Consumers are filling their checking accounts

If you've got a sizeable amount of money in your checking account, you're not alone.

Moebs Services, a Lake Bluff, Illinois-based collector of bank data on services, pricing and expenses, recently reported that consumers put money in their checking accounts in 2013 more than any time in the past 25 years. On average, account holders had a balance of $4,436, an increase from $4,038 in 2012. Michael Moebs, economist and chief executive of the company, said the historical average is $2,100. Overall, Americans have $1.552 trillion in checking and other demand-deposit accounts, and $315 trillion of the amount could be excess.

The source said that this is because consumers are still cautious about spending. When the economy is performing well, as indicated by positive employment statistics, the average account balance drops to $1,400 because consumers don't have to wait long for more liquid capital to come from their next paycheck. Conversely, the average goes up when Americans are stockpiling cash, and Moebs said that 2012 and 2013 were the first years he'd even see it exceed $4,000.

According to the Washington Post, the data showed that the average hovered around $2,000 prior to 2003. In 2007, it fell beneath $1,000 to stand at $778.

Positive implications of the study
Although the report signals that consumers have not yet begun to feel comfortable about the economic conditions in the U.S., there are some good reasons why Americans are putting more money into their checking accounts. First, this could indicate that they are practicing smarter banking habits.

Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, said that they could be maintaining a higher balance to avoid fees, such as minimum balance and overdraft charges. Furthermore, many are stockpiling their cash to prepare for an emergency, though such a strategy isn't the best for watching money grow.

Consumers who are concerned about the future would be better served if they open a savings account or money market account, as these personal account options can add interest growth in addition to regular contributions. We offer competitive interest rates and affordable minimum balances so you can save while having liquid cash available for your everyday purchases.

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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