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Never Bounce a Check Again! Free Checking Accounts with Online Banking.
Overdraft Protection Tied to Automatic Savings Account Tied to Check Card Purchases. Daily eMail Balance Alerts.

Get Free Checking, Free Online Banking, Free Overdraft Protection and Free eMail Balance Alerts... and Never Bounce a Check Again!

Why Pay Monthly Bank Service Fees and 'Per Check' Fees When You Can Get Totally Free Online Checking Accounts with Many Banks that Enable You to Keep Track of Your Bank Balance with eMail Alerts and Mobile Banking. With a few banks you can further avoid Overdraft Fees by Taking Advantage of an "Automatic Savings Account" Tied Into Your Check Card Purchases which is also Tied into Overdraft Protection.

The almost total disappearance of the paper check and the ubiquitous use of bank debit cards for numerous small and large purchases daily, coupled with automatic payment arrangements, has made it almost impossible for even the most careful person to to keep tabs of their bank balance unless they keep their money in a bank that offers ALL of the following services:

Free Checking Accounts Many banks offer one or more ways to have a free checking account. Some require you to open the account online to qualify. Some require that you have direct deposit of your Social Security payment or other regular income check. Some offer it if you choose to rely totally on electronic deposits, payments and withdrawals. By eliminating monthly service charges and 'per check' fees, you are not only saving quite a chunk of cash each month, but you are also avoiding running up unexpected charges that can easily throw off your bank balance and possibly cause expensive $35 per check overdraft fee.

It's almost impossible to keep track of every little purchase you make each day with your bank debit card using the old-fashioned paper check book method. The result is being surprised by smaller balances and steep overdraft fees.

As you dash about buying gas, paying for a burger and coke at the drive-thru, mailing packages at the post office, buying groceries, etc., most people find that there just aren't enough spaces in the typical check register or the time or the ability to remember to record all of these little transactions using the old 'pen and paper register' method.

The result? It's easy to lose track of what you've spent and either wind up having a lot less in your checking account than you thought you had, or worse, to incur one or more expensive overdraft fees.

Here are some of the 'modern bank services that can help you keep total track of your account balance and avoid surprises and excessive fees:

  • Automatic Savings Accounts One bank has a "keep the change" savings account with an incentive of up to $250 for opening it. This account automatically rounds up all of your debit card purchases and then deposits the difference into your savings account daily. Another bank offers to deposit $1 into your savings account everytime you make a debit card purchase. It would benefit everyone to bank where you can have some kind of automatic savings to cover unexpected emergencies and avoid overdraft fees.
  • Overdraft Protection. Some banks let you tie in your savings account with your checking account, and will use your savings as an overdraft 'buffer'. If you have an automatic savings account, you have substantial built-in protection against incurring overdraft fees.
  • Online Banking. Almost all banks let you check your balance online via your computer. Some allow you to tie in two or more accounts (personal checking, business checking, savings) and let you transfer balances between those accounts via your computer at any hour of the day or night to avoid potential overdrafts.
  • Daily Email Alerts of Balances, Direct Deposits, etc. Some banks allow you to sign up for daily email alerts of your account balance, which is another way to keep tabs on your balances and avoid overdrafts.

MONEYSAVING TIPS

Consider Asking Your Bank to Turn Off the "Overdraft Feature" of Your Debit Card

Most bank debit cards will let you charge a purchase regardless of whether you have enough money in your account to cover the charge or not. This can be a blessing or a curse.

Blessing if you are in a severe cash bind and using your bank's willingness to cover your overdraft as a very expensive way to get a temporary loan.

Curse if you are just careless in keeping track of your bank balance and have simply forgotten to keep track of all of your purchases.

Be aware of the factors that keep your online bank account balance from being accurate

Even though you check your bank balance online one or more times a day, there are still several factors that keep that balance from being accurate.

1. Uncleared checks. Some people hold checks for VERY long periods of time. Months, in fact. If you rely upon oline banking to keep track of your balance, this can completely throw off your calculations. You might want to consider minimizing using checks, or stop using them altogether.

2. Avoid using the credit card function, as this often takes longer for the charges to clear your account. If you make online purchases, this can be a factor as most of these purchases use the credit card fuction. In this case, keep a metal note and factor these purchases into your balance.

3. Be aware that certain charges take longer to clear. Using your debit card for a gas purchase can take a couple of days to clear. In the meantime, you only have a $1 "verification" charge on your account. Paypal charges often take 2 or 3 days to show up.

4. Be aware that certain gas stations and certain hotels will put a LARGE TEMPORARY HOLD on your account which may take several days to be removed. If you are running a very tight balance, if doesn't hurt to ask before you charge.

Reviews of Some Major Banks That Offer Free Online Banking with Balance Alerts and Mobile Banking

Chase.com Free online banking with email alerts subject to certain conditions: direct deposit or a minimum use of check card each month. Doesn't have savings tied into check card purchases or other 'free' savings plan that can also be tied into overdraft protection.

Citibank.com Offers Citibank® EZ Checking:

  • FREE of monthly fees if you use direct deposit OR make two monthly bill payments OR maintain a $1,500 combined average balance
  • $100 minimum opening deposit

They also provide Mobile Banking with Smart Phones, iPhones, and other mobile devices.... sophisticated Online Banking Services with email and mobile alerts and Bill Pay. They also offer a nice referral reward program which pays up to $500 for referring others to Citibank. I don't see that they have an automatic savings account tied into check card purchases or other 'free' savings plan that can also be tied into overdraft protection.

SunTrust.com "... You get a no monthly maintenance fee account... never a minimum balance requirement or a direct deposit requirement.... free use of all SunTrust ATMs, unlimited check writing, a free SunTrust Visa® Check Card with the option to enroll in SunTrust Rewards, free Online Banking with free Bill Pay, free Mobile Banking, free 24/7 automated telephone banking.... Eligible for Get Started SavingsSM account (with automatic tranfers of as little as $10 a month) ... Overdraft Protection Service (tied into your savings account) with a $10 transfer fee....." They have also added emailed balance alerts.

Find Banks in Your Area That Offer Free Online Banking

To locate banks in your area that offer most or all of the features and benefits we've outlined on this page, just go to Google.com and search on "free checking account" plus the name of your town or city.

 

Two Outstanding Major Banks with Free Checking, Automatic Savings Tied Into Your Check Card Purchases, Free eMail Balance Alerts, Mobile Banking Services and Other Ways to Help You Keep Track of Your Bank Balance and Avoid Costly Overdrafts

Bank of America has a couple of "free checking account" options (My Access and Student, a "Keep the Change" program that ties into your BofA savings account which you can tie into their overdraft protection plan. They also offer a sophisticated online banking system as well as over the phone banking. You can sign up for daily email balance alerts. They have picture ID Visa debit cards, direct deposit, and some other excellent sevices including fraud protection.

  • Bank of America "My Access" Checking is free if you open it online or have a qualifiying monthly direct depost (social security, payroll, annuity, etc.). It offers:
    • Online Banking service with Bill Pay
    • Bank of America debit card with Photo Security®
    • Optional Overdraft Protection service from your linked Bank of America savings, line of credit or credit card account
    • Make deposits to and write checks from your account with no per check fee
    • Keep the Change® savings service
    • Check Safekeeping and image services
    • Access to more than 18,000 Bank of America atms and 6,100 Banking Centers
    • Direct deposit of your payroll or Social Security benefit
  • Bank of America Keep the Change Program This program rounds up all of your debit card purchases to the nearest $ amount and deposits the difference into your savings account on a daily basis. " .... you must have a Bank of America checking account, check card, and savings account..... We will match 100% of your Keep the Change transfers for the first three months after you enroll. Thereafter, we will match 5%. The maximum total match is $250 per year...."
  • Online Banking lets you check your balances, transfer fund between accounts (including other people's accounts both within Bank of America and outside of BofA) using your computer, or any device that lets you access the Internet.
  • Overdraft Protection Tie in your 'Keep the Change" funded savings account with your checking account, and your overdraft worries will be greatly diminished. It's best to avoid having to use this often -- save it for an emergency -- as there are transfer fees if you make more than 3 transfers from your savings account each month.
  • Free Online Banking Alerts
    -Know immediately when important activity occurs
    -Help prevent late fees with balance alerts
    -Receive via email or text message on your mobile device
  • Mobile Banking lets you view your balance or transaction record in an instant. Simple and secure, mobile phone banking makes banking on your terms easy. With mobile banking, you can access balance information, pay your bills, and transfer funds and find nearby ATMs or banking centers through the browser on your cell or mobile phone.

Wachovia has two free checking accounts which don't require a minimum balance or direct deposit.

When you open a Free Checking Account with Wachovia, you can add on a free (no minimum deposit required) "Way to Save" Savings Account which AUTOMATICALLY deposits $1 into your savings account every time you use your Wachovia debit card and whenever you pay bills online via BillPay. The first year, they'll give you a guaranteed 5.00% APY and will also reward you with a 5 percent bonus on what you've saved that year.

Wachovia also offers additional free services to help you manage your account, keep track of balances, transfer funds, and avoid overdrafts.

  • Wachovia Mobile® service provides a safe and secure way for Online Banking customers to access eligible Wachovia accounts for free. You can manage your Wachovia accounts even when you're away from your computer—on vacation, having dinner with friends, in the checkout line—anytime, anywhere, simply using your mobile device.
  • Online Banking with Billpay
    • View up-to-date balances and up to 90 days of activity on your checking, savings, investment money market accounts, as well as installment loans, credit cards, CDs, and lines of credit.
    • Access your accounts securely and through Wachovia MobileSM.
    • View, print, and save up to 7 years of your bank statements with Online Statements.
    • Transfer funds between your eligible Wachovia accounts and your non-Wachovia accounts
    • Pay bills quickly and easily with Online BillPay—it’s faster than writing and mailing a check.
    • View, search for, print, or save copies of posted checks.
    • Get your account balances delivered to your email or wireless device with free Balance Alerts.
    • Re-order checks, stop payment on checks, and send secure messages to and from Wachovia customer service.
    • Access your Online Banking account information directly from Quicken, QuickBooks, or Microsoft Money for $5.95 per month after a free three month trial period.
  • Free Balance Alerts Get your account balance delivered to you via email
    or wireless device. Simply indicate the accounts for which you'd like to receive balance alerts, and we'll do the rest. Choose between two alert options:
    • Daily Balance Alerts – receive your account balance information at the beginning of each business day.
    • Threshold Alerts – receive notice when your account balance falls above or below the amount you set.
  • Overdraft Protection (costs $10 per transfer). You can tie in your savings account to your checking account, and save quite a bit on the typical overdraft fee.
 


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