Many investors use savings accounts to earn interest on money that they don’t need right away. However, sometimes they want to use their money to make a payment. Unfortunately, you cannot write checks from a savings account. Here’s what you can do instead. A financial advisor can help you figure out the best way for you to manage your money.
What Is a Savings Account?
A savings account is an interest-bearing deposit account offered by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. Savings accounts are federally insured for up to $250,000 per account owner and provide a modest interest rate. Federal regulations limit the number of transactions you can have with your savings account and prohibit these accounts from writing checks.
Most investors have a checking and a savings account at their preferred bank. This tandem allows them to write checks from their checking account and earn interest on their savings account. Investors can freely transfer money between the two accounts based on their needs. The savings account can also be linked for overdraft protection if your checking account balance falls below zero.
Can You Write Checks From a Savings Account?
No, federal regulations prohibit customers from writing checks against their savings accounts. Additionally, while savings accounts can be accessed through an ATM or debit card, you cannot use the debit card to make purchases using the money in your savings account. If you want to earn interest on your balances and be able to write checks, there are other account options available. These accounts provide additional flexibility and more earning power than a traditional savings account.
Interest-Bearing Checking Account
Many checking accounts now earn interest. While these interest rates tend to be modest, they are comparable to the interest rates on traditional savings accounts. Some online banks offer checking accounts with interest rates that are competitive with rates on high-yield savings accounts. And many of these online accounts have no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees.
High-Yield Money Market Account
A high-yield money market account offers the best of both checking and savings accounts. They give account holders the best interest rates on a savings account while offering the functionality of a checking account. Not all high-yield money market accounts offer check-writing functionality. Before opening your account, verify that this feature is included and what restrictions and fees there may be.
Many high-yield money market accounts have no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. But, some require larger balances in order to receive the highest interest rates. Think about how much money you’ll keep in the account to determine if you can meet those balance requirements to earn more interest.
Money Market Mutual Fund
Money market mutual funds are offered by brokerage and investment companies. These accounts operate like a money market account offered by a bank or credit union. However, they don’t have the same FDIC protections on the first $250,000 in your account. Instead, investment companies are covered by SIPC protection. SIPC coverage protects up to $500,000 of cash and investments at each financial institution, of which cash is limited to $250,000 in protection.
Not all money market mutual funds have check-writing capabilities, so check with your investment company to verify if they offer this feature. If their money market mutual fund allows check writing, most have no limit to the number of checks that you can write. However, make sure that there are no fees associated with writing checks.
The Bottom Line
While a savings account is a good way to earn interest on your money and save for short-term goals, these accounts do not have check-writing privileges. Instead, investors have multiple options that earn interest and offer the ability to write checks. Before opening an account, compare interest rates, balance requirements, fees and limitations to determine which account is best for your situation.
Tips for Earning More Interest on Your Money
- Financial advisors keep up to date with the latest offerings from banks, credit unions, investment companies and other financial institutions. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Earning more interest can accelerate your goals and provide additional income each year. Because interest rates are low right now, it pays to shop around to find the best interest rates, fees and benefits for your money. Use our savings calculator to determine how much additional interest you can earn by switching to an account with a higher rate.
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