having to adapt to a constantly changing landscape. Meditation is scientifically proven to lower stress levels and help soothe the hamster wheel of thoughts racing through our minds.
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Money Market Account or Checking Account: Which Is Best For You?
If you’re looking for a new bank account that allows you to easily store as well as access your cash, you might be thinking about opening a money market account or checking account. But how do you know which to choose? Decisions, decisions. Both types of accounts have unique advantages, depending on your savings and spending goals.
âThink about how you will be using the money within the account,” says Jill Emanuel, lead financial coach at Fiscal Fitness. “Is this money for daily, weekly or monthly use? Or is it money that will not be needed regularly?”
You’ll probably need a little more to go on before answering the question, “How do I decide between a money market account or checking account?” No worries. Our roundup delves into the features of both types of accounts to help you determine which one could be right for your financial plans, or if there’s room for both in your money mix.
Get easy access to your funds with a checking account
In simple terms, a checking account allows you to write checks and make purchases with a debit card from the money you deposit into the account. That debit card can also be used to withdraw cash from the account via an ATM.
When deciding between a money market account or checking account, Emanuel says most people use a checking account for the primary management of their monthly income (i.e., where a portion of your paycheck is deposited) and daily expenses (often small and frequent transactions). âA checking account makes the most sense as the account where the majority of your transactions occur,” she adds. This is because a checking account typically comes with an unlimited number of transactionsâwhether you’re withdrawing cash from an ATM, transferring money to a savings account or swiping your debit card.
While a checking account is a good home base for your finances and a go-to if you need to easily and quickly access your funds, this account type typically earns little to no interest. Spoiler: This is one key difference when you compare a money market account vs. a checking account.
âIf you plan to use your account for monthly bill payments and day-to-day transactions, you would be better suited with a checking account, as these support daily and frequent use.â
Grow your balance with a money market account
When you’re comparing a money market account vs. a checking account, think of a money market account as a savings vehicle that allows you to earn interest on the balance you keep in the account.
“A money market account is an interest-bearing bank account that typically has a higher interest rate than a checking account,” says Bola Sokunbi, certified financial education instructor and founder of Clever Girl Finance.
With some money market accounts, you can even earn more interest with a higher balance. Thanks to its interest-earning potential, a money market account can be the way to go if you’re looking for an account to help you reach your savings goals and priorities.
If you’re deciding between a money market account or checking account, you may think that a money market account seems like a typical savings account with your ability to earn, but it also has some features similar to a checking account. With a money market account, for example, you can withdraw cash from an ATM and use a debit card or checks to access money from the account. There are no limits on ATM withdrawals or official checks mailed to you.
Before you decide to use this account for your regular bills and your morning caffeine habit, know that federal law limits certain types of withdrawals and transfers from money market accounts to a combined total of six per calendar month per account. If you go over these limitations on more than an occasional basis, your financial institution may choose to close the account.
Don’t need regular access to your funds and want your money to grow until you do need it? Then the benefits of a money market account could be for you.
Deciding between a money market account or checking account
Still debating money market account or checking account? Here are some financial scenarios to help you determine which account may best suit your current needs and goals:
Go with a checking account if…
- You want to keep your funds liquid. If you’re thinking money market account or checking account, know that a checking account is built for very regular access to your funds. âIf you plan to use your account for monthly bill payments and day-to-day transactions, you would be better suited with a checking account, as these support daily and frequent use,” Sokunbi says. Think rent, cable, utilities, groceries, gas, maybe that morning caffeine craving. You get the idea.
- You want to earn rewards for your spending. When you’re comparing money market account vs. checking account, consider that with some checking accountsâlike Discover Cashback Debitâyou can earn cash back for your debit card purchases. The best part is you are earning cash back as you keep up with your regular expensesâno hoops to jump through or extra account activity needed. Then put that cashback toward fun things like date night, lunch at your favorite spot or a savings fund dedicated to something special.
- You want to deposit and withdraw without the stress of a balance requirement. If you do your research when comparing money market accounts vs. checking accounts, you’ll find that some checking accounts don’t require a minimum balance (or much of one). However, you may be required to maintain a minimum balance (and potentially a higher one) with a money market account in order to avoid a fee. If you’re accessing your money frequently and need to make large withdrawals, a checking account with no minimum balance requirement is a convenient option.
Go with a money market account if…
- You want to earn interest. âIf your money is just sitting there, it should be earning money,” Emanuel says of the money market account or checking account question. âI spoke with a woman recently who told me she’d had around $50,000 sitting in her checking account for at least the last 10 years, if not longer. If that money had been in a money market account for the same period of time, she would have earned thousands of dollars on it. Instead she earned nothing,” Emanuel says.
- You want to put short-term savings in a different account. If you have some short-term savings goals in mind (way to go!), you may benefit from keeping your savings separate from your more transactional checking account so you don’t dip into them for a different purpose. That whole out of sight, out of mind thing. âA money market account is the perfect place for money that will be accessed less frequently, such as an emergency fund [a.k.a. rainy day fund], a vacation fund or a place to park money after you’ve received an inheritance or proceeds from selling a home,” Emanuel says.
- You need an account to fund your overdraft protection. If you’re comparing money market account vs. checking account, consider that a money market account could also cross over to support spending goals. One way is in the form of overdraft protection. If you enroll in overdraft protection for your checking account, for example, you could designate that funds be pulled from your money market account to cover a balance shortfall.
âA money market account is the perfect place for money that will be accessed less frequently, such as an emergency fund [a.k.a. rainy day fund], a vacation fund or a place to park money after you’ve received an inheritanceÂ or proceeds from selling a home.â
Using both accounts to achieve your financial goals
Speaking of crossover. Both spending and saving are vying for your attention, right? Consider leveraging both types of accounts if you have needs from the checking and money market account lists above.
“Personally, I use my checking account for bill payments, my day-to-day spending, writing checks and for any automatic debits I have each month,” Sokunbi says. She’s added a money market account to the mix “because of the higher interest rateâto store my savings for short-term goals, for investing or for money I’ll be needing soon,” she explains. Maybe it’s not about deciding between a money market account or a checking account, but getting the best of both worlds.
Before opening a money market account or checking account, do your research and compare your options to see which bank offers the best package of low or no fees and customer service, in addition to what you need from an interest and access to cash perspective.
The post Money Market Account or Checking Account: Which Is Best For You? appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.
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