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Personal banking tips: How to choose a checking account

A checking account is the personal banking account you’ll make the most day-to-day use of. You’ll use it week in and week out to deposit your paycheck, pay bills, withdraw cash or transfer money. To make the right personal banking choices for yourself, you need to be informed about the fundamental operating principles of checking accounts.

Before you make a choice, get to know the characteristics, terms and conditions of your personal banking checking account.

Ask these questions—of yourself and of your banking institution—before you choose any personal banking account:

  • What kind of banking transactions do you make most of the time? Are they mostly self-service transactions, such as using automated teller machines (ATMs) or online banking, or do you prefer dealing with a teller?
  • Are ATMs conveniently located?
  • How many transactions do you make in a month?
  • Does the bank allow pre-authorized debits for expenses such as utilities and other regular monthly bills?
  • How many transactions are included in the monthly fee? Are there extra fees for certain kinds of transactions, such as electronic money transfers?
  • What does the account charge if you use more money than is allowed in the monthly limit?
  • Are there ways to reduce monthly fees by using online banking, for instance?
  • Does maintaining a minimum monthly balance reduce or eliminate your fees?
  • What are the charges in the event of an overdraft?
  • Is there a way to qualify for a no-fee package? For example, does the bank offer such a perk to students, young people or seniors?
  • Does the account offer rewards or points?

For example, our bank’s Kasasa Cash personal banking account is a free checking account that rewards you with 2.15% annual percentage yield (APY), also known as interest, plus nationwide ATM fee refunds. The Kasasa Cash Back personal banking account pays 1.5% cash back on qualifying debit card purchases, up to $15 per month. You can also set up your account for automatic savings. This personal banking account has no monthly service charges and permits free internet banking and bill payment.

Types of transactions

A transaction is any interaction that moves money from one account to another, including withdrawals, transfers or bill payments.

In-branch transactions are those made with a teller’s assistance. They include withdrawals (taking money out of your account), transfers or bill payments at the teller’s window.

Self-serve transactions are those you make without a teller’s assistance, such as:

  • Withdrawals, deposits or bill payments made at an automated teller machine
  • Checks
  • Pre-authorized bill payments or debits.

Evaluate how many transactions of each kind you make monthly as you decide which checking account is right for you.

Most financial institutions charge a variety of different fees for checking accounts. Make sure you know what those costs will be before making your decision.

Monthly fees represent the set amount you must pay every month to maintain your checking account. These fees usually include a certain number of transactions. If you engage in more transactions than this number, you will usually incur additional costs.

Pay-as-you-go accounts usually charge a fee for each transaction. If you make only a few transactions per month, this might be right for you, but remember that they can add up quickly.
Choose the account that’s right for you

Personal banking in Mill Creek Utah has to fit your own needs and circumstances. Before you make the decision or change accounts, examine the kind of banking you do for one month. Add up total transactions of each type (bill payments, cash withdrawals, transfers, deposits, etc.). Next, look at the costs and options for a range of account types. Finally, select the one that offers you and your family the best value for your money. The team at First Utah Bank is happy to answer your questions about how our financial accounts can be a good fit for your family.