Listening to a financial planner on the radio the other day discussing the number of consumers with no checking or savings account got me to wondering. How many people choose cash as their only method of payment on a daily basis? According to NYTimes.com, “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says that across the country 7.7 percent of households don’t have a checking or savings account (that is, they are “unbanked”). Another 17.9 percent have checking or savings accounts, but they still rely on alternative financial services like check cashing, payday loans and pawnshops, which typically have very unfavorable terms for borrowers.”
At a time when many banks are proposing additional fees for simple things like swiping your debit card at the grocery store, I can truly understand why a lot of people are choosing to not open an account. However I personally believe that at least maintaining a savings account is a great idea so you can build a “rainy day fund.” If you are worried about fees, here is a list of some banks that you can open a free account with. (By opening a free account, I mean no monthly maintenance fees are charged and there is no minimum balance requirement.)
*PNC Bank offers an online free checking account. You also get free online banking and a free debit card if you need one.
*Best Bank offers a free checking and free savings account. Best Bank is located in many Walmarts. They are also in some local grocery stores. Currently Best Bank also gives you your first set of checks for free however you do have to pay shipping and handling on them.
*Schwab Bank offers a free online checking account. Since there aren’t many Schwab ATMs around, they also offer ATM reimbursement so you aren’t penalized for using other banks’ ATMs. (Restrictions apply)
*USAA offers a free online checking account. They also have a “teen” version of the free online checking account. As with Schwab, USAA will reimburse you for any ATM fees that you incur. (I use USAA for my auto insurance.) USAA is primarily for military and veterns.
If you currently bank with a bank that doesn't charge monthly maintenance fees and doesn't have a minimum account balance, visit our Freebies forum and share it with us!