6 must-have features for checking accounts

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In 2001, paper checks accounted for 60 percent of noncash bank payments. By 2011, they were only 20 percent and the decline shows no sign of slowing, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve. So as the U.S. moves deeper into the cashless economy, checking account features like mobile banking and online bill pay are becoming must-haves, several experts say.

Henry Israel, managing director of New York-based consulting firm Novantas, warns against getting caught up in the features race when choosing a checking account. Having accounts in one spot and getting good security are important, too, he says.

Tried-and-true features like free checking and being able to access lots of free ATMs also still rule, says Greg McBride, Bankrate senior financial analyst.

When shopping for a new checking account, put these six features on your must-haves list.

Find the best checking accounts at Bankrate.com.