Consumers use a bank or credit union's checking account to pay bills and expenses by check, debit card, or online.

Since a checking account has no access limit, consumers can use it to pay bills, make daily purchases, and withdraw cash from an ATM or bank teller.

Key factors to consider when choosing a checking account: – No monthly maintenance fee, or fee that is easily waived – Extensive ATM network – Reasonable overdraft fee policy

There are many ways to open a checking account, whether it is individual or a joint account.

Here's what you should bring along: – Government-issued identification, such as a driver's license or passport – Proof of address, such as a utility or cellphone bill – Funds to deposit into the account

The bank may reject your application for a checking account. Banks may not accept risky customers.

The FDIC insures bank checking accounts and the NCUA insures federal credit unions.

Everyone has different needs, budgets, and preferences, but a checking balance that can cover routine bills and expenses should be enough.