Money market accounts not only pay you interest on the money you deposit, they usually come with limited check-writing privileges. For that reason, some people call a money market savings account a "money market checking account," but whatever you call it, the right one can be a valuable tool when it comes to managing your personal finances.
If you're thinking about opening a money market account to take advantage of the freedom to write checks on your savings, there are some things you should consider.
- What is your goal for the account?
- How many checks do you expect to write per month?
- How sure are you that you'll be able to stay within that limit?
- What balance will you be able to maintain in the account?
- How easy does the bank make it to link your money market to other accounts?
You need to ask yourself these questions because bank money market and checking accounts can differ significantly. Some accounts require maintaining a minimum balance or charge maintenance fees that can eat into your savings. A money market account can be a good place to build an emergency fund or save for a big-ticket item. But you need to be sure you can stay within the federal limits on transactions.
Remember, a money market account isn’t really a money market checking account and if you treat it like that, you’ll likely end up paying fees. "It's easy to just start writing checks on these accounts when you need the cash," writes Jeff D. Opdyke in “The Wall Street Journal. Complete Personal Finance Guidebook.” Do so, he adds, and banks can impose fees for each transaction over the limit. Worse, if you go over the limit more than occasionally, federal regulations require banks to convert the account to a checking account, and you'll miss out on what is usually a better interest rate.
However, the limit on check writing doesn't have to be a problem if your bank makes it easy to move funds from one account to another. You can make one large transfer into your regular checking and then write your checks there, or come up with another strategy to organize your savings and checking accounts.
With Ally Bank, you can easily electronically link your different accounts. With an Ally Bank Money Market Account, you earn a variable rate that's consistently among the most competitive in the country according to Bankrate.com, and you can open and fund your account with any amount. You get free standard checks and a debit card for convenient access to your money. You can use any Allpoint no-fee ATM—plus receive up to $10 reimbursement for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide each statement cycle.
Learn more at Allybank.com or call live, 24/7 customer care at 877-247-ALLY (2559) today.
Ally Bank, member FDIC