The options are endless when it comes to financial institutions and the variety of products and services they offer. So how do you choose between national banks, credit unions and online banks?
You need to consider what services and features you value. Here are some important things to add to your checklist when choosing a bank.
The types of accounts offered
Some people prefer to keep all their accounts: checking, savings, money market, certificates of deposit, credit cards, loans and other products; with a single bank. Others spread their money around to get the best deal on rates and fees.
There is no limit to the number of accounts that you can have in different banks so do not hesitate to customize your finances according to your needs.
Where to look : a large national bank is more likely to have a full range of accounts, but the ability to mix and match products from one institution to another is greater than ever.
Tariffs and rates
A bank may charge fees for monthly maintenance, ATM use, overdrafts, money transfers between accounts and sending paper statements: the list can be long in some establishments.
If you’re looking for a unique deal, find out what interest rates you’d pay on credit cards and loans and what rates you’d get on deposit accounts. A 1% annual percentage return for a savings account may not seem like much, but it’s one of the best rates available. Banks and credit unions publish their rates and fee schedules on their websites. If you can’t find them, ask them.
Where to look : Online banks often have the best conditions because they do not have physical branches so they have less operating costs than traditional banks.
Think about your lifestyle and your preferences in managing your accounts. Do you want to speak with a physical person, or are you more comfortable on the computer or on the phone? Do you travel a lot and need to be able to withdraw cash wherever you are? After determining your needs, look at the number and location of ATMs and locations that a bank offers. If your transactions are strictly digital and you rarely use cash, consider online or mobile banking.
Where to look : National banks have more branches and ATMs all over the country.
An essential technology
Does your bank account need a boost? Good technology can help you stay on track with your money. If you don’t want to walk into a bank, you’ll need a bank with a mobile app that offers remote check deposits.
Determining essential features like the ability to easily transfer money to friends or relatives, budgeting tools, automated savings plans, or security measures can help you narrow down the list of institutions appropriate for your needs. .
Where to look : If you want the latest technology, choose a national bank, an online bank or a mobile bank.
The security of your money
You have insurance to protect your health, your car, your home, and you should also have insurance for your cash. Look for banks whose deposits are guaranteed.
Choose your bank
Choosing the right bank is a personal decision, and it won’t be the only one you have to make. Once you have chosen a bank, you need to choose the accounts that come with it.
Decide what matters to you and consider the options available to you. If you do business elsewhere, you can change banks. Go through the website of the bank you selected, visit the establishment and ask your family or friends for recommendations to help you narrow down your choices.
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