One of the most essential components of money management is a checking account. It allows you to keep your money in a safe place and then access it when you need it, using a check, debit card, or electronic transfer. But when is the best time to open your first checking account?
If you have a summer or part-time job or pay some of your own bills (for example, mobile phone or video game subscription), then it’s probably a good idea to open a checking account. This way you can get used to managing your finances, which will definitely come in handy once you’re out of school and on your own.
Once you decide to open a checking account, consider the following:
- Fees: As much as we all dislike paying fees, the truth is that virtually every checking account has at least a couple of fees. This is why it’s important to see how fees stack up from one bank to another.
- Interest: If you tend to carry a balance, then you’ll probably want a checking account that earns interest. The rates are generally lower than those of a traditional savings account, but at least your money isn’t sitting idle.
While not essential, these services definitely can improve your checking experience:
After you’ve weighed the pros and cons, you can go ahead and open that new account. For first-time student checking account holders, we recommend something simple like Mountain America’s MyFree Checking (see www.macu.com for details). Also, make sure you bring a parent or guardian with you since you’ll most likely need a co-signer to open a new account.