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39 Passive Income Ideas to Build Wealth in 2023

With inflation and interest rates rising, many people are looking for ways to generate additional income these days — and finding reliable sources of passive income, which require less effort than most jobs — has become particularly desirable.

Creating and managing passive income streams isn’t a truly passive activity, however. Generating passive income usually requires upfront work, or sometimes a substantial investment to get the ball rolling. And depending on what your passive income source is, whether you’re renting out property or selling a product via online platforms, you’ll likely have ongoing tasks to keep the money coming in.

That said, passive income can in some cases deliver more income with less effort than a traditional job that requires a fixed number of hours per week.

What Is Passive Income?

Passive income is money that you earn without active involvement. In other words, it is income that isn’t attached to an hourly wage or annual salary. Passive income streams could include things like cash flow from rental properties, dividend-yielding stocks, sales of a product (that requires little or no effort), royalties, and more.

Essentially, these side hustles can help you earn money without contributing much, if any, active effort. If you are paid for a service you perform, that’s active income — you have to put in time and energy in order to get paid. If you can continue making money while staying mostly hands-off, that can be a form of passive income. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to put work in up front to get started — you probably will. But besides some maintenance, passive income shouldn’t require your active involvement.

There are obvious benefits to these low-effort side hustles. Earning more money without putting in more hours offers the opportunity to make extra cash without burning yourself out. If you’re successful enough, it might even give you the freedom and flexibility to quit your day job and do whatever you want instead, whether that’s going to school, traveling, writing, or making art.

39 Passive Income Ideas to Help You Make Money

There are a number of ways to earn passive income. Some options, like the following types of passive income, take relatively little active supervision.

1. Open a High-Yield Savings Account

High-interest savings accounts are an alternative to traditional accounts, and they’re attracting more attention these days thanks to higher interest payments that might be 2% or more. By simply putting your money in the bank, you may be able to start to earn passive income on it. If you invest in an FDIC-insured account, the first $250,000 of your money is protected. There are both banks and online platforms which offer high-yield savings accounts.

Savings accounts are generally appealing because they are a separate place to store money you don’t necessarily want to use on day-to-day expenses. For example, it could be a good place to save for emergencies, or even to save for a vacation or a move across the country.

When you find a high-interest savings account, take a look at the fine print. What conditions are attached for you to get that rate? The financial institution may require you to have a certain amount of money deposited into that account each month, maintain a certain balance or have your bills automatically deducted from it. You may need to use your debit card a predetermined number of times, as yet another example — or be limited in the number of transactions that can take place each month.

2. Invest In a Business

Although this may take an up-front investment, buying into a business and becoming a silent partner can be another passive income source.

Even if the company you are thinking of investing in seems solid, it’s important to have an understanding of the challenges the organization may face. There are some red flags to look out for, such as a company whose revenue is earned from just a couple of clients — or just one client — as opposed to several.

It’s also important to lay out the exact terms of your investment and compensation.

3. Lend Money to Peers

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is another type of crowdfunding that allows people to borrow money from individual investors. Through these sites, you can be matched with an individual seeking a loan, and lend your money at a rate that could be higher than the usual bank rates.

That’s because investors taking part in peer-to-peer lending tend to bear the bulk of any risk. It is possible that borrowers will default on their loans, leading to a higher risk if an investor were to lend with a lower credit rating, for example. Returns are never guaranteed and while investors will receive a return on the money they invest, they could also lose some or all of it in the long run.

💡 Learn more: Understanding How P2P Lending Works

4. Buy a Rental Property

Another popular passive income source is rental property. You might want to purchase a home to rent out to an ongoing tenant to earn rental income or list a property on a short-term rental site. Hiring a property management company lessens your day-to-day involvement, thereby making this venture a more passive income strategy than active.

Obviously, setting up this type of income requires a pretty big outlay, and it may be a while before your rental property generates a profit over and above the many expenses required to run it. In addition, there are always risks in the rental markets to keep in mind.

💡 Learn more: Investment Property Guide for Beginners

5. Invest in Crowdfunded Real Estate

If you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a piece of property, you can always check out your options on crowdfunded real estate sites. These may require a smaller initial investment, and likewise the costs are also shared.

Crowdfunded real estate investments can be complex, however, and you’ll want to balance the risks and rewards.

6. Invest in the Stock Market

Dividends are a part of many company’s profits that get passed on to shareholders. Company dividend payments can be quarterly, monthly or semi-annually, and are usually fixed in terms of the number of shares an investor has.

There is no guarantee that investing in dividend-paying stocks will continue to earn you passive income.

💡 Learn more: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Index Funds

7. Invest with an Automated Advisor

If you’re just getting started with investing, you may want to use automated investing tools to help you choose the appropriate allocation of assets for your goals.
Typically, an automated platform — also called a robo-advisor — is a digital investing service that provides you with a questionnaire so you can establish your financial goals, risk preferences, and time horizon.

On the backend, a sophisticated algorithm then recommends a pre-set, automated portfolio that aligns with your responses. These portfolios often have lower account minimums compared with traditional brokers, and the portfolios themselves are typically comprised of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) — which adds to the cost efficiency of some robo products.

You can use a robo investing as you would any account — for retirement, as a taxable investment account, or even for your emergency fund — and you typically invest using automatic deposits or contributions. The allocation in each portfolio is usually pre-determined, and investors cannot change the investments.

Tools such as SoFi’s Automated Investing allow you to automatically invest each month and potentially grow your portfolio over time.

8. Start a Retirement Account

When you open your retirement account, you can choose to invest it however you want. For example, you could open an individual retirement arrangement or IRA.

One way to earn income in a retirement account is by investing in mutual funds. You can choose the level of risk you want to take with your money by finding a mutual fund that is higher or lower risk.

💡 Learn more: 3 Easy Steps to Starting a Retirement Fund

9. Run An Affiliate Marketing Business

When you join a company’s affiliate program, you earn a commission from every product that someone purchases from that company. All you have to do is post the link on your blog, website, or social media pages. Amazon Associates is a great place to start.

10. Rent Out Your Car

Another one of the best passive income opportunities is renting out your car on a site like Turo. It’s basically the Airbnb of cars, and, according to Turo, the average annual income for one car on the site is $10,516.

If you have a clean driving record as well as a newer car, consider getting in touch with a car advertising agency. You simply drive around town with ads on your car and easily generate passive income.

Ready for a Better Banking Experience?

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account and start earning up to 4.20% APY on your cash!

12. Rent Your Parking Space

Do you have space in your driveway that you aren’t using? Then rent it out on platforms like Stow It, where you can find people who will pay to rent out the space.

13. Rent Storage Space

If you have extra space in your garage, shed, or storage unit, then you could start earning passive income by using a peer-to-peer storage site like Stashii to find people who need your space.

14. Invest in Storage Space

You may not have space to store other people’s things, but you might consider investing in a real estate investment trust (REIT) that focuses on storage units. For example, one option is Public Storage, which has ownership or interest in 2,548 properties located in 38 states.

15. Rent Your Bike

Perhaps you don’t have a car, but you do have a bike that’s just sitting around. Your bike could be a lucrative passive income source, especially if you live in a high-traffic area. List your bike on Spinlister to get started.

16. Airbnb or Rent Out a Spare Room

Even if you don’t own a rental property, with your landlord’s permission, you may be able to rent out a room in your apartment or list it on Airbnb and start adding to your passive income streams.

17. Pet Sit in Your Home

If you love pets, you can earn passive income by welcoming pets into your home while their owners are on vacation. For instance, you could charge $30 to $80 per day just for running a doggy daycare. You can gain clients through word of mouth or use a site like Rover to find customers.

18. House Sit for Someone

When your friends go out of town, they may need someone to stay in their home and do simple things like water their plants and collect their mail. You can easily make money and have somewhere new to stay for a little bit. Along with making yourself available to friends, you can sign up to be a house sitter on HouseSitter.com.

19. Buy and Sell Domain Names

Some domain names are cheap, while others cost a lot of money because they are in high demand. One thing you could do to start another passive income stream is to purchase domain names you think will be popular. Purchase low for around $10 to $100 and then sell them for a much higher price later on.

20. Rent Your Tools

Have you ever done a home improvement project that required you to purchase tools? You may never need to use those tools again. Thankfully, now you can rent tools, and rent out your tools, on peer-to-peer platforms such as Sparetoolz to earn passive income.

21. Invest in Royalties

Let’s say you don’t have any songwriting ability, but you would like to make money on other artists’ work. You can invest in royalties through Royalty Exchange and earn passive income on the intellectual property.

22. Purchase a Billboard

You can make thousands of dollars per month if you own a billboard where companies can advertise their products and services. Do your research and make sure you get the right permits before committing to a billboard.

23. Purchase a Blog

If you don’t have the time or energy to create content for your own blog, then look into ones that are already successful and see if the owners are willing to sell. You could also hire someone to manage your blog so that you’re truly earning in a passive way.

24. Create and Teach an Online Course

If you have a special skill or knowledge about a certain topic, you may be able to create a video course where you teach people about that topic and charge them to take the course.

25. Sell Digital Products

You may want to research online platforms where you can sell everything from digital art to e-books. Whether you’re an artist, graphic designer, or writer, you can create digital products to sell online.

26. Sell Stock Photos Online

Many companies, bloggers, and individuals use stock photos on a regular basis. You may be able to upload your best photos to stock photo sites and earn passive income on them.

27. Create a Mobile App

If you’ve been dreaming about an amazing phone app that you think a lot of other people would use, you may want to look into hiring a development team to create it.

28. Sell a Product

You may be able to earn passive income through sales of a product that you create. This could be a book that you write or a physical product that you design and make. You might also list items you already own on sites like eBay and earn extra income through those sales.

29. License Your Music

Do you love to write songs? Then you could license your music and start earning passive income. You’ll just have to team up with a music licensing company to get started.

30. Self-Publish a Book

Through platforms like Amazon’s KDP, you can self-publish a book and earn a royalty on it every time someone makes a purchase. You will be able to set the price of your book and be in full control of your book’s Amazon page, where you can list pictures of the book, reviews, and videos promoting it.

31. Sell Blank Books

You can start selling books online without having to write anything. How? By focusing on blank books, such as journals, sketchbooks, and planners. Simply find a design you believe will appeal to people and begin collecting royalties when people buy your books.

32. Create Greeting Cards

Another artistic endeavor that could be a good passive income stream is creating greeting cards that you sell to a wholesale or retail stationery company that accepts independent artist submissions.

33. Start a Dropshipping Store

If you want to sell products online but don’t want to store any of the goods, you could always look into dropshipping to create passive income. With dropshipping, you don’t have to have much money to start since you don’t need inventory to fulfill orders for customers.

34. Become a Blogger

Blogging seems like a pretty cool space to operate in and gives you a lot of creative freedom. You can make your blog all about crafts, share tutorials, ideas, and more. It’s up to you how your space operates.

Blogging might seem like too much work to many people, but it doesn’t have to be a full-time job for everyone. For some people, blogging can be fun after a day at the office — and, with time and effort, it could turn into something more lucrative.

Here are a few ideas on how you can make passive income from blogging:

•   Affiliate marketing

•   Google AdSense: Cost Per Click and Cost Per Impression

•   Sponsored posts

•   Selling products

35. Start a YouTube Channel

If you enjoy creating videos more than writing, then consider starting your own YouTube channel. Once you get enough viewers, you can begin to generate passive income through YouTube advertising.

36. Publish an Ebook

Like an online course, an ebook is a way to share your expertise with the world. Anyone can self-publish a book online through services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, iBooks Author, or Kobo Writing Life.

The percentage of royalties you earn varies depending on the publisher. Of course, the more marketing you do, the more copies you’re likely to sell — and there’s no shortage of online marketing strategies to investigate. But once you write and publish the e-book, it’s out there ready to generate passive income for you.

37. Create a Podcast

Podcasts are still popular, and they can generate some passive income streams for you. If you start a podcast that resonates with people, then you can grow your audience and monetize your show by sponsoring with ad partners. If you get enough listeners, you may be able to sign up for podcast advertising networks.

38. Start an ATM Business

When people are out at a bar or nightclub or they’re frequenting a cash-only business, they may need cash right away. If you own an ATM business and you place your ATM in high-traffic locations, you could start to generate passive income through surcharge fees. Typically, you could earn around $3 per withdrawal.

39. Start a Vending Machine Business

Similar to an ATM business, a vending machine business allows you to use your creativity and determine high-traffic areas where you could make a lot of money. If you buy in bulk, you’ll be able to save on the snacks and drinks you purchase for your machines.

Potential Benefits of Earning Passive Income

There are only 24 hours in a day. If you go to a job each day that pays you a set amount of money, that is the maximum amount that you’ll ever make in a 24-hour period. That is called earned income.

By investing some of that earned income and creating sources of passive income, you may be able to increase your earnings. Diversifying your income stream may also improve your financial security. Some benefits of passive income are:

•   More Free Time: By earning money through passive income sources, you might be able to free time in your schedule. You may choose to spend more time with your family, pursue a creative project or new business idea, or travel the world.

•   Financial Security: Even if you still plan to keep your 9-to-5 job, having multiple sources of income could help increase your financial security. If you lose your job, become sick, or get injured, you may still have money coming in to cover expenses. This is especially important if you are supporting a family.

•   Tax Benefits: You may want certain legal protections for your personal assets or to qualify for tax breaks. Consulting with an attorney and/or tax advisor to explore setting up a formal business structure like a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation, for example, might help you decide if this is a good route for your particular situation.

•   Location Flexibility: If you don’t have to go into an office each day, you’ll be free to move around and, possibly, live anywhere in the world. Many passive income streams can be managed from your phone or laptop.

•   Achieve Financial Independence: The definition of financial independence is having enough income to cover your expenses without having to actively work in order to cover living expenses. This could allow you to retire early and have more freedom to live your life the way you choose. Whether you’re interested in retiring early or not, passive income can be one way to help you reach financial independence.

•   Pay Off Debt: Passive income may help you to supplement your income so that you will have the opportunity to pay off any debts more quickly.

Potential Downsides of Earning Passive Income

Although it might sound like a dream come true to quit your job and travel the world, earning through passive income is not quite that simple.

•   Earning Passive Income Is Not a Passive Activity: Whether you’re generating passive income through a rental property, running a blog, or in another way, you will still need to put in some time and effort. It takes time to get these income sources up and running, and they don’t always work out as planned.

If, for example, you run an Airbnb, you have to maintain the property, ensure a high-quality experience for guests, and address any issues or concerns guests may have to secure positive reviews.

•   Passive Income Requires Diversity: In order to earn enough passive income to quit your job and cover all your expenses, you would most likely need more than one source of income. Although you may no longer need to clock into a 9-to-5 job, you will likely still need to spend time managing multiple income streams.

•   It’s Lonely at the Top: It might sound great to never have to go to the office again and to have the freedom to travel, but earning money through passive income can become lonely.

Not having anyone to talk to during the day might make you feel lonely, and if you aren’t self-motivated, you may find it difficult to stay on task if you need to manage your passive income streams.

•   Getting Started May Require Investment: Depending on how you plan to create passive income, it may require an initial financial investment. You may need money for a down payment on a rental property, the development of a product you plan to sell, or for investment into dividend-yielding stocks.

Managing Passive Income Streams

No matter which type of passive income you choose to pursue, it’s important to keep track of your finances and both your short-term and long-term financial goals.

Tracking multiple sources of income in a monthly budget can be a complex task. To be profitable, it’s important to pay attention to how much money you put into the maintenance of your passive income stream(s), such as property upkeep or monthly online services.

SoFi Relay is one option to simplify how you manage your income streams because it allows you to see all of your financial information in one place. In the app, you can keep track of your monthly income and create goals for your passive income, such as a home, vacation, or retirement, and automate your finances.

Other Types of Income

In addition to passive income, there are other types of income you can earn.

Earned Income: This is the most common type of income — money you make from a job. With earned income you are trading your time for money.

Profit Income: Profit income comes from the sale of a product after expenses have been deducted.

Interest Income: This can be money earned from one entity lending to another entity, such as a person, company, or bank. This can also be referred to as interest from accounts such as savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) in which you receive a 1099-INT at the end of the year.

Dividend Income: Most dividend income is earned by the distribution of income from companies to shareholders owning stocks that pay dividends.

Rental Income: Rental income is earned when you rent or lease a house, car, or other property you own to someone else.

Capital Gains: This generally refers to profit (or gain) that is subject to taxation when you sell an asset such as stock or real estate. There are both long- and short-term capital-gains tax rates depending upon how long you held the asset before sale.

Royalty Income: Royalty income is generated when you own the rights to a piece of art, music, literature, or another asset licensed for other people to use, or from the extraction of oil, gas, or minerals.

The Takeaway

Establishing a passive income stream is one way to diversify your income and can help you build wealth and achieve financial freedom in the long term. There are a variety of ways to earn passive income, such as through investing, rental properties, and automated investing.

Some passive income sources require a financial commitment or upfront investment, such as purchasing a rental property, and others may require a time commitment. And passive income, of course, is rarely 100% passive. Often there is considerable time and effort that goes into setting up a passive income stream. And some sources of passive income (from investing, real estate, running a business or creative endeavor) require ongoing maintenance.

Once you’re earning passive income, you can think about where to put that money. Whether you’re able to generate a passive income stream from your investments, or that’s a goal of yours, consider opening an Active Invest account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds, and SoFi also offers an automated portfolio.

For a limited time, opening and funding an account gives you the opportunity to win up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.

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Improving Your Relationship With Money

It might seem strange to think about having a relationship with money. But it makes sense when you consider that everyone has feelings about money and those feelings can deeply impact our financial behavior.

Your parents, friends, and life experiences have likely helped you develop different perceptions and biases about money. Those attitudes can influence the financial decisions — both large and small — that you make throughout your life. These decisions, in turn, can have a significant impact on your financial health.

When you have a healthy relationship with money, you feel confident, in control, and satisfied with your financial situation. An unhealthy relationship with money, on the other hand, can lead to avoidance, impulsiveness, anxiety, and increased levels of stress. Indeed, research shows that money is a top cause of stress for many Americans. In a February 2022 study from the American Psychological Association (APA) , 65 percent of respondents said money is a significant source of stress, up from 57 percent in February 2021. Worries about money can lead to, or worsen, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Exploring and understanding your relationship with money can be the first step to improving that relationship and enhancing your financial (and overall) well-being.

Why the Psychology of Money Matters

It’s almost impossible to separate money and emotions. Those feelings may come from the way we grew up and what our parents showed us and told us about money. Or they may come from what we’ve learned about money over the years. Regardless of their roots, negative emotions — like fear, guilt, jealousy and shame — can get in the way of making smart financial decisions. Some examples of how this can play out:

•   The market plummets and fear tells you to get out — which is likely the opposite of what up should do.

•   You’re living paycheck to paycheck but guilt tells you that you should take the kids on vacation anyway.

•   You’ve racked up a lot of credit card debt but feel so ashamed about overspending, you freeze up and avoid your finances altogether.

•   A friend posts photos of their beautifully decorated home on social media and jealousy prompts you to buy furniture you can’t afford.

Emotions aren’t necessarily bad, however. Positive emotions, such as gratitude, serenity, and compassion, can inform our financial habits and decisions in positive ways. Feeling grateful for the money we earn can help us establish a disciplined savings plan. A sense of responsibility and optimism helps motivate long-term financial planning.

The more you understand how emotions impact your relationship with money, generally the easier it is to manage your wealth to achieve your goals.

Recommended: The Future of Financial Well-Being in the Workplace

Finding Your Money Personality Type

Money management habits tend to fall into five financial personality types. Your money “type” can impact your relationship with money and the decisions you make about how to spend, save, and invest it. Often, we fall into a combination of types and not just one. You may find you identify with one or more of these money mindsets.

The Spender

Spenders have no qualms about buying things. They like spending money on material items and experiences that bring them joy, whether it’s the latest iPhone or a vacation in Hawaii.

Spenders are generous with their friends and likely to support charitable causes. However, they often make spontaneous spending decisions and tend to live beyond their means. Many spenders are also investors and aren’t afraid of a risky portfolio.

Potential pitfalls: If you spend everything you make, you can end up going broke. Also, if you spend impulsively (rather than plan your purchases), your spending may not line up with what you truly value.

The Saver

Unlike spenders, savers don’t like to part with money. They continually sock away their paychecks, sometimes with no actual goal in mind. Saving simply makes them feel more secure in life.

Savers don’t keep up with the latest trends and will happily shop around, comparing prices to find the best deal. They will often drive used cars, pay their credit card balance in full each month, and watch their bank accounts grow. Savers tend to be conservative investors.

Potential pitfalls: If you save everything you make, you’re going to miss out on a lot of experiences that can bring happiness and purpose to your life. You could possibly live your whole life without spending much of what you’ve worked so hard to save.

The Avoider

Avoiders don’t like to deal with finances and don’t spend much time thinking about money. It isn’t because they don’t care about money — their head-in-the-sand approach to finance often stems from anxiety about money or a feeling that they don’t deserve to have money.

Avoiders will generally ignore their accounts so that they don’t have to think about money. They tend to let bills pile up and have difficulty making money decisions. Just the idea of going through their financial statements and budgeting makes them feel uneasy.

Potential pitfalls: That lack of attention can result in overdrawn accounts, late payments, and racked-up debt. Avoidance may also mean missed long-term opportunities such as not signing up for a 401(k) match.

The Gambler

These folks are willing to make giant leaps of faith with their money, whether it’s investing in crypto or spending more than they can afford on a home (because it’s bound to go up in value). The thrill of risk and the promise of reward bring them pleasure.

Gamblers also tend to be instinct-driven and don’t pay much attention to sound financial advice. Their risk-taking doesn’t necessarily come from a place of irresponsibility but rather strong gut feelings and a sense of optimism that everything — including their finances — will turn out fine in the long run.

Potential pitfalls: Gamblers are willing to lose it all – and they just may, which can be a huge problem if they are the primary earner in a household. They may also compensate for losses by borrowing against their retirement money or children’s college fund.

The Risk Averse

Unlike gamblers, risk-averse people prize security, financial stability, and planning. Fear of losing money or that they are not doing a good enough job managing their money is at the heart of this money type. A volatile stock market stresses them out, and they’ll spend hours finding the source of a $1.90 error on their bank statement. Above all, the risk-averse wants to be in control.

This group is usually very organized about money, which serves them well. They also tend to prefer safe investments and will be thorough in their research prior to investing.

Potential pitfalls: A more conservative, risk-averse approach can hold you back from worthwhile opportunities to grow your money. Problems can arise if you are too risk-averse to make sound long-term investments.

6 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Money

Like all relationships, cultivating a good relationship with money takes time and effort. Below are six tips that can help you build a better relationship with money and feel more satisfied — and less stressed — about your financial situation.

1. Examine Your Behaviors

Take a look at your money patterns in the past few months to a year. Are you spending more than you are taking in each month? Have you been making impulsive purchases or investment decisions? Are you avoiding financial decisions, such as how much to contribute to your retirement account?

If you’re unsure what your patterns look like, you may want to track your spending for a few months to get an idea of what money is coming in and going out of your accounts. An easy way to do this is to link your accounts to a budget planning or money tracker app, such as SoFi Insights. These tools automatically categorize your spending and provide a bird’s eye view of your finances. This can help you quickly spot trends in your financial behavior.

2. Consider How Emotions Have Impacted Your Financial Decisions

For many people, emotions surrounding money are most acute when they are faced with a big financial decision. It might be when you’re buying a home or making another major purchase, such as a car, or when choosing how to invest your money.

Think back to what emotions you’ve felt while making important financial decisions. Were you focused on what you wanted when you made a large recent purchase, as opposed to what you actually needed? Did your decision line up with your long-term financial goals? Were you gambling on the next big investment trend hoping for a huge reward?

If you see that your emotions are causing you to make poor choices, consider how you can work through those emotions in future scenarios.

3. Set Some Financial Goals

One of the best ways to manage your relationship with money is to know what you want to accomplish financially. If you aren’t working towards anything specific, you may spend more than you should, or the opposite — never reap the rewards of your hard work.

Keep in mind that you can have multiple financial goals with different timelines. Consider where you’d like your finances to be in one year, three to five years, and 10 or more years. Here are some examples of goals you might set:

•   Short-term: Building an emergency fund, buying a new car, or going on vacation

•   Mid-term: Paying off credit card and student debt or putting a downpayment on a home

•   Long-term: Saving for a child’s education or growing your nest egg with retirement planning

Once you’ve come up with a list of achievable and measurable goals, you’ll want to create an action plan to make them happen. This could mean cutting cable to save extra monthly cash, setting up a recurring monthly transfer from your checking to your savings account, and/or contributing more to your 401(k).

4. Communicate with Your Partner

Talking honestly and positively about finances with your significant other can help you have a healthier relationship with that person and also with money. Sharing how you feel about money and the attitudes you learned from your own family can help you and your partner understand each other better.

To get started, you may want to sit down together and talk about what money means to you, what your parents taught you about money, what you want to accomplish with it, and what your fears about money are. Having an understanding of your partner’s beliefs and perceptions can help you avoid conflict and set the stage for healthy discussions about your joint finances. You and your partner can then work together towards shared goals.

You may also want to set up a weekly or monthly money meeting with your partner to go over current challenges and anticipate future needs

5. Talk to a Financial Planner

Working with a professional can be an effective way to take emotions out of your financial decision-making. A financial planner will generally assess your current financial situation, then work with you to develop an individualized financial plan. They can help you set and work towards long-term financial goals, create a budget, build wealth through an investment portfolio, and put protections in place to help secure your future.

6. Review What Resources Your Employer Might Offer

Many companies now offer a range of financial wellness tools and resources that workers can use to strengthen their finances and make sure they’re on the right path for long-term goals. These benefits might include help with student loan repayment, a 401(k) with employer matching, and access to free financial planning and coaching.

If you work for a company that has a benefits portal, that can be a good place to start to see what’s open to you. Ideally, you don’t want to leave anything (money or support) on the table.

The Takeaway

Everyone feels emotions about money. Exploring and understanding your relationship with money can help you take steps to overcome emotional obstacles, reduce money stress, and build a more secure financial future.

Sofi at Work offers a variety of financial wellness and financial education resources to help employees make objective decisions about money and build a positive foundation for financial success.

Photo credit: iStock/stockfour

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For information on licenses, see NMLS Consumer Access (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org ). The Student Debt Navigator Tool and 529 Savings and Selection Tool are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal housing lender.
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.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Different Types of Savings Accounts You Can Have

If you’re looking to put money aside for future needs and watch it grow, a savings account can be a great option.

Not all savings accounts are created equal, however. There are actually several different types to choose from, and the best choice for you will depend on your goals, how you want to access your money, and how soon you’ll need it.

If you’re looking for easy, in-person access to your savings, for example, you might like a traditional savings account. If getting a high return is your priority, a high-yield savings, CD, or online bank account may be a better option. There are also speciality accounts for longer-term savings goals, like retirement.

Here’s the lowdown on the different types of savings accounts to have and how to choose the best one (or ones) for your needs.

Common Types of Savings Accounts

Traditional Savings Account

“What types of savings accounts should I have?” is a common question. And a typical place to start is with a regular savings account that you can open at a bank or credit union.

If your bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), then your deposits are insured for up to $250,000 per depositor, per account category, per insured institution. Worth noting? Some banks participate in programs that extend the FDIC insurance to cover millions.1 The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) provides similar insurance for credit unions.

You can typically open a basic savings account with a small minimum deposit. And, while the interest rates on these accounts tend to be low compared to other savings options, they offer fairly easy access to your funds.

All savings accounts, however, may come with some limits on how many transactions you can make each month. While federal law used to cap withdrawal limits and transfers from savings accounts to six per month, the rule was lifted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, many banks still limit electronic and online transactions to six per month.

There are no restrictions on the number of In-person withdrawals and transfers (at the teller or ATM) you can make on a basic savings account.

Online Savings Account

Brick–and–mortar financial institutions aren’t the only place where you can shop for a savings account. If you’re comfortable doing your banking online or from your mobile device, you might consider an online bank vs. traditional bank for your savings account.

Because online-only financial institutions tend to have lower overhead costs than traditional banks, they often pass that savings on to customers in the form of higher interest rates and lower, or no, fees.

While you can’t meet with a bank representative face-to-face, these accounts often come with well-designed and user-friendly websites and mobile apps, along with customer service representatives available by phone.

Like other basic savings accounts, online savings accounts typically have restrictions on the number of transactions you can make per month (typically six) without incurring a penalty fee. ATM withdrawals are unlimited, however.

If you choose an online savings account from an institution with FDIC insurance, then your funds will be protected, even if the online bank were to go out of business.

Recommended: Understanding the Different Types of Bank Accounts

High-Yield Savings Account

Also known as high-interest savings accounts, this type of savings vehicle tends to come with higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts and often lower fees.

You may be able to open a high-yield savings account where you already bank, but the highest rates are often available from online banks (as noted above).

Depending on the financial institution, a high-yield savings account will likely be insured by the FDIC or NCUA up to $250,000 per depositor, per account category, per insured institution, or possibly more.

Like other savings accounts, withdrawals from high-yield savings accounts may be limited to six per month, and going over the withdrawal limit may trigger a fee.

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Money Market Account

Money market accounts can be found at both traditional and online-only banks and are similar to traditional savings accounts in terms of liquidity, safety, and transaction limits.

Money market accounts, however, tend to come with higher interest than a traditional savings account. And, unlike most basic savings accounts, money market accounts often come with a debit card and checkbook, which can make it a little easier to access your money. In other words, you get some of the benefits of checking accounts plus the perks of a savings account in one place.

On the downside, money market funds generally require a much larger initial deposit than a basic savings account. And, you could be charged fees if the balance goes below a minimum amount.

Due to the potentially higher interest rates and check-writing/debit access, money market accounts can be a good choice for emergency funds if you’ve already saved enough to meet the initial deposit.

It can be important to know the distinction between money market accounts vs. money market funds, too. The latter is a type of investment account and not guaranteed by the FDIC or NCUA.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Certificates of deposit, or CDs, are available at both brick-and-mortar and online institutions, and can be a good savings tool if you don’t need quick access to your money.

CDs come with a specific term — often between three months and five years — during which you need to keep your money in the account.

In return for leaving your money untouched for that time period, CDs generally offer higher returns than standard savings accounts. Generally, the longer term, the higher the yield.

While savings and money market accounts pay variable interest rates (meaning your rate can change after you’ve opened the account) CDs typically pay fixed rates, so your rate is likely to be locked in once you’ve deposited the cash. You’ll know these funds are safe if they’re FDIC-insured. However, if you pull your cash before the maturity date, you will usually pay a penalty, which might mean losing any interest earned. (There are some no-penalty CDs, but the interest rate is probably lower than you’d otherwise earn.)

Cash Management Account

A cash management account is an interest-bearing account that is usually offered not by a bank or credit union but by a brokerage firm, an investment firm, or a robo-advisor.

They are often well-suited for people who want accessibility plus safety. Though they are not held by banks, they may be insured by the FDIC via a partner bank. Not all are, so be sure to check if you are thinking of opening one.

Cash management accounts, sometimes referred to as CMAs, may provide many of the conveniences of traditional spending accounts. For instance, you may have access to a debit card, paper checks, and auto bill pay. Plus, they often have low or no fees.

Recommended: Checking vs Savings Accounts: All About the Differences

Speciality Savings Accounts

The types of savings accounts listed above can be great places to grow your emergency fund or save money for a downpayment on a house. But if you’re looking to save for a more specific or longer-term goal, such as retirement or a child’s future education, you may want to open a more specialized account.

Specialty savings types can be helped along by accounts that are designed to serve a specific financial goal. There are a variety of these accounts, and they can earn interest to help you grow your money, just like other savings accounts. Some of these accounts, however, are investment vehicles, which means they can yield higher returns over the long term, but may also involve some risk.

Among the most common specialty accounts are 529 college savings plans, 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), and custodial accounts for a child (so they can have money for education or other expenses when they turn 18).

Opening a specialty savings account can make sense if you have a singular purpose for saving money. You may want to keep in mind, however, that there may be restrictions on when and how you can withdraw those funds later. Some specialty accounts, such as IRAs, 529s and HSAs, have strict tax rules for making withdrawals.

The Takeaway

There are many different types of savings accounts, and the best option for you will likely depend on how and when you want to access your money.

You might like a traditional savings account if you want to bank in person. For better interest rates and lower fees, you might prefer an online high-yield savings account or, if you won’t need the money for a while, a CD.

For more specific savings goals, such as preparing for retirement, covering health expenses, or saving for your child’s education, you may want to open a specialty savings account in addition to a more liquid savings vehicle.

As you make your decision, see what SoFi offers. When you open a new bank account with direct deposit, you’ll earn an ultra competitive APY and you’ll pay no fees, both of which can help your money grow faster. Plus, you’ll spend and save in one place and have access to tools that help you organize your money, set savings goals, and save your change with Vaults and Roundups.

Better banking is here with up to 4.20% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


What type of account is best for savings?

There are different kinds of savings accounts that suit different goals and money styles. If you like banking in-person, a traditional bank might work fine. If you prefer the convenience of an online bank, you are likely to be rewarded with higher interest rates and lower fees. If you are saving for a specific goal, a specialty account might work best. For instance, a 529 account if you are stockpiling funds for a child’s future college tuition.

How do I choose a savings account?

Choosing a savings account depends on your needs and goals. If you are looking for an in-person banking relationship, a traditional savings account at a bricks-and-mortar bank could be best. If you want a high-yield account, low fees, and convenience, an online bank’s offerings might better suit your needs. If you’re able to keep your money in an account for a specific time period to earn a set interest rate, consider a certificate of deposit.

Is it better to have a savings account or invest?

This depends on your goals. Savings accounts offer a changing rate of interest, currently from a fraction of a percentage to, say, 2%, but the funds are insured. Investing your funds might earn you a higher return, but the market can be volatile, and your funds are not insured so there is the risk of loss.

1SoFi Bank is a member FDIC and does not provide more than $250,000 of FDIC insurance per legal category of account ownership, as described in the FDIC’s regulations. Any additional FDIC insurance is provided by banks in the SoFi Insured Deposit Program. Deposits may be insured up to $2M through participation in the program. See full terms at SoFi.com/banking/fdic/terms. See list of participating banks at SoFi.com/banking/fdic/receivingbanks.
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.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.20% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 4/25/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

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Business vs Personal Checking Account: What's the Difference?

Business vs Personal Checking Account: What’s the Difference?

They say you should never mix business with pleasure — and that applies to bank accounts, too. If you’re a freelancer, small business owner, or entrepreneur, chances are opening a business checking account could be a good move for you.

While both business and personal checking accounts allow you to safely store money and utilize those funds to pay bills and expenses, there are some important differences that make a business checking account a good idea for most folks who work for themselves. In fact, depending on the structure of your business, you may be legally obligated to open a business bank account — which is a pretty compelling argument to do so, we’d say.

Let’s take a closer look at how a business checking account differs from a personal checking account. We’ll cover:

•   What is a business checking account and how it works

•   What is a personal checking account and how it works

•   What are the key differences between a business vs. a checking account

•   Which one (or both) is right for you

What Is a Business Checking Account?

A business checking account is a checking account specifically designed for business owners. As such, they often include business-specific features, such as payroll or bookkeeping integrations, the ability to assign debit cards to employees, or simplified credit card payment processing.

In many other ways, however, a business checking account is a lot like the personal checking account you likely already have. It’s a (relatively) safe place to stash cash and use it for regular, day-to-day expenses by way of writing checks, using a debit card or initiating transfers. For example, it can allow you to:

•   Pay suppliers

•   Deposit payments from customers

•   Pay employees

But it’s only to be used for business-related expenses!

How Does a Business Checking Account Work?

When thinking about a business checking account vs. a personal account, you’ll find many similarities. You open the account, fund it with some money, and, hopefully, go on to deposit more cash as profits from your business roll in.

You’ll likely have access to the account via a debit card and/or a checkbook, and will likely also be able to log into the account and manage it online. (Both digital-first and brick-and-mortar banks offer business bank accounts these days, and most feature some kind of virtual account management option.) Business banking products often bundle both a checking and savings account, so you can start creating a cushion for a rainy day.

However, as mentioned above, a business bank account may come with some additional, business-specific features. It may also come with higher fees and minimum account balance requirements than a personal checking account, not to mention requiring documentation to prove you do, in fact, have a business.

What Is a Personal Checking Account?

A personal checking account is, well, a checking account used for personal expenses. Just like a business checking account, it’s a place where you can stash your cash with relatively few worries and use it to pay bills and expenses using a debit card, checkbook, or transfer services. Many banks also make it easy to bundle a personal checking account with a personal savings account, which is a great place to stash your emergency fund.

Unlike business checking accounts, though, a personal account won’t include those fancy features we were talking about. On the bright side, though, it’s very possible to find free personal checking accounts, which can help you save cash on those pesky monthly maintenance fees.

Ready for a Better Banking Experience?

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What Are Personal Checking Accounts Used For?

Personal checking accounts are commonly used for:

•   Storing money earned through employment or other income streams

•   Paying bills using transfer services or paper checks

•   Making transfers to friends, family, and businesses

•   Making point-of-sale purchases using a debit card

As their name suggests, personal checking accounts are designed to help you manage personal expenses and attend to your everyday money needs. Typically, a personal checking account is the hub of someone’s daily financial life.

What’s the Difference Between Business and Personal Checking?

Let’s recap what we’ve learned about the difference between business and personal checking accounts.

Business Checking Accounts

Personal Checking Accounts

A place to safely store money and access it for regular business expenses A place to safely store money and access it for day-to-day personal expenses
May come with additional business-friendly features, such as payroll and bookkeeping integration Designed for personal use; may offer person-to-person transfers and other useful features
May come with a bundled business savings account May come with a bundled personal savings account
Often come with minimum opening deposit or minimum monthly balance requirements and fees; you’ll need to offer documentation proving you have a business Many personal checking accounts are available for free
Helps entrepreneurs separate out their business expenses for ease of accounting and remaining compliant with regulations Makes paying bills and other regular expenses more manageable, regardless of your source of income

Are Business Checking Accounts FDIC Insured?

Any business checking account worth its salt should be FDIC insured — or NCUA insured, if it’s opened and held at a credit union. The FDIC is a government agency that protects deposit accounts, such as checking accounts, and reimburses lost funds up to the $250,000 standard insurance amount in the event your bank fails. (Some banks participate in programs that extend the FDIC insurance to cover millions1.) The NCUA is a similar agency, but specifically geared toward credit unions.

The FDIC and NCUA insure business and personal accounts alike, but it’s always important to double-check and make sure the bank or financial institution you’re hoping to open an account with explicitly states that deposits are insured.

When Does Someone Need a Business Checking Account?

If you’re a small business owner — or even a freelancer — a business checking account might be a good idea, even if it’s not technically required. Keeping your business and personal expenses separate can help make accounting easier, simplify your tax reporting process, and help make your business look more legitimate to the IRS.

In addition, if you’re incorporating (i.e, operating as LLC, S corp, or other type of business entity), separating your business expenses from your personal expenses can help protect your assets in the event you get sued. Even if it’s not legally required, many accountants and law professionals recommend their clients open a business bank account for this reason.

A business bank account can help you:

•   Separate your business and personal expenses, which can both protect your assets and make bookkeeping easier

•   Help make your tax reporting easier, as all of your deductible expenses will be in one place

•   Make it easier to see you business’s cash flow and make adjustments to your business model as needed, or valuate the business for other purposes

•   Make your business look more legitimate to both the IRS and potential customers, vendors, and other parties you interact with professionally

Establish a relationship with a bank that could allow you to more easily take out a business loan or business line of credit in the future.

Can I Use the Same Bank for Personal and Business Banking?

In many cases, you technically can use your personal checking account for business banking… but doing so is generally considered ill-advised by experts for the reasons listed above. Just for starters, it makes separating out your expenses a lot harder — and you’ll definitely want to have a handle on those so you can get any deductions coming your way.

Case in point, the IRS explicitly recommends keeping separate business and personal bank accounts for record-keeping purposes. It’s easy to let it go by the wayside if you’re just starting up as a small business owner or entrepreneur, but consider whatever expenses the account incurs as part of your business start-up costs. It’s worth it in the long run!

What’s more, it’s a wise move to separate your business and personal accounts in the event that you ever get audited. Combined accounts can lead to a very challenging situation if you ever need to prove your business vs. personal cash flow, expenses, and other aspects of your banking life.

Choosing the Right Business Checking Account

When you are shopping for a business checking account, there are a few features that should be considered to help ensure that you find the right match. These include:

•   Fees. Many business accounts have fees associated with them, and if you are able to get them waivered, the financial requirements (say, the amount you have held in the account) tend to be higher than for personal accounts.

•   Cash deposit limits. Your bank may set a limit in terms of the amount of money you can put in the account per billing cycle. If you hit that amount, you may accrue a cash-handling fee.

•   Transaction limits. Your business checking account may have a limit on the number of transactions they will handle for free per billing cycle. Go over that amount, and you may be charged.

•   Interest. There are business accounts that offer interest on your balance. Do the math though to see if this should be a deciding factor in your choice of a bank. If fees are higher at the bank offering interest, you might wind up losing money in the long run.

•   Bundled services. Your bank might offer some free features, like a business credit card or merchant services along with your checking account.

Depending on the nature of your business and how you handle your banking, some of these factors may matter more than others. Find the bank that gives you the most features and perks you are seeking with the lowest fees possible.

The Takeaway

If you own your own business or earn freelance income, keeping your business expenses separate from your personal expenses can help simplify your life in many ways. A business bank account will help keep these finances separate, streamlining accounting and tax preparation, and protect you if you were ever faced business liability.

But let’s not forget that keeping your personal banking in tip-top shape is vital, too. That’s where the SoFi Checking and Savings bank account can help. When you sign up with direct deposit, you’ll get both checking and savings with absolutely zero account fees and earn a competitive APY just for letting us hold onto your funds.

See how much better you can bank with SoFi.


What documents are required to open a business checking account?

In order to open a business checking account, you’ll need your regular, basic documents — like your government-issued picture ID — as well as business-specific documents such as your EIN and business license. Check with the bank you’re considering directly for full details on which documents are required

Can I open a business checking account without an LLC?

It depends on the financial institution, but yes, business accounts are available that don’t require the business owner to be incorporated in any way

Can I use a personal checking account for business?

You can — the question is whether or not you should. Separating your business and personal expenses can make your life, or your accountant’s life, a lot easier when it comes time to assess your business finances or pay taxes. In addition, there are special business banking features you might get if you opt for a business-specific account.

Photo credit: iStock/mapodile

1SoFi Bank is a member FDIC and does not provide more than $250,000 of FDIC insurance per legal category of account ownership, as described in the FDIC’s regulations. Any additional FDIC insurance is provided by banks in the SoFi Insured Deposit Program. Deposits may be insured up to $2M through participation in the program. See full terms at SoFi.com/banking/fdic/terms. See list of participating banks at SoFi.com/banking/fdic/receivingbanks.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.20% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 4/25/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://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.

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Maximum Deposit and Balance Limits for Checking Accounts

Maximum Deposit and Balance Limits for Checking Accounts

Having a bank account can simplify money management, but it’s important to know that there may be limits on how much money you can put in and move through your accounts. Limits like these can impact the timing and efficiency of your transactions.

Banking details matter to almost all of us. According to the Federal Reserve , 95% of U.S. households have at least one account with a bank or credit union. If you are wondering how much you should keep in checking and savings and whether bank accounts have limits, do read on. We’ll help you answer these important questions so you know where to keep your money and what to expect when you do your banking.

What are Maximum Deposit Limits?

Generally speaking, banks and credit unions don’t impose maximum deposit limits on checking and savings. This means that there usually is not a maximum deposit amount for your checking account that you need to know. The same applies for savings accounts. So if you were to win the lottery (wouldn’t it be nice?), you could go ahead and deposit that mega check into your checking or savings account without any issues.

There may, however, be maximum deposit limits for other types of deposit accounts. For example, if you’re opening a certificate of deposit (CD) account, the bank may cap those deposits at a certain amount. Depending on the bank, the maximum deposit may be as high as $1 million.

Now, do checking accounts have maximum limits on what you can deposit in a single transaction? Yes, they can, depending on the bank.

Maximum Account Balance Limits

Just as banks usually don’t impose a maximum deposit limit, they also don’t set limits on account balances. There is, however, a limit on how much of your money is protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

The FDIC insures bank accounts in the very rare event of a bank failure. As of 2022, the FDIC coverage limit is $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership type, per financial institution. Having two checking accounts with the same bank or multiple savings or CD accounts at the same bank doesn’t affect your coverage limit if the total balance is under $250,000.

If you have multiple accounts at the same bank and the balances exceed $250,000, then it’s possible that part of your deposits might not be covered. The FDIC offers an online estimator tool that you can use to calculate how much of your deposits are covered at an insured bank.

One important note: Some banks participate in programs that extend the FDIC insurance to cover millions. If you want to keep large sums of money on deposit, you may want to consider these programs1.

What Is the Right Amount of Money to Keep In a Checking Account?

How much money can you have in a bank account? The short answer is as much as you want. But a better question might be, “How much money should you have in checking?”

There are different rules of thumb you might follow. Much depends on your personal situation and comfort level, but let’s consider two popular ways to look at this matter. You may choose the “emergency account” route and keep two to three months’ worth of expenses in checking. You could add another 20% to that amount as a just-in-case cushion to cover any small unexpected expenses that might come up so you don’t have to tap into your emergency savings.

If your bank imposes a minimum balance requirement, you could use that as a guide instead when deciding how much to keep in checking. So if your bank has a $1,000 minimum daily balance in order to avoid a monthly service fee, you might aim to keep at least that much in checking.

Ready for a Better Banking Experience?

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account and start earning up to 4.20% APY on your cash!

What to Consider When Withdrawing Money

Maintaining a minimum balance in your checking and savings has some benefits. Specifically, it can help you to avoid fees or situations where you might run the risk of being short on funds. Here are three things to weigh when making withdrawals from bank accounts which can have implications in terms of maintaining your balance and avoiding excess charges.


Overdraft occurs when you withdraw more money than you have available in your bank account, resulting in a negative balance. This is problematic because not only do you not have money to spend or pay bills, but also because your bank can also charge you a fee. According to the latest research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau , banks collected $15.47 billion in 2019 alone. Ouch! Keeping a minimum balance in checking and monitoring your balance regularly can help lower the risk of overdrafting your account.


Some transactions may require a pre-authorization hold before money is deducted from your account. For example, if you use your debit card to get $50 in gas, there may be an initial hold for that amount against your available funds. This lowers the dollar amount you have available for other spending. Having some extra funds in your accounts means all of your money isn’t tied up by these kinds of holds. Better yet, you might consider setting up a credit card account just for things like gas, hotel, and other travel purchases which often require pre-authorization.

Minimum Balance Requirements

As mentioned, banks and credit unions can impose minimum balance requirements for deposit accounts. This is separate from any initial minimum deposit requirement you might need to make to open the account. If your balance dips below the minimum deposit requirement, that could trigger a fee. How would you enter that “too low” zone? It might happen if you make a larger than usual withdrawal or debit card purchase, or decide to write a check that pays off your credit card bill one month.

Of course, you could avoid this by choosing a checking and savings option that doesn’t charge a monthly fee or set minimum balance requirements. This is an option if you’re banking with SoFi.

What to Consider When Depositing Money

The purpose of checking and savings is to hold your money until you need it. You therefore may not think twice about plunking some funds into your bank and parking it there. But when making deposits, it’s important to consider:

•   How much interest you’re earning with your bank vs. what you might earn elsewhere

•   How accessible your money is once you deposit it

•   What kind of fees you might pay to withdraw funds

Let’s review these points in a little more depth.

Investment Opportunities

Keeping all of your cash in checking and savings may seem like a good idea. After all, your money is relatively safe (thank you, FDIC), and you can dip into it as needed. But if you’re hoping to grow wealth, then investing some of your money in the stock market can deliver better returns over time. Allocating part of your paychecks to an investment account where you can buy stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cryptocurrency, or IPOs could pay off over the long term more so than simply earning interest with a bank account.


Liquidity is an investing term that describes how easy it is to turn an asset into cash. Bank accounts are highly liquid since you can get money from them fairly quickly. For example, if you need $500 to pay for an emergency vet bill, you could swipe your debit card, write a check, or hit the ATM.

When deciding how much money to deposit to checking and savings, consider an amount you’d feel comfortable having on hand if you needed it in an emergency. Then, if there’s an amount beyond that which you don’t think you’d need to access right away, you could invest that or put it into a high-yield CD account.

Transfer and Withdrawal Fees

There may be times when you need to transfer funds between bank accounts — perhaps on a regular basis. It’s worthwhile to consider the kind of fees this activity may trigger, so you don’t wind up taking too much of a financial hit. For example, if your bank sets a savings withdrawal limit, you may have to pay an excess withdrawal fee if you go over that limit. The Federal Reserve eliminated the “six withdrawal per month limit” for savings and money-market accounts, but banks can still charge a fee for excess withdrawals. Check the policies at your bank. This can guide you when deciding how much to deposit in savings. You’ll want to think about how soon you might need to take that money out again and what it might cost.

The Takeaway

Bank accounts can make life easier when you need to pay bills, make purchases with a debit card, or set aside money for savings goals. That said, you’ll want to be aware of limits on your accounts in terms of minimum balance requirements, deposit limits, and withdrawal limits. This can help you to avoid excessive fees. Because your checking should be a convenient financial tool, not something that is causing you concern or charging you an array of fees!

Bank Better with SoFi

If you’re looking for a checking and savings option that’s accessible and fee-friendly, consider online banking with SoFi today. Not only do eligible accounts earn a competitive APY, you’ll also bank free of account and overdraft fees. Plus SoFi recently announced that deposits may be insured up to $2 million through participation in the SoFi Insured Deposit Program.

Why not see how simple and stress-free banking can be?

3 Great Benefits of Direct Deposit

  1. It’s Faster
  2. As opposed to a physical check that can take time to clear, you don’t have to wait days to access a direct deposit. Usually, you can use the money the day it is sent. What’s more, you don’t have to remember to go to the bank or use your app to deposit your check.

  3. It’s Like Clockwork
  4. Whether your check comes the first Wednesday of the month or every other Friday, if you sign up for direct deposit, you know when the money will hit your account. This is especially helpful for scheduling the payment of regular bills. No more guessing when you’ll have sufficient funds.

  5. It’s Secure
  6. While checks can get lost in the mail — or even stolen, there is no chance of that happening with a direct deposit. Also, if it’s your paycheck, you won’t have to worry about your or your employer’s info ending up in the wrong hands.


How much money can you put in a checking account?

Generally, there’s no checking account maximum amount you can have. There is, however, a limit on how much of your checking account balance is covered by the FDIC (typically $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership type, per financial institution), though some banks have programs with higher limits. Banks can also impose daily, weekly or monthly limits on mobile check deposits.

Should I keep all my money in my checking account?

Keeping all of your money in your checking account usually isn’t ideal, as you may be able to earn a higher rate of return by investing some of it. It can, however, be a good idea to keep two to three months’ worth of expenses in checking, plus a small cushion of 20% to 30% extra for any surprise expenses that might pop up.

What is the limit of depositing money in the bank?

Banks may not impose an aggregate limit on how much you can deposit to checking and savings. But there may be limits on how much you can deposit each day via mobile check deposit, with a teller or through the ATM. This limit can vary from bank to bank.

Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

1SoFi Bank is a member FDIC and does not provide more than $250,000 of FDIC insurance per legal category of account ownership, as described in the FDIC’s regulations. Any additional FDIC insurance is provided by banks in the SoFi Insured Deposit Program. Deposits may be insured up to $2M through participation in the program. See full terms at SoFi.com/banking/fdic/terms. See list of participating banks at SoFi.com/banking/fdic/receivingbanks.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.20% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 4/25/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://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.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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