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Michael Benninger

Michael Benninger

Staff writer

Michael Benninger is a banking writer at Finder who’s published over 100 articles focused chiefly on kids’ banking products, cash management accounts and fintechs. His expertise has been featured on GoBankingRates and Yahoo Finance, among others. As a former credit analyst and longtime freelancer, he’s written for industry-leading outlets including Intuit, Business Insider, the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune. Michael is passionate about all facets of personal finance and has written hundreds of articles about money management over the course of his career. He earned his BA in business administration and marketing from Rowan University.

Expertise

  • Kids’ banking products
  • Cash management accounts
  • Fintechs and neobanks

Highlights

  • Expert in kids’ bank accounts and prepaid debit cards
  • Published by leading publications, including Business Insider, the Los Angeles Times, Mint, Intuit and more
  • Researched and reviewed dozens of cash management accounts
  • Author of more than 200 articles on personal finance
  • Expert commentary featured on Yahoo Finance and GOBankingRates, among others

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in business administration and marketing | Rowan University | 1998–2002

Featured Publications

Industry insights from Michael Benninger

We asked Michael to demonstrate his expertise by answering a few questions about kids’ banking and cash management accounts.

How can you involve kids in budgeting?

If your kids are still wrapping their young minds around the concept of money, take them grocery shopping and let them pick out dinner with a fixed budget of $10 to $15. Emphasize the importance of buying based on price rather than brand, and encourage them to look for items on sale. If your kids are teens, involve them in your household finances, and explain where your dollars go each month. Use a pie chart or spreadsheet as a visual aid to help underscore the importance of budgeting.

When might a cash management account be a good or bad idea?

Using a cash management account is a good idea if you’re an active investor and plan to spend or reinvest money in the account within a few weeks or months. In general, cash management accounts aren’t a great option for long-term growth because they often don’t earn competitive interest rates. There are exceptions, of course, but your money is more likely to earn a significant amount of interest in a high-yield savings account compared to a cash management account.

How are fintechs and neobanks challenging brick-and-mortar banks?

Fintechs and neobanks are revolutionizing the way people manage their money by making banking faster, cheaper and more convenient. So-called “challenger banks” are able to thrive because they exclusively exist online and therefore have much lower operating costs than traditional banks. This, in turn, allows them to offer reduced fees and higher interest rates than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. As a result, physical bank branches are closing in record numbers and may disappear completely by 2034.

Latest articles by Michael Benninger

110 articles written by this author

Extra debit card review

The Extra debit card offers rewards and a credit score boost, but is it legit?

Michael Benninger 30 July 2021
Extra debit card review

Till Financial debit card review

Till encourages your kid to be a smart spender, but it has some limitations.

Michael Benninger 30 July 2021
Till Financial debit card review

Northpointe Bank Kid’s Savings review

Northpointe Bank’s Kids Savings account earns an unmatched interest rate on balances above $1,000.

Michael Benninger 21 July 2021
Northpointe Bank Kid’s Savings review

Bank of Missouri Show Me Savers Club review

Bank of Missouri’s Show Me Savers earns 0.1% APY but can’t be opened online.

Michael Benninger 19 July 2021
Bank of Missouri Show Me Savers Club review

Navy Federal Visa Buxx review

Navy Federal’s Visa Buxx card has no fees, but you must qualify for membership with the credit union.

Michael Benninger 13 July 2021
Navy Federal Visa Buxx review

Certificates of deposit methodology

We weigh minimum deposits and APYs relative to term length when rating CDs and share certificates.

Michael Benninger 9 July 2021
Certificates of deposit methodology

Methodology: Kids’ checking accounts and prepaid debit cards

We look for the following features when rating kids debit cards: monthly fees, features, availability, customer service, interest rate and more.

Michael Benninger 2 July 2021
Methodology: Kids’ checking accounts and prepaid debit cards

Regions Savings for Minors review

This account has no fees and a low minimum deposit, but it earns little interest.

Michael Benninger 24 June 2021
Regions Savings for Minors review

PNC Virtual Wallet Student Checking review

PNC Virtual Wallet Student Checking is free for six years but can then get pricey.

Michael Benninger 8 June 2021
PNC Virtual Wallet Student Checking review

Teaching kids about money: 9 ways to start

Fast-track your child’s financial literacy by learning how to teach your kids about money.

Michael Benninger 4 June 2021
Teaching kids about money: 9 ways to start
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