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What Is a Checking Account?

A checking account is a deposit account held at a financial institution that allows withdrawals and deposits. Also called demand accounts or transactional accounts, checking accounts are very liquid and can be accessed using checks, automated teller machines, and electronic debits, among other methods.

A checking account differs from other bank accounts in that it often allows for numerous withdrawals and unlimited deposits, whereas savings accounts sometimes limit both.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A checking account is a deposit account with a bank or other financial firm that allows the holder to make deposits and withdrawals.
  • Checking accounts are very liquid, allowing for numerous deposits and withdrawals, as opposed to less-liquid savings or investment accounts.
  • The tradeoff for increased liquidity is that checking accounts don’t offer holders much, if any, interest.
  • Money can be deposited at banks and via ATMs, through direct deposit or other electronic transfer; account-holders can withdraw funds via banks and ATMs, by writing checks, or using electronic debit or credit cards paired with their accounts.
  • It’s important to keep track of checking account fees, which are assessed for overdrafts, writing too many checks and—at some banks—allowing the account balance to drop below a required minimum.