What is a Checking Account?

A checking account is a bank account designed for your everyday transactions. Checking accounts make managing your money more accessible with debit cards, checkbooks and mobile banking.

In this article, you'll learn more about what a checking account is, how it works and the types of checking accounts available to you at Citi.

What Is a Checking Account Used For?

Checking accounts, sometimes also called transactional accounts, are used for deposits and withdrawals. They are a safe place to keep and manage your money.

Most people use their checking accounts for money they plan to spend in the short term, such as to pay utility bills or rent. You can access your money at brick-and-mortar locations, if the bank has them, by using a debit card or an ATM card. You can also conveniently send money with an ACH transfer, wire transfer, or mobile payment feature.

How Do Checking Accounts Work?

Financial institutions like Citi offer checking accounts so you can make deposits and transact with your funds. You can use mobile banking, online banking, debit cards and direct transfers to send your money where it needs to go. Paper checks are typically no longer required to pay most bills but can be used with checking accounts when you need them.

For example, if you want to send your friend money for helping you move into your new apartment, you can send them an instant payment from the Citi Mobile® App1 without having to go to an ATM or bank branch.

To ensure you have funds available when you need them, you can make cash deposits at your bank, utilize mobile check deposits1 or set up direct deposits from your employer.

How much money should I keep in my checking account?

It can help to have extra funds in your checking account beyond your usual expenses to provide a cushion. The additional money in your account can ensure you're able to pay all your bills without having to worry about how much money is available.

It's also good practice to check your bank account regularly, so you always know what's coming in and going out. You don't want to have a transaction declined because of a previous withdrawal you forgot to account for.

How to choose a checking account

It's wise to consider factors like deposit insurance, deposit requirements and fees when choosing a checking account. When you understand what you need in a bank account, you can find the account that best aligns with your lifestyle. Here are a few other things to look for when choosing an account:

Do you want to bank online or in-person?

For convenience, you may prefer a checking account that offers online and mobile banking. Online banking gives you easy access to your account 24/7, and you can automate paying your bills and transfers to your savings account.

If you prefer to use cash, write checks or make your deposits in-person, opening a checking account with a bank that has nearby brick-and-mortar locations is a good choice.

Citi combines both digital and in-person banking by offering online and mobile banking experiences as well as a large network of fee-free ATMs.2

What features and benefits does the account offer?

Beyond deposits and withdrawals, checking accounts can come with many other features and benefits. When opening an account, note what features and benefits are available and how they line up with the way you prefer to use your money.

Citi checking accounts offer waived monthly service fees if you meet certain conditions, debit card access, mobile check deposit1 and more. There is no minimum deposit to open a checking account with Citi. However, accounts with a zero balance for 90 calendar days are subject to closure.

Why you should open a checking account

Having a checking account is a secure and convenient way to access and easily manage your cash. It can also offer a simple way to get your paychecks, pay bills and more.

Learn more about opening a Citi checking account to take advantage of features and benefits like mobile deposits1 and fee-free ATM2 access across the U.S.

1. Citi Mobile App and Mobile Check Deposit. Regular account charges apply. Citibank does not charge you a fee for using the Citi Mobile app or the Mobile Check Deposit service. However, you must have a Web-enabled cell or smartphone to use the Citi Mobile app or Mobile Check Deposit service and charges from your wireless carrier may apply. Citibank is not responsible for products and services offered by other companies. The Mobile Check Deposit service is for personal checking accounts only and is subject to eligibility. Deposit limits and other restrictions apply. 

2. Claim is based on locations in the United States where customers can make cash withdrawals with no surcharge (usage) fee by the ATM operator. Citibank customers can get cash, get information and make transfers between their eligible linked Citibank accounts with no surcharge fee when they use their Citibank® Banking Card at ATMs in the U.S. located at Citibank branches, ATMs at select retail store locations, and ATMs participating in the MoneyPass® Network; regular account charges apply. ATMs in retail stores and at other non-Citi locations are not owned or operated by Citibank and offer fewer functions. Use the Citi Worldwide ATM/Branch Locator on Citibank Online or the Citi Mobile® App to find the nearest ATMs and branches, including non-Citibank ATMs in the U.S. with surcharge free access. MoneyPass is a registered trademark of Fiserv, Inc.

Disclosure: This article is for educational purposes about banking products. It is not intended to provide legal, investment, tax, or financial advice and is not a substitute for professional advice. It does not indicate the availability of any Citi product or service. For advice about your specific circumstances, you should refer to the disclosures financial institutions provide for various products and consult a qualified professional.

Additional Resources

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