Choices in Bank Accounts - How to Choose the Best
Banking Choices and Opportunities
It used to be there were more differences in banking, but with deregulation, a lot of those differences disappeared. I remember when there were Savings and Loans, and traditional commerce banks. Now there are many services provided at many banks which makes things a lot easier for the average person. Add to that online banking that many take advantage of, and you have a whole new way of doing things. We have seen a lot of changes come and go, and many people still love to see their bank tellers one on one to do business, and don't want to pay extra for it. You can't blame them, as it is their money and customer service does matter even with all the new technology. The differences you do still find in banks, like whether or not a bank is under state or federal regulation, sometimes doesn't really matter to people.
Bank Fees Matter
One of the biggest questions for people, or that should be, are the fees involved with banking in a particular institution. I know for me and my family, if there are some hefty fees, then we don't want to bank there, period. So it can cost to do business with your local and not so local banks, and this is what you want to find out. If you find out that your bank is charging you fees for a number of things, you may want to consider changing banks. I know I would. There are a lot of great deals out there and you might as well benefit from it.
Find out if there are fees per check you write, for instance. Ask about possible ATM fees, both at the bank and if you are just out and about, say at the mall. Sometimes there are no fees at your local bank, but fees that are at another banks ATM machine. There was a time when some banks considered charging people a fee to talk to a teller, and hopefully this is continuing to be on the decline. I have not heard of it as much lately.
In general, fees at one bank may be low in one area, only to be high in some other area, and your goal should be to find out what the differences are. A great way to start is to think of what your business will be, at your bank. If you are just depositing checks and writing checks, and making occasional withdrawals, then ask about things pertaining to that. Find out about the exact services you plan to use. Some banks even offer free checks with their checking accounts, you just have to ask and pay attention to what is being offered.
Some Questions You Should Ask Before Opening an Account
I would start with asking about minimum balance requirements that if you do not meet, would result in a fee. Ask also about the Debit Card fees, check printing fees, money market checking fees, balance injury fees, money order and bank check fees, and stop payment order fees. Even if you don't anticipate needing these things, you might want to ask just to get a feel for the different banks in your area. Most banks have a bounced check fee, which is understandable. This is a quick way to get in the red especially if you are out for the day and writing a lot of checks that bounce. It can be a very hard way to learn an important lesson. Its one you want to learn from others, not through personal experience!
Most of all, I would hope your bank and its tellers are personable and friendly to you. They know you have a choice in your banking decisions. They also know that if they can generate some loyalty from you, you may be with them for decades to come.
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