Choosing a bank can be a real chore, so much so that many of us open a bank account as teenagers or young adults and then simply never bother to change. However, when the time eventually comes to open a new account and choose a new bank, it will help to have some idea of the things that you should be looking out for. The better prepared you are, the easier you will find it to make your decision. Here are the five most important things to consider when choosing which bank to open an account with.
Types of Account on Offer
Many people have multiple bank accounts. There are a number of reasons that you might prefer to have a couple of different accounts, perhaps you are self employed and one of your accounts is strictly for business. Or perhaps you have your own personal account, and then another account which you share with your spouse. Whatever the reason, it is much more convenient to keep all your different accounts with the same bank. Not only does this make things easier for you, but you gain the benefits that come with being a loyal customer with a single institution.
With that said, the real penny-pinchers will often recommend looking at different banks for different accounts so that you can make sure that you’re getting the best rates and deals on every type of account that you have.
It is up to you how you want to approach your own situation, but if you can find a single bank to meet all your needs then this will make things easier. Check out this guide to the best banks in America for an idea of where to start looking.
Fees and Rates
This is where a seemingly great deal can turn into a bad one. Before you open an account anywhere, you need to make sure that you have read all the fine print and have a firm grasp on all the various fees that apply, as well as the rates of interest you will receive and any penalties you will pay if your account is overdrawn. Some institutions charge monthly fees for various account benefits, and others will charge you for ATM use and transferring money between accounts. Sometimes you can get a great deal on an account that has numerous fees for services that you won’t ever use.
If you’re looking for an account that will earn you good interest on the money you deposit, then have a look at some one the best high-yield online savings accounts.
Location of ATMs and Branches
If the account you’re opening is a general personal account for everyday spending, then you are going to want to be able to withdraw money from an ATM without incurring huge fees. This isn’t much of an issue for a long-term savings account, but being able to speak face to face with a person in a branch may well be. Big national bank chains are likely to have both ATMs and branches across the country, but it is always worth checking what is available where you are.
Choosing a bank can seem like a daunting experience, but as long as you think carefully about what it is you need and make sure to compare what is available then you should have no trouble identifying the best bank for your needs.