Why Do You Need a Checking Account?
Top Reasons Why Everyone Needs to Have a Checking Account
Depending on which numbers you find, there are between 17 million to 24 million Americans that don’t have a checking account. With the 2008 financial crisis and general distrust of banking institutions in general, it’s understandable that some people would rather manage their money themselves, but having a checking account makes doing that infinitely easier. From safety to expedience and security, using a checking account helps you get your finances in order and put your financial future on solid ground.
Get Paid Easily
With nearly 78% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, getting paid on time is a big deal. Having to wait on a paper check from your employer, going to the bank during banking hours, and depositing or cashing it takes up a lot of time that most of us just can’t spare. Any single setback along the way can make you miss a payment or force you to wait on money that you desperately need. However, if you have a checking account, your employer can set up direct deposit so your paycheck gets automatically deposited into your account without any additional fees or time out of your already busy schedule. The money is readily available the moment it hits your checking account so you don’t have to wait to pay your bills.
Security & Protection
Cash doesn’t leave a paper trail, a checking account does. It’s a story that’s told time and time and time again. Person A gets paid, cashes their paycheck, has $1,000 or more in cash on their person, and loses it or gets robbed before they can pay their bills. Now, there’s no recovering it. That money is gone and they have financial responsibilities they just can’t meet. A checking account, however, provides you with detailed, time-stamped transaction data that shows exactly how much money you had, when you had it, and where it went. And if you set up direct deposit, you never have to worry about losing your hard earned money on your way home. That money is safe and secure.
Pay Your Bills Easily
No matter what stage of life you’re in, you have bills that need to be paid. Now, you can do it the old fashioned way where you write out a check, stuff it into an envelope, and send it in via snail mail, but there are so many things that could happen that result in your bills going unpaid. And you wouldn’t hear about it until you start getting hit with late fees!
The fastest and most reliable way to pay your bills is to do it online. Whether it’s your car insurance, cell phone bill, electricity, or what have you, you can log into a payment portal and securely pay your bill online. The amount will be debited from your checking account usually within 24 hours, or the next business day, and all it took was a few minutes of your time. And more often than not, you can set up automatic online payments so your bills get paid month in and month out with zero effort on your part.
However, you can’t do that unless you have a checking account.
Ease of Online Banking
Back in my day (I’m not that old, I swear), learning how to balance your checkbook was a Big Deal. That was the only way to know how much money you had available in your checking account since ATMs and balance inquiries weren’t a thing yet. You were, quite literally, keeping your own personal ledger so you didn’t spend more money than you had in the bank. And if you wanted to transfer money from one account to another, or even send money to someone in a different city or state, you had to go down to the bank, wait in line, and fill out paperwork. Online banking has made all this tedium obsolete.
You can easily check your account’s balance, transfer money to other accounts (and people), and take advantage of other offers from your banking institution without ever having to pick up a pen or leave your home. All you need to get started is a checking account.
Use of a Debit Card
When you open up a checking account, your bank will issue you a debit card to pay for things with money out of your account instead of having to carry cash around with you. Like we said earlier, cash doesn’t leave a paper trail and if you misplace your cash, it’s gone. However, if you lose your debit card or it gets stolen, you can call your bank to cancel your card and your money will still be there waiting for you. Most banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer specific services that protect you and your money in the event that your debit card is lost or stolen. This makes using a debit card far safer than paying with cash.
Now, it doesn’t hurt to carry a bit of emergency cash with you just in case you lose your debit card, but realistically, a debit card is the way to go.
Access to Online Budgeting Tools
Budgeting can be a bit of a chore, but when you you enroll in online banking, you’re able to link your account to online money management platforms like Mint.com or YouNeedaBudget.com. This gives you access to detailed reports and powerful tools that help you understand where you money is going so you can better manage it.
The answer to your question is a resounding yes. You absolutely need to get a checking account. It’s safer, easier, and more secure than using cash or money orders and there are many online tools to help you better manage your money.