Savings accounts are one of the most common types of bank accounts available today. In addition to chequeing accounts, they make up a very significant portion of any bank’s business. With that amount of competition, different banks may offer different account features in an attempt to lure in the business of people who are looking to open new accounts. If you’ve been thinking about opening a new savings account but aren’t really sure what sort of features you want or need for the account, then this guide may help you to make your decision.
Below you’ll find information on some of the more basic and features of savings accounts so that you’ll know what you should be looking for at the core of your savings experience.
Savings and Interest
Obviously, one of the most important features of a savings account is that the account bears interest. At the end of each month, you’ll notice a listing for the interest that has been paid on your account statement… this means that you’ve received that amount in addition to the previous balance of your account, based upon the interest rate that is in effect for your account. The higher your interest rate, the more you’re paid each month.
As mentioned above, the amount that you’re paid in interest is shown on your account statements. In addition, your statements should show all deposits and withdrawals that have occurred since your last statement, the total amount that is in your account, and any fees, fines, or other costs that occurred within the last statement cycle. Any special features of your account should also be listed on your statement.
Most savings accounts have the capability to perform account transfers, meaning that you can have money in your account sent to another account that either you or someone else owns and the savings account can receive transfers in this same manner. This is especially useful if you have several different accounts and are wanting to use a portion of your savings to help pay for something that is being processed through another account.
Links to Chequeing
An increasingly common feature of savings accounts is the ability to link them to your chequeing account to help prevent overdrafts. If you link your accounts and you later write a cheque that there isn’t sufficient funds in your chequeing account to cover, the additional amount is taken out of your savings account and the cheque is still honored instead of being returned to the person whom the cheque was written to. In most cases an overdraft fee or other fine still applies, but it is limited to a one-time only fee and no merchant fees have to be paid.
Online Account Access
A very useful account feature that is offered by many banks is online account access. This enables you to use the internet to access your account information over a secure connection. By using online account access, you can usually check balances, transfer funds from one account to another, see if transactions have processed, and perform many other tasks that you would normally have to visit a bank branch in person to do.
This enables you to free up your time for other activities, since you don’t have to visit the bank during normal business hours and can instead perform most banking actions from the comfort of your own home. In many cases, you can even receive electronic bank statements instead of paper ones with online account access. Online features tend to vary from bank to bank, however.