Balancing your checkbooks used to be a weekly “have to do” task for most families. New technology, however, makes balancing your checkbook a complete waste of time. Online banking and online bill pay have replaced paper checks. Free apps have replaced your check register. Balancing your checkbook has gone from an activity that took hours to something you can take care of in a few minutes. Have your tracking methods changed as well?
I had a checking account at US Bank for more than ten years. When I signed up, I filled out forms for a “free checking for life” account. Last year, they decided to start charging a monthly fee. I closed the account. While there was no option to keep my free checking for life at US Bank, I have found many banks that offer free accounts.
Update August 12, 2013 – PerkStreet financial has ceased operations, so this list now only contains three banks.
We have been told that we need to balance our checkbooks for decades. This common advice is given with the best intentions. We are told that by tracking our transactions, we are protecting ourselves from overdrafts and ensuring nothing unauthorized happens in our accounts. That is true, but there are better ways to do all of that.
As more Americans have become frustrated with their large, corporate banks, many have been moving their business to credit unions. Credit unions offer some amazing benefits and could be a great resource for many people.
I have tried many different combinations of accounts in my life. At one point, my credit card, brokerage, checking, and savings were all at different places. At one point, everything was in one place. I found some big benefits to keeping everything in one place.