Have you ever looked at your bank statement and realized that you earned a whopping one dollar in interest from your bank? Or are you charged ATM fees, overdraft fees, or fees for not having $500 in your checking account? These fees might be a sign that it's time to reevaluate who you bank with.
I switched my banking institution when I realized that I was receiving minimal benefits from the funds in my savings account. As a result, I took steps to research other banks and the savings account benefits. Investigating multiple banks allowed me to compare the pluses and minuses of each institution's offerings. Typically, the bank is not giving you money, but you give the bank your money to hold, protect, and ultimately increase it.
Reasons People Look for New Banks
There are other reasons you may be considering a new bank:
The bank does not align with your financial goals
The bank does not have a local branch in your area
Customer service and financial guidance is non-existent
Finding a bank that you are comfortable with and have easy access to via the internet or locally can create a sense of solace when protecting and growing your money.
How to Find a Better Bank
When looking for a better bank, you should evaluate the fees associated with the account you are trying to open and if the bank can grow with you as your financial situation changes.
See my feature in 10 Steps to Finding A Better Bank.
Following are some recommended questions to ask:
Is a direct deposit required?
Are there ATM fees, and if so, do you offer ATM rebates monthly?
Is a savings account required to have a checking account?
Is there a minimum balance required for opening and maintaining the account without fees?
How Banks Actually Make Money
Did you realize that if you are required to keep a minimum balance of $500 in your account, you may be charged fees that penalize you for not having the available funds? Understanding the minimum balances required and any other benefits the bank offers can create an informed banking relationship.
Other Banking Products
The basic checking and savings account is what most consumers start with. However, when looking for a good bank, you should evaluate other investment products available at the bank. For example, does the bank only offer basic checking and savings, or does it offer products like Certificates of Deposit or high yield savings accounts? Banks that provide expanded options can guide you as your financial situation changes and eliminate the need to switch banks in the future.