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Guide to Demand Deposit Accounts (DDA)

By Timothy Moore · June 21, 2022 · 5 minute read

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

Guide to Demand Deposit Accounts (DDA)

A demand deposit account (DDA) is a type of bank account that is payable on demand. In other words, you can withdraw funds whenever you like. The most recognizable type of demand deposit account is a checking account. That’s right: You probably already have a demand deposit account and didn’t even know it.

While some personal finance sites and experts may conversationally refer to savings accounts as demand deposit accounts, there are key differences that actually keep savings accounts from qualifying.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

•   What is a DDA account?

•   What isn’t a demand deposit account?

•   How to open a demand deposit account.

•   The pros and cons of a DDA.

What Is a Demand Deposit Account?

So what is a demand deposit account (and what is it not)? The Federal Reserve categorizes demand deposit accounts as those that “are payable on demand, or a deposit issued with an original maturity or required notice period of less than seven days, or a deposit representing funds for which the depository institution does not reserve the right to require at least seven days’ written notice of intended withdrawal.”

Wait, what? Bank jargon can get confusing, so let’s break it down more simply. Demand deposit accounts:

•   Don’t have a maturity period.

•   Allow you to access your funds without notice (or less than seven days’ notice).

•   Can earn interest, like a high-yield checking account.

•   Cannot limit the number of withdrawals or transfers you can make.

Because checking accounts do not mature and give you immediate access to your funds (for example, through check writing, debit cards, and ATM withdrawals), these qualify as demand deposit accounts.

Recommended: “>What is High Interest Checking – and How Does it Work?

What Isn’t a Demand Deposit Account?

Checking accounts are a common type of DDA, but what about other types of bank accounts, like savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit?

Savings Deposits

Some people consider savings accounts to be DDAs, but there’s a difference to note. The Federal Reserve’s Regulation D (Reg D) previously limited savings account withdrawals to six per month. In response to COVID-19, the Federal Reserve removed this requirement.

Even though the Federal Reserve has eliminated the six withdrawal limit requirement, savings accounts still do not technically qualify as a demand deposit. Because banks have the right to require at least seven days’ written notice for withdrawals on funds in savings accounts, the government instead classifies savings accounts (and money market accounts) as savings deposits.

However, consumers can typically access their savings funds without a required waiting period, so they can often utilize their savings accounts as if they were demand deposit accounts. A bonus is that savings accounts are usually interest-bearing. Just note that many banks still impose a monthly withdrawal limit, despite Federal Reserve changes, so you may wind up getting hit with fees if you make frequent withdrawals.

Recommended: How Do You Calculate Interest on a Savings Account?

Time Deposits

CDs, which have pre-set dates of maturity, are even less like demand deposits. A CD is a time deposit (sometimes called term deposit). They have set maturity dates and are subject to early withdrawal fees, meaning the funds are less liquid than a checking or savings account. Time deposits can be transferable or nontransferable and negotiable or nonnegotiable. In addition to CDs, time deposits can include club accounts (like Christmas and vacation club accounts).

A bit more on how CDs work: The principle for these accounts is that you, the account holder, commit to having your funds on deposit with a bank for a set period of time. Break that agreement, and you may pay penalties.

How Demand Deposits Work

Demand deposit accounts are designed for on-demand access to your funds. Thus, you should be able to withdraw money to cover purchases at any time.

If your demand deposit account is a traditional checking account, you can spend your money with a debit card, checkbook, transfers, or even peer-to-peer payment apps. Each bank will have its own terms and conditions, but some accounts may pay interest, some may charge fees, and some may grant you fee-free access at certain ATMs, so you can grab your money on the go. Research various accounts carefully before selecting a bank or credit union. This involves reading the fine print, but it’s important as it can help you avoid misunderstandings and various fees.

Types of Demand Deposit Accounts

Checking accounts may be the most obvious type of demand deposit account. Some savings accounts can be accessed on demand these days, as outlined above, but many still have restrictions regarding how often you can make withdrawals.

Money market accounts occupy a kind of middle ground: Some experts classify them as demand deposit accounts, but others do not.

How to Open a Demand Deposit Account

Opening a demand deposit account is equivalent to opening a checking account. Each financial institution will have its own processes for opening an account. Typically, you will need a government-issued photo ID, proof of your current residence (a utility bill, for instance), and often an opening deposit to initiate the account. Many banks allow you to complete this process quickly and easily online.

Advantages of Demand Deposit Accounts

Demand deposit accounts offer multiple benefits to consumers:

•   Easy and immediate access to funds: Whether through check writing, an ATM, or the swipe of a debit card, a demand deposit account enables consumers to spend their money as they see fit.

•   FDIC and NCUA insurance: Demand deposit accounts at banks are typically insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000; those held at credit unions are usually insured by the NCUA for the same amount. FDIC and NCUA insurance makes demand deposits safer than cash in your wallet or under the mattress.

•   Interest: Demand deposit accounts can be interest-bearing. The national average APY for checking accounts, according to the FDIC, is currently 0.03%. You can shop around for better returns (over 1%, for instance), largely at online banks. Because these don’t have the expense of bricks-and-mortar locations, they can pass those savings onto their clients.

Disadvantages of Demand Deposit Accounts

Consumers may find some drawbacks to demand deposit accounts as well:

•   Low earnings: Demand deposit accounts are not required to pay interest. While consumers have easy access to their funds, they are trading away higher earning opportunities they might find with a high-interest savings account, time deposits, or even investments in stocks and bonds.

•   Fees: Some demand deposits accounts charge fees, including monthly maintenance fees. Others require minimum balances that some consumers might not want to keep in the account.

The Takeaway

Demand deposit accounts are a type of bank account that give you immediate access to your funds. Checking accounts are the most common type of DDA. With these, you can withdraw money at will, by check, debit card, ATM, bank transfer, or P2P platforms. Demand deposit accounts are often the foundation of an individual’s financial life, allowing them to spend and manage their money seamlessly.

Banking with SoFi can help smooth the path to smart money management. Enroll in our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, and you won’t pay any fees; you’ll have access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs via the Allpoint® Network; and you’ll earn an ultra competitive 1.50% APY.

SoFi: Helping your money grow faster.

FAQ

Is a DDA number the same as an account number?

A DDA (or demand deposit account) number is typically the same as your checking account number.

What is a personal DDA deposit?

You can fund your DDA directly with transfers from other accounts, check deposits (mobile, in-person, or ATM), or cash deposits. These are all types of personal DDA deposits.

Is a DDA account a checking account?

In most cases, a DDA account is a checking account. There is some debate about whether other types of accounts, such as a money market account, also qualify as a DDA.

What does DDA mean on a bank statement?

DDA stands for demand deposit account, which indicates that funds in the account are immediately available to the account holder.


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SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 1.50% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 0.90% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 1.50% APY is current as of 06/28/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
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