Guides to help you open and manage your checking account

Feb 3 2016
By Sarah Bainton Kahn

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Are you thinking about opening a checking account but aren’t sure how to get started? We have resources to help you select a product that’s best suited for your financial needs.

Banks and credit unions provide safe places to keep your money, but it’s important to shop around to find the financial products and services that work for you. If you’re new to banking, struggling to stay on top of your expenses, or simply want to avoid costly or unexpected fees you may benefit from an account that helps you avoid overdraft and the costs that come with it. Our new account guides have information to help you shop for and manage your checking account.

How to select a lower risk account

The first step is to know your options. A number of banks and credit unions offer checking accounts that will only let you spend the money you have in your account. These low-risk products can prevent unexpected overdraft fees and reduce your risk of losing your account privileges because of unpaid overdrafts. Some banks do not offer “no-overdraft” products or do not market them. So, it’s important to shop around and ask whether the bank or credit union offers an account that allows you to avoid overdrafts and minimize fees. Learn more in our guide to selecting a lower-risk account.

If you’ve been denied a checking account

If a bank or credit union denies your application to open a checking account, it may because of negative information – for example, having a checking account involuntary closed due to unpaid fees – in your checking account consumer report. If the bank or credit union denies your application due to information in your checking account report, you should request a copy of your report and review it for any errors. If you find errors, you can use our sample letters to file a dispute with both the checking account reporting company that created the report and the bank or credit union that provided the information to the reporting company.

If you have had past difficulties managing a checking account, you should still be able to access the banking services that you need. Many banks and credit unions offer checking accounts that are designed to reduce risks for both you and financial institutions by preventing overdraft and overdraft fees. You might also consider getting a prepaid card. Learn more about the steps you can take in our guides to choosing and managing checking accounts.

This article by Sarah Bainton Kahn was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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