Checking Accounts 101: Essential Benefits & Why You Need One in 2024!

Personal Banking


6 min. read

By: FCU Team

April is the perfect month to get your finances in order and finally achieve financial independence! Start by paying attention to the importance of a checking account in 2024.

No matter your finances today, a checking account provides significant benefits to help you easily manage, grow, and access your money. A checking account should be the foundation for reaching major financial milestones like saving for a home, paying down debt, or planning retirement. Modern checking accounts provide flexible access and valuable tools for tracking spending; some even allow you to earn interest. Most importantly, they ensure your money is safe no matter what life throws your way.

In this guide to checking accounts, we’ll explore why every person needs this account in their financial toolbox in 2024. From choosing the best checking account to take advantage of ongoing technological innovations in banking to protecting your money with time-tested security features, we’ve covered everything you need to know to make the most out of your account this year and for years to come.

Benefits of Having a Checking Account

A checking account offers several financial advantages beyond having a secure place to store your money, including flexible access, building credit history, and unlocking additional services.

Keep Your Money Safe

One of the top reasons you need a checking account in 2024 is to keep your money secure in ways that simply can't match storing cash at home. FDIC insurance protects checking account funds up to $250,000 per depositor if your financial institution fails. You won't lose the money in your checking account if your financial institution goes under due to poor financial management or economic conditions.

The FDIC was established by Congress in 1933, soon after the Great Depression, to restore confidence in the American banking system. Premium banks typically capitalize on their insurance fund, and thrift institutions pay for deposit insurance coverage. This system has worked extraordinarily well for over 80 years to protect depositors.

Compare this to keeping piles of cash at home, which runs the risk of physical damage from floods, fires, or theft. You could install home safes or safety deposit boxes, but retrieving your money is far less convenient than a checking account's instant access. There's also always some risk your home storage could be compromised. Avoid the hassle and enjoy the security of letting your bank or credit union protect your liquid assets.

Flexible Access to Your Money

In addition to security, a checking account enables flexible access to your money whenever needed. Thanks to debit cards, online banking services, and user-friendly mobile apps, your checking account funds are available on demand. With a debit card connected to your checking account, you can withdraw cash from vast ATM networks or pay for purchases directly from your account balance. Online and mobile banking platforms let you handle banking tasks remotely, like checking your balance, transferring funds between accounts, paying bills, or depositing checks electronically. You save time, gas money, and hassle without stepping inside a branch.

This convenience lets you control your finances since you can access account details 24/7. Your money is always within reach, whether from your computer, smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Checking accounts revolutionizes the accessibility of your hard-earned dollars.

Build Your Financial History

Responsibly managing a checking account also serves as a valuable way to build your financial management history, especially regarding your credit. Lenders and credit card companies want to see if you can handle money wisely before approving you for loans or additional credit. Maintaining a solid checking account record demonstrates financial maturity to potential creditors. This includes avoiding overdraft fees by keeping a cushion in your checking balance, ensuring you have enough funds to cover payments you authorize or checks you write, and avoiding a negative balance or sending payments with insufficient funds.

Consumers with poor checking account management histories can have trouble getting approved for loans or other financial products due to perceived risk. Some may even find themselves listed in specialty consumer reporting agency databases like ChexSystems, which banks use to screen applicants. Carefully monitor your checking behavior to get approved for loans more easily. Show lenders you have your finances under control, and checking accounts are more straightforward to manage well when bank account tools help you track balances, pending payments, deposits, etc. Ultimately, proper account management goes a long way in your overall creditworthiness.

Take Advantage of Additional Services

Banks and credit unions hope opening a checking account is the beginning of a long relationship with you as a loyal customer. As a result, they often provide checking account holders access to additional financial services and account options. Opening your first checking account is your portal to specialized offerings you may still need to realize you need.

For example, interest-earning savings accounts typically pay out higher returns than ordinary checking accounts. So banks and credit unions may offer new checking customers access to affiliated high-yield savings accounts to stash any extra funds not needed for liquid transactions. When paired with an everyday checking workhorse, this lets your idle balances earn more money over time. If you're able to maintain higher balances, consider switching to an interest-bearing checking account!

Some institutions also provide access to personal lines of credit or rewards credit cards with checking accounts. They may offer deals like discounted or waived annual fees for credit union members and banking customers. First checking accounts can be an entry point to loan products with preferable rates compared to non-members' pay. Nowadays, financial services frequently come bundled to provide greater value. Your main checking account is the core of managing your spending and income. Then, specialized accounts like savings, investments, credit lines, and loans address more targeted financial needs with the perks of being an existing member. Convenience and savings become available thanks to the initial checking account pairing opportunities.

Choosing the Right Checking Account

When opening a new checking account, you’ll want to compare the options at banks and credit unions to select the best fit based on fees, balance requirements, interest earnings potential, and accessibility.

Big, national banks like Chase and Bank of America provide extensive ATM and branch networks, especially for those who value bank access in person. However, compared to small banks and credit unions, their fees tend to run higher, customer service can be lacking, and interest earnings are typically lower.

On the other hand, credit unions are nonprofit organizations owned by members, so their checking accounts tend to prioritize better rates and fees. Credit union accounts also reimburse more ATM fees compared to massive commercial banks. Keep in mind, credit union ATM networks are generally regional. When assessing the details of any checking account from banks and CUs alike, inspect the fine print for information on:

Minimum Balances – Some accounts typically require you to maintain a minimum amount to avoid fees ranging from $100-500. Low or no minimums are ideal for anyone living paycheck to paycheck.

Monthly Maintenance Fees – Service fees for having an account should ideally be zero, but some banks charge $5-15 monthly. These are usually waived by meeting minimum balance or direct deposit requirements.

Interest Rates – While you won’t earn as much as in savings accounts, high-yield checking accounts pay up to 15-20x more than a standard checking account. Interest earned can add up over time.

ATM Access – Check details on fee reimbursements when using out-of-network ATMs. More reimbursements equal more convenience and savings.

Also, consider using mobile banking capabilities and tools to track balances, transfers, and budgets. The right checking account serves your lifestyle, whether you do everything on your phone or prefer the personal touch. Analyze your banking habits before committing to any account.

Why Florida Credit Union is a Great Choice

When finding the right checking account, we check all the boxes. As a well-established regional credit union, we offer the winning combination of low fees, robust digital experiences, and strong roots in local communities.

As a member-owned credit union, our mission revolves around providing optimal value to each account holder rather than turning large profits. This allows them to offer accounts tailored to every budget and lifestyle, with next-generation conveniences. For those reasons and more, over 150,000 members already selected Florida Credit Union to secure their finances. Here’s a closer look at why we are poised to be your ideal financial partner.

Fee-Friendly Accounts

By design, our checking accounts minimize pesky maintenance fees and balance requirements diminish account returns at big banks. For example, our Free Checking account lives up to its name with:

●    $0 monthly fees
●    No minimum balance rules
●    Unlimited check writing

Digital Convenience

While we started 70 years ago in Florida, we have wholeheartedly embraced digital transformation. Our online and mobile banking platform, FCU Anywhere, makes account access, transfers, payments, check deposits, and account openings available anytime, anywhere. You can handle virtually any financial task using our smartphone apps for Android and Apple devices. Deposit checks instantly, set travel notices, enable touch/face ID login, and receive custom alerts - the tech-focused convenience is unmatched. Yet branch and ATM access remains available.


As a credit union, we are proud to be an active corporate citizen in the diverse communities we serve. Beyond great rates and accounts tailored to all lifestyles, we invest in student financial literacy programs, partner with local charities, and more.

When you join Florida Credit Union, you become a member-owner with voting rights to elect the Board of Directors. Rather than answering to far-removed shareholders, we are accountable solely to local members. Your voice matters here as more than just a customer.

To check accounts and balance modern fintech with community roots, we are the premier launchpad for achieving your 2024 financial goals and beyond. Discover the credit union difference firsthand by contacting us for membership details today.

Make Checking Accounts Your 2024 Money Foundation

The benefits of flexible access, building credit history, taking advantage of additional financial services, and finding the right fee-friendly fit make checking accounts fundamentally useful for everyone's financial needs. From cash flow management to growing savings, checking accounts provide the infrastructure to take control of your money and make financial progress. Whether you want to manage spending better this year, save for goals faster, or establish financial independence, a checking account lays the foundation for making progress. Don’t leave this essential tool out of your financial toolbox any longer!

Florida Credit Union offers the standout options residents of North Central Florida need, with digital convenience to manage accounts anytime and competitive rates that provide actual value. Take the first step by exploring FLCU’s checking accounts and helpful financial resources here to start achieving your money resolutions this year.