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.
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.
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.
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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.