All banks offer similar features; however, which factors should you consider while choosing a bank?
Each bank is not created equally. Always carry out in-depth research to determine which bank is right for you. It is the best way to avoid issues regarding charges, fees, and additional costs that may drain you financially.
As you choose a bank, consider the type of bank you want and whether the features that matter to you most are available.
Types of Accounts Being Offered
If you spend and bank regularly, you’ll need a checking account. For unexpected emergencies, you’ll need a savings account. There is also the option of a money market account, and it offers different features. Some financial institutions will offer checking accounts that earn interest or checking accounts that offer rewards. After carrying out some research, you will realize which bank offers the best rates.
Below are the available options when choosing a bank:
Credit unions, or member-owned financial cooperatives, have a few branches and ATMs; however, they have low fees and better interest rates. They usually require a membership-based on a certain criterion, such as being a part of the military or working as a teacher.
With a traditional bank, you can choose between a national, big, or small community option. There is no upside to opening a bank account with a massive brand unless you want to be treated like a faceless and nameless account number. You will enjoy better customer service for smaller community banks and learn more about how your money is being handled.
With online banks, each transaction happens digitally–the transfers, deposits, savings, and bill payments. You cannot liaise with a branch manager since there isn’t one. Although there is minimal human interaction, there are online banks with no overdraft fees and other perks that may make them worthwhile.
The interest rates apply to people who have savings, money market, and checking accounts. Credit unions and banks normally advertise interest rates online. You can opt for financial institutions with better interest rates. An online bank will offer better rates since they do not incur the costs of maintaining the brick-and-mortar banks in each locality.
Most banks lure new clients using introductory offers or special interest rates; however, such offers do not last forever.
The fees can cause a financial dent, so find out about the following bank charges: foreign transaction fees, card replacement fees, and foreign transaction fees. Some credit unions and banks offer free checking, which means that the monthly maintenance fees will not hit clients. As a new client, you may benefit from the introductory fees; however, you will become a victim of the higher fees at some point.
Branches and ATMs
Some banks will slap you with a fee when you use an ATM from another financial institution. If you often withdraw using an ATM, make sure your network is reliable such that you won’t incur additional charges. Look for a credit union or bank that has many branches for convenience purposes.
Online and Mobile Banking
Look for a financial institution that offers mobile banking and has a strong website so that you can manage your finances conveniently. You can view your accounts, make mobile deposits, or transfer money using mobile banking apps. Some sites also offer an ATM finder and text alerts in case your bank balance is low.
Ease of Use
Choose a credit union or bank that you will enjoy doing business with. If you have taken a considerable amount of time soliciting information about a certain bank, it means you should go somewhere else. The lack of online presence indicates that the financial institution is not interested in reaching out to potential clients.
You also need to inquire about the bank’s level of customer service. Check online reviews and ask your friends and colleagues about their experience with certain credit unions and banks. You can also get in touch with a bank through email, phone, text, online chats, or social media.
In today’s world, the main priority is to protect your personal information and money from hackers. If a bank has security issues, take that as a red flag.
Your money should also be insured. Some institutions can cover up to $250,000, and that means even if the bank goes down, each client will get their money. If a credit union or bank is not insured, you should not lend them your money.
Banks usually generate a significant amount of money through penalties and fees. To ensure your money is safe and you have peace of mind, ensure the bank you’ve chosen has the features you need. Shop around for the best deals before settling for a certain ban.