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Money market vs. checking accounts
The right choice depends on how often you use it and whether you want to earn interest.
Both money market and checking accounts can help you manage your money with the help of checks and debit cards. Checking accounts offer unlimited access and more account features. Money market accounts pay interest, which can be more beneficial with a higher balance.
What’s the difference between money market and checking accounts?
|About||Interest-bearing account offering flexible access to your money while you save||Unlimited access to your money, allowing you to deposit funds, write checks, pay bills, cover expenses and withdraw cash|
|Minimum deposit||Varies up to $25,000||Low|
What is the federal six-transaction limit?
Regulation D is a federal regulation that restricts all types of savings accounts to six “convenient” transactions per month. This includes checks, debit card payments, phone transfers and automatic transactions like bill pay. But this regulation is temporarily suspended, so check with your bank to see if this policy is still in place.
Money market vs. checking accounts: Which is best for me?
Choose a money market account if you’re primary goal is to save, but you want the convenience of withdrawing money with checks or an ATM card if needed. Choose a checking account if you plan on using the funds for everyday spending and need unlimited access to your money.
If you don’t want to give up the high APYs that come with money market accounts, consider an interest-bearing checking account. The rate may be slightly lower than what you’d earn with a money market account, but you won’t be limited to six outgoing transactions a month.
Pros and cons of money market vs. checking account
Money market and checking accounts have distinct differences, so keep these pros and cons in mind:
Money market accounts
- More interest. Money market accounts generally pay more interest than checking accounts.
- Flexible access. Unlike traditional savings accounts, you’ll get a debit card and checks to access your money.
- Fewer service charges. Since these accounts are still limited to six transactions per month, you’ll likely incur less service charges than you would with a checking account.
- High minimum deposit. Money market accounts usually have higher initial deposit requirements than checking accounts.
- Limited transactions. Unlike checking accounts, these accounts are limited to six transactions a month. But due to COVID-19, you’ll want to check with your provider to see if this rule is still in place.
- Monthly fees. Most money market accounts have monthly fees. And while they’re often avoidable, the conditions may be harder to meet than conditions on checking accounts.
- Unlimited transactions. There are no limits on how many transactions you can make per month.
- Easily avoidable monthly fees. These accounts usually have low monthly fees and multiple ways to avoid them.
- Low minimum deposit. Checking accounts generally have low or no initial deposit requirements.
- Less interest. Most checking accounts don’t pay interest. The ones that do usually pay much less than money market accounts.
- Other fees. Beyond monthly fees, checking accounts also often have ATM charges, overdraft fees, transfer fees and more.
Compare money market and checking accounts
How to compare money market vs. checking accounts
Each account type was designed for a purpose, and knowing how to compare them can help you determine which is right for you:
- Interest rates. While some checking accounts pay interest, you’ll almost certainly earn more interest with a money market account.
- Deposit requirements. Money market accounts generally have higher initial deposit requirements.
- Features. Money market accounts generally offer basic account features, but you’ll likely get more perks and benefits with a checking account.
- Fees. There’s a good chance that both accounts will have fees. Compare options to find the best rates.
- Access. Money market accounts provide some access to your money, but are still subject to the federal six-transaction limit — unless your bank has temporarily suspended this policy. If you want unrestricted access, a checking account may be a better fit.
- Security. Both of these accounts are eligible for FDIC deposit insurance, but only if the issuing bank is FDIC-insured.
- Earn up to 1.25% APY
- No monthly maintenance fees
- Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
Editor's pick: Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Earn up to 1.25% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.
- No overdraft or NSF fees
- Low foreign currency conversion rate
- Digital money management tools
Money market and checking accounts are both designed to help you manage your money, but the best option for you will depend on your situation. Money market accounts are generally better for saving, whereas checking accounts can provide unrestricted access to your money.
Once you decide which type is right for you, compare your options to find the best account.
Frequently asked questions
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