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Can You Write Checks From a Savings Account?

By Ashley Kilroy · March 07, 2023 · 8 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Can You Write Checks From a Savings Account?

If you’re wondering, “Can you write a check from a savings account?” the short answer is no. You can’t write checks from a savings account; instead, you can do so from a checking account, which is designed to provide that specific financial service. Savings accounts are primarily for earning interest on your deposits and transferring money occasionally.

Checks might seem like an old-fashioned payment method, but they are vital in specific transactions. For instance, you might need to pay the deposit for an apartment rental by check. In addition, personal checks are more secure for mailing payments than cash.

While you may want to draw funds from a savings account, that’s really not its purpose. Here, you’ll learn the details on this situation and also a possible work-around or two. Read on to find out:

•   Can I write a check from my savings account?

•   What are the differences between checking vs. savings accounts?

•   Which accounts can I write a check from?

•   What can I do with a savings account?

•   What if I need to make a payment from my savings account?

Why You Can’t Write Checks from a Savings Account?

You can’t write checks from a savings account because these accounts are for earning interest on cash you leave alone. Federal law, in fact, prohibits check-writing from such accounts and may restrict how often you can transfer money out of a savings account, too.

Part of the way a bank makes money is to lend out your funds on deposit in a savings account for other purposes. You earn an annual percentage yield, or APY, on your deposit for giving the bank the privilege of using your money that’s in a savings account. In other words, your financial institution is depending on some savings-account money staying put, not being regularly transferred out via checks.

Checking accounts, however, are designed to allow customers to write checks and make purchases. They may not make much or any interest, but you can move your money out of these accounts via checks and electronic transfers. You can even write a check to yourself to access your money.

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What Accounts Can You Write a Check From?

One of the ways that checking accounts vs. savings accounts differ is that you can’t write checks from a savings account. However, both checking accounts and money market accounts can let you move funds out via checks. You can choose from the following types:

•   Standard checking. This account typically provides a checkbook and debit card to make purchases. You might earn meager or no interest, but you can access your cash quickly. And, as with most kinds of checking accounts, you’ll be able to get cashier’s checks and certified checks if needed.

•   Premium checking. This is a checking account on steroids, with better interest rates, rewards programs, and customer perks. In addition, these accounts might have monthly fees or steep minimum balance requirements in order to get those enhanced benefits, so check your customer agreement carefully.

•   Rewards checking. Think of rewards checking as akin to a premium checking account but focuses on providing cash back for debit card usage. Again, it’s crucial to read the fine print for these accounts, as they usually require specific spending habits to be worthwhile.

•   High-interest checking. This kind of account, also known as high-yield checking, blends saving and checking together by providing higher interest rates while allowing you to write checks and use your debit card.

While this account attempts to provide the best of both worlds, you’ll likely receive a lower interest rate than a savings account. You also might have to fulfill strict requirements (such as a monthly high account balance or transaction count).

•   Student checking. High school and college students can access banking through these accounts. Student checking accounts typically provide leniency for overdrafts and promotional rewards for new customers. However, your account will change to a standard checking account when you lose student status, meaning you may lose the advantages of a student account.

•   Second chance checking. Customers with less than perfect banking histories can struggle to find a bank that will provide them with an account. Unpaid bank fees and repeated overdrafts can cast a shadow over your banking record, making financial institutions hesitant to work with you. Fortunately, numerous institutions offer second chance checking to give customers another shot at banking. These accounts might restrict spending or charge monthly fees to cover their risk but can help you get back on your feet.

•   Money market account. Many money market accounts also combine some of the features of savings and checking accounts. For example, money market accounts can earn higher interest than typical checking accounts (making them more like savings accounts) but allow you to write checks, as with a checking account.

Recommended: How to Sign Over a Check to Someone Else

What You Can Do With a Savings Account

While you can’t write checks with a savings account, the different types of savings accounts offer these functions and benefits:

•   Security. You can safely save for the future, whether that means building an emergency fund or saving for a down payment on a house. If you bank at a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)- or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)-insured institution, you will have up to $250,000 per depositor or shareholder, per insured institution for each account category.

•   Interest. As noted above, you’ll earn interest. The annual percentage yield (APY) will help your money grow.

•   Convenience. You can also use mobile banking with a savings account. This feature allows you to access your account from your phone to deposit checks, transfer money, and view monthly statements.

•   Perks. You may be able to snag some perks by opening a savings account, such as some banking fees being waived or a one-time cash bonus.

•   Automated savings. You can set up automatic transfers from your checking account to savings to help increase your savings in an effortless way.

•   Account linking. You can link your savings account as a backup to your checking to help avoid overdrafting.

Quick Money Tip: If you’re saving for a short-term goal — whether it’s a vacation, a wedding, or the down payment on a house — consider opening a high-yield savings account. The higher APY that you’ll earn will help your money grow faster, but the funds stay liquid, so they are easy to access when you reach your goal.

Tips for Using a Savings Account to Make Payments

If your goal is to make payments from a savings account, you can’t use a check, as you’ve learned above. Plus, saving accounts may often have monthly transaction limits, meaning you can’t move money from the account for every monthly expense and random bill that may pop up. Generally, you can transfer money from a savings account six times a month.

You can, however, set up a small number of automatic transfers out of your savings account. Follow these tips:

•   Have your account details handy. Double-check your account and routing numbers to make sure you are transferring funds out of the right account.

•   Limit the bills you pay with your savings account. The less information is out there, the less likely it is to fall into a thief’s hands.

•   Don’t attempt more than your account’s transaction limit. Usually, plan on paying no more than six monthly bills with your savings account. Check with your financial institution, however, to find out your exact transaction limits.

•   Maintain an adequate balance. Transferring money from your checking account and depositing cash or paychecks into your savings account will help ensure you don’t overdraft the account.

Banking With SoFi

Savings accounts are excellent tools for earning interest and working towards your financial goals. However, they are less suitable for making payments because you can’t write checks from a savings account. Although you can make payments from savings accounts in a pinch, it’s better to use checking accounts for these transactions. After all, it’s what checking accounts are designed for.

If you’re looking for a banking partner who can provide the best of both checking and savings accounts, see what SoFi offers. When you open an online bank account, you’ll have the convenience of spending and saving in one place. Plus, with our Checking and Savings, you’ll earn a competitive APY and pay no account fees, two features that can help your money grow faster. Plus, you’ll receive both paper checks and a debit card to help you make payments.

Better banking is here with up to 4.00% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


Why do checks come from checking accounts?

Checks come from checking accounts because banks intend payments to flow frequently from these accounts. In addition, checking accounts are the most convenient way to deposit and withdraw money from a bank because you can withdraw money an unlimited amount of times per month.

Why can I not write checks with a savings account?

You can’t write checks with a savings account because the account is for saving money and earning interest payments. Banks don’t provide checks for a savings account because the intention is for you to save money and leave at least a chunk of it untouched in the account. On the other hand, checking accounts allow you to write checks.

Can I write any check from a savings account?

You can’t write a check from a savings account because that is not how they operate according to federal guidelines. You can save money and earn interest with a savings account, while a checking account allows you to write checks.

Photo credit: iStock/AndreyPopov

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