Do I really need another checking account?
When I consider putting money in a bank, I’m usually thinking certificate of deposit.
So why then do I have so many liquid deposit accounts?
It’s not that I find these other accounts financially attractive. After all, I try to keep as little as possible in them.
It’s that I need these accounts to manage my CDs.
First, like many seniors, I rely on the interest posted on my certificates to pay my bills — and I don’t trust the U.S. Postal Service to safely deliver a monthly check.
Opening a savings, money market or checking account, along with the certificate, is sometimes the only way I have to conveniently — and reliably — withdraw interest.
Some banks don’t offer me the option of having interest automatically sent by ACH transfer to my primary checking account.
Instead, it requires the interest be paid into another account at that bank. I then have to arrange for an ACH transfer out of — or from — that account.
Thanks a lot Citi, BofA and Wells Fargo.
I also have checking accounts I’ve set up to take advantage of so-called "relationship rates" on CDs. I guess this is supposed to encourage me to eventually move all my money (because I’ll be so impressed by the service I receive).
But I’ve never been tempted to switch banks because of a bumped-up certificate rate.
My most useless relationship account is a "senior checking account" at Rabobank, which I opened last year to obtain a good rate on a CD. It only requires keeping a penny on deposit — and getting a monthly statement showing the penny is still there.
Finally, I’ve set up savings and money market accounts to temporarily park funds from maturing CDs while I dither over what to do with them next. I recently opened an online savings account at MetLife Bank, with a relatively paltry interest rate, for this very reason.
Of course, all these accounts are potential minefields for "gottchas," like minimum balances, maintenance fees, ACH transfer fees, early closure fees and so forth.
I try to be super-careful about this, but sometimes I slip up -- like when I overlooked the fine print about EverBank’s fee for failing to maintain a minimum money market account balance.
It would be nice if banks didn’t make it so hard for me.