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4 Features Your Checking Account Should Have

What you'll learn: What features your checking account should have


A checking account is your everyday solution for money management. It’s a convenient funnel for your paycheck, online bill payments, and the rest of your routine finances. Still, it’s not made to do everything—when you want to earn interest on money you don’t expect to use for a while, choose a savings account or certificate instead.

People used to choose a checking account by finding the nearest, most convenient brick-and-mortar bank or credit union near their work or home. Today, mobile and online banking make it easy to get to and manage your money 24/7, wherever you are.

Benefits your checking account needs

When you’re choosing a checking account, look for these features.

  1. Fee-free ATMs. Where’s the sense in having to pay to access your own money? Getting your hands on your own cash shouldn’t be costly or inconvenient. Look for a checking account that provides an extensive ATM network so you can access your money at home or on the road. And don’t put up with high ATM fees. Choose an account that lets you access your money with low or no fees. Some banks even reimburse you for the fees charged by other banks when you use an out-of-network ATM.
  2. Low or no minimum balance fees. You can least afford more fees when you have little money to start with. Look for a checking account that doesn’t hit you with monthly fees if you keep a low balance in your account, or find an account that lets you avoid minimum balance fees in other ways—such as making regular direct deposits.
  3. Low or no overdraft fees. Have you noticed that banks rarely bounce (refuse to pay) checks anymore when you don’t have enough funds to cover them? That’s because they’ve discovered they can make money charging overdraft fees. These fees are no joke, averaging $34 per transaction. If you cut your budget close on a regular basis, look for a checking account with access to overdraft protection, and sign up for phone or email alerts to warn you when your balance is low.
  4. Good interest rates. Even though checking accounts are designed for everyday use, there’s no reason your money cannot earn a little something while it’s there. The best checking account interest rates are generally found at credit unions.

PenFed’s Access America Checking

Looking for a checking account that gets the job done right? PenFed Access America Checking gives you the benefits and features you’ve been looking for.

  • Free ATM access. Get cash without fees from the largest surcharge-free ATM network in the nation. You’ll have over  free ATMs to choose from.
  • Avoid monthly fees. Pay no monthly service fee when you keep a daily balance, or make a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more.
  • Overdraft protection. Qualify for overdraft protection that works like a line of credit.
  • Superior dividends. Earn dividends when you make monthly direct deposits of $500 or more per statement cycle—0.20% APY with a daily balance less than $20,000, or .50% APY with a daily balance of $20,000 or more (up to $50,000).

With PenFed Access America Checking, you’ll also enjoy a chip-enabled debit card that meets today’s top data security standards, and a world-class online and mobile banking experience that offers low rates on auto loans, credit cards, and mortgages.

Bank with Confidence

Get access to a checking account built for the way you live.