Whether a person’s money is earned, won, or inherited, it is their key to a stable and comfortable future for themselves and their family. For that reason keeping one’s money safe and in a secure location is of the utmost importance. Because it isn’t practical or safe to store money at home, a person will need a bank or credit union. Before opening an account to meet one’s (checking and savings) needs, selecting the right bank is necessary. To successfully accomplish that a person must understand (which bank to choose) based on their personal needs and wants.
Locations and fees are two of the most important things to take into consideration when selecting a bank. When it comes to locations, convenience is often a crucial factor. If a person must visit the bank frequently, he or she may want to select a bank that has locations nearest to home, work, or both. Depending on the size of one’s local area, a bank that has multiple locations throughout may also sway one’s decision when deciding on which bank to choose. For example, banks that have tellers located in area grocery stores or other retailers may be useful for busy people who prefer to complete as many tasks in one location as possible. Another consideration that is tied in with location is the number of available ATM’s. If a person relies heavily on ATM transactions, a bank with multiple ATM locations will likely be a desirable choice. Fees are another major deciding factor that should be taken into consideration when a person is searching for the bank that is right for them. Before deciding on a bank it is important to research multiple locations. While doing this certain information must be gathered and compared from one institution to the other. Ask or look online to ascertain what fees, if any, are assessed to checking and savings accounts. Often fees are tied into the number of accounts that are open and the sum of money that is kept in the accounts. Some banks may waive a checking fee if the customer has an active savings account, while others may waive fees if the customer maintains a certain minimum balance. The number of monthly transactions that a person makes may also incur fees at certain banks. Each bank varies and careful research will help consumers make the choice that best reflects their finances and spending habits.
There are many other considerations that will play an important part in one’s decision on which bank is best for their financial needs, such as hours of operation for example. If a person prefers to do most of their banking online, he or she will want to investigate what online services are available at each of the potential banks. For people who do not speak English as a primary language, locating a bank with tellers and other employees who can communicate with them in their language will also be a deciding factor when comparing banks. There are also certain things that consumers should be wary of when shopping around for a new bank. These things should be considered red flags and a clear indicator that a specific bank is one to avoid. For example, banks that are not Federal Deposit Insurance Company, or FDIC, insured, should be avoided. This is also true for credit unions that are not National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insured. Banks that charge excessively high fees for various common transactions, should also be avoided. When researching banks the behavior of its customer service representatives can be a positive representation of the bank or a cause for concern. Representatives who are rude, impatient, or unable or unwilling to answer questions can be indicative of the service that one can expect as a customer.
- University of Illinois USFSCO: Banking – Choosing a Financial Institution Questions to Ask
- Smart Money: How to Choose a Bank
- University of Minnesota One Stop: Choosing Your Bank
- BYU Marriott School: Choosing a Financial Institution
- University of Minnesota Duluth: Choosing a Bank
- DePaul Financial Fitness Program: Stash Your Cash – Choosing a Bank
- Tufts International Center: U.S. Banking Information – Considerations for Choosing a Bank
- Mass.gov Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation: How to Choose Which Bank or Credit Union is Right for You
- SBA: Selecting the Right Bank for Your Small Business
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Student Banking Managing Your College Money
- USA.gov: Bank Accounts
- University of Illinois Extension Thrifty Living – To Open a Checking Account