Friday, September 2, 2011

Checking Account - Charles Schwab

I recommend the Charles Schwab Checking Account


1)  No ATM fees - You never have to think about planning your ATM runs.  Schwab has almost no ATMs so they refund any ATM fees you may incur at other ATMs.  It doesn't matter how close you are to a Schwab branch or how many ATM withdrawals you have a month.

2) You can get some interest on the money in the checking account, albeit a very small percentage (0.2%).

3) Unlimited Checks for free.

4)  If you have a smart phone, you can take a picture of your checks and deposit them electronically.

5) No fees, no minimums for the checking account (there is a minimum for Schwab Brokerage account - keep reading).


1)  You have no physical bank to go to.  If you have a problem you have to go online or call them up.  I personally think this is an advantage.  You can just mail all your deposits (or email them with a smartphone).  I have never had a problem that I couldn't solve quickly over the phone.

2)  Their savings account is not as competitive as Discover bank (1.1%).

3) You need a Schwab Brokerage Account which has a $1,000 minimum.  If you are someone who ends up paying ATM fees, this is a no brainer. I read online that they wave the $1,000 minimum if you have the checking account.  I don't know if this is true but it may be because they say there are no account minimums.

My Recommendation:

Open both a Schwab Checking account and a Discover savings account.  Keep enough money in the checking account for any emergencies and any left over money keep in the Discover account so that you can take advantage of the higher rate.  You can transfer the money electronically between the two of them but it may take a few business days so you have to make sure there is enough in your Schwab for any possible expenses.