This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

How to Find the Perfect Checking Account: Think Small

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Banks are increasingly looking for ways to increase fees from consumer services - and one way they've done that is to stop offering checking accounts for free.

Now banks, large and small, are charging about $5 per month to service consumer checking accounts, but also charging to replace lost debit cards; close checking accounts; and for incoming wire transfers.

But that doesn't mean free checking accounts are going away. Kasasa, of Austin, Texas, specializes in finding free checking accounts and has a few thoughts on how consumers can find the "perfect" one, which boils down to five key items:

  • No matter what, keep thinking "free." Kasasa says that, contrary to conventional wisdom, free checking accounts "do exist." To find one, think small, specifically community banks and credit unions.
  • Look for refunds on ATM transactions. The prefect checking account also includes refundable ATM transactions. It's not not always easy to find, but some banks offer it. Make sure to ask the bank you're considering if they'll give you money back on ATM transactions, which now average $2.50.
  • Avoid minimum balances. Banks are increasingly looking to charge for minimum balances on checking accounts -- but you don't have to pay them. The perfect checking account, according to Kasasa, is one with no minimum balances.
  • "Cash back" is king. Some banks will give you cash back for using their debit cards or for keeping their deposit accounts open, even if there's not a lot of cash stashed away in them. Again, small, local banks and credit unions are more likely to offer cash back. Make sure to ask before you sign on with any new bank.
  • Think small for great service. According to Kasasa, 92% like the service they get at credit unions and local and regional banks, compared with 69% of consumers who are happy with the service at "megabanks."

If it sounds like the perfect checking account exists only at smaller financial institutions, that is the case -- at least that's how Kasasa sees it.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,113.54 +61.81 0.36%
S&P 500 1,983.53 +9.90 0.50%
NASDAQ 4,456.0160 +31.3120 0.71%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs