Money market vs. checking accounts

The right choice depends on how often you use it and whether you want to earn interest.

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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?

Money marketChecking
AboutInterest-bearing account offering flexible access to your money while you saveUnlimited access to your money, allowing you to deposit funds, write checks, pay bills, cover expenses and withdraw cash
Check writingTypicallyYes
ATM accessTypicallyYes
FDIC insuranceYesYes
Minimum depositVaries up to $25,000 Low
Six-transaction limitYesNo

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.

Pros and cons of money market vs. checking account

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 per month.
  • 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.

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 top-rated accounts

Name Product Interest rate (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open
BBVA Money Market
$15 per month
(can be waived)
Earn one of the highest annual percentage yields (APYs) if you live in one of 42 eligible states, and access your money by ATM, check or bill pay.
UFB Direct Premium Money Market Account
$10 per month
(can be waived)
Enjoy the security and earning potential of a savings account while maintaining the flexibility to write checks.
CIT Bank Money Market
A savings account with a higher-than-average rate and minimal fees.
CIT Bank Savings Builder High Yield Savings Account
A super-high interest rate if you're in the habit of saving at least $100 per month or have $25K in the bank. Earn up to $300 Cash Bonus with a $50K deposit. Open to both current and new customers. Conditions apply
Huntington Relationship Money Market
$25 per month
(can be waived)
Earn a guaranteed interest rate of 1.50% (0.87% APY) for 6 months with this money market account that includes an ATM card and a 24-hour overdraft grace period.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product APY ATMs Fee
Chase Total Business Checking
16,000 Chase ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches
(can be waived)
If you’re new to Chase Total Business Checking®, get $200 when you open this account and complete qualifying activities. It boasts convenient features to help small and growing businesses reach their goals.
Huntington Business Checking 100
Huntington Business Checking 100
Free at more than 1,800 ATMs across the Midwest
Earn a $200 bonus when you open a Huntington Business Checking 100 account if you live in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania or West Virginia. Conditions apply.
Huntington Unlimited Business Checking
Free at more than 1,800 ATMs across the Midwest
(can be waived)
Earn a $400 bonus when you open an Unlimited Business Checking account if you live in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania or West Virginia. Conditions apply.
Huntington Unlimited Plus Business Checking
Free at more than 1,800 ATMs across the Midwest
(can be waived)
Earn a $750 bonus when you open an Unlimited Plus Business Checking account if you live in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania or West Virginia. Conditions apply.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to compare money market accounts and traditional 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. 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.

Bottom line

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.

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