This “plain vanilla” account is the simplest type of checking account, and you can get it from most brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions. It provides a small set of features and is suitable for everyday banking.
Basic checking accounts generally allow you to:
- Access and transfer money
- Withdraw funds from an ATM
- Use a debit card
- Write and deposit checks
- Pay bills
- View and manage your account online (and in some cases, through a mobile app)
Expect to pay monthly maintenance fees with a basic checking account. You may also have to pay overdraft fees or returned-check fees if you spend more than what’s in your account.1 Other fees may apply, too, so read the fine print.
Some banks waive account maintenance fees if you sign up for direct deposit with your employer, maintain a certain monthly balance, or pay a bill online.2
Basic checking accounts usually don’t bear interest, so you won’t be earning money on your balance. Before you open a basic checking account, find out what you’ll have to pay and what you get in return—you might find a better deal with a different kind of account.