I chose my first checking account based on which bank my parents used. I quickly realized that it wasn’t the best option for me after incurring hundreds of dollars of fees for EVERY. LITTLE. THING. (Think monthly maintenance fees, paper statement fees, overdraft fees, etc.) Finally, I did some investigating on what types of checking, savings, and credit accounts would be best for my situation and transitioned.

I’ll be transparent about what I use and why, simply to help guide your decisions but not to recommend that you do the same (unless you truly believe this might be a good option for you).

Checking and Savings account

I wanted a simple checking account (i.e., no hidden fees, no unreasonable restrictions and regulations) that I could use for my direct deposits and online payments. I rarely go into a physical branch, and I wanted everything to easily be done virtually. I also wanted high interest rates on checking and savings balances. I settled on Ally Bank, which was voted one of the least evil banks by CNN Money.

Some perks I enjoy include:

  • Checking (“Money Market”) account APY (annual percentage yield) of 0.85%
  • Savings account APY of 0.99%
  • Full reimbursement of ATM fees from any ATM
  • eCheck deposit option (deposit checks by taking photos from their app)
  • Easy online banking
  • Quick and 24/7 phone response time if I need to call with a question

Most other banks have APYs of 0.01% for checking accounts. So, while a $10,000 balance in a checking account at Ally will generate an additional $85 in interest, $10,000 in a Wells Fargo checking account will only generate $1. Wells Fargo’s “high-yield” savings APY is 0.03%. Can you say “cheap”?