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Checking Accounts: What Are They & How Do They Work?

Even if you aren’t new to banking, asking questions like what are checking accounts, how does a checking account work, and what are the benefits of opening one are completely fine!

In short, Checking Accounts are a liquid account where customers can make frequent deposits and withdrawals to pay off everyday expenses and carry out financial transactions, making them far more flexible than a typical savings account.

Customers can access their money by writing a check or using a debit card. At Credit Union of Southern California, our Classic Checking and Rewards Checking accounts provide access to 30,000 free CO-OP Network ATMs across the United States. Let's delve into the details and find out what a checking account is used for and why you should consider opening a checking account with us at CU SoCal!

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What Are Checking Accounts Used For?

As a working U.S. citizen, your employer can deposit your paycheck directly into your checking account, and you can even link payment apps like PayPal to pay your bills directly from your checking account – making financial transactions quick, easy, and automated!

Moreover, since checking accounts have virtually no limitations on the number of transfers you can make, you’re able to use them as often as you like without having to worry about running up against any sort of limits, or paying additional fines, fees or penalties.

Checking accounts also enable holders to transfer funds quickly between personal and other accounts at different financial institutions. And finally, all checking account funds at credit unions in the United States are federally insured by the NCUA for up to $250,000.

Benefits of Checking Accounts

Checking accounts offer the convenience of making financial transactions without having to carry cash everywhere you go.

Moreover, they also enable direct deposits into your checking account so you can access your funds faster, instead of having to wait for a physical check.

With access to online banking tools, you can even pay bills using your checking account from the comfort of your home.

A well-maintained checking account is an essential asset for establishing a good credit score, and it’s also a vital asset if you're looking to make big purchases such as buying a car or house.

Checking account holders can use their account records to better manage their expenses and understand what and how much they’re spending.  

Classic vs. Rewards Checking Accounts

The Credit Union of Southern California offers two types of checking accounts to enrich our customer's financial experiences – Classic Checking and Rewards Checking.

Our Classic Checking Account has no minimum balance requirement, and there is no monthly fee when you sign up for eStatements. The Rewards Checking Account also offers some additional benefits, including a monthly dividend on average account balances and rewards points on debit card purchases.

Both are great options, with different benefits for different people. No matter what checking account you choose, you can rest assured that you'll be well-prepared for wherever the day takes you.

Classic Checking Accounts

How does a traditional bank checking account work?

Our Classic Checking account doesn't have a minimum opening balance or a minimum balance requirement.
Moreover, CU SoCal’s Classic Checking Account holders enjoy free nationwide access to 30,000 ATMs– more than the Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo!

If you bank with us, you’ll also have access to CU SoCal's free Mobile App to make remote check deposits, pay bills, and access your mobile debit card controls. You can also achieve these tasks from Online Banking using a desktop computer.

Finally, our Classic Checking Account also comes with overdraft protection and NCUA federal insurance up to $250,000.

Rewards Checking Accounts

CU SoCal's Rewards Checking Account comes with all of the same advantages of our classic checking account, but with the added benefits of cashback and reward points on qualifying debit card purchases.
With a Rewards Checking Account, you can earn CU SoCal Dream Points that you can redeem for gift cards, brand merchandise, or cash.

Moreover, Rewards Checking Account holders are entitled to credit monitoring by three major credit bureaus, as well as full-service identity theft restoration with identity theft expense reimbursement for up to $25,000.

What do you need to open a bank account with CU SoCal? Let’s cover that next!

What Do You Need To Open a Checking Account?

With no opening deposit and minimum balance requirements, opening a checking account ar CU SoCal is easy and convenient. However, there may be other requirements.

Here's some info on what you need to open a bank account with us:
  • Account-holders need to be 18 years and older and need to have their account verified by ChexSystems.
  • CU SoCal checking accounts use your personal SSN Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, but not an EIN
  • You must live, work, attend school or religious services in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino County.
That’s it! As long as you can satisfy those requirements, you should be cleared for a Checking Account with CU SoCal, and better yet, you can simply apply online here!

If, however, you do find yourself needing some support, then please feel free to call us at 866.287.6225 – our team is more than ready to help!

Checking vs. Savings: What's the Difference?

Misconceptions about checking accounts might not only leave you with questions like "What is a personal checking account?", but you may also find yourself wondering, "What is the difference between a checking account vs. a saving account?"

Unlike a CU SoCal savings account that requires a minimum opening deposit of $10 as well as a minimum account balance of $10, a CU SoCal checking account requires no opening deposit or minimum bank balance. 

Moreover, a regular savings account requires holders to maintain a minimum bank balance of $500 to earn a dividend, while checking account holders only need to keep as little as $0.01 to earn a dividend.

Additionally, your checking account comes with a debit card enabling secure payments, but your savings account might not offer one.

With a checking account, you can carry out limitless transactions, whereas a savings account is only really meant for occasional use.

How to Get the Most Out of Your CU SoCal Checking Account

Holders of CU SoCal checking accounts can pay utility bills and carry out day-to-day transactions.

A Rewards Checking Account is even more beneficial as you can use it to earn cashback for every transaction that you make.   

Moreover, in situations where you are unable to leave your home to make payments, your checking account is perfect for issuing payments online.

You should always try to maintain a minimum balance so you can make the most of your checking account.
We suggest setting up a direct deposit as well as other automatic transactions so you can minimize the need for frequent branch visits.

Discover CU SoCal's Banking Services & Products

While a checking account is one of the best options for handling day to day financial transactions, CU SoCal has a wide range of other valuable products that offer additional value and that will help you achieve your financial goals.

CU SoCal Membership is open to people who reside, work, or attend religious services or schools in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino County.

As long as you satisfy those conditions, feel free to contact CU SoCal to open a savings account, take out a mortgage, or borrow an auto loan – our solutions are capable of fulfilling your financial needs!  

Credit Union of Southern California is the fastest growing credit union in Southern California, and a full-service financial institution. We help our members through lower interest rates on the loans and higher interest rates on savings.

Kick start your financial journey with a partner that safeguards your best interest every step of the way. Join CU SoCal today!

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Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.


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