When looking to either join your first bank or just switch to one that’s more suited for you, most people remember to look for the standard features. This includes things like making sure that there is no monthly fee, minimum balance, or limit on their transactions. However, there are quite a few other factors that you should consider before choosing a bank.
To help, we’ve highlighted a few factors that you might not think of them below.
Determine what your goals are
Before you can determine which bank is right for you, you first need to know what you’re looking for. For the most part, banks are not one size fits all and if you don’t know what your needs are then it’s impossible to choose the right bank that will fit them. It’s a little bit like buying a car.
If you want to spend a lot of money and drive a status symbol, then a Lamborghini is right for you. If you just want a safe car that gets good mileage, then a Toyota or Nissan is the right choice. Or, if you have a family of six, then you probably need a minivan or SUV.
When determining your banking needs, here are some good questions to ask yourself to get an idea of your needs:
➢ Do you like to do your banking online or in-person?
➢ Do you fall into a specific demographic that might qualify you for a deal? Student, military, veteran, etc.
➢ Are you a big saver who is looking to maximize the interest that your savings earn?
➢ Do you need a national bank or does a local one work?
➢ What are your overall financial goals?
➢ Do you have any specific needs that are out of the ordinary?
Now that you have a better idea of your needs, let’s look at a few of the most common factors to look at when choosing your bank.
Most banks will try to charge you some type of monthly fee for their services. However, there are plenty of other ways that a bank can ding you along the way if you’re not careful.
Here are a few common hidden fees that you should try to avoid:
Be sure to inquire beforehand whether your bank charges for any of these, as banks may not proactively mention them.
Perks for signing up
Since banking is such a competitive industry, many banks will go above and beyond to try and lure in new customers. If you play it right, you can sometimes collect a few hundred dollars for joining a bank that you were already going to join anyway. The same can go for credit cards.
Shop around and look at different deals banks are offering new customers.
There are lots of services that banks offer but not every bank offers every service. Due to this, you want to be sure that the bank you’re choosing offers everything that you need. For example, you wouldn’t want to open a new savings account with one bank because you like their high-interest rate only to find out that they cannot help you with your retirement planning.
When looking for banks, do they offer services for:
➢ Checking and savings accounts
➢ Investment/retirement accounts
➢ Online and mobile banking
➢ Debit/credit cards
Most major banks will offer almost all these services, but some newer online banks will specialize in only one or two.
These days, some banks offer almost all their services online. You can check your balance, cash a check, and transfer money all from your phone. This is a good thing to inquire about before signing up as this convenience can save you lots of time down the road.