A money market check card gives you access to your money market checking account without having to write a check.
Smart Banking with Money Market Checking
Money market checking is a special type of interest checking account offered by banks and credit unions. It gives you the opportunity to earn a higher rate of interest than you would earn on a standard interest checking account. In exchange for that higher rate of interest, there are certain restrictions on the account:
- Higher minimum balance requirements - Most banks and credit unions will require at least $1,000 to open the account. They will also require the account to maintain a minimum balance. This ongoing minimum balance requirement is usually higher than the balance requirement on a standard interest checking account.
- Only six withdrawals per month - No more than three of the six withdrawals can be by check or debit card.
What's the Difference?
Banking and money management can be confusing. There are a lot of terms, types of accounts and restrictions on how you can use an account. Some of that confusion is caused by different terms being used interchangeably. For example:
Checking Account versus Money Market Checking
Checking account is a term that refers to a type of account where you deposit your money and then make withdrawals by writing a check or using a plastic card at an automated teller machine (ATM) or at a retailer.
There are two basic categories of checking accounts: those that earn interest and those that do not. Within the interest-bearing checking category, many banks and credit unions offer an assortment of accounts. Each account has different rates of interest in exchange for the customer taking a certain action. For example:
- Tiered interest checking accounts - The more money you maintain in the account, the higher the rate of interest.
- Money market checking accounts - You agree to not withdraw from the account more than six times during any month, and the bank or credit union agrees to pay a higher rate of interest on the account than they would pay on other interest-bearing checking accounts.
Debit Card versus Check Card
A debit card is a plastic card offered by your bank or credit union which you can use to withdraw funds from your account at an ATM or at a retailer. They are also offered by brokerage firms for you to withdraw available cash from a brokerage account.
Sometimes cards issued by banks, credit unions and brokerage firms will be printed with the words Check Card or something similar to help you differentiate this card in your wallet from a similar-looking credit card. Some customers refer to the cards based on the type of account the card was issued from. For example, if the debit card was issued to withdraw funds from a money market checking account, customers might refer to the debit card as a money market check card.
Money Market Check Card Basics
This debit card is issued with a money market checking account. Although it looks just like a debit card that comes with a checking account, it has different benefits, limitations and security concerns:
A money market check card gives you access to your money market checking funds in several ways:
- Immediate access - Use your funds 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- World-wide access - Use your funds anywhere in the world.
- ATM access - Deposit to your account or withdraw your funds at any ATM, worldwide.
- Point-of-sale access - Spend your funds at any retailer that accepts Visa or MasterCard.
The primary limitation of this type of card is that it can only be used three times during any given month to make withdrawals from your money market checking account. If there are more than three withdrawals, your bank or credit union will want to close your account or convert it to a regular interest-bearing checking account. This would reduce the amount of interest you would earn each month.
Guard your personal identification number (PIN). Your entire account balance is in jeopardy if the wrong person gains access to your card and your PIN.
Money Management Tips
Good financial planning includes being sure that you place your funds in accounts that give you the access, investment return and security that meet your particular financial needs. When asked about a money market checking account, a financial consultant will usually advise you to:
- Minimize the withdrawals from your account - Take advantage of the higher interest rate paid on this account by maintaining as much money as possible in the account.
- Transfer a portion of the balance to an account with a higher interest rate - Maintain the minimum balance required in the account plus any funds that you think you might need within the next six months. Transfer any additional funds in the account to a new account that earns a higher rate of interest such as a Certificate of Deposit.
- Review your account statement every month - Look for any unauthorized use of your check card to withdraw funds or make purchases using your money market checking account. Report any unauthorized use immediately to the issuer of your card.