You can make online purchases from your savings account but on most kinds of savings accounts you cannot make purchases as easily as you can with your checking account. Under federal regulation D, you can make no more than six withdrawals from your savings account per month and this withdrawal limit applies to online purchases.
You may pay for an online purchase by setting up a automated clearing house, ACH, draft. To do this, however, you must provide the vendor with your savings and routing account numbers. Every bank has a routing number and it enables other banks to identify which bank funds are being drawn from. You can find your routing number listed on a check or withdrawal slip for your checking account. However, savings deposit slips normally feature an internal sorting code rather than the routing number so contact you bank to find out your routing number before you make your purchase.
Banks typically do not offer debit cards with regular savings accounts, although, you can access funds from your savings account by using the debit card linked to your checking to make a withdrawal at an automated teller machine. However, money market accounts are a type of savings account on which you can write checks, and since debit card transactions are processed similarly to checks, you can get a debit card for a money market savings account. To make an online purchase, you just give the vendor your 16-digit card number, as well as the expiration date. Some vendors may also request the three-digit customer verification number that you can find on the signature panel on the card.
Some vendors do not process ACH transactions, and if you do not have a money market you cannot make a purchase using a debit card. However, if you have linked your savings account to your checking account for overdraft protection you can indirectly make a purchase from your savings. You provide the online vendor with the account number for the debit card linked to your checking and if you do not have enough funds in that account your bank will transfer funds from your savings.
Savings accounts, unlike checking accounts, are not designed as transactional accounts. If you exceed the monthly withdrawal limit you must pay a penalty fee and if you do it more than once, your bank can convert your savings into a non-interest paying checking account. Additionally, many banks require you to keep a minimum balance in your savings, and you may pay a penalty fee if you fall below that balance because of making online purchases. Therefore, you should try to use your checking account to make purchases and if you lack the funds, then transfer money from savings to checking before you buy anything.
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