All Women's Talk

7 Ways to Choose a Bank ...

By Jennifer

If you’re like me, you like to know you’re getting a good deal, or, better yes, the BEST deal! Many times, we’re using a bank that’s not giving us the best deal… maybe it’s time for a new bank! Here are my ten tips on choosing a new bank…

1 Decide What You Need

Decide What You NeedPhoto Credit: rdodson76

Are you looking for a straight-forward personal checking account, or do you have some extra cash you want to invest in a CD? Decide ahead of time what you need from a new bank, so you know which questions to ask. Some banks have better interest rates on CDs than others, but those same banks might have more fees for simple account transactions. Knowing what you need, and how to plan to bank, will help you choose the right bank.

2 Check Rates

Check RatesPhoto Credit: weddingssc1

Whenever you finance any large purchase, or even get a new credit card, your own bank is a great place to start. So when you’re opening a new account, it’s the perfect time to find out what their interest rates are like. These do change over time, but it will at least give you something of an idea.

3 Check Special Offers

Check Special OffersPhoto Credit: juanmarketing

Some banks and credit unions offer one-time incentives for opening a new account, like $50 cash or a new MP3 player. Find out which banks have special offers running, and consider these when you’re choosing your new bank.

4 Ask around

Ask aroundPhoto Credit: peasap

Most people either love or loathe their bank, so it’s a good idea to find out how your friends and relatives feel about theirs. Chances are, too, that if someone refers you, and you do open a new account, both of you get a cash referral bonus. Sweet!

5 Check Ratings (FDIC)

Check Ratings (FDIC)Photo Credit: Postcards from North St. Louis

Before you open an account at a new bank or credit union, make sure they’re insured with the FDIC for at least the amount you plan to deposit. Most banks display the FDIC logo, but if you’re not sure, you can either ask the bank, or visit fdic.gov.

6 Check Hours/locations

Check Hours/locationsPhoto Credit: Marcio Eugenio

If you’re going to be using this new bank for a checking or savings account, make sure they have branches and ATMs near you. Also, make sure their branch and drive0through hours are convenient for you. Some banks are open seven days a week, with extended hours, but some are still old-school, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

7 Start Local

Start LocalPhoto Credit: Emilio Guerra

Years ago, when U.S. banks were de-regulated, pundits predicted that there would soon be only two banks — Bank of America and Chase. While it might seem that that’s really the case, chances are, there are smaller, local banks that might be better suited to your own needs. There are regional banks, state banks, and even just small, local credit unions. Do a little digging and see which is best for you.

Now that you know how to choose and bank, and what to look for, it should be easy to find exactly the right financial institution to handle all of your needs! How did you choose your bank? Please let me know!

Top Photo Credit: ANVRecife

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