For accounts with large balances, banks often provide a service to "sweep" the checking account. This involves withdrawing most of the excess cash in the account and investing it in overnight interest-bearing funds. At the beginning of the next business day, the funds are deposited back into the checking account along with the interest earned overnight.
Consumers can set up checking accounts at bank branches or through a financial institution's website. To deposit funds, account holders can use ATMs, direct deposit, and over-the-counter deposits. To access their funds, they can write checks, use ATMs or use electronic debit or credit cards connected to their accounts.
Because money held in checking accounts is so liquid, aggregate balances nationwide are used in the calculation of the M1, money supply. M1 is one measure of the money supply, and it includes the sum of all transaction deposits held at depository institutions, as well as currency held by the public. M2, another measure, includes all of the funds accounted for in M1, as well as those in savings accounts, small-denomination time deposits, and retail money market mutual fund shares.