Having a checking account is a big responsibility. You need to have discipline. You need to know how to keep track and budget. However, using checks has its advantages. You can keep track of where your money goes. You won’t have to carry large amounts of money. You can also establish your good credit score – which you will need if you plan on making a loan.

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re either planning to open a checking account or you want to find out the best ways to use your checkbook. Hopefully, these tips will help you make the most out of your checking account.

  1. Research
    • If you’re planning to open a checking account, ask your current bank for the requirements in opening a checking account. Ask for their policies such as on the maintaining balance, bouncing check fee, and such.
    • If you don’t have an existing account, compare different banks. Different banks have different policies. Some may have a lower maintaining balance. Some may also require you to open a savings account with them first for at least six (6) months.
  2. Fund your account
    • Most banks have a minimum maintaining balance requirement. This would mean that you always have to keep at least that amount in your account. Keep your account well funded to avoid incurring penalty fees.
  3. Keep Track of Your Account
    • Write your transactions on the first few pages of your checkbook.
    • Enroll your account with your bank’s Internet banking facility. This will help you track your transactions more efficiently. You won’t have to keep lining up at the branch to update your passbook.
    • Checks issued when your account has an insufficient amount will be considered bouncing checks – these will incur a penalty fee. Make sure you know you have enough funds in your account before issuing your check.
    • If you have a post-dated check (PDC) up for clearing soon and you know you won’t have enough funds for it, try to ask the recipient to hold the check first. As much as possible, AVOID A BOUNCING CHECK. This can actually be a basis for filing a case against you.
  4. No Blank Checks
    • Don’t sign blank checks. Always make sure that the recipient’s name and amount are filled in before signing – even if you trust the person you are giving it to!
    • As much as possible, avoid writing checks that are payable to Cash. Not only would it be easier to keep track of checks payable to certain recipients, but checks payable to Cash may also be encashed by the wrong people. You could never know whose hands your check might fall into!
  5. Review Your Check
    • Make sure the checks you issue have no erasures and are spelled correctly. Otherwise, the check will not be accepted by the banks.
    • Make sure you’ve read the recipient’s name and amount before signing your checks.
  6. Double Cross
    • Although this is optional, you may opt to put a double cross mark before the payable name. This is to indicate that the check is only for deposit to the recipient’s account.
    • To do this, simply put 2 parallel check lines on the top left of the check.
  7. Cleared Checks
    • If your bank doesn’t automatically give you your cleared checks, you can ask for them. These can be your records of payment.

 

If you feel like there are too many things to remember, just remember this: AVOID A BOUNCING CHECK.