I’m breaking up with my bank. Our relationship has soured. Are you also dissatisfied with your bank? I share questions you should be asking when shopping for a new bank below. According to Main Street, a recent bank customer survey showed that customers are “overall satisfied” with financial institutions. Surprised?
The growth in approval comes from those who are now banking with credit unions. As for those of us with big banks — well, there’s always an issue. It’s nice to have a branch and ATMs on every corner, but that’s just not cutting it anymore. After years with my big bank, I’m ready to cut ties. Here’s what I’m asking myself about new prospects.
- Is it safe? Make sure your bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC insures each customer up to $250,000. If you bank at a credit union, make sure it’s insured by the National Credit Union Administration. Insured credit unions are also covered up to $250,000.
- Does it offer free checking? A free checking account is not always free even though it’s touted as such. There’s usually balance requirements and fees.
- How much does it charge in ATM fees? Those pesky little fees add up quickly! Figure out if a potential bank belongs to an ATM network of fees, or if you will be refunded out of network ATM fees.
- What fees can you be slapped with? Incurring fees can hurt your gains, so inquire about overdraft fees and returned deposit fees.
- What type of interests will you get? Watch out for teaser rates! These usually start high to attract new customers and then drop. I’m using sites like Bankrate.com and MyBankTracker.com to compare interest rates offered by local institutions as well as Internet banks.
What else do you consider when opening a new bank account? I’d love to hear why you’re satisfied (or unsatisfied) with your bank!
Consider location. Your bank may not charge you a fee for using a network ATM but the OTHER bank in the network may.
Also, consider one larger withdrawal rather than 2 smaller ones to save on transaction fees.
Yazmin Cruz says
@Myke Good points! I believe many banks will also refund ATM fees charged by other banks. Just make sure to ask before you use out of network ATMs.
Bargain Babe says
@Myke My bank does not have ANY ATMs, so they reimburse for all ATM fees I incur, no matter what machine I use. Even so, I try to only withdraw cash once a month so that I spend less money.
PHYLLIS GREENSPAN says
Consider local vs national banks. During a hurricaine, tornado, etc, if electricity is out, you may have to move out If you have to re-locate for a day or months, you’r better with a national bank.
Bargain Babe says
@Phyllis Greenspan Excellent point, especially if you happened to be hit by Superstorm Sandy. I wonder if local banks make arrangements with nationals during times of crisis so their clients can still access money. If you’re really prepared, your emergency kit would include cash. I used to have an emergency kit when I lived in LA. Then I disassembled it when I moved across the country. Do you have an emergency kit?
Here’s how I made an emergency kit for $22: http://bargainbabe.com/2010/04/12/how-to-make-an-emergency-kit-for-less-than-22/