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Transaction accounts to save on ATM and service fees

How to save on checking accounts

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To save on service fees on checking accounts and ATMs, understand the fees and features.

Your personal checking account is where you make deposits and manage your everyday financial needs. Between withdrawing cash, paying bills and transferring money, your checking account is probably one of the most heavily used bank accounts you have. If you’re thinking of switching banks or assessing your account needs, find out more and compare.

Our top pick: NBKC Personal Account

  • 1.01% APY
  • No monthly fee
  • No overdraft or NSF fees
  • No foreign transaction fee

Our top pick: NBKC Personal Account

Forget the hidden fees and fine print — this checking account has neither.

  • Free debit Mastercard
  • Use any of the 32,000+ MoneyPass ATMs in the US for free
  • Up to $12 monthly refunds for ATM fees other banks charge you
  • $0 minimum balance

Compare checking accounts

Name Product APY ATMs Fee
Use any of the 32,000+ MoneyPass ATMs in the US for free
Forget the hidden fees and fine print — this checking account has neither.
You’ll get fee-free access to over 56,000 ATMs around the world
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
65,000 preferred ATMs nationwide (Allpoint, MoneyPass, PNC)
An online checking account means no driving around town, no waiting in line and no bankers' hours.
38,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
No overdraft fees. No monthly maintenance fees. No monthly service fees. No minimum balance fees. No deposit required. No foreign transaction fees. Over 38,000+ fee-free MoneyPass ATMs.
Free to use anywhere worldwide
Up to 1.00% APY. No monthly service fees. Free access to every ATM in the world. FDIC insured.
1,000 fee-free ATMs across the country
Pay a $0 monthly service charge and get free access to BBVA Compass ATMs.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do checking accounts work?

Although features of checking accounts differ between banks, they all serve the same basic purpose: to provide a variety of ways to access your money: checks, ATMs and debit card purchases.

From your checking account you can:

  • Make deposits.
  • Pay bills.
  • Transfer money between accounts.
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs.
  • Make purchases at stores and online.
  • Set up automatic payments.

Checking accounts come with fees and charges from using banks and ATMs. You’ll also pay fees for added features on your account.

Commonly asked questions about checking accounts

Q: I’m about to share an account with my wife, are there any considerations?
Investing in a joint account as a couple is a good way to save on banking fees and manage the household expenses together. If there are any concerns about trust, you could look into a joint account that requires both signatures on major transactions.

Q: How do I cancel a bank check?
The process may vary slightly by financial institution, but to stop payment you need to report it lost or stolen to your bank. You may pay a fee.

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Checking accounts

There are different types of checking accounts available on the market. Each type comes with its own benefits, fees and features. Here are some common bank account types to help you choose.

Bank accountDescription
No frills, fee-free accountThese accounts typically charge no fees for ATM transactions at the associated bank and no monthly fee. There may be some conditions such as direct deposit.
Rewards accountEarn cash back or airline miles for each transaction.
Student bank accountOffered to full-time students, these accounts won’t require a minimum balance or charge monthly or ATM fees.
Online bank accountYou’ll usually receive unlimited domestic electronic transactions and be restricted to online access only.
Interest-earning checking accountSome financial institutions may offer checking accounts that earn interest up to a certain amount. You’ll have the usual benefits like ATM access and linked debit card.
You’ll typically get unlimited electronic withdrawals, check access and ATM access for no monthly fee.
Travel bank accountThese bank accounts don’t charge an international ATM fee, or it will have a worldwide ATM network to get cheaper withdrawals.
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How do I compare everyday accounts?

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a checking account.

  • Options for accessing your cash. Get your cash from a teller, online or from an ATM. Online banking allows you to view your account, make payments, deposits and transfers right from your computer. Many banks offer mobile apps, making online banking even more convenient.
  • What are the monthly fees and charges? Compare the fees that various banks charge. Some banks will charge if you don’t maintain a minimum balance, while others charge for using in-branch bank tellers.
  • Debit card. If your bank issues a debit card, see if it’s backed by a major credit card provider like Visa or Mastercard. This will allow you to make purchases in stores and online.
  • ATM. The quickest and easiest way to access your money is through an ATM. Some banks will charge fees for using ATMs at other banks, while others will waive them. Check the network to see how many ATMs are close to you.
  • International transactions. Larger banks with an international presence can provide you with certain services if you travel overseas, including cash withdrawals at ATMs. Check the fees for international money transfers, overseas purchases and currency conversion when looking at different checking accounts.

Can I rent an ATM for my business? If so, how?

Yes, there are numerous companies that allow you to lease or even buy an ATM for your business. Many work by sharing a percentage of the transaction earnings with you. You can also contact a bank, as many will pay you to have their ATM.

How do I compare banks?

There are several features to consider when deciding on a bank, including:

  • Your banking needs.
  • Your current and future financial goals.
  • The products and services a bank offers.
  • The bank’s fees for the transactions you’re likely to conduct regularly.
  • The Internet banking and mobile app platform.
  • Branch and ATM locations.
  • Customer support options.
  • How long it has been in business.
  • Its reputation among friends, family and other consumers.
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Thinking about using your bank account overseas or for online shopping?

What’s the best US bank online account for overseas use?

Your best option is to look for an account that can be accessed from overseas and also charges minimal fees when you withdraw funds abroad. There are a range of banks that offer online accounts.

What is the best account to use overseas?

Hoa is looking for an US bank account that meets the following requirements:

  • Online only (although it’s OK if the bank has physical branches)
  • Can be accessed without requiring an SMS code

He is currently living overseas and his current bank has moved to a system that requires him to enter an SMS code each time he wants to log in to his account. There are a few options he may want to consider:

  • RaboDirect: While a phone is not required as part of its online banking system, you do receive a DigiPass that holds the codes for you to log into your account.
  • Citibank: Citibank’s iPhone app allows you to generate codes, but you’ll need a working U.S. phone number to activate this feature. Bonus: Citibank’s Plus account offers fee-free international money transfers.
  • Purchasing a cheap US SIM card: This will solve the SMS problem.

Where’s the best place to exchange or transfer money to another country?

There are a number of services that specialize in currency exchange. Our guide lets you compare your international money transfer options.

Which bank has the best* or worst customer service?

Since is an online comparison and information service, we’re not in a position to offer commentary or opinions. Instead, you may be interested in looking at other sites like Product Review.

Where can I deposit a USD checks and get the best exchange rate?

There are a few options you may want to consider:

  • Deposit the cheque into your regular checking account, although you may be hit with a range of fees
  • Deposit the cheque into a multi-currency account. There will be fees, but you may get a better exchange rate.

How does my foreign income get taxed?

Any foreign income you earn will be taxed and needs to be declared on your tax return. This includes employment income, investment income, business income, pensions and capital gains.

Are there USD accounts that can take USD PayPal US withdrawals?

Yes, but you will only be able to withdraw funds to a US bank account in US dollars. This option is not possible for US bank accounts.

What should I consider when choosing a bank account for managing my family's budget?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a bank account to manage your family budget. For example, you’ll probably want a joint account that offers minimal transaction fees for the regular bills you pay. If you want to use the account to pay for big-ticket purchases such as family vacations, you’ll want to earn interest on your balance.

How much should I save per week?

The answer to this question depends on your situation. If you have an aggressive savings goal, then you may want to save about 30 to 40% of your salary. If you just want to put away some money, up to 20% is a good rule of thumb.

Why should I get a checking account?

  • Money management. A checking account gives you a secure place to keep your money, where you can easily deposit income and pay bills. The bank statements give you a record of your transactions so you can better manage your spending.
  • Purchase power. A debit card with a credit card logo gives you unlimited access to your money.
  • Convenience. If you choose a checking account that has online banking, you’ll be able to see your balance daily and manage your spending.
  • ATM access. With your linked debit card, you can access your funds at an ATM for more flexibility.

What are the risks involved with checking account?

There are a few things you should watch out for so you can maximize the benefits of a checking account:

  • Fees. There are various fees for every checking account. Don’t only look at monthly fees, but also look for check transactions, overseas purchases and teller assistance.
  • Minimum deposits. Some accounts require a monthly minimum balance or you’ll be charged a fee.
  • Too many transactions. In some cases you’re allowed a certain number of transactions with your ATM withdrawals or teller assistance before you start paying fees.
  • Online purchases. Be sure that you understand the fees for purchases made overseas online. You may be charged extra or you’ll pay an exchange rate.

Common questions about checking accounts

Shirley Liu

Shirley Liu is a program manager at finder, formerly the publisher for Banking and Investments. She is passionate about helping people make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    jgpingarAugust 28, 2018

    I need to open a checking account in U.S.
    I am a foreig citizen, so I don’t have a Social Security Number.
    What can I do?

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloAugust 29, 2018

      Hi there,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      If you relocated to the US to work or study, it is possible for you to open a US bank account. As a new arrival to the US, you may find it more difficult to meet the requirements of a bank. You’ll typically need to provide government-issued ID and a Social Security number as well as proof of your creditworthiness.

      Online banking is an option, but current laws in place to protect against money laundering could prevent you from successfully opening an account. You may find better results by talking directly with a client representative at a bank’s physical branch. You will need to confirm the requirements for the bank you’re interested in as well as gather the documentation necessary. Also ask about maintenance fees so that you can plan ahead.


  2. Default Gravatar
    LorenzoAugust 15, 2018

    Want to know what bank would be best for my needs

    • finder Customer Care
      JoanneAugust 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Lorenzo,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Everyone has unique banking needs. Some prefer convenience and flexibility, while others want to earn points on their purchases. One of the great things about bank accounts are they can be a short term commitment.

      Review your needs regularly to see if your bank account still meet your needs.The best bank account will help you manage your finances efficiently and reach your savings goals.

      This page will further explain the different types of accounts, their benefits and what you need to consider before opening.


  3. Default Gravatar
    StephanieJuly 24, 2018

    I need help with getting me bank account setup

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Stephanie!

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      To open a bank account, you can do this online (by visiting the website of the bank) or you can go directly to the bank’s offie and physically open an account there. May I ask for which bank account this is?

      Looking forward to your reply!


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