Express account

What is an express account?

An express account is a generic name given to a no-frills, low-cost checking account. These bank accounts are ideal for customers who like to use ATMs, access their accounts online and have limited need to make use of tellers and other high-cost banking services.

Deeper definition

Traditional banking services are becoming increasingly expensive. Customers who avail themselves of these services often are charged high fees intended to recoup the cost of service. Examples include excessive fees for using bank tellers, service charges for printing statements and high ATM fees.

A number of banks recognized that less wealthy customers cannot afford these costs. Instead, those banks offer checking accounts that carry minimal fees as long as customers stick to using ATMs and telephone banking and access their accounts online.

Their services are designed so that virtually all banking can be performed remotely or at bank ATMS, allowing banks to cut back on costs.

The move toward express checking accounts gained momentum with the upsurge in online banks that don’t have brick-and-mortar branches. These banks offer low-cost banking and often pay higher interest rates on savings.

Their disadvantage is that they rely on call centers where it’s more difficult to resolve problems than with traditional walk-in banks.

Another way to reduce banking costs is to bank with a nonprofit credit union. Credit unions often offer free checking accounts, and their other services, while not free, are inexpensive. The downside is that it may be difficult to find compatible ATMs when traveling.

Express account example

Jim is a student studying engineering at the local college. He has a part-time job that he uses to supplement his income. Jim feels the bank fees charged when he deposits his earnings or withdraws money are excessive. Jim does some research and discovers that he can eliminate almost all bank charges by signing up for an express checking account and using the bank’s ATMs to deposit and withdraw cash.

Are you tired of paying high fees for banking services you never use? Research the best express accounts using Bankrate’s Internet-based checking account comparison tools.

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