Some people mistakenly believe that MMAs are checking accounts. However, the acronym MMA actually stands for money market account. Money markets are actually a type of savings account rather than checking. Nevertheless, money market accounts do have similar features to checking accounts and some people effectively use their money market accounts as such.
On a regular savings account you cannot write checks. On a money market account, you can write up to six checks per month. Typically, banks provide money market account holders with both checks and withdrawal slips when they open their accounts. You can only use the withdrawal slips for in-person transactions made at the bank. You can use your checks to pay your bills and make payments in the same manner that you use checks drawn against your checking account.
Money market accounts, like checking accounts, are highly liquid. You can make a withdrawal from a money market account at any time. However, you can only make six withdrawals in total from your account per statement cycle. Typically, a statement cycle lasts between four weeks and one calendar month. On a checking account, there are no withdrawal limits. Certain types of money market account withdrawals are unlimited such as in-person withdrawals made at the bank and withdrawals made from automated-teller-machines.
Most deposit accounts, including money markets, savings and checking accounts, have routing numbers. These numbers serve to identify a particular bank and are used alongside your checking account number to direct electronic payments into and out of your account. Consequently, you can have your payroll direct deposited into your money market account. You can also establish pre-authorized transfers and payments from your account, although these transactions are limited as part of the overall limit of six withdrawals per month.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures the money that you deposit in your bank accounts on a per owner, per bank basis. This means your bank aggregates the funds you have on deposit in your checking, savings, money market and certificates of deposit accounts and provides you with a maximum of $250,000 of coverage on your deposited funds. You can increase the coverage level by adding a joint owner to your accounts in which case you would have a combined coverage of $500,000.