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Finding Lenders and Credit Card Companies to give You Loans and Lines of Credit:


Shopping for credit can result in serious dings to your credit score each time a hard credit report is pulled. So what do you apply for loans and cards when you already have a marginal or low credit score?

Instead of applying blinding and madly for multiple credit card offers, auto or personal loans, consider using a free matching service. Many lenders and issuers engage in these matching services, as they would rather receive qualifying applicants.

How it works: Loan providers and card issuers provide minimum credit requirements, which matching services use to pre-screen and thus pre-approve customers for certain loans and credit cards. Of course, they accomplish this through a "soft-pull" by asking the applicant a series of questions. Based upon each applicant's answers, a professional matching service can whittle down to lenders and issuers more right for your particular credit history.

Not only does this method limit unnecessary hard credit pulls, it can also be a huge time saver, as well as help to protect your identity by limiting the amount of creditors you submit your personal information to.

  

Some online banking offers easy bill paying, account balance review and free checking account activation.  

 

2nd Chance Bank Account

   

To Qualify:

*Your employer must offer direct deposit.

*You cannot have any existing checking or savings account with any bank.

           

      

 

checking account loan
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Info & to Apply

Checking account loan

You can get an unsecured cash loan with no credit check deposited directly into your bank checking account.

  

Online banking is ideal if you want to avoid monthly fees, and do most of your banking online. A free bank checking account offers easy online bill paying, instant account balance and debit review.

 


 

free debt relief. lower monthly bills and unsecured bill payments.

You don't need a bank loan to pay off bills...

Easily reduce bill payments

Stop harassing creditor calls and collection agencies

Free unsecured debt consolidation and debt settlement quote.

non-profit consolidation or debt settlement

 

 

Regardless of bad credit or no credit, give our consumer credit network a chance to serve you with a free bank checking account (offer currently offline).

 

Avoid overdraft and bounced check fees by managing your bank checking account so you don’t overdraw it.

 

Always know how much money you have in your checking account by keeping your account register updated. Record all checks, other withdrawals and deposits the instant they occur, and also remember to deduct monthly fees and/or check fees if your bank charges them.

 

Pay special attention to your online transactions and ATM usage. Don’t forget about any automatic debits you may have set up for loan or other payments. Also remember that you may have checks that have not yet cleared the bank.

 

Review your account statements monthly, the instant you receive them. Between statements, you can find out which payments have cleared and check your balance by calling your bank or by checking online.

 

If you overdraw your account, deposit money into the account as soon as possible to cover the overdraft amount plus any fees your bank may charge.

 

 

Joint Checking Accounts - Many married couples and family members find opening and using joint savings or checking accounts convenient and useful. With only one account, there is only one set of fees to pay and many married couples find pooling the money together makes budgeting easier.

 

However, joint bank accounts are riskier than separate accounts. If the relationship between the account holders turns sour, there is chance that one holder may drain the account without the knowledge of the other. Therefore, those considering opening a joint savings or checking account should discuss its benefits and downsides before making a decision.

 

Here are a few things to consider before opening a joint bank account.

 

Have Joint Account with Someone You Trust. The most important thing is trust. Only have a joint account with someone you can trust completely. This usually isn’t a big problem where family finances are concerned and where putting the money into a shared account makes bill paying and debt repayments easier. Elderly parents can also trust their adult children with their finances if they have a shared account.

 

Choose the Appropriate Signatory Option. Banks usually give joint account holders the options of “both to sign” or “either to sign”. Those who can’t trust their partner completely can choose the “both to sign” option so that transactions can only be carried out with the consent of both parties. If trust is not an issue at all, the “either to sign” option is very useful as it allows either account holder to transact independently of the other. What suits one household may not suit another. So choose the appropriate signatory option carefully.

 

One option for married couples is to each put all of their earnings into one joint checking account. If both spouses are comfortable with this approach, it's certainly the easiest logistically. If one of you is deeply in debt or is notoriously bad at keeping track of checks and ATM withdrawals, this may not be the best method for you. Account co-owners enjoy the right to spend, give away or transfer funds to other accounts, without the consent or knowledge of other account holder(s). In many cases, the "wronged" party can get back some of the money, but legal action is required.

Military Checking Accounts: Choosing the Right Military Bank Checking Account (Military.com): When shopping for a new account, you'll find there are an increasing number of ways to manage your money. Banks offer a wide range of checking and savings accounts. Some are basic. Some pay interest. Others do not. So what type of account is right for you? The answer depends on a number of factors: * Why do you need the account? * How often are you going to write checks? * How often will you need access your money? Some pay interest if you maintain a minimum monthly balance. Others do not. Whatever your requirements, you should be able to find an account that meets your needs. There are many to choose from. 1. Basic Checking Accounts. Also known as a "No Frills" bank account. With this type of account, you get a limited set of services for a small price. You may be charged a fee for each check you write over a certain limit or you may just be charged a monthly fee. Some banks will require you to set up a direct deposit or maintain a minimum balance in order to avoid a monthly fee. Basic checking accounts normally don't make interest payments to their customers. 2. Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts. The higher balance you maintain in these type of accounts, the more interest you will earn. If your balance drops below a preset level, you'll be charged a hefty monthly service fee. Interest-bearing accounts normally offer unlimited check writing privileges as long as you comply with the requirements. 3. Money Market Accounts. Money market accounts normally invest in short-term obligations such as commercial paper, CDs, or Treasury bills. These type of accounts usually pay a higher rate than checking or savings accounts and a lower rate than CDs. Rates vary according to current market conditions. Money market accounts are different than money market funds for several reasons. First, they are insured by the FDIC. Second, money market accounts are not charged the normal management fee that funds will incur. Money market accounts also place a tighter limit on check-writing privileges (often just 3 per month). They may charge you a maintenance fee if your balance drops below a preset level. 4. Asset Management Accounts. Asset management accounts are a type of checking account offered by many brokerage houses and banks. They offer the convenience of one account to take care of all your banking and investment needs. Asset management accounts normally provide unlimited check-writing priveleges and a comprehensive end-of-year statement that documents all of your transactions. Many financial institutions require a higher minimum balance to open an asset management account. You should expect to pay an annual fee.

Virtual Checking Account: Intrust Virtual Checking Features: * No monthly account maintenance fee if account is set up for e-Statements and no paper statement is received * Free OnLine Bill Pay * Discounted rate on new personal loans with auto debit payment. INTRUST may be the right choice if: * You rarely write checks and prefer using a debit card * You prefer electronic statements over mailed paper statements * You like making payments and managing your account online

Bank of America Checking Account: The Premium Tiered Interest Checking account from Bank of America is a traditional checking account offered to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management clients allowing you to manage your everyday finances while helping you maintain your long-term investment strategy.

Chase checking account: Chase Premier Platinum CheckingSM has all the benefits of Chase Premier Plus CheckingSM, plus: * Earns interest; * FREE Personal Style checks; * No Non-Chase ATM fee charged by Chase for using another institution's ATM3; * No Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee; * No Incoming Wire Transfer Fee; * No Stop Payment Fee; * Chase Plus SavingsSM with no Monthly Service Fee6 and higher interest rates; * Nine additional Chase Premier Platinum Checking accounts with no Monthly Service Fee; * Chase BusinessSelect CheckingSM account with no Monthly Service Fee; * Priority service—you´ll always speak to a specialist who can help you.

Capital One checking account: What's most important to you in a checking account? Rewards? Interest? - We have a checking account for you! * Get rewards every time you use your debit card, write a check, or pay a bill online; * Earn interest that grows with your balance. Free with every Capital One checking account: * Secure Online Banking with convenient features, such as Mobile Banking, Bill Pay, and Alerts; * Platinum Debit Card gives you ATM access and is more convenient than writing checks or carrying cash. Choose from unique card design options.

Citi Bank checking account: If you just need to keep it simple with a checking account for everyday transactions like direct deposit, bill payments and writing checks, this one's for you. All the essentials are here. NO monthly fee for performing qualifying activity each month; NO minimum balance; Unlimited check writing; Get rewarded for your banking relationship. Free Checking Account: (1) Make 1 Direct Deposit AND 1 Bill Payment each monthly statement period and pay no monthly service fee, OR (2) Keep $1,500 in prior calendar month combined average balances in either your Basic Checking or with a linked Basic Savings account and pay no monthly service fee

Charles Schwab checking account: High Yield Investor Checking - Pay no ATM fees worldwide with our popular Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® account.1 There are no monthly service fees, you’ll earn interest on your balance, and your account is FDIC-insured. No Monthly service fees; No Account minimum. Unlimited rebates from any ATM worldwide. A 0.10% variable interest rate on any balance. Free standard checks and a Visa® Platinum debit card. FDIC insurance up to $250,000. A linked Schwab One® brokerage account with no fees or minimums.

Discover checking account: Our FDIC-insured checking accounts offer free online bill payment and competitive interest rates. Discover Bank offers a variety of checking accounts. Whether you're looking to earn interest, benefit from added features, or take advantage of electronic banking, we'll help you find the right account. Enjoy banking convenience-on your schedule-from virtually anywhere, with our Banking Center and Online Bill Payment. * Personal Checking - Enjoy the convenience and flexibility of a personal checking account. * Super Now Checking - Meets your checking needs with competitive interest rates. * 55 + Checking - Specially designed for individuals age 55 or better. * Business Checking - Money management tailored to business banking needs.

ETrade checking account: Complete Online Banking Experience - Access your bank and brokerage accounts, see all of your account balances, and more - all on one page. * Convenient Online & Mobile Banking: Complete transactions anytime, anywhere to take advantage of investing opportunities, high bank yields, online bill pay, and more. * Free Quick Transfers: Make deposits, withdrawals, and transfers in seconds with our free, cash transfer service. * Unlimited ATM Fee Refunds: Get unlimited ATM fee refunds at any bank, any machine nationwide. * Unprecedented Online Security: Protect your privacy and assets with a free CompleteTM Digital Security ID and our E*TRADE CompleteTM Protection Guarantee.

Fidelity checking account: Fidelity® Cash Management Account - This free full-service account has all the features you'd expect, plus a few extras. And, you can manage your cash together with your investments for better financial control and seamless withdrawals, deposits, and transfers. *No monthly fees or minimum balances. No minimum to open. *Cash balances earn interest and are eligible for FDIC insurance coverage up to $500,000. *ATM/Debit Card - Pay no annual fee and get reimbursed for all ATM and surcharge fees. *Fidelity BillPay® - eceive and pay your bills on the web or on your mobile device. *Free checkwriting with no charge for standard checks and online images of your cleared checks. *Apps for iPhone®, iPad®, and Android™ let you check balances, pay bills, deposit checks, transfer money, and more—all on the go. *The cash manager provides benefits like self-funded overdraft protection and alerts when you have excess cash and are looking for potential ways to invest it.

Fifth Third Bank checking account: Personal Checking Packages - * Rewards Package - Accumulate valuable points fast on everyday banking. * Interest Package - Earn interest on your account balance. * Secure Package - Help achieve financial safety with credit monitoring. * Balance Builder Package - Build a nest egg with a checking and savings combo. * Gold Package - Use any ATM for FREE . Get Fifth Third Identity Alert. * Student Checking - Alerts and mobile banking for students and parents. * Club53 ® Package - Special perks for those age 50 or better. * Regular Checking - A great option to add an additional account.

HSBC checking account: * Premier Checking - Exclusive banking products and services that can be accessed from anywhere globally. * Plus Checking - Designed especially for savvy savers. * Choice Checking - Built for value and convenience. * Basic Banking - Ideal for those who only write a few checks a month.

ING checking account - Electric Orange Checking Account: * Your FDIC-insured Deposits Earn Interest - Your everyday money shouldn't cost you, it should help you save too. * P2P Payments - Send money securely to family and friends. It's Fast and free. Watch a demo. * Free MasterCard® Debit Card for all purchases. * Free Online Bill Pay. * Free access at over 35,000 ATMs - find one near you. * Free postage - we'll mail your paper checks for you. * Checks - Can't pay electronically? Order a checkbook.

Key Bank checking account: Personal Checking Accounts offer easy, online access and can help you save on overdraft fees, protect your identity, understand your credit score, and more, while Package Checking Accounts can help integrate banking and investing, offer higher earnings potential, and provide preferred pricing on financial solutions. Our enhanced KeyBank Relationship Rewards program allows you to earn points just by actively using your checking account, debit card or by expanding your banking relationship with Key. Key Privilege Select Checking Account: Enjoy the benefits of a suite of premium financial management solutions integrating banking and investing. A Relationship Manager will work with you to help determine your personal investment strategy. * Daily sweep with array of investment options1, unlimited check writing, and various overdraft protection options. * Comprehensive relationship statement showing banking and investment activity. * Unlimited reimbursement of other banks' ATM cash/withdrawal surcharges.

Liberty Bank checking account: We offer innovative, free checking accounts that help you earn and save - including a checking account that earns interest! Either way, it's more money for you. Open a checking account today! * Quarter Back® Checking - This personal checking account is just right for you, because you'll earn cash on debit card purchases. * BreakFreeSM Checking - Use the ATM a lot? You'll love BreakFree Checking. You won't pay an ATM fee - we even refund ATM fees the other banks charge! * Interest Checking - With a low minimum balance, this account offers a competive interest rate so your money can make money! * Debit MasterCard® - Our checking accounts come with a Liberty Debit MasterCard® - for easy ATM withdrawals and debit card spending. Make purchases anywhere MasterCard® is accepted.

Merrill Lynch checking account: * The Beyond Banking Account from Merrill Lynch is designed as a companion to a Cash Management Account® or retirement account. It allows you to enjoy the convenience of having your finances in one place, while keeping everyday transactions separate from your longer-term investments. * The CMA Plus package from Merrill Lynch is an optional enhancement to the CMA account, offering pricing benefits for certain cash management services. CMA Plus is designed for individuals who prefer the simplicity of a single account for both long-term investments and everyday finances.

PNC Bank checking account: Free Checking - If all you want are the basics with no monthly service charge, then Free Checking may just be the right solution for you. * Free PNC ATM transactions. * Unlimited check writing. * Free Online Banking and Bill Pay. * Direct Deposit - Sign up to have your payroll, pension, Social Security, or any regularly received income deposited directly to your account. *Overdraft Protection - Safeguard your checking account by linking it to a Protecting Account - another PNC checking, savings, money market, credit card or line of credit. When there are insufficient funds in your account to pay for an item, funds can automatically transfer from the Protecting Account to cover your payments. * PNC Bank Visa Check Card - The PNC Visa Check Card is the easiest way to pay, right from your checking account. Safer than cash, faster than writing checks, and every purchase can be tracked online or on your monthly statement. * Auto Savings - Make automatic transfers from your PNC checking to your PNC savings or money market account. You choose the amount you want to transfer and how often. * Automatic Loan Payment Plan - Take advantage of interest rate discounts on consumer installment loans and consumer lines of credit accounts with automatic payment from a PNC checking account. Interest rate discounts do not apply to PNC Mortgage loans. * Automatic Check Reorder - Automatic Check Reorder is a free service available to PNC personal checking and money market account customers who order their checks through one of PNC's primary check vendors. * Online Banking - Simplify the way you manage your finances with PNC Online Banking. Check your balances & recent transactions, pay your bills, move money between your accounts, & even send money to your friends and family whenever you like.

USAA checking account: USAA Free Checking Account - * Free nationwide ATM use. * Free USAA Deposit@Home® and Deposit@Mobile® for qualifying members. * Free USAA Web BillPay®. * Free unlimited funds transfers to any U.S. bank. * No monthly fees regardless of your balance. * View and manage your checking account on usaa.com and mobile.usaa.com. Teen Checking Account - * Convenience and control for parents. * View checking account activity online on usaa.com and mobile.usaa.com. * Transfer money electronically. * Free USAA Deposit@Home® and Deposit@Mobile® for qualifying members. * Great for giving teens real-world experience with money * Use any ATM nationwide for free.

US Bank checking account: Easy Checking - * A simple, straight forward checking account with basic account access. * Free Internet Banking with Internet Bill Pay. * Free U.S. Bank ATM transactions. * Free email and text alerts. * U.S. Bank Visa® Check Card. Silver Checking Package - * Basic checking features with a smart way to save. Free Internet Banking with Internet Bill Pay. Free U.S. Bank ATM transactions. Free email and text alerts. Preferred rates on new loans. U.S. Bank Visa® Check Card.

Vanguard checking account: A VanguardAdvantage account lets you consolidate and manage your investment and cash management needs in one convenient place. You get the ability to trade stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), and non-Vanguard mutual funds, plus you get cash management features, including unlimited checkwriting, a VanguardAdvantage Visa® Gold debit card, and optional electronic bill payment. * Your VanguardAdvantage account checkbook and Visa Gold debit card, if elected, will be sent by first-class mail to the address listed on your application. You should receive your checks and your debit card within ten days from the date your account was opened. For security reasons, your personal identification number (PIN) will be mailed separately, and you should receive it within three to five business days after you receive your debit card. * Overdraft protection is available for transactions using your VanguardAdvantage account checks or Visa Gold debit card, and for VanguardAdvantage Billpay® transactions. You can only obtain overdraft protection if you have been approved for margin trading.

Wells Fargo checking account: ValueSM Checking - This checking account gives you easy access to your money. Optional features include: * Platinum Debit Card; * Free access to Online Banking; * Two months of free Online Bill Pay2, after that Bill Pay is $6.95 per month. Checking and Savings Together - This package includes a checking and a savings account bundled for easy access and additional value. Features include: * Platinum Debit Card; * Free access to Online Banking with free Bill Pay; * A Wells Fargo Way2Save® Savings account – monthly service fee waived with qualifying automatic saving. Checking with Relationship Benefits - This premier checking account offers better rates, more discounts and bigger rewards. Premium features include: * Interest-earning checking; * Bonus interest rates on savings; * No monthly service fee on additional select linked checking and savings accounts; * Discounted loan rates; * Non-Wells Fargo ATM benefits; * Credit Card benefits; * Brokerage benefits.

Zions Bank checking account: With our Internet Checking account, there's no minimum balance to maintain, and you'll have access to free features such as Online Banking and Bill Pay. Account Features: * Free Mobile Banking3, Online Banking, and Bill Pay; * Free Debit Card; * Free nationwide ATM access in the MoneyPass® Network; * Write up to 5 checks per statement cycle ($2 each after 5 checks); * Overdraft Protection; * Free eStatements At Zions Bank our Military Checking account has many services, including unlimited check writing, free personalized checks and higher rates on a variety of savings accounts. You even get a discount on most consumer loans*. This is one of the finest premier checking accounts around, and it has no monthly fee. If you would like to earn interest on this checking account, check out our Military Interest Checking. Account Features: * Free imprinted checks up to $20.50 ($5.95/box processing and handling fee); * Free Mobile Banking, Online Banking, and Bill Pay; * Free nationwide ATM access in the MoneyPass® Network; * Eligible for Gold Savings, Money Markets, and CD's, which pay higher interest than regular accounts; * 0.50% rate reduction on eligible installment loans* with automatic payment setup; * Free 3x5 safe deposit box (not availble in all locations); * $2,500 accidental death insurance; * No issuing fee on Travels Cheques for 1 (1% fee for 2), Money Order, Cashiers Checks; * Free notary services; * 10% off mortgage origination fees; * 20% discount on assisted brokerage transactions; * eStatements.

 

 

Advice: Compare for benefits. Review all the terms and conditions and special offers before you apply for a bank checking account. Some banks offer a bonus for opening a checking account, such as a no fee period or a special rate.

 

Visit our articles to learn more information about bank checking accounts, federal regulations and news.


Credit Problems? You can get credit card and loan approval even with bad credit, depending upon the card issuer or loan lender qualifications. Creditors set their own standards and not all view your credit history in the smae light. Some don't review your credit history at all. Some may look only at recent years to evaluate you for credit, and they may give you credit for your current, timely bill payment history. Consider contacting creditors informally to discuss their credit approval qualifications before you submit an application.



Review Disclaimer: Review information was gleaned from the website, and is neither an endorsement by us nor an confirmation of content nor a warranty of any promises made by the website. Use the review information at your sole discretion and sole liability.
 

ConsumerBadCreditGuide.com Review - ©2003 Consumerbadcreditguide.com

Getting A Checking Account While On The Chex System: The Chex System provides deposit account verification services to its financial institution members to aid them in identifying account applicants who may have a history of account mishandling (for example, people whose accounts were overdrawn and then closed by their bank). The service sounds useful, and it is for banks and financial institutions. It alerts them to cases of fraud and other abuses. Those who routinely and intentionally write bad checks should have their criminal activities recorded in Chex Systems. However, not all negative activities are examples of fraud or intentional misuse. Most of us have written at least one check that has bounced, but they make it sound like we are all criminals. Even if you had a checking account closed in the negative balance and did not pay the negative balance in time, they will have reported you to the Chex System. To top it off, we have heard stories of people reported for amounts less than fifty dollars.

Where can I dispute my Chex System report? Please submit your dispute in writing to:
Mail: Chex Systems, Inc.
7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125
Phone: By phone at 800-428-9623 or fax at 602-659-2197

They claim that you will be notified of the results within approximately 30 days and if errors are discovered and they will be rectified immediately. If the reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, you are entitled to request a brief statement be added to your consumer file outlining the nature of your dispute. Here’s how: Send a statement to them, in writing, that clearly indicates that you want that statement to be added to your file and make sure you sign the request.

What to do if your reported to the Chex System? Do not close any other checking accounts or your savings accounts. Keep the balances in the positive

Pay all overdraft fees as soon as possible. Note: Learn about the Federal Reserve's New Overdraft Rules For Debit And ATM Transactions

Make good on the checks. Once you have paid the overdraft fees and satisfied everyone who received a bounced check, have a short explanation inserted into your Chex System file.

Finding a bank and opening a checking account while on the Chex System: Just because you are on the Chex Systems, this does not mean that you will be denied a checking account from your local bank. Sometimes this can be overlooked by the bank to open a new account if they want your business.

There are several banks On-Line that will approve checking accounts to individuals who are on the Chex System, but are limited to check cards with no check writing privileges, so we did not list them on this site. We have however, heard of some reputable banks that include Etrade Brokerage (Please Note: Only Etrade Brokerage will approve you and not Etrade Bank). This brokerage account can be used like a checking account and you can order checks. One of our staff members was just recently approved at Etrade Brokerage with a negative Chex Systems report. Please also note that our staff member did not order checks when he first applied to increase the chances of approval, however he did order a check card. A $500 minimum balance is also required.)

Next, Compass Bank claims to have a second chance program for personal checking accounts. Also, Chase has an account called Access Checking specifically for people on the Chexsystems. You don't get checks but you do get a debit card with rewards. After a year of good standing with Chase they will upgrade it into a normal account. Next, Woodforest Bank offers a checking account for customer's who might have experienced difficulties with another financial institution in the past. Please visit your local branch to determine if you qualify for this account type. There is a required opening deposit of $50.00 and a one time account set up fee of $9.00. There is a monthly service charge of $7.95 if you have direct deposit, and $9.95 if you do not. Finally, if you are looking for a business checking account and have a EIN number, you may want to try Bank Of America (Please note that a few people have recently reported getting denied by Bank Of America).


Before you Freeze Your Credit Report with Bureaus, Review these Pros and Cons.
Really free credit scores from credit card company.
Review these free tips which offer debt help for unemployed people.
With Extra Payments, You Can Save Interest Money and Payoff Debt Faster. Use our Free Credit Card and Loan Extra Payment Calculator.
You can remove a credit freeze permanently, amd you may also request a temporary lift of a freeze.
Bank Free Credit Score - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is imploring banks to offer free credit scores to their members.
When Bank Checking Account Deposits are Credited and Ready for Use
Safest Paying by Checking Account, Credit Card, Debit Card, Cash or Money Order
A check cleared by a bank could still bounce later.
Your local post office offering government loans and bank checking a0ccounts for poor and bad credit people.
If you're seeking a second chance bank checking account with ChexSystems, here's how to begin.
If you cannot get approved due to ChexSystems, review these bank checking account alternatives.
Online Banking and Checking Accounts
Here's how to recover from a bank checking account overdraft:
Bank Checking Online with Mobile Bill Pay
Many people have discovered the benefits of online bank checking accounts. Mainly the 24 hour banking availability, the instant transfers, and the ease of bill paying and tracking expenses.

Review Disclaimer: Review information was gleaned from the website, and is neither an endorsement by us nor an confirmation of content nor a warranty of any promises made by the website. Use the review information at your sole discretion and sole liability.
 

BankingMyWay.com Review - Copyright 2011 BankingMyWay.com All Rights Reserved

Tips to find the cheapest checking account online or offline: Consumers want to get the most out of their money these days. One way to get more bang for your bucks is to pay less for deposit accounts that offer little or no interest, and to bank smartly to avoid those obnoxious fees and charges.

More than 100 million households have at least one checking account. But checking accounts can be expensive: In 2008, banks and credit unions collected more than $37 billion in fees related to overdraft protection and non-sufficient funds alone, according to a report by Bretton Woods, a Georgia-based management advisory firm for banks.

Here are five tips for keeping costs down on your checking account:

1. Shop around for the best account: There are plenty of institutions that want your deposit dollars, and competition means lower fees and higher interest rates. Make it work for you. Head to BankingMyWay.com's interest-checking section and enter your ZIP code to find rate offers in your area. In Arizona, for instance, First Community Bank (Quote: FCFL) offers an interest rate of 1.0% with a $600 minimum balance while Arizona Bank & Trust (Quote: HTLF) offers 0.4% with a $1 minimum.

2. Buy cheap checks: Most consumers know to choose an account that allows them to write as many checks as they need in a given month. To keep costs down, consider avoiding more expensive checks that feature themes or brands, such as Walt Disney (Quote: DIS), Harley Davidson (Quote: HOG) or NASCAR. Instead, order generic checks in bulk. Ditching the funky themes and buying four boxes at a time instead of one or two can save you as much as $30. 

3. Maintain a back-up account: A bounced check can cause you plenty of problems, including getting hit with fees from both your bank and the company you were trying to pay. Apply for overdraft protection that draws money from a secondary savings account to cover any shortfall. (Beware of "courtesy" overdraft protection that extends a high-interest line of credit to cover cash shortfalls.)

4. Double-dip transactions: If your checking account limits the number of transactions you can make, double-up by getting cash back when making a purchase with your debit card. This move also can help you avoid out-of-network ATM fees.

5. Set up direct deposit: Many banks will waive fees associated with minimum balances if you have your paycheck deposited directly into your checking account. The same might be true if you set up an automated transfer from your checking account to a savings account.


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