As you build your emergency fund and savings, a question you might ask yourself is, “How many bank accounts should I have?”
However, for most people having one bank account is a common option and there is no thought in really expanding to other accounts.
Personally, it never crossed my mind when I was first focusing more on my personal finances. But as I grew my savings and investments, I did start thinking about it more and if additional accounts were the right move.
Now the majority of people really do not need more than one institution that they do banking with. And the common choice to make is to have a checking account and savings account at one bank of your choosing.
But if you’re wondering how many bank accounts should you have, some pros and cons, and the options you have — then stick with me below!
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Should You Keep All Your Money in One Bank?
When it comes to bank accounts, you may consider the most convenient option to be keeping all your money in one bank.
Keeping all your money in one bank may be simpler, but depending on your financial circumstances, it may not be the best.
For example, a second bank account may offer you a better interest rate which would allow your money to beat inflation long term. And for this reason, deciding how many bank accounts you should have does require some thought process.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros of having one bank and multiple. We’ll explore these a bit more in the next sections.
Managing accounts in one bank:
- Easy to manage and maintain from one institution instead of multiple
- A bit more protected from identity theft and potential fraud
Having more than one bank:
- Diversifying your money for budgeting and spending needs
- Better banking options pending your needs
- Higher interest rates in some savings accounts
- Testing out other banks services and perks
How Many Bank Accounts Should You Have?
Americans own about four credit cards, and over half of Americans own more than one bank account. That’s not including separate accounts for mortgages, 401ks and 529 college plans.
When it comes to having bank accounts, simplicity and optimization are key. You want the most simple set up, but the one that works best for your circumstances. Usually that starts with one checking account and one savings account.
Additional bank accounts may be a joint checking and savings account for family finances, or a separate savings account for larger expenses, such as a vacation or large ticket item.
A normal amount of bank accounts is 3 to 4 accounts, however it does depend on individual situations. Most people are happy with two bank accounts, and then open extra accounts if needed.
What are some pros of having several bank accounts?
One advantage of opening a new bank account is you’ll be able to take advantage of promotions or rewards that a bank may be offering to new customers.
You could also open a new account in order to have access to a higher interest rate in a separate bank, therefore keeping up with or beating inflation and slowly increasing your savings.
You’ll also want a new account if your old account charges you fees or is too expensive to maintain. Many of the well-known banks have weird maintenance fees or account fees, which I highly recommended transitioning banks and closing if that’s the case.
Another advantage is that a separate account at a different bank isn’t tied to a debit card or access to your main bank, which can make it harder for you to spend the money. That means you can use that account for long-term savings or as an emergency fund.
If you’re transitioning from one bank to another, keeping both open for a period of time will make sure you don’t miss any automatic transfers or important bills.
Having several bank accounts is a good way to save for specific goals and keep each one separate. You could have a savings account for emergencies, one for vacation and then another for personal spending.
If your accounts are separate, it will be more difficult to spend the ones designed for a specific goal. Having a joint account with your partner will also make it easier to organize family finances.
What are some cons of having several bank accounts?
The cons of having several bank accounts is that it can get pretty confusing. Having all your details in one place makes it faster to do transfers as well as track every transaction.
And It can be time consuming to track all your different accounts and make sure that you haven’t been overcharged for a purchase or something unintended.
You could also miss overdraft fees by accident or even fraud charges that are costing you. And If you choose a bank with different account fees, it ends up costing you more money!
So if you do go the multiple bank account route, make sure you choose ones with no fees and understand any minimums required for accounts.
If you’re happy with your main bank, there may be no need to open a new account with another bank for now. However, if your main bank charges you fees and you are looking for more (and better) banking options, then it may be time to start looking.
There is no harm in shopping around for other banks or additional ones for your money.
Is It Bad to Have Multiple Bank Accounts?
Having several bank accounts is not bad — it just may be more work to keep track of all your accounts and monitor your banking activities. Ensure you check your accounts often to watch for unauthorized transactions, that any account minimums are met, and look for any changes to rates and fees.
One main reason you may want to not have multiple banks and accounts is because of identity theft.
Just ensure you stay organized, keep passwords secure, and monitor your accounts. If you have an account that is unused or seems unnecessary, then close it down.
If you have multiple bank accounts that charge you fees, you may also want to look into closing ones you don’t use.
Do too many bank accounts hurt your credit?
Your credit is a report of your financial history, like payments and debts. The total number of bank accounts you hold will not affect your credit score or report, and any information on what you use your bank account for every day does not appear on your credit history.
That’s because banks do not report banking account information to credit bureaus. Credit is calculated on financial accounts that involve lending: loans, mortgages and credit cards.
Your credit report will include unpaid debt and any judgements such as bankruptcy. But the number of bank accounts you hold will not affect your total credit report.
However, if you overdraw from your account, you will owe the bank back that might and any fees along with that. If you do not repay the amount, the bank could send that debt to a collection agency, which then could be added to your credit report.
It will also probably be reported to Chex Systems, which shows information about your banking history.
Multiple Bank Account Types to Consider
A savings account is a simple bank account that’s designed to help you save for your goals or for emergencies.
And savings accounts may offer higher interest rates and limit the total you can withdraw per month.
Having a savings account will help you keep your spending money separate from your savings, and make it harder for you to dip into savings to spend on items that may not be “needs.”
Most Americans have one savings account set aside for goals. If you’re struggling with debt, trying to keep expenses low or living paycheck to paycheck, having several savings accounts to help you budget could help you get back on track. You may be able to open several bank accounts with one same bank.
High-Yield Savings Account
A high-yield savings account is just like a savings account with the main difference being that it offers higher interest than with a normal savings account, with interest rates ranging from 1% up to 3%+.
However, many high yield savings accounts do require you to have a minimum balance, starting from $5,000 and can be much higher.
You can also open a high-yield savings account with online only banks, which means you’ll need to open your account online rather than go to a physical branch — those banks usually offer higher interest rates.
High-yield savings accounts offer a good alternative if you’re looking to save for something long term and want a better return on your money.
Tip: There are a lot of various online savings accounts offer higher interest. Yet, they all fluctuate due to the economy, so be careful not to get in the habit of chasing interest rates that change a few percentage points. CIT Bank, Ally Bank, Marcus are good options.
A checking account is the day-to-day account that everyone uses to typically receive their paycheck and spend money on daily and monthly expenses.
Checking accounts don’t have a very high interest (if any at all), but the difference is there is no limit on withdrawals (usually) and you won’t be charged for transfers or transactions.
The minimum is usually very small and there should be no ATM fees. Personally, it probably does not make sense for you to have multiple checking accounts like you would with savings.
If you’re looking to open another account to save money, a money market account is another possible option. A money market is a hybrid between a savings and a checking account.
This means it does pay a better interest rate than a checking account but there will still be withdrawal restrictions.
Money markets are a useful kind of account to help you save money for the short term. You’ll want to pick an account with the smallest fees possible and free ATM withdrawals if you’ll be making regular withdrawals.
Many investing institutions offer money market accounts as well.
A certificate of deposit is similar to a savings account but with the big difference that you won’t be able to withdraw your money for typically a minimum of 6 months. And depending on the terms of your CD account, it could be a few years.
A CD will offer higher interest rates, but you want to make sure you won’t need the money short term. CDs are another great option for long term saving goals.
When should You Open A New Bank Account?
You should look into opening a new account if you aren’t happy with what your bank currently offers you. If your current bank charges high fees, is difficult to manage and makes it expensive to transfer funds, you may want to look into getting a new account.
You can also consider opening an additional account if you find a large bonus (some are up to $1,000!) to join another bank. This could be a good way to make some nice extra money and take advantage of some additional savings account.
Additionally, you may want to open a different bank account if you are living beyond your means and want to take complete control of your budgeting and spending.
This kind of strategy will encourage you to be meticulous with your finances and not overspend on things you may not need. Especially with a different financial institution, it makes it hard to interact with that money compared to your main banking accounts.
Finally, you can open a new account if you’re saving for a specific goal, such as a bigger purchase like a home, for your child’s college fund or maybe your wedding!
When Not To Open A New Bank Account
If managing all your separate accounts is taking up too much time and is too confusing, opening a new account likely won’t help with the situation. If you’re worried about identity theft or missing overcharges, having too many accounts could cause a problem.
If you’re happy with your current bank, consider opening a new account with them instead of heading to a new separate bank — it does make the tracking and organizing easier.
Overall, opening multiple bank accounts can offer you plenty of financial advantages like helping put your money to work and helping you stop spending so much.
If you are organized and can manage your accounts, then opening more than one will not be an issue. Ideally, you’ll definitely want to have a checking and savings account.
I’d also recommend looking into an additional savings account that you can use for either your untouchable emergency fund or as a personal spending account.
However, what you do is a personal choice and varies on your financial goals. Hopefully, the above info can help you figure out how you want manage your banking.
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