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Is One Checking Account Enough?

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There are so many reasons to have more than one bank account. Most of us use money in different ways, so it may make sense to open additional accounts. The situation can become more complicated if you are married or more than one person uses your account. Use this guide to help you open the right number of bank accounts.

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Yellow notepad with pen svg icon Lesson Notes:
  • Having more than one bank account can help you manage your finances and take advantage of certain perks and rewards.
  • However, having too many bank accounts can get you into trouble if you lose track of your finances.
  • Learn how to set up the right number of accounts based on your needs and lifestyle.

How Many Bank Accounts Should I Have?

Experts recommend having at least two bank accounts, including a checking and savings account.

Most individuals use their checking account for regular and everyday purchases, such as buying groceries, paying bills and indulgent purchases like going to the movies. Many financial institutions offer free checking accounts and debit cards.

Many people also put a portion of their income into a savings account. This saved money is usually kept aside for a separate purpose. This could include an emergency fund, saving for a down payment on a home or a vacation fund.

If you don’t plan to use the money in your savings accounts, you may want to look at options that will pay you higher dividends or interest. Look for high-yield savings accounts or credit unions that offer dividends on top of interest.

You can also see what the rates are on your financial institution's money market accounts or certificates of deposit.

Ideally, your accounts should allow you to use online and mobile banking for convenience. Take into account other benefits and features like courtesy pay, overdraft protection and no/low balance requirements.

Reasons to Open Additional Banks Accounts

Two bank accounts might not be enough. There are several reasons to open multiple bank accounts.

Couples and Joint Accounts

If you are married or share an account with your significant other, you may want additional accounts. Some couples have individual accounts as well as a separate checking account for joint or household bills and living expenses. This can be a great choice if you and your partner like to manage your money separately.

Many people like to maintain their financial independence in a relationship. Doing so gives you control over your personal finances while still enjoying the perks of living in a two-income household. You will both have to decide how much you are going to contribute to the joint account every week or month and how that money will be used.

Deposit Insurance

It’s always important to make sure the money in your account is insured in case something happens to the bank or credit union. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (banks) or National Credit Union Association (credit unions) will insure your money up to $250,000 per depositor or share owner, per insured institution, for each account ownership category (single accounts, joint accounts, etc.).

New Account Perks and Benefits

Not all accounts are created equal. Some banks and credit unions offer discounts and perks to new members when they open an account, such as competitive interest rates on personal loans, debt forgiveness, zero ATM fees or a higher rate of return. However, you may have to meet certain requirements to access these benefits.

Consider opening an account to take advantage of these perks, but be careful not to overextend your finances.

Tracking Expenses

Having a bank account makes it easy to track your finances. Some people like having an extra account if it helps them track their finances according to different categories. If you are self-employed, you can use a business account to track expenses and income for tax purposes.

If you tend to spend a lot of money in specific spending categories such as medical care or home improvement, you can use a separate account to track your spending over time. Just sign-in to your account online to see a complete breakdown of all the money coming and going from your account.

Fraud Protection

Unfortunately, fraud and financial scams are on the rise. Diversify your assets because having more than one account can help protect you from these kinds of crimes. 

If you only have one account and someone gains access, they could steal all of your money leaving you to wait for your bank to complete a review of the fraud. A fraudster may have a harder time gaining access to multiple accounts, which gives you more options if one gets hacked.

Your bank or credit union may also have additional services and resources for fraud and identity theft protection.

Disadvantages of Having Multiple Accounts

It’s important to remember that having too many accounts also can get you into trouble. Keeping track of all your money can be a challenge when it’s spread across several different accounts. Having more than one account should ultimately help you manage your money and not complicate things.

Having more than one account means keeping less money in each account. Keep an eye on your available balance to avoid going into the red, as some banks and credit unions will charge you overdraft fees. Sign up for courtesy pay or overdraft transfer services to help you avoid excessive overdraft fees.

Some banks and credit unions will also put a limit on how many accounts one person can open. You may have to partner with another financial institution if you need to open another account.

Look for a financial partner that offers everything you need under one roof. You should be able to manage multiple accounts with online banking or an app. Keep this information in mind as you look for ways to better manage your money.

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