Savings Accounts vs. Checking Accounts

Nov 1 | 6 minutes read
Savings Accounts vs. Checking Accounts

You may be debating between a checking account and a savings account as you consider your options for managing your finances. Studies have found that 5.4% of all American homes do not have a single member who has a bank account. Roughly 7.1 million homes in the United States. Although they serve different purposes, both checking and savings accounts can be useful tools for staying on top of your finances.


Simply put, what is a checking account?

A checking account is a type of transactional account with a financial institution. It's possible for these accounts to include both a debit card and a checkbook. You can get your money out in a number of ways, including visits to a branch or an ATM, purchases made with a debit card, writing a check, ordering a money order, sending an electronic funds transfer (ACH), or wiring money. A deposit can be done in the same way by bringing cash, a check, or a money order to a branch or an ATM, or by using a mobile check deposit app, an ACH transfer, or a wire transfer.

A checking account is the most convenient way to access money for routine purchases, according to John Bergquist, president of Lift Financial in South Jordan, Utah.

Some situations in which you could find a checking account helpful are:


Send checks or make online payments to settle accounts

Make purchases and withdrawal cash from ATMs with a debit card that is linked to this account.

Electronic funds transfer from one bank to another

A checking account might or might not earn interest. If so, your savings will accrue interest as long as they remain in the account. Various types of financial institutions, including traditional banks, online banks, credit unions, and others, may provide customers with these accounts.


A Savings Account Is Exactly What?

A savings account, sometimes known as a "deposit account," is a place to put money that won't be immediately put to use, as when you pay your bills or buy something you need. A savings account can be used for a variety of purposes, such as accumulating an emergency fund, saving up for a trip or a down payment on a home, or funding repairs or upgrades to your current abode. Savings accounts, like checking accounts, can be opened at a variety of banking options, including brick-and-mortar banks, online banks, and credit unions.

Interest rates on checking accounts are lower than those on savings accounts. As an incentive for establishing and maintaining a savings account, banks provide savers an annual percentage yield (APY). However, annual percentage yields (APYs) earned by savers vary. There may be variations from one financial institution to the next. As of May 2022, the median national savings rate was 0.07%.

Online savings accounts, according to Bergquist, offer a rate nearly 20 times greater than those offered by conventional checking accounts. The return on a 10-year Treasury bond is comparable to this, the author says.

Banks that operate only online may typically afford to pay greater interest rates to their savers. High-yield online savings accounts from banks and credit unions are not unheard of, and they can earn an APY of 1.90% to 2.25%.


Adjustments Needed

The fact that you can make as many withdrawals as you like from a checking account is a major plus. The bank won't charge you a fee if you use your card ten times in a single day for things like buying things online, withdrawing money from an ATM, or paying bills. If you have a savings account, however, that could not be the case. The Federal Reserve's guideline for banks, known as Regulation D, was the initial catalyst.


As per the regulation:

Six withdrawals per month were allowed from share savings accounts, savings accounts, and money market accounts (MMAs). If you make more withdrawals than your account allows per month, your bank may assess a fee.

Overdraft transfers from savings to checking, transfers conducted by online banking or by phone, POS transactions conducted with a debit card, and faxed transfers or withdrawals all contributed to the total and were therefore subject to the restriction.

Withdrawals from savings accounts were unrestricted and could be done at any time, in person, by mail, or at an automated teller machine.


What's the Best Way to Manage Your Money? Checking or Savings?

When weighing the pros and cons of a checking account against a savings account, you could decide that having both is the best option for you. When comparing several banks and checking account options, here are some questions to ask.

  • Exactly how much does maintaining this account cost? Is there, say, a mandatory maintenance charge every 30 days?
  • Is there a minimum balance that must be kept in the account?
  • Do you get a debit card or ATM card with a savings account?
  • Is there a limit on how much money you can take out of your checking account each day?
  • Does a checking or savings account have a daily limit on deposits?
  • What is the APY if the account does yield interest?
  • Consider if the bank provides any bonuses for new account holders.

O'Donnell notes that even in the current low-interest-rate climate, "banks are fiercely competitive," and that this means that customers may occasionally be offered incentives to open a checking or savings account. There are a variety of ways to save money with a debit card, including rewards programmes and discounts, as well as promotional offers for creating other accounts like money market and certificate of deposit accounts (CD).

Finally, think about what sort of financial conveniences you'd find helpful. Before deciding on a checking or savings account, it's important to research the bank's online and mobile banking features, the number of ATMs they have, and whether or not they offer branch banking if you anticipate needing it periodically.


Just how much money should always be sitting in your checking account?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much money you should keep in the bank because it is contingent on a variety of variables. Keep at least the required minimum balance in your checking or savings account to avoid fees assessed by your financial institution. You should have enough money in the bank to cover your bills for at least a couple of months at all times. As a result, you may rest assured that you will have money for essentials like food and shelter should a disaster strike.


How Do I Get Started with a Bank Account?

The process of opening a checking or savings account at a bank requires multiple steps and documents. The bank needs to make sure you are who you say you are before they will let you open an account. This necessitates presenting an official identifier, such as a passport, driver's license, utility bill, or Social Security card. Do not forget to provide the minimum deposit amount required by your bank.


When it comes to interest, which bank account is best?

Savings accounts typically offer a pitiful rate of interest. The good news is that there are other ways to get greater rates if you look hard enough. You could look into a tiered savings account, which increases your rate of return proportionally as more money is deposited. You can also choose to put money into a high-yield savings account, which typically offers a higher rate of return on deposits of more than $5,000. If that isn't enough for you, you may combine the benefits of a checking and savings account into one convenient place by opening a money market account. The funds you put into this type of account are invested in various additional ways. It's still very fluid, though.

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