Choosing a bank is an easy task for some people and yet it is a complex task for other people. I opened my first bank account on my first week in college. There were very few choices of the bank I can go to. As a matter of fact, there was only one bank in a walking distance from the campus, and so by default, i just opened my account there since i could walk to the bank from the campus. I also knew that the bank had many branches in the southeast. I got the free student checking account (which was the newest sales lingo in town). Since then, i have had other accounts but have maintained my first account and have built relationship with the bank over the period of time.
What to consider before opening
Before opening an account it is important to do some research. Check websites of the bank s that you are considering and compare fees and services. Compare local banks, credit unions, savings and loan organizations and other financial institutions. Investing time to find out more about these financial institutions will enable you to find the best one that will serve your current and ongoing financial needs.
Any bank that you intend to put your hard earned money should be insured by federal government and should have a sign stating insured by FDIC or insured by NCUA for credit unions. This means that even if the bank goes under for whatever reasons, your money deposited in that bank up to a certain amount (recently raised to $250,000 from $100000) is safe and you will get it back.
Ultimately, we use the banks because of the convenience and easy availability of our money and in turn, the banks and financial institutions provide services to allow this convenience and lure customers into continuing banking with them.
I am one person who believe that nobody should pay any fee for the following bank services
- ATM withdrawal
- Direct Deposit – for salary pay checks
- Online banking
- Minimum balance
However, some financial institutions still charge a fee for these universal banking services. Before you open an account find out if these services come free or at a fee.
Location & Branches
Most financial institutions have geographically decentralized operations which allow them to have many branches in many different cities and states. However, some financial institutions especially credit unions are localized within a city. Find out how many branches the bank has because this may translate in to the number of hours you spend on the queue trying to get the services you need.
Hours of operation
While this might seem such an insignificant consideration, I find that most of my bank visits happen on Saturday morning and therefore for me, banks that work Monday to Friday 8-5 might not serve my needs very well.
What do you consider when it comes to choosing a bank?
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