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Whether you’re opening your first checking account or on the hunt for a new bank with better checking perks, there are a few things worth considering. Checking account perks vary from one financial institution to the next, and some credit unions and banks even have multiple checking options to meet the needs of their diverse clients, like service members. Things that you probably haven’t considered – like service fees, reimbursements for ATM fees, and early paycheck access – can make a huge difference in your banking experience, and your finances. Here are the top things to consider in a checking account: “Choosing a checking account can be tricky if you aren’t sure what to look for,” said CJ Pointkowski, Assistant Vice President of Savings and Checking at Navy Federal. “We have a variety of products that cater to members at all different stages of their financial journeys, and we want to help members find what’s right for them.”

ATM fee rebates. Two and three-dollar fees (or more) each time you take out cash from an ATM are a nuisance and can make it feel like your account is slowly leaking money. Some banks or credit unions will reimburse ATM fees up to a certain dollar amount each year. Navy Federal Credit Union has multiple checking account options with ATM fee rebates up to $120 a year and a Free Active Duty Checking account for military members with rebates up to $240 a year.

Service fees. Many banks charge you a monthly service fee, also known as a maintenance fee, just for doing business with them. Oftentimes you can bypass this monthly fee by keeping your checking balance above a certain amount, but if you carry a lower balance the monthly fees can be draining. Usually accounts with bigger perks have higher fees, so it’s wise to compare several options to decide what will work best for you. Navy Federal has multiple checking options without any service fees or minimum balance requirements, so you never need to worry. Check out their Free Easy Checking, Free EveryDay Checking, and Free Campus Checking (if you’re between 14 and 24), for completely free checking options with other great benefits.    

Early access to military pay. If you’re on active duty some banks will let you access your paycheck one business day prior to payday if you’re enrolled in direct deposit. Banking with a military-focused credit union like Navy Federal gives you access to that perk through their Free Active Duty Checking account, which isn’t just for Active Duty service members. Reservists and retired military can also open one of these checking accounts and enjoy the perk of early pay. Plus, check out their Military Active Duty Posting Calendar for 2021 to see the days you get paid for the rest of the year.     

Mobile deposit. Most service members don’t get to enjoy the luxury of banking at a brick-and-mortar institution, so being able to deposit checks and pay bills on your cell phone are absolute musts. All of Navy Federal’s checking accounts automatically include Mobile Deposits, which allow members to deposit up to $50,000 in personal or business checks each day 30 days after becoming. Depending on when you make your deposit, you can have access to your money as soon as the very next business day.

Other benefits. Navy Federal has some great additional perks that come with their checking accounts, in case you weren’t sold already – monthly dividends, overdraft protection, and free checks, to name a few.

Plus, members get to enjoy a plethora of added benefits like shopping discounts, online member deals at your favorite stores when you use a Navy Federal credit card, plus support and resources at every life phase – in and outside of the military. 

If your checking account isn’t working for you or it’s just time for a change, there are many options out there to meet your unique needs. Not all checking accounts are created equal, nor is every financial institution, so it’s important to examine things like rewards, benefits, and fees before opening a new account. Banking with a financial institution, like Navy Federal Credit Union, that understands and caters to the unique needs of service members can be a financial game-changer as well. 

Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA.

This article is sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union.

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