To get ahead you have to stay informed.


What To Expect From Your Checking Account

What you'll learn: Basic checking account features to expect



Money in, money out. When it comes to routine banking, you need a checking account that offers the ease of use you need without sucking you dry with added fees. A good checking account is designed to handle all the financial tasks you need on a routine basis.

A savings account or certificate account usually makes the best spot to tuck away money to let it grow with interest over time. A checking account, on the other hand, keeps your money immediately available for everyday expenses like gas, groceries and bills.

Checking account basics

Start with a checking account that offers a simple way for you to avoid a monthly fee.  Many checking accounts will waive monthly service fees if you maintain a minimum daily balance or sign up for a monthly direct deposit.

Your checking account should give you 24/7 access to your money via a broad ATM network with plenty of locations, preferably without fees. You’ll want to be able to pay your bills online and shop securely and conveniently using a debit card, which makes it easy to securely pay for products and services in stores, online and by phone. And look for benefits like overdraft protection to protect you from ugly overdraft fees if you overdraw your account.

Some checking accounts let you earn interest even on this everyday money, although the rates will be lower than those of a savings account. These dividend-paying checking accounts usually require you to maintain a minimum daily balance or sign up to make a regular monthly direct deposit.

The credit union advantage

Keeping your checking account at a credit union helps you make the most of even this basic financial resource. “As a credit union CEO, my mission is to pay the most I can on deposits and charge the least on our loans to our member owners,” said PenFed Credit Union President and CEO James Schenck. “Credit unions exist to maximize value to their members, not a group of profit-seeking investors.”

At PenFed, that means paying members superior dividends, even on something as basic as checking accounts. Money in a PenFed Access America checking accounts earns 0.50% APY with a daily balance of $20,000 or more, or 0.20% APY with a daily balance of less than $20,000. That's money earned for nothing more than going about your financial business — and that's good sense.

Your money is safe whether you choose a credit union or a bank for your checking account. Your account is federally insured by the NCUA for at least $250,000. That’s one of the best reasons to keep the money you use for everyday living in a checking account — no matter what happens, your money is safe.

Access your funds when you need them

A checking account is all about quick, convenient access to your funds whenever you need it. Even so, expect at least a small delay when you’re adding or removing money from your account. Most deposits will be available the business day after your deposit.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on pending transactions that are still processing. Your current balance may not yet reflect the subtraction for a debit card transaction or a check you wrote yesterday. Being mindful of the usual lag time for all the financial institutions involved to process your purchases and deposits will help you avoid overdrawing your account.

Safe, simple, seamless

The PenFed Access America Checking Account is nationally recognized for its excellent terms and features. These include fee-free access to a network of more than 85,000 ATMs, a minimum opening deposit of only $25, and no monthly service fee if you maintain a daily balance or a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more.

Shop with confidence knowing that PenFed’s $0 Liability Policy on unauthorized purchases keeps you covered. Qualify for overdraft protection that works like a line of credit to protect you against overdrawing your account. Your chip-enabled debit card meets today’s top data security standards.

A PenFed Access America Checking Account opens the door to world-class online and mobile banking services and competitive, low rates on auto loans, credit cards and mortgages.

Bank with Confidence

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