More From SmartAsset
Even More from SmartAsset
Subscribe to our Newsletter
May 08, 2017 If you owe someone money, there are multiple ways to pay them back. In the past, you might have written a check. But these days, you can transfer money electronically through various payment systems, including apps like PayPal and Venmo. You could also wire money to a checking account. If you're not sure how wire transfers work (and you're wondering, how long does a wire transfer take?), here's everything you need to know.
Mar 14, 2017 Getting married means joining your life with someone else's and for many couples, it can take some time to work out all the kinks. One of the most important things that needs to be addressed once you tie the knot is how you plan to manage your household finances. If you're used to keeping your bills and income separate, it can be challenging to come up with a solution that makes everyone happy. A joint bank account may (or may not) be a good option to manage finances.
Nov 01, 2016 We've all heard of the Federal Reserve System but many of us don't know much about it. The media mentions the Fed every now and then, especially after it's had one of its meetings. But what exactly does the Federal Reserve do and how does it affect us? Let's take a look at a few of its key responsibilities and how its decisions affect the nation's cash flow.
Nov 02, 2016 According to the 2013 FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, 7.7% of households in the U.S. were unbanked, meaning that they had no bank account access. A further 20% were underbanked, meaning they have a bank account but still relied on Alternative Financial Services (AFS) like payday loans in the 12 months before being surveyed.
Mar 14, 2017 Recently a younger family member mentioned that he had just gotten a new debit card for his checking account because someone had gotten into his account. He said he wasn’t sure how it happened, but someone got access to his checking account information and racked up a number of charges. This was the second time this had happened to him in less than a year. And he's not alone.
Jul 18, 2017 Say you’re ready to make a down payment on a house. The seller asks you to bring the payment in the form of a cashier’s check. A cashier’s check is a check with guaranteed funds, with money drawn from a bank’s own account. But how exactly does a cashier’s check work? What makes it different from a personal check or a money order? How do you get a cashier's check? Let’s break it down.
Feb 20, 2017 Many of us have a lot on our plates. Besides our demanding jobs, there may be dishes to wash, children to feed and errands to run. If we have to do something outside of our normal routine, we often wonder how long it'll take. For instance, if you need a new savings or checking account you may wonder, how long does it take to open a bank account? We'll answer that question and explain what to do if a bank denies your request.
Jan 09, 2017 An emergency fund can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in a tight spot. But the amount of savings you have may vary depending on where you park your rainy day fund. While a traditional savings account is more secure than stuffing cash under a mattress, it won't generate as much interest as a certificate of deposit (CD). Here's everything you need to know about using a CD ladder to build an emergency fund.
Dec 19, 2016 Planning to go abroad soon? You'll need to have access to foreign currency. While you could make all your purchases with a credit or debit card, you run the risk of wasting too much money on foreign fees. One way to avoid that is to exchange currency and carry around cash. But sometimes getting access to foreign funds can be expensive. If you're on a mission to save money, here are the cheapest ways to purchase foreign currency.
Sep 20, 2016 Bank-to-bank transfers allow consumers to move money electronically. Specifically, they allow someone to transfer money from an account with one bank to an account with another institution. If you've never used this service before, it might seem a little confusing. If you need some help understanding how it works, here's what you should know about bank-to-bank transfers.
Aug 12, 2016 When you start a new job, there's typically a laundry list of things that you have to do during your onboarding process. In addition to meeting your new co-workers and filling out various documents (like the W-4 form and the I-9 form), you'll likely need to set up direct deposit. If you're trying to figure out how to do that, here's what you need to know to get started.
Jul 05, 2017 Individuals with a high net worth tend to take a different approach to managing their money. Research shows that the rich and the ultra-rich set themselves apart from the Average Joe, particularly when it comes to saving, investing and banking. Here's a look at some of their banking habits. Even if you're not rolling in dough, you might be able to apply some of their strategies when dealing with your own personal finances.
Mar 11, 2016 You can do just about anything with a smartphone these days and if big banks have anything to say about it, that will soon include getting cash at the ATM. While some smaller banks have already rolled out cardless ATMs, Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo are among the biggest financial institutions to jump on this trend. The updated machines are expected to roll out sometime in 2016 but in the meantime, here's what you need to know to prepare for the change.
Mar 11, 2016 When you invest your money, you expect to reap some sort of reward. The saying goes that the greater the risk, the greater the reward. That's sometimes true. For example, buying stocks, while risky, can potentially leave you with a higher returns than you'd get from buying bonds. If you're trying to compare certificates of deposit or savings accounts, the annual percentage yield (APY) will tell you which one will give you the greater return on your investment. Not sure how the APY works? Read on to find out.
Mar 09, 2016 After a while, hitching rides with friends or waiting for public transit can get old. You may decide you want a car of your own. Cars, of course, can be expensive and looking at different makes and models might leave you feeling frustrated and stressed. Before you give up hope, we'll cover the ways that first-time buyers can save money for a car.
Feb 29, 2016 If you want to break up with your bank, it's a good idea to pump your breaks before moving over to a credit union. While it's true that credit unions rival banks by charging fewer fees and accommodating their customers' needs, they have their flaws too. Before you officially make the switch, it's a good idea to consider what you could lose by deciding to bank with a credit union.
Feb 26, 2016 Millennials probably can't imagine banking without their computers or cell phones. Members of older generations, however, might recall a time when they had to visit a branch to access their accounts. To some people, the passbook savings account is a thing of the past. To others, there's still room for it, even in our high-tech society. If you're not quite sure where you stand on the matter, read on to learn more about these savings accounts and why they're still around.
Feb 18, 2016 Just because two people haven't officially tied the knot doesn't mean they don't have shared expenses and financial goals they want to achieve. So how should unmarried couples handle saving money? Some of the best tips apply to married and unmarried couples alike, but others are specific to the unmarried set. Here's saving 101 for unmarried couples.
Feb 02, 2017 Repurchase agreements, or repos, are tools that give investors access to fast cash without requiring them to put too much on the line. They're short-term contracts that can end overnight or last for months at a time. For anyone who's ever wondered what repos are and why they matter, we'll break down their purpose and their role in the money market and our country's monetary system.
Feb 16, 2016 So you want to visit the Big Apple but you're worried about blowing your budget? With a little planning and savvy you can save money while you're in New York City and still have an unforgettable trip. How much does it take to have an amazing experience in the city that never sleeps? It really depends on your taste, but there are some tried-and-true tips we can share.
Feb 15, 2016 Saving money for retirement or a major purchase can be difficult, especially if you're still paying off student loans, credit card bills and other kinds of debt. If one of your goals for the year is to become a super saver, it might help to start small. Aiming to save $10,000 or $15,000 in a year might seem daunting, but breaking that goal up into chunks can make it easier to attain. Here's how you can start saving money every month.
Feb 12, 2016 If you're on the hunt for a new checking account or you want to start investing, you might need to set aside time in your schedule to do some research. That's because there are many kinds of banks and financial institutions. By understanding the different types of banks and their functions, you'll have a better sense of why they're important and how they play a role in the economy.
Feb 09, 2016 There are a number of fees that banks charge. Besides the charges that come with failing to maintain a minimum account balance and using an out-of-network ATM, it's also possible to get hit with an overdraft fee. Fees of any kind can drain your account. If you wish you knew more about overdraft fees, we've got the lowdown on how they're charged and how to avoid them.
Jul 19, 2017 Your credit score matters, especially if you're planning to buy a house or you want access to the lowest loan interest rates. There are three credit bureaus that keep track of consumer credit data. What many people might not know is that there are also companies that collect information about savings and checking accounts. One such reporting agency is called ChexSystems. In case you've never heard of it before, here's everything you need to know about it and why it exists.
Nov 17, 2015 Switching banks might make sense if you're paying too many fees or your savings account interest rate isn't high enough. Comparing checking accounts and opening a new one isn't that difficult, but closing an old account can turn into a headache if you're not careful. Here's what you need to do to make the transition from your old bank to your new one as smooth as possible.
Sep 27, 2016 Writing checks isn't as common as it used to be. Many of us rely on our credit cards, direct debit and good old cash to make the payments in our lives. For some people, a monthly rent check is the only check they ever write. When you're just starting to use checks or you don't use them very often, it's easy to get confused. Here's our guide to how to find your routing and account numbers on a check.
Oct 07, 2015 Free checking accounts are few and far between these days and banks are all too happy to tack on extra charges whenever possible. One of the most annoying fees is the one you pay for letting your balance fall below a certain daily or monthly limit. If you want to hang onto that cash instead of handing it over to the bank, here are some easy ways to avoid the fee.
Feb 01, 2017 Many Americans use debit cards to pay for food, clothing and everything else under the sun. Research suggests that millennials in particular prefer debit cards over credit cards and more than a third of them don't have any credit cards at all. Even if you already know how debit cards work, there could be some benefits and drawbacks to using them that you aren't aware of. We've got you covered.
Sep 29, 2015 A certificate of deposit (CD) is an example of a low-risk, low-return place to stash your money. CDs are offered by banks and credit unions. Like bonds, they have maturity dates. You buy a CD with a maturity date that is between 28 days and 10 years from the purchase time. If you withdraw the money before that date, you could end up paying some kind of penalty.
Jan 11, 2017 Anyone who runs a small business probably knows that managing company finances is not always easy. Keeping track of the money that's flowing in and out can be challenging and time consuming, particularly if you're self-employed or you're missing an accountant on your team. If this is a dilemma that you've had to wrestle with, it might be time to sign up for a business checking account.
Sep 24, 2015 There's nothing more awkward than having your debit card declined when you're out to dinner or shopping at your favorite store. But if you've got overdraft protection, you can swipe your card without fear. When your account has this feature, the bank can automatically transfer money from your savings account in exchange for a small fee. You have to sign up for protection, so if you're planning on opening a new checking account, here's what you need to consider before opting in.
Sep 23, 2015 Banks are both borrowers and lenders. That means they pay interest (on customers' deposits) and collect interest (on mortgages and other loans). The difference between the interest a bank collects and the interest it pays is a big part of how a bank makes money. This is known as net interest income, but it's not the only income source for banks.
Sep 22, 2015 Checking accounts may look the same on the surface but appearances can be deceiving. When you're on the hunt for a new account, you don't want to make the mistake of just focusing on the fees. Taking a second to check out the details can point you toward the account that offers the most bang for your buck. Here are four benefits that may catch your eye.
Sep 21, 2015 Finding a completely free checking account can be like searching for a needle in a haystack these days. It seems as though banks are tacking on fees left and right. In fact, one recent study reports that Americans pay about $151 a year in fees for a basic checking account and the cost keeps climbing. If you're engaging in any of these bad banking habits, you could be making things worse.
Sep 18, 2015 If you don't want to face the inconvenience and potential embarrassment of trying to make a payment that exceeds your account balance, overdraft protection might seem like a perfect solution. The catch is that you'll probably have to pay for overdraft protection, and if you regularly overdraw those fees can really add up.
Sep 17, 2015 Everybody likes free money and one of the easiest ways to get your hands on some is by opening up a new checking account. Banks sometimes offer cash bonuses to new customers, but these deals aren't always as sweet as they may seem. In fact, there are a few reasons why saying "no" to one of these freebies may actually be the smartest move.
Sep 16, 2015 In the past, all banking was done in person. You couldn't deposit a check or transfer a payment without visiting a brick-and-mortar bank or an ATM. Technology has transformed every aspect of our lives, including our banking activity. Not only is it possible to monitor your savings and checking accounts online, but it's also possible to control your accounts through your smartphone.
Apr 10, 2017 The differences between checking and savings accounts are important. A checking account is a transactional account. Customers move money in and out of checking accounts, sometimes multiple times a day. A savings account is designed to sit and earn interest. These days, though, you won't earn too much more from a savings account than you would from a checking account.
Sep 14, 2015 Identity theft is a very real threat in the banking world and it seems like every time you turn around another security breach is in the news. While there's not much that the average person can do to prevent this kind of cyber crime from happening, there are plenty of ways to keep your information safe. If you're making these mistakes, you could be leaving your account vulnerable to hackers.
Dec 20, 2016 Yes, opening an offshore bank account is legal, as long as you follow procedures and declare your accounts to the IRS. The bigger question is whether you should bother opening an offshore account. Of course, if you're living abroad you'll need a foreign bank account for practical reasons, but if you're based stateside, there are pros and cons to going offshore.
Sep 09, 2015 When you're just getting started in the real world, your checking account may be the last thing on your mind. After all, you've got to get a job, find a place to live, set up a payment plan for your student loans and figure out this whole budgeting thing first, right? While all of those things are important, pushing your bank account to the back-burner could come back to bite you. If you're a new grad, here are four mistakes you don't want to make when it comes to your checking and savings accounts.
Jan 12, 2016 Some online-only checking accounts come with perks to offset their lack of brick-and-mortar branches. Depending on your customer service needs, you might be able to make the switch from a traditional bank to an online bank. The more fees you're currently paying on your checking account, the more you stand to gain from making the switch to online-only banking.
Jan 15, 2016 If you want to save money for a down payment on a home, your retirement fund or just a rainy day you may be wondering how to trim your expenses. Utimately, the best way to save money is the one that you can stick with and apply consistently. To get you started, here are our tried and true money-saving tips.
Jan 15, 2016 Signing up for overdraft protection means your debit card won't be declined if you're short on cash. But it comes with a cost. In fact, research suggests that customers who have overdraft protection pay more than $250 a year. Opting out is one way to sidestep fees, but if you're worried that you won't be able to make a purchase in an emergency, there are other ways to avoid paying them.
Aug 25, 2015 Saving up money for a rainy day can be difficult, especially if it doesn't seem like you're earning very much interest from your bank account. Fortunately, there are several different savings vehicles to choose from. So if you've got a pile of money sitting in a plain old vanilla savings account, there are some alternatives that could yield a better return.
Aug 11, 2015 You could say that checking accounts are a lot like scoops of ice cream - they come in all different flavors and you don't want to end up with one you don't like. Thanks to the rise in mobile-only banking, free checking is beginning to make somewhat of a comeback. But at the opposite end of the spectrum, you have your choice of premium accounts to sign up for.
Nov 18, 2016 Mobile-only banks are one of the latest innovations to hit the banking industry as financial institutions adapt to keep up with changing consumer demand. Although the concept is relatively new it's quickly catching on, especially among millennials who seem to overwhelmingly prefer digital banking services. Mobile-only banks like BankMobile, GoBank and Moven combine convenience with lower fees, but there are some trade-offs to consider before moving your money into one of these accounts.
Nov 17, 2016 If you're tired of handing over money to your bank for overdraft fees each month, you might want to think about opening a checkless checking account. Banks like Bank of America and Citibank offer check-free banking options that come with built-in overdraft protection along with the same features that you'd get with a regular checking account. SmartAsset breaks down the basics of checkless checking, including the biggest pros and cons.
Jan 20, 2017 Learning how to properly manage a bank account requires some trial and error and just about everyone makes a mistake at some point. If you've run into trouble in the past with overdrafts or bounced checks or have bad credit, opening a new bank account can be difficult. Second chance checking accounts are designed for people who've made a misstep or two along the way and need a fresh start. Here are some tips for getting approved.
Apr 17, 2015 If you're fed up with the fees your current bank is charging you, switching to a new one can cut down on the cost. The only problem is that before you head out the door, your old bank could slap you with a few extra charges as a parting gift. Before you get ready to move your accounts, it's important to know what fees could end up getting added on.
Apr 14, 2015 Managing your savings and checking accounts can be a lot easier these days thanks to innovations like online and mobile banking. One of the newest tools that banks are rolling out is mobile deposit, which allows you to add money to your account by taking a picture of it with your smartphone.
Jan 11, 2017 If you're tired of paying fee after fee at your big bank, a credit union may be your perfect match. Just about anyone can join and beyond offering the basics like savings or checking accounts, they're also an excellent choice if you're looking for a car loan, hoping to get a mortgage or getting started planning for your retirement. Because they're operated on a nonprofit basis, credit unions also offer some extra incentives to their members that may just make you want to say bye bye to your old bank forever.
Jan 19, 2015 Real talk: How much money do you keep in your checking account? Too much and you're losing out on potential investment gains. Too little and you risk overdraft fees and a cash-flow emergency. So how much is enough?
Jan 15, 2016 Once upon a time, checking accounts were the simplest type of bank account. They were no-frills affairs, designed for keeping your money safe but easily accessible with a check or withdrawal. Now, with all the financial institutions competing for your money, checking accounts have become specialized, each coming with a set of perks that are meant to set it apart from the pack and draw your attention. If you're unsure which one is most suited to your lifestyle, we've broken down a few of the best checking account options out there.
Jun 30, 2015 Checking accounts come in a variety of flavors. Some are plain vanilla and others tutti-frutti, or bare-bones versus fully loaded. Regardless of which metaphor you choose, the plethora of choices can be confusing and costly. There is no point in paying for what you don’t want or need; and few things can be more expensive than not having the features that match your needs.
Jan 15, 2016 What is a savings account? By definition, the purpose of having a savings account is to give you a safe place to park your cash. Depending on your needs, you could use a savings account to start your emergency fund, save for your dream vacation or build up a down payment for your first home. There are a few different types of savings accounts to choose from but finding the right one doesn't have to be difficult. We've broken down the basics for five savings options that can help you reach your financial goals.
Dec 20, 2016 It's never too early to start teaching your kids good financial habits and the teen years are a great time to introduce them to the basics. Setting your teenager up with a bank account of their own is an important first step in building smart money management skills. While you could go with a traditional checking or savings there are plenty of banks that offer accounts specifically for middle and high school students. If you're shopping around for a teen bank account here are some tips for finding the right fit.
Jul 29, 2015 If you’re like most people you have had the same checking account for years and maybe even decades. Perhaps it's the only one you've ever had. The fact of the matter is most people open a checking account at the same time they get their first job and stick with it through thick and thin. The problem with that is that the checking account you opened in high school or college may have been adequate then but probably falls short of the mark now.
Jun 30, 2015 Managing your checking account seems easy enough. Money goes in, money comes out and as long as you're in the black at the end of the month you're fine, right? Not necessarily. Even though it's pretty straightforward, plenty of people still struggle with keeping their accounts in order. Oftentimes, the result is that you end up shelling out your hard-earned cash to cover fees that could have been avoided. Here are some dos and don'ts that can help you make the most of your checking account.
Jan 13, 2016 Summer is winding down and millions of students across the country are headed off to college for the first time. If you haven't done it already, opening a student bank account should be the at the top of your freshman financial to-do list. Understanding the basics of how these student accounts work can help you make the best choice when it comes to deciding where to put your money.
Jan 13, 2016 You may not be aware of it, but one obvious drain on your cash flows that’s hiding in plain sight are banking fees. You know, those pesky monthly “maintenance charges” or minimum balance “penalties” your bank assesses to you when you’re not paying attention. Well, they add up. So if you’re looking to clean up your personal finances, make sure you take a look at your checking account.
Oct 22, 2015 Brick-and-mortar institutions face stiff competition as more and more people turn to mobile-only and online platforms to meet their banking needs. To keep clients, traditional banks are using some nontraditional tactics, like leveraging social media. Check out some of the banks that rely heavily on social platforms to create a better experience for their customers.
Oct 27, 2015 The good old paper check has somewhat fallen by the wayside now that we have plastic, online payment and direct debit to help us pay our bills. If you’re not in the habit of writing checks, you may not know what to do when the time comes. Here’s our guide to writing a check in six easy steps.
Nov 11, 2015 If you're the victim of credit card fraud, the most your bank can charge you is $50, and that's only if the physical card is lost or stolen, as opposed to just the number. But debit card fraud comes with the potential for more liability. If you wait too long before noticing or reporting the fraud, your bank could hold you liable for all the fraudulent charges. That's why it's important to follow these five tips to prevent debit card fraud.
Feb 02, 2016 Banks happily profit off of the fees they charge their customers. But for consumers and business owners, they can be a major source of frustration. Luckily, many sneaky bank fees - like overdraft fees - can be waived with the right approach. Check out seven tips that’ll help you convince your bank to drop their charges.
Mar 09, 2016 Not everyone who wants a new bank account can actually get one. That’s because banks tend to avoid opening new accounts for people who pose too much of a risk. So if you’re on the hunt for a new savings or checking account, read on for seven reasons why a bank might turn you away.