5 Signs it's Time to Upgrade Your Checking Account

Have you had the same checking account for a long time? If so, it’s possible that there are checking account benefits and features that you’re missing out on. A traditional checking account can help you pay for common everyday expenses and provide you with access to basic features, but it’s important to consider your other options.

Here at Addition Financial, we offer an array of checking account options for members. You can upgrade your checking account features and functions by choosing one of our specialized accounts, such as an interest-bearing account or a money market account. Here are five signs that it’s time to upgrade your checking account.

What Are the Benefits of Upgrading Your Checking Account?

Let’s start by reviewing the benefits of upgrading your checking account. A basic checking account may come with many useful features, but it’s undeniable that you can get more features if you upgrade to a premium account:

  • You can get access to more robust banking features, including things like waived ATM fees and overdraft protection. These things are typically not available with a basic checking account.
  • You may be able to earn dividends or interest on the funds in your checking account. Without an upgraded account, you would need to keep money in a savings account to take advantage of an interest rate and annual percentage yield that would allow your money to grow.
  • Some basic checking accounts have limitations on how much money you can transfer or a cap on debit card transactions. Premium accounts have less restrictive rules and may even waive certain restrictions entirely.
  • You may be able to earn rewards. If you choose a rewards checking account, you may be able to take advantage of perks such as airline miles, higher interest rates or loan discounts, all things you can’t do with a traditional checking account.
  • An account upgrade can help you make the most of your money and get access to an array of features that simply aren’t available with a traditional checking account.

5 Signs You Should Upgrade Your Checking Account

Are you unsure whether upgrading your checking account is the right choice for you? Here are five signs that it may be time for an upgrade.

#1: You’re Not Earning Money on Your Deposit

If you’re like most people, you have a traditional checking account that doesn’t pay dividends or interest on your deposit. Having an active account, even if it has solid features, won’t help you work toward your long-term savings and financial goals.

It may be time to consider an upgrade if you’re tired of not earning a return on your deposit. Upgrading to an interest-bearing checking account can help you grow your money even when you need to keep it in your checking account to pay bills and meet other financial obligations.

#2: You’re Paying Unnecessary Fees

How much are you paying in fees with your existing checking account? A lot of people get charged a monthly fee. Many also pay an ATM fee any time they withdraw cash or get stuck with overdraft fees if they have an account that doesn’t offer overdraft protection.

An account upgrade can help you minimize some fees and avoid others. For example, some premium checking accounts waive their monthly fees if your balance is over a minimum threshold. Others provide overdraft protection with automatic transfers from savings to prevent you from bouncing a check (and getting stuck with a high fee).

#3: You Don’t Have the Financial Tools You Need

Some checking accounts come with minimal financial tools. For example, you might have access to online banking and mobile banking but be missing some of the features that could help you manage your finances, work toward your financial goals and improve your credit.

If you find yourself frustrated by a lack of financial tools with your current checking account, then it may be time to think about upgrading your account. For example, you might want to be able to automate transfers to your savings account or investment account when your direct deposit is made. Choosing the right premium account can give you access to all the features you need.

#4: You Want to Take Advantage of Rewards

You may have a rewards credit card, but did you know that there are rewards checking accounts available too? If you want to take advantage of rewards, then upgrading your account is one way to do that. 

Some of the rewards that are available to rewards checking account owners include airline miles, higher interest or dividend rates, sign-up bonuses, discounts on an array of products and services and even discounted rates for a personal loan or mortgage.

#5: You Want Your Money to Be Accessible

We always recommend that our members create an emergency fund to provide them with the cash they need to cover their expenses if they lose a job or experience a loss of income. Emergency funds helped a lot of people get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a premium checking account, you can keep your money accessible to cover bills and other expenses, including automated payments, while still earning a return on your deposit. Keeping your money liquid can provide peace of mind and with a premium account, you won’t be missing out on earnings.

What Are the Types of Checking Accounts You Can Upgrade To?

There are several types of checking accounts you can upgrade to if you decide that your existing account isn’t right for you.

Interest-Bearing Checking Account

Many financial institutions offer interest-bearing checking accounts. It’s common for these accounts to pay a lower rate than a savings account, but that’s not always the case.

You should keep in mind that many interest-bearing checking accounts require a minimum balance for earnings. For example, Addition Financial’s Benefits Checking account requires that accounts have a balance of at least $1,000 to earn dividends.

Money Market Checking Account

Money market accounts typically pay higher-than-average interest or dividend rates than traditional accounts. While not all money market accounts allow account holders to write checks against their balances, some do.

If you opt for a money market account, you’ll need to keep two limitations in mind. The first is that it’s common for money market accounts to allow for unlimited ATM withdrawals but to place limits on other types of transactions, including checks. Make sure you understand how many checks you can write per month before you open an account. The other consideration is the minimum balance requirement. If you write checks that cause your balance to drop below the minimum, you won’t earn dividends.

Rewards Checking Account

One very popular option among those wanting to upgrade their checking account is the rewards checking account. These accounts operate on the same general principle as rewards credit cards. Each financial institution that offers a rewards checking account has its own rewards and structure, so be sure to read the fine print.

For example, our Benefits Checking account pays dividends and offers the following perks:

  • 50% off a 3x5 safety deposit box
  • A free box of custom checks
  • Rate discounts on personal loans
  • Rate discount on new mortgages
  • 4 foreign ATM fee rebates per month

These perks are on top of the membership benefits that we provide to every one of our Addition Financial members.

How Do You Upgrade Your Checking Account?

Now, let’s walk through the steps to upgrade your checking account once you’ve decided that an upgrade is something you want.

  • Think about what you want from your upgraded account: The first step in the process is to decide which features are most important to you. Listing them can help you keep your priorities in mind when reviewing your account options.
  • Research accounts: We suggest looking at premium account features from at least three financial institutions before making your decision. Keep in mind that credit union accounts typically offer higher APYs than bank accounts and may also offer more financial education and other perks.
  • Compare account features: Account features may vary greatly between financial institutions, so be sure you compare everything. Keep in mind the overall benefits of each account. You may want to compare savings accounts at the same time since there are advantages to having both accounts in the same place.
  • Open and fund your account: When you open your account, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity. You’ll also want to make sure that your initial deposit meets the minimum requirements to earn dividends or interest.
  • Set up your online and mobile banking: As soon as your account is open and funded, it’s time to log in and set up any automatic payments or transfers you want. This is also a good time to opt in to security features such as two-factor authentication.
  • Close your old account: Once you have your new account set up, you’ll be able to close your old account. You should review any outstanding checks or automated payments and make sure you’ve protected yourself before you close out your old account.

It’s not difficult to upgrade your checking account, but be careful to protect yourself against overdrafts on your old account before you close it out.

Upgrade Your Checking Account with Addition Financial

Upgrading your checking account to a premium account where you can earn dividends and take advantage of more robust features and rewards is something we recommend, provided you can maintain the required minimum balance to take advantage of the features. Review the five signs that it’s time to upgrade to determine if it’s time for you to get a new checking account.

Do you need to upgrade your checking account? Addition Financial can help! Click here to read about our checking account options and start the process today.

The content provided here is not legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. Please consult with legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific needs or questions you may have. We do not make any guarantees as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not support any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability or legal obligations for your use of this information.