15 Underrated Facts You Should Know About Checking Accounts

These eye-opening insights will change how you see your checking account.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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Checking accounts are the workhorses of personal finance, facilitating everyday transactions and providing a secure place to store your money.

While they're a common financial tool, many people might not be aware of some lesser-known yet vital aspects of checking accounts. Taking advantage of these hidden checking account perks may help you keep more money in the bank.

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FDIC protection

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One often overlooked fact about checking accounts is that they have Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection. This government agency ensures your deposited funds up to $250,000 per account against bank failures.

It's like a financial safety net, guaranteeing your hard-earned cash remains secure even if your bank encounters financial difficulties. Checking account holders can confidently access their funds, knowing the stability of the FDIC backs them.

Direct deposit

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While many know and use direct deposit, its full range of benefits might be underestimated. It's a convenient way to receive your paycheck or government benefits directly into your checking account. No more waiting in line to cash a paper check.

Plus, it's secure, eliminating the risk of lost or stolen checks. It's a hassle-free and efficient way to manage your income and ensure your money is readily available.

Overdraft protection

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If you accidentally overspend or miscalculate your account balance, overdraft protection can prevent your transactions from being declined. However, remember that it's not free. There might be fees involved, so use it wisely.

While it's not an excuse to overspend, having this protection can save you from the inconvenience of declined transactions. It's a valuable tool for ensuring your financial transactions go smoothly — and you’re not embarrassed if a merchant declines a payment.

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Mobile check deposit

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This feature allows you to deposit checks from your smartphone, eliminating the need for a trip to the bank. With just a few taps, you can capture an image of your check and submit it electronically.

Mobile deposit is available 24/7, making it incredibly convenient. This feature saves time, gas, and effort. Plus, you can stay cozy and deposit checks from your couch during busy days or inclement weather.

Bill pay services

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Many checking accounts offer built-in bill-pay services. This often free feature helps you manage your monthly bills more efficiently.

Bill pay services save you time and, in many cases, money on postage. You can schedule one-time or recurring payments for utilities, rent, credit cards, or any kind of bill. 

Additionally, these systems often provide payment tracking and reminders, so you'll never miss a due date again.

Spending breakdown

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A spending breakdown feature offers valuable insights into your spending habits. It categorizes and tracks your expenditures, revealing precisely where your money goes each month.

This detailed analysis helps you identify areas where you could cut back, save more, or invest.

Checking accounts offering this feature often provide graphs or charts to visually represent your spending patterns, making it easier to understand your financial behavior.

ATM access

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Extensive ATM networks are a hidden gem in the world of checking accounts. They make it convenient for checking account holders to access their money without incurring fees.

Most banks provide access to a widespread network of ATMs, allowing you to withdraw cash or check your balance for free. This feature saves you money and offers unparalleled convenience, ensuring you're never far from your hard-earned cash wherever you go.

Debit card perks

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Beyond simplifying everyday purchases, debit cards tied to checking accounts often come with additional benefits.

These perks can include cashback rewards, giving you something back every time you swipe. It's like getting rewarded for managing your everyday spending.

In addition, some debit cards issued by major credit networks like Mastercard offer purchase protection to safeguard your transactions against various issues. 

For example, if you aren’t completely satisfied with a product within 60 days and the merchant won't accept a return, Mastercard will reimburse you up to $250 per product.

Paper checks

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Many checking accounts offer paper checks, which can be essential in certain situations. From paying rent to making large, official transactions, paper checks offer a tangible way to handle financial matters.

While electronic payments are increasingly popular, having a stack of paper checks tucked away in your checkbook can provide peace of mind when you need a more traditional payment approach.

It's a versatile feature often underestimated in today's digital world and makes it easy to see whom you paid and for what amount.

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With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

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Online banking features

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Checking accounts are no longer just for storing money; they're powerful financial management tools.

Many offer a range of online features, including account monitoring, fund transfers, and digital statements. You can track your spending, set up alerts, and access your statements from anywhere.

If you’re ever in doubt about having enough money to cover a check or debit charge, you can check your account on your smartphone before you make that charge.

Mobile wallet integration

Prima91/Adobe digital wallet service by google

In today's digital age, many checking accounts seamlessly integrate with popular mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. This integration allows account holders to link their debit cards to their mobile devices for secure and convenient contactless payments.

By simply tapping their phones or smartwatches, users can make in-store or online purchases without needing physical cards. This feature provides enhanced security through biometric authentication and keeps your finances at your fingertips wherever you go.

ATM fee reimbursement

peacefulwarior93/Adobe using card at an atm

Many checking accounts offer a little-known perk: ATM fee reimbursement. If you use an out-of-network ATM, your bank may pay you back for the fees you incur.

It's a money-saving benefit often overlooked by account holders. Knowing you won't be penalized for accessing your funds anywhere can offer peace of mind and save you significantly over time.

Security features

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Safeguarding your finances is paramount, and modern checking accounts come equipped with robust security features. 

These include two-factor authentication, real-time fraud monitoring, and purchase protection. These layers of security shield your funds from unauthorized access and fraudulent transactions.

Recognizing the advanced security measures that protect your assets can ease your worries about fraud. Checking accounts are not only for convenience but also for safeguarding your hard-earned money.

No-minimum balance checking

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Many banks offer checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements. This often-overlooked feature makes checking accounts accessible to individuals who may not have large funds to maintain.

It provides the convenience of easy money management without the pressure of keeping a specific amount in the account at all times. 

These no-minimum balance accounts ensure that your financial institution won't impose fees or restrictions based on your account's daily or monthly balance.

Interest-bearing checking

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Checking accounts don't typically offer high interest rates compared to savings accounts, but they can still work to grow your money. 

Interest-bearing checking accounts, while not as lucrative or as common as savings accounts, earn you some interest on your balance.

They're an underrated option for those who want their money to work for them without locking it away and a way to make extra money at the same time.

Bottom line

Michael spring/Adobe woman at the cash machine

Understanding the often-overlooked facets of your checking account can help you manage your finances more effectively. 

From FDIC protection to convenient online features and cashback rewards, checking accounts offer many advantages beyond their basic function.

By making the most of these features, you can grow your wealth and maximize the benefits of your checking account, making it an even more valuable tool in your financial arsenal.

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Author Details

Adam Palasciano

Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.