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How Many Bank Accounts Should You Have?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 2:00 PM
There are some risks associated with having multiple bank accounts. This Bankrate article describes a few:
"The more accounts you have, the bigger the risk of identity theft and the more monitoring you need to do. More accounts also mean more maintenance fees and more potential for inactivity fees or overdraft fees," he says.

The article also gives reasons to have multiple accounts such as CD ladders and business accounts. However, it didn't mention reward checking accounts as a reason.

How many bank accounts do you have?
Ken TuminKen Tumin5,469 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 125,077
1. Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 7:31 PM
Ally6770Ally6770911 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,652
2. Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 10:07 PM
a checking account for 'continuous' discretionary spending (personal, grocery, household, transportation, ...)

a checking account for bills and obligations due monthly (loans, utilities, telecom, insurance, ...)

a savings account for bills and obligations due less frequently than monthly (HOA, insurance, tuition, taxes, ...)

one or more savings accounts for occassional spending/reserves, and capital project funding (medical, maintenance/repairs, renovation, vacation, ...)

laddered CDs, 90-day trances, for income replacement reserves.

and contrary to the article, i think using actual accounts for 'bookkeeping' is useful provided fees do not make doing so infeasible. with the ease of transfer b/t accounts, i would maintain a savings account for each budget category/biller/obligation.
cmcm2 posts since
Jul 1, 2010
Rep Points: 14
3. Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - 11:37 PM
Got a main checking acct. at a bank from a neighboring state plus a local checking acct. for brick and mortar services (no fees).

A few savings accts. that are dormant as their rates currently suck (HSBC, FNBO, ING. AmTrust) - no fees of course.

Ally (checking and savings) as an ACH hub. WTDirect as a new savings due to their current special - could become a secondary hub later.

A whole bunch of RCAs to juggle among - three in use (two of them brand new), 5 dormant with the hope they may become competitive again in the future; Countybank acct. just closed as it's a hopeless proposition there. The Charter Turbochecking seems rather dead, too, so that's the next on the list to be closed down the road. No fees for all those either.

PayPal acct.

Brokerage acct.

401k acct.


A colorful Excel spreadsheet helps me to keep track of everything (incl. all credit cards) and provides a clear picture of assets and short-term cc balances thanks to some programming/macros. I update this worksheet on an almost daily basis, i.e., enter charges/credits, reconcile by logging into accts. (some often, some periodically to make sure everything's fine). It's work, but it's also fun to watch the fruit of my labor grow over time by comparing older snapshots of this worksheet on my backup drive.
darkdreamer4udarkdreamer4u174 posts since
Jun 11, 2010
Rep Points: 632
4. Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 6:52 AM
Local checking and savings accts with free ACH service, savings acct with 2% guaranteed until 12/31/2010 (will close when promotion expires).

Ally (savings), Alliant (checking and savings) as ACH hubs. WTDirect - opened during their $500 promotion.

8 RCAs - all in use, 2 of them will probably become dormant because of the recent rates drop.

1 CD at 5% (unfortunately, not for much longer)

Member of a couple of credit unions (used to have CDs there).
mariafaltermariafalter57 posts since
Jun 6, 2010
Rep Points: 222
5. Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 8:34 PM
Sorry about the blank post above. I don't know how to erase it. I have dial-up and it disconnects out here on the dirt roads.

We now have accounts in 30 banks and credit unions. But some places have several accounts because of CD's etc. Also in credit unions you have to have a savings for a traditional IRA and a savings for a Roth IRA for both husband and wife. I have one main checking to write all checks from when I cannot charge the bill and to have my credit card debited from this account monthly. It is a reward checking. The other checking accounts are only requirements for higher CD rates etc.  I have the DD done monthly but immediately write a check or do a bank transfer out to a MM or a reward checking etc. Nothing sits in an account without earning interest somewhere. If the money is not needed for something I immediately get a CD. Go for the highest rate for the longest time no matter what the rate is and combine CD's when possible.

Have a ledger sheet to post when CD's become due and use that also to verify that I have received each 1099 at the end of the year. Also have a different ledger sheet to keep track for the FDIC insurance. I do a reconciliation around the first of the year and July 1 to double check everything and to do net worth. I do balance my reward checking accounts every week by phone bank while watching TV. We give a copy of everything to our grown children yearly except amounts in case something happens.

Ally6770Ally6770911 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,652
6. Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 9:54 AM
You only really need 1 or 2 bank accounts one of which should be a checking or savings and then a credit card account. People don't realize that the more bank accounts you have the more you have to monitor them to make sure everything is on par and nothing out of the ordinary is taking place because hey... with 3,6, or 8 bank accounts fraud is always lurking nearby. With more bank accounts come more maintenance fees as well which can be a hassle when managing it all.


Josh Webber
SalvintiSalvinti3 posts since
Jan 14, 2011
Rep Points: 6
7. Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 11:30 AM
Salvinti, You are correct about maintaining several accounts. 2-3 accounts would be enough if you were invested in the maraket.  We are not in the market and have over 40 CD's. Some are regular CD's, and then both my husband and I have traditional and IRA CD's. We do combine them when we can. Many credit unions and banks have requirements that we maintain a checking or savings account at their institution to get the higher rates on CD's. We took our money out of the market in 1999 and at our age will probably not get back in. Even though I rarely use on-line banking we have set up to be sent emails when our accounts go below a certain amount.
Ally6770Ally6770911 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,652