Choose the right bank isn’t always easy. In fact, most people don’t know where to begin when it comes to choose the right bank. They ask their friends for advice, they look at online reviews, they check the customer service of the bank and they keep going from there. But the truth is, there’s more to choosing the right bank than meets the eye.
The right bank isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a meaningful decision that can have a major impact on your financial life. So why not do your research and find the right bank for you? We’ve outlined the top 10 things you should consider when choose the right bank, so you can make an informed decision.
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1 – Customer Service
Don’t focus so much on which bank pays out the highest interest rates or has no fees. Instead, focus on your needs. Is customer service important? Do you want a local branch that you can visit whenever you need something in person? Or are online banking and phone banking enough for you? Are there any special features (like a credit card rewards program) that make one bank stand out from another?
Be sure to look at each of these things before deciding on a financial institution. Location: If being able to get your hands on physical cash quickly is important then look into banks in your area as well as banks that cater to customers who will be making frequent visits, like online banks and smaller local banks.
2 – Mobile Banking
Many financial institutions offer some form of mobile banking that makes it easy for you to deposit checks, pay bills and transfer money via your smartphone. Some of these apps also keep track of your budget, so if you use one regularly, it can help give you a sense of where your money is going. If they don’t have a mobile app or online interface (or both), call and ask if they plan on developing one in order to stay ahead of their competition.
3 – ATM Networks
You can use your bank’s ATM network, or you can go outside of it. Whatever you do, make sure your primary bank has an ATM in a location that makes sense for your life. If you work late at night and like hanging out at bars after work, having an ATM on hand will likely save you a lot of trips to another bank during odd hours.
Just keep in mind that most banks have a fee for using another institution’s ATMs—sometimes as much as $5 per transaction—so using other banks’ machines can really add up. It’s something to consider when deciding where your primary checking account should be located. More Info: Check out our lists of free and fee-charging U.S.
4 – Online Banking Security
If your bank doesn’t have a secure connection for online transactions, it is time to move on. Even if you can’t find a financial institution that meets all of your needs, security should be something you look for and require from all banks.
- Accuracy: You should check any interest rates, annual percentage yields, and savings account rates against those of other banks or credit unions before making any decisions.
- Customer Service: Finding out about customer service beforehand can save a lot of problems down the road.
5 – Reliability of Funds Transfers
Because a bank is only as good as its reliability, it’s important that your funds be handled and transferred in a timely fashion. Good banks use technology for transfers, so you don’t have to go visit a branch (unless you want). At some banks, funds are available immediately; at others, they’re deposited within one or two business days. If having cash available when you need it is important to you, make sure your bank has excellent availability.
6 – Free Checking Services
Checking accounts at financial institutions, like banks, credit unions and investment firms come with a variety of features. Free checking services can help you save money on fees but may have requirements associated with them. Asking these questions will help you figure out if free checking is a good fit for your needs:
What kind of minimum balance do I need to maintain? Do I have enough money for monthly service fees? Is there a limit on how many checks I can write each month? How much does it cost to order checks? Is overdraft protection included in my account or is there an additional fee?
7 – Non-Checking Account Options
Checking accounts are a staple of the banking industry. They provide the mechanism for making deposits and withdrawals, and they come with a host of other services, including the ability to write checks, access online banking, and set up mobile payments.
But with so many other financial services providers offering non-checking account options, it’s worth taking a look at the alternatives. For some consumers, a non-checking account offers better value or a better fit than a traditional checking account.
8 – Reimbursements For Unauthorized Transactions
When a user makes an unauthorized transaction on your account, you may be able to get reimbursed. You can request reimbursement for any unauthorized transaction that is returned as fraudulent or reversed on your statement.
This includes transactions that your bank or card issuer disputes or transactions that were not authorized by the cardholder. You can also request reimbursement for any unauthorized transaction that you believe was not fraudulent or not authorized.
9 – Customer Reviews & Feedback
As a customer, you want to experience a bank that makes you feel good about your banking experience. You want to feel like your bank cares about your financial well-being and your satisfaction. And you want to feel confident that you’re getting a fair deal. At Nationwide Bank, we’re committed to providing you with a positive experience and service that exceeds your expectations.
10 – Online Access
A good financial institution will have several different ways for you to access your accounts online including but not limited to mobile banking, online banking, and bill payment options.