5 Tips for Managing Your Checking Account and Savings
If you’re aiming to get out of debt, buy a house or make a big money move, getting your checking account under control is a critical first step.
Your checking account is the hub through which you control your finances and monitor your financial health. It’s the tool you can use to deposit checks, pay bills, transfer cash and more. Understanding how to use a checking account effectively will protect your money and your credit score, making it easier to meet your savings goals. If you’re hoping to get out of debt, buy a house or make another big money move, getting your checking account under control is the first critical step.
Follow these five tips to get the most out of your checking account.
1. Always know your checking account balance
The first and most critical step in managing your bank account is keeping track of your checking account balance. This allows you to create and stick to a budget, plan ahead for expected and surprise expenses, and ensure that you only spend the money you have. Spending more than you have in your account results in overdraft fees, which can add up quickly if you don’t know your balance.
The easiest way to check your account balance is to log into your account through your bank’s mobile app or website.
However, here are some additional ways you can check your account balance:
- Send a text message to your bank
- Ask for it at any of your bank’s branches
- Request your balance at an ATM
- Call your bank’s customer service team
Pro tip: Your bank likely offers automated text alerts, which send checking account updates to your cell phone. To make managing your checking account easier, consider setting up transaction alerts through your bank's mobile app or online banking portal. Cadence Bank clients also have access to text banking services—by texting us, you can quickly check your balance, see recent transactions and transfer funds between your accounts.
2. Download your bank’s mobile banking app
Using your bank’s mobile app makes it easy to do more than monitor your checking account balance. With a few finger taps, you can securely move cash between your savings and checking accounts, set up automated alerts, deposit checks, and pay bills. Depending on your bank and account type, you may also have access to shopping discounts or valuable, real-time information about your credit score. Learning how to manage your bank account with your bank’s mobile app makes it easy to maintain good financial health—anywhere, anytime.
Pro tip: Your bank may offer money management tools that help you set and track budgeting goals. See what personal finance tools your bank offers through its mobile app and online banking portal—and use them.
3. Understand and avoid paying extra fees
Many checking accounts charge a small monthly fee for the valuable services they provide. However, some banks waive the fee under certain circumstances. For example, if you maintain a certain account balance throughout the month or set up direct deposits, you may be able to get your monthly checking account fee waived.
The biggest potential fees associated with managing your bank account are overdraft fees. Understanding how to manage your bank account involves understanding overdraft fees. Most banks offer overdraft protection options; for instance, the bank may automatically transfer the overdrawn amount from your savings account to checking. However, banks may charge a fee for these services as well.
Pro tip: To avoid any overdraft fees, configure your alerts to notify you when your checking account drops below a designated amount. This will help you manage your bank account more effectively.
4. Automate deposits and payments
Direct deposit allows your employer’s payroll department to automatically deposit your paychecks to your checking account for you. Direct deposit funds are usually available early in the morning on pay day, saving you the time and hassle of obtaining a paper check and depositing it yourself. Direct deposit is offered by many employers and encouraged by virtually all banks, so make sure you take advantage of it.
Automatic bill payment tools also make managing your bank account and budget a lot easier, while sparing you the stress of missing a payment. In fact, about 26% of Americans are most worried about missing their mortgage payments, while approximately 10% are most worried about missing their car payments, according to a 2020 survey from Wallethub.
Pro tip: Look into bill automation, like Online Bill Pay. Setting up automated payments for your mortgage, car loan and other monthly bills prevents missed payments and late fees. Making payments on time also protects your credit score.
5. Take advantage of your checking account perks
Many banks offer shopping discounts, additional protective services and other optional perks to their checking account customers. For example, here are some common checking account benefits that may help you better manage your bank account:
- Buyer’s protection and extended warranties
- Cell phone protection
- Discounts on shopping and dining
- Health savings cards
- ID theft assistance
- Roadside assistance
- Unlimited ATM usage or limited fees
Pro tip: Take inventory of your spending habits and checking account needs. What’s most important to you? It might be shopping discounts, limited ATM fees or discounted fees at other banks’ ATMs, the peace of mind that roadside assistance brings, or strong protective benefits. Take advantage of the checking account perks that fit your needs and save you money.
Upgrade Your Checking Account with Cadence Bank
Are you looking for a checking account that will help you thrive and meet your savings goals? Cadence bankers are happy to help you decide which checking account is best for you. Our bankers focus on building a relationship with each client by providing strategic and helpful financial advice. To get started, learn about Cadence Bank’s personal checking accounts or get in touch with a banker today.
Want to keep reading? You can learn more about a variety of personal finance topics in our other Insights articles.
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.