Banks make enough money off of using your money without you also paying them to hold onto it for you. If you’re paying $15-$20 a month for your bank services, you should ditch your bank pronto and go for a cheaper option that will save you hundreds a year. The role of a checking account is to store your money, allow you to add more and get it out when you want either by paying bills or pulling out cash.
Today we take a look at three free options to stash your cash wisely:
This is an online bank account that pays .6% interest. You can open it with any sized deposit (no minimum), no monthly maintenance fee and 24/7 customer service where you get to talk to a live human (that’s unheard of). You can direct deposit your paychecks and for any other checks you get, you can deposit them remotely using the Ally eCheck Deposit app. They have a large network of ATMs you can withdraw from and they pay back ATM fees if you use one found using their search function. You can also do cash back on purchases to get money you need. Finally, you can pay bills online or transfer money using Popmoney where you can send and receive money much like PayPal. Ally has no branches, not one, and they put this massive savings toward paying interest and offering free services.
GoBank is also online but is designed to work totally from your mobile device with all functionality delivered through their app. They offer checking and savings, mobile check deposit, direct deposit for paychecks and online bill pay. And if the person you need to pay doesn’t have online payment access, they’ll mail out a check for free. The only fees are ATM fees if you don’t use a network ATM. Like Ally, GoBank is totally online. Unlike Ally, you can deposit cash if you take it to a participating store, slide your card and give them the money. You’ll get a receipt showing your cash hit your account. One last interesting thing is that GoBank doesn’t charge anything, you decide how much you’ll pay each month – between $0-$9. Essentially, you offer a gratuity if you’re pleased with their service.
This is a really cool online banking option because of the money management functions it offers. Once you have your payroll direct deposit and auto-debits set up for your recurring bills and transfers, the Simple app tells you what amount is “Safe-to-Spend” based on what money it knows you have outgoing in the coming days. This can help keep you on track. You can set goals for vacations or holidays and Simple helps you save for your goal. There are no fees for Simple, a network of 55,000 free ATMs, free money transfer, photo check deposit and the ability to send checks for bills that don’t accept online payments. Live customer service is available via phone or messaging and you get confirmation of each purchase, so you know what you’re spending and are alerted if someone uses your card.
Another thing to consider is that you may not even need a bank account, online or not. You can opt for a card-based service, which is essentially an online bank account, such as Bluebird by American Express, that allows you to send your direct deposit straight to the card. They also offer ATM access, savings options, available checks, sub-accounts, fraud and purchase protection, Global Assist travel services, Roadside Assistance, 24/7 American Express customer service and AmEx savings on entertainment events. There are virtually no fees. And, no matter where you bank, if you can’t find a network ATM, getting cash back for a cheap purchase (you can always use gum or mints) is better than paying a fee to a bank to get your money.