If you are looking to open a new checking or savings account (or both), you may be wondering how to go about deciding between different banks. Since banking can be an almost daily part of your life, taking the time to find a bank that fits your needs is definitely worthwhile. Here are a few things to keep in mind that should help you save some money and time.
Fees charged. Chances are that whatever banks you are considering will have different policies about fees and they will even vary within one bank depending on what type of account you choose. Make sure you come away with a clear idea of how much each account will cost you. Some banks charge for checks, others give them to you for free. Some require that you have direct deposit and/or pay a certain amount of bills online with them each month.
Online capabilities. This is a no-brainer these days, fortunately, but most banks should offer you the ability to pay your bills online or deposit your checks via a mobile device which can save you a lot of time since you no longer have to take a trip to your local branch. However, if you’re considering a smaller bank that may not have some of these features yet, just make sure to first consider how important they are to you. Some banks even offer pos device setup or help for your small business needs.
High Interest. If you are looking for a savings account, one of the most important considerations is how much interest the bank is paying. However, in this low-interest rate environment where very few banks are paying much more than 1% annually, the amount you make in interest probably won’t vary too much from bank to bank so you may want to put more of a priority on things like customer service.
Customer Service. Speaking of which, if you have a question, how will your bank’s customer service and tellers treat you? A great way to gauge this is to pay attention to how you are treated when you visit the bank to gather information on your potential account. If they listen to your questions rather than pushing a product on you, that’s probably a good sign.
Rewards program. This will probably be one of the last things you consider but if one of your potential banks offers a rewards program or sign-up bonus, it’s worth taking it into account during your decision-making process, especially if it means more cash in your account!
About the Author
Kate is a freelance writer and blogger with a strong interest in personal finance. She writes regularly for the AvantCredit blog, On Better Terms. She loves finding ways to save and enjoys learning about investing and how to make money work for her instead of the other way around. In her free time, Kate enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling, and running.