Graduating Your Checking Account

class of 2014

Beach week is over; the cap, gown and degree are somewhere amidst a pile of clutter from a boxed up dorm room. Unfortunately, your welcome into the adult world of full-time work did not come with an instruction manual. But there are plenty of smart decisions you can make now, especially when it comes to your financial well-being.

Most college students assume that the free, no-frills checking account they had for years, perhaps even since high school, will last forever. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It is time to graduate your checking account to the next level. If you don’t have a Rewards Checking Account with us, you may want to make the switch.

Avoiding Fees:
Checking account fees can add up quickly, especially for a recent graduate without a steady income stream yet. With many big banks, the less money you have in your bank account – a common problem for most recent graduates – the more likely you are to be charged fees. Instead, look for a fee-free checking account with no minimum balance charges, or per-check fees. That decision could save you upwards of $100 over the course of a year.

Fees might also come in the form of ATM charges. These are a bit more difficult to avoid, unfortunately, but it can be done. One simple way to avoid ATM charges is to always use the ATM located at your credit union. If you are going to be traveling a lot for work, or just for fun, look for machines in a surcharge-free network.

Finally, overdrafts are another common item to plague young adults. Make sure to always keep tabs on your account balance to make sure you don’t overspend. Mobile and online banking are great resources to use, since you can check your accounts from virtually anywhere. Members 1st offers Members 1st Online, a free online banking system. It’s easy to enroll.

Capitalizing on Resources:
Credit unions may offer benefits and conveniences that other financial institutions do not.  If you don’t have your checking account with us, consider these conveniences that we offer:

  • Online bill pay, which can cover utility payments and other regular monthly bills directly from your account.
  • A mobile app that includes a deposit feature so that you can simply snap a photo of your check and deposit it into your account without stepping foot in the bank.
  • Debit card rewards, to help you earn back some cash for just making your everyday purchases.

Finding the right checking account doesn’t have to be a difficult ordeal. A fee-free, rewards checking account like you can find at Members 1st FCU can save you significantly in reduced fees and easy-to-use rewards. Start your new adult life out right with an account that makes sense for your lifestyle.

 Guest Blogger: Cait Klein, NerdWallet

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