This is going to be the first post of Money Mondays. I am going to be exploring the “How To’s” of the basics of money. Finding a bank or banks that fits your needs is one of the first things you should do to manage your money. There are a few questions you should ask yourself when looking for a bank.
What is my lifestyle? Do I travel a lot? What kind of fees do they have? What kind of products do they offer(accounts, loans, etc.) Is personal customer service important to me? What kind of interest rates do they offer?
Large banks have branches all over the United States. The benefit to this is if you travel frequently for business or pleasure you can minimizes your ATM fees. They can offer more products to you. If you move it is easy to do an address change with them. Also, if you are a college student away from home both you and your parents can have access to the account for transferring funds. However, you are just an account number to them. Yes, you may know your branches tellers but their decisions about your account are decided upon by the people at corporate.
Small Local Banks
If customer service is high on your list of priorities then a smaller bank could be a good choice for you. Your account(s) matter to them. The people that you deal with are usually the people that are making the decisions about your account. Drawbacks to small or regional banks are the number of products and services they offer to you are going to be smaller. If you move you will have to change banks. When you travel you will have to pay ATM fees.
Credit Unions are different than banks in that you are a member and not just an account holder. Therefore, you must qualify to become a member. They are non-profit institutions. One of the biggest reasons you should consider a credit union is their fees are lower and their interest rates are usually better than banks. Customer service is also very good, for the most part.
If you have direct deposit and do most of your banking on line this maybe a good option for you. They usually have lower costs than a brick and mortar bank and therefore can offer lower fees and higher interest rates. Disadvantages are cashing checks and depositing cash. You can cash checks at banks but you may have to pay a fee if you do not have an account with them, and it is never a good idea to send cash in the mail. Some online banks have very limited products that they offer also.
Some things to remember
- Always remember to look for the bank is insured by FDIC and for a credit union is a member of NCUA. This will guarantee your funds.
- Read the fine print. Some accounts have limits on debit card transactions, or the number of checks you can write. There may be fees associated with online banking or bill pay.
- Find out what happens when you make a mistake. Does the bank offer overdraft protection?
- Open a savings account at the same time. It makes sense. It will be easier for you to save.
Finding the right bank for you is not always an easy, but taking a little time and doing a little research can save you money on fees and interest. I hope this article has helped you. What kind of banking to you do? I would love to hear about it.
Thanks for stopping by.