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4 Ways Rewards Checking Benefits Your Finances

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Checking accounts come in all shapes and sizes. Some are free, some come with fees, and others try to entice you with fly-by-night offers that aren’t that impressive. What you really want is a rewards checking account that’s designed to work in your favor – whether you’re paying bills, buying groceries, or simply utilizing your financial institution for all of your financial needs.

Here are four ways the right rewards checking account can benefit your finances.

  1. Avoid ATM Surcharge Fees. The bank or credit union you choose greatly affects how many surcharge-free ATMs you’ll have access to in the U.S. It’s true that some of the bigger banks have a lot of ATMs, but credit unions have an ace up their sleeve – it’s called the CO-OP Network. Within the CO-OP, there are over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the U.S. and another 150,000 around the world – rivaling even the biggest banks. With all of those surcharge-free ATMs, you’ll still need a non-network ATM from time to time. That’s where credit unions come to the rescue again, offering to pay your surcharge-fees up to $20 per month in some cases. That could add up to $240 in ATM fees every year — fees that you won’t have to pay.
  1. Free Overdraft Protection. Even the most financially on-top-of-it person has overdrawn on their account once or twice in his or her life. It happens. Overdraft protection, offered with the best rewards checking accounts, keeps you from paying a bunch of fees every time you overdraft on your account. That can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings.

Here’s an example: let’s say you’re at the grocery store buying milk and a few dozen other items. The bill comes to $150. You use your debit card, the purchase is approved, and you drive home. Little did you know you only have $50 in your account. The next day, you get a notice that your overdraft protection was used to pay the $100 you didn’t have. You just saved a ton of money in rolling fees, and the embarrassment of leaving the store without your groceries.

  1. Earn Rewards. With any rewards checking account, you’ll earn some form of reward. Hence the name. Some offer to pay you dividends on your daily balance, some offer cash-back rewards based on a percentage of your qualified purchases, and still others give you points for every dollar you spend using your checking account’s debit card. The trick is to decide which one entices you, which one you’ll actually use, and if there is an annual fee for the reward. Try to avoid checking accounts that come saddled with an annual or monthly fee – unless there is a simple way to avoid it. Luckily, some financial institutions will offer to waive the fees if you opt for electronic statements, add direct deposit to your account, and conduct a specified number of debit card transactions per month. Find out about our cash rewards checking and reward yourself with every purchase.
  1. Free Online Everything. Let’s be honest, online banking, mobile banking, online bill payment, and electronic statements are nothing new. And nobody out there should be charging for these time saving benefits – especially if you have a rewards checking account. When looking for a new checking account, make sure the online and mobile banking services are free. 100% free! When it comes to online banking, you’re actually saving the financial institution money by utilizing its online services, so if they want to charge you a fee, run the other way.

St. Helens Community Credit Union is a forward-thinking, service-focused, member-owned financial institution that offers some of the best rewards checking options on the planet (we might be biased though). Our members live and work in Northwest Oregon’s Columbia, Cowlitz, and Clatsop counties and Sauvie Island, OR. If you live or work here too, you’re invited to learn more about St. Helens Community, call 503.397.2376, or stop by any branch.