Offering a 100% digital experience to their customers, online banks for individuals are on the rise. Accessible directly from a mobile terminal, they save considerable time. They also offer more profitable savings products and apply reduced or non-existent fees to current transactions. However, given the large number of players present in the market today, making a choice is not always easy. To get a clearer picture, our experts discuss here with you the main criteria to take into account when making a decision.
First stage : define your needs
To make your choice among online banks, start by carefully assessing your needs. You will be able to identify the services that will be essential to you. So ask yourself the following questions:
What is your income level?
What is your professional situation? A student, for example, does not need the same services as an entrepreneur.
Do you have savings or are you planning to have one?
Will you need to withdraw money from your account outside the European Union?
Do you frequently resort to bank overdraft?
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Compare the rates charged by online banks
Most online banks offer free service packages. Take a look at their composition and choose the one whose free package most closely matches your needs. Then examine the prices of transactions that are not included in it. Some online banks, for example, charge fees on transfers and withdrawals from ATMs. Others also charge bank account maintenance fees, loss of card fees, bank charges, bank commissions and incident fees. Pay attention to these different fees, as they can drive up the final cost of the services.
However, don’t always look for the cheapest online bank. Very low prices can sometimes hide unpleasant surprises. To more easily compare the rates of different online banks, use an online banking comparator.
The banking products offered
To choose your online bank, also take into account the services in the catalog. Their list can vary from bank to bank, but here are a few that you should pay special attention to:
The joint account
Depending on your life plans and your habits, the need for a joint account may arise in the more or less near future. Some online banks offer it to you free of charge and associate a second bank card with it. But this is not the case with others. Minimum income conditions may also be imposed. So take these details into account when making your choice.
Use outside the European Union
Traditional banks generally apply fees when using their bank card outside the European Union. On the other hand, with regard to online banks, only foreign exchange transactions are invoiced. So, if you are used to carrying out transactions outside the Euro Zone, opt for an online bank that practices the lowest possible exchange rate.
Online banks offer their customers unregulated passbooks whose rates vary from one establishment to another. Of course, the higher the rate offered, the better. However, watch out for promotions. Indeed, to attract customers, several online banks offer very attractive savings offers at boosted rates. But these offers usually do not extend over the long term. So pay special attention to these offers before committing.
If you happen to be overdrawn very often, choose a bank that charges low fees. If the rate applied is not mentioned, do not hesitate to contact an advisor to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Go to online banks with the best customer support
When you opt for an online bank, it is largely for avoid the usual hassles of traditional banks. It is therefore important to ensure that as many services as possible are effectively accessible from the mobile interface.
Of course, all online banks allow you to check your balance and make internal transfers from a smartphone or computer. But, sometimes we need to go further. For example, consider the possibility of making external transfers from the application, blocking your card, managing spending limits, or even changing your information without having to go to an agency.
Finally, the reputation of the sign is also an important criterion. Pay particular attention to the quality of customer support offered by online banks for individuals that interest you. What is the average waiting time necessary before having an online client advisor? What is the quality of the responses provided? To get an idea, read user reviews posted on specialized forums.