Compare checking accounts and reloadable debit cards from Ames, IA banks and credit unions for free
Most checking accounts come with free debit cards. These cards allow you to make purchases and withdraw money from ATMs. These ATMs ("Automatic Teller Machines") allow you to check your balance, withdraw and deposit money, and transfer money between your accounts. Read more...
Online Banking offers you unprecedented access to your account history and check images, and includes many features that make the trip to the branch a thing of the past! If you've never used online banking or wonder if your bank's online banking service are up to par, read on. Read more...
An overdraft occurs when you make a purchase or transaction that takes your account into a negative balance. You may overdraft when you write a check, make a debit card purchase, or commit any transaction that pulls too much money from your account. You can avoid this trouble altogether by keeping track of your account's balance in a ledger or checking your balance frequently through online or mobile banking. But dire situations might require you to overdraft sometime, so it's good for all account holders to understand the overdraft policies. Read more...
How ATM Withdrawal Fees Get Accessed
Many banks advertise 'unlimited withdrawals from our ATMs' with their checking accounts but advertised or not, most (if not all) banks offer this service. But when you withdrawal from ATMs that aren't your bank's, you may receive two charges:
The first fee is displayed on the monitor of the ATM you use. The second fee is part of your account. If you use ATMs frequently, you want to find a checking account that offers low 'non-bank' ATM fees. This can be a $0.50-$3 charge from the bank ON TOP of the ATM's charge, which normally run from $1-$2, but may be much higher.
The Difference Between PIN or Signature Debit Purchases
When shopping with your debit card, you may have the choice to pay 'credit or debit.' A debit purchase requires you to give your PIN, and the cost of your purchase is charged to your account immediately. When you pay credit, you sign for the purchase, and the cost applies to your account within a few days.
The possible delay of a signature-based purchase could cause difficulties in two different ways. First, you'll have both an 'actual balance' and an 'available balance' until the transaction clears which can make things confusing. Second, some businesses (like gas stations) will put holds on a certain amount in your account when you make signature-based purchases -- maybe $100. That means when you're only buying $30 of gas, you cannot access the remaining $70 until the payment has cleared. And, if you're unaware of this hold, you may accidentally overdraft your account when you make a purchase before the hold clears.
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