Category: Info for consumers

Guides to help you open and manage your checking account

Are you thinking about opening a checking account but aren’t sure how to get started? We have resources to help you select a product that’s best suited for your financial needs.

Banks and credit unions provide safe places to keep your money, but it’s important to shop around to find the financial products and services that work for you. If you’re new to banking, struggling to stay on top of your expenses, or simply want to avoid costly or unexpected fees, you may benefit from an account that helps you avoid overdraft and the costs that come with it. Our new account guides have information to help you shop for and manage your checking account.

How to select a lower risk account

The first step is to know your options. A number of banks and credit unions offer checking accounts that are designed to let you only spend the money you have in your account; these accounts are intended to prevent you from overdrawing your account, even for checks and online bill pay. These lower-risk products can prevent unexpected overdrafts and overdraft fees and reduce your risk of losing your account privileges because of unpaid overdrafts. Some banks do not offer “no-overdraft” accounts or do not market them. So it’s important to shop around and ask whether the bank or credit union offers an account that allows you to avoid overdrafts and minimize fees. Learn more in our guide to selecting a lower-risk account .

If you’ve been denied a checking account

If a bank or credit union denies your application to open a checking account, it may be because of negative information in your checking account consumer report, such as, having a checking account involuntarily closed due to unpaid fees. If the bank or credit union denies your application due to information in your report, you should request a copy of and review it for any errors. If you find errors, you can use our sample letters to file a dispute with both the checking account reporting company that created the report and the bank or credit union that provided the information to the reporting company.

If you have had past difficulties managing a checking account, you should still be able to access the banking services that you need. Many banks and credit unions offer checking accounts that are designed to reduce risks for both you and financial institutions by preventing overdraft and overdraft fees. You might also consider getting a prepaid card. Learn more about the steps you can take in our guides to choosing and managing checking accounts .

Check out our consumer guides to checking accounts

If you have had past difficulties managing a checking account, you should still be able to access the banking services that you need. Many banks and credit unions offer checking accounts that are designed to reduce risks for both you and financial institutions by preventing overdrafts and overdraft fees. You might also consider getting a prepaid card. Learn more about the steps you can take in our consumer guides to choosing and managing checking accounts:

You may also find other helpful information about checking accounts in the CFPB’s Newcomer’s Guide to Managing Money

If you’re helping someone else with issues related to their checking account, there’s information available here .

We want to hear from you

If you’re having an issue with your checking account, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB at consumerfinance.gov/complaint or call (855) 411-2372 toll-free.

You can also tell us your story, good or bad, about your experience with checking accounts at help.consumerfinance.gov/app/tellyourstory.

Have questions about checking accounts or other consumer financial products and services? Find answers at consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb.

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