Paying with a debit card

Whether you’re on the hunt for good checking accounts with the best features and benefits, or you’re just browsing and keeping your options open, you can always find new ways to better manage your finances. When searching for a checking account, you’ll notice each financial institution offers varying features and benefits. How do you figure out which are best for your needs? Rest assured, we’ll discuss the best features you should consider when searching for good checking accounts.

The Benefits of a Checking Account

What is a checking account? A checking account is a secure way of storing your money with fast and easy access to your funds. Having a checking account allows you to put your money in an account, and you may access those funds by writing checks, using your debit card, or withdrawing funds directly. Checking accounts usually come with a debit card, which allows you to withdraw funds from an ATM or pay for items using the debit card as you would a credit card. Your money is safe from theft, fire, or other dangers that may arise from storing your cash in your home.

Many checking accounts come with bill pay, where you can pay bills online through a secure website, which is more convenient than paying with cash. Most good checking accounts will also allow access to online and mobile banking, which allows you to access your account details online for easy monitoring of your funds. Below are five must-have features when searching for good checking

1). Checking Account Rewards

Some credit unions offer checking accounts that allow you to earn rewards just like you would when using a credit card rewards program. Some rewards come in the form of cash. Some credit unions offer rewards points with each transaction you make, earning points towards travel and merchandise. Some offer gift cards as rewards. If you like earning rewards just for using your debit card, this feature is one you’ll want to look for when searching for the best checking accounts. You may find having a reward program as part of your checking account allows you to build your savings up as well.

2). No-Fee Checking Accounts

When researching your checking account options, be sure to look into what fees may be associated with having a checking account. Some credit unions require a minimum balance, and some credit unions require direct deposits each month. If you don’t meet those requirements, there may be fees associated with having a checking account that doesn’t meet those requirements. Some credit unions also charge fees for using ATMs that aren’t their own. Checking account fees can add up. Always check the credit union’s fee schedule before deciding if the checking account is right for you.

At Rivermark, we don’t require a monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, plus we refund ATM fees nationwide (up to $12 per month).

3). Online and Mobile Banking

With the ability to do nearly all your banking from your fingertips, most people only need to visit their local credit union branch a few times a year.

Most checking accounts now come with online and mobile banking features. Online banking allows you to check your account balances, make funds transfers, pay bills, and even deposit paper checks using your phone’s camera, all remotely. When looking for that perfect checking account, ensure the credit union offers these features with the checking account.

At Rivermark, your internet and mobile banking profile comes equipped with mobile deposit capabilities, bill pay at your fingertips, e-statements, card controls, alerts, and so much more!

4). Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts

Some credit unions offer checking accounts that can earn interest on the account balance (we do!). With interest-bearing accounts, you’re making money from your money. Credit unions pay you a percentage based on how much money you have in your account. Finding a credit union that offers both free checking with a low minimum balance requirement and the added bonus of an interest-bearing account with a high-interest rate is difficult, but lucky for you, Rivermark offers both!

Typically, interest-bearing accounts have higher opening balance requirements, along with higher monthly balance requirements, but not us. Some may also come with a higher schedule of fees. Often, credit unions will offer more features with lower requirements. At Rivermark, you can open a Free Checking Plus account with no minimum monthly balance and earn one of the highest interest rates in Oregon while receiving ATM fee refunds nationwide.

5). Low Overdraft Protection Fees

Overdraft protection is a feature of many checking accounts. This protects you if you spend more than you have in your checking account. For example, if you’re grocery shopping and you pay with your debit card at checkout, if the charge is higher than the current available balance in your checking account, overdraft protection will kick in. Whether you have used your debit card or written a check or set up a money transfer to another account, overdraft protection helps cover you for those moments when you don’t have enough money in your available balance to cover the charge.

There’s usually an associated fee every time overdraft protection is used. Find a checking account that offers overdraft protection and review the schedule of fees to be sure the fee isn’t too high. Credit unions can choose to cover overdrafts for checks and automatic payments, such as automatic bill-pay, without requiring your consent. However, credit unions are legally required to have your consent for covering overdraft fees for one-time debit card charges or for ATM usage. If you don’t consent to use overdraft protection for those types of transactions, then the charge will just decline and there will be no associated fee.

If you’re looking for a good checking account in Oregon, come see us at Rivermark. We offer Free Checking Plus, which provides you with the best for your everyday banking needs. Contact us and find out how to sign up for a free checking account that we pay you to use and with a highly rated online and mobile banking experience.

Not sure where to start with banking?

Try Rivermark’s Free Checking Account. Get started today!

Open a Checking Account