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Richie Bernardo is a personal finance writer at WalletHub. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a minor in business from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Previously, he was a journalism intern at the European Youth Forum in Brussels, Belgium, a magazine editor and a reporter for local newspapers. His work has appeared in the Columbia Missourian, The Hattiesburg Post, Vox Magazine, and YO! Magazine, among others. Richie was born in the Philippines and raised in Kansas City, Mo., home to America's best barbecue.
Follow him on Twitter: @RichieVBernardo
I just started banking with USAA earlier this year, and so far it's been a great experience. I opened a
checking account with them because my bank, Commerce Bank, inconveniently doesn't have branches in
Mississippi, where I live at the moment.
With USAA, I can easily make deposits at any UPS Store with my debit card. Clerk swipes it, scans my
check, and we're done in a flash. My deposit posts right away, and the funds are available immediately.
My only disappointment with USAA Bank is that I can't deposit cash. I can deposit only checks and money
orders (at the UPS Store or by mail) or transfer from another bank account. When you open an account,
though, USAA will provide free checks, deposit slips, and envelopes. That and immediate availability of
funds more than makes up for not accepting cash.
USAA has so far been the best insurance provider for me hands down. I've had an account with them since
2010. The value for the price is simply unbeatable: They've given me the cheapest rates I've ever paid
with the best coverage on auto and renter's insurance. And I don't plan on switching carriers anytime
soon, if ever.
The only problem I have with USAA is that I can't decide on their best feature — whether it's their
super-friendly customer service, their easily navigable online account management platform (very secure),
their awesome mobile app, the rates, the coverages, the discounts for multiple accounts, or the fact that
I can reach customer service by phone in less than a minute every time I call.
I've had an account with Commerce Bank since 2010, when I was still a college student. Overall, they're
one of the best. Whenever I had an issue with my account, I took it up directly with the person who set
up my account at one of the Columbia, MO, branches. She would handle the problem herself and resolve it
immediately. Even now that she's a branch manager, she still personally handles my account issues. One of
the best features of the student checking account is that you won't pay overdraft fees if you overdraw
your account using your credit or debit card. You will, however, pay overdraft fees if your check
bounces. The only drawback is that they don't have branches in Mississippi, where I'm living temporarily.
I'm limited to making deposits through account transfers.
My parents haven't been as lucky. I helped them set up their checking account online. It was supposed to
have the same features as mine, but the first time my parents' account went in the red, they were charged
multiple overdraft fees. Their branch in Overland Park, KS, wasn't as helpful, either. In fact, a manager
made promises to resolve the issue, and my parents never heard back. We found out that my parents'
account was incorrectly set up with courtesy overdraft, which is charged on a per-transaction basis. Make
sure you set up your checking account in person at your nearest branch to avoid paying overdraft fees if
you overdraw your account using your debit or credit card.
Yes, you can open a joint bank account online, following the same steps involved in opening a single-owner bank account online. However, you'll be required to enter personal information for each joint owner. Also keep in mind that you can choose from a variety of joint bank accounts. For instance, a "convenience account" is a type in which one person owns the funds but another person, or "agent," can assist with banking transactions on the owner's behalf. If the option you need isn't available for selection on the web application, you may need to contact the bank or open an account in person at a physical branch.
A joint bank account is an ideal setup for couples who share financial obligations because it simplifies the process of paying household bills. However, there are multiple types of joint bank accounts, each stipulating conditions regarding how the funds in the account are treated if one of then joint owners dies or if the couple decides to divorce. Make sure to ask about all of your options when opening a joint bank account.
No. Closing your old checking or savings account won't hurt your credit score the way closing a credit card or line of credit would. The only way it can indirectly impact your credit score is if the bank forced the account closure because of outstanding fees that you did not pay in a timely manner and that were sent to a collection agency.
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