Researching What Banks Offer and Finding the Right One For You

Banking is a safe way to store and spend your money. Whether you’re opening your first checking account or switching banks, picking a bank that works towards your specific needs is important. Some of the things you’ll want to consider during your research are convenience, location, and any fees that will be associated with your accounts or cards. It’s also important to assess how you feel about each company. Your gut feeling can be the strongest indicator of what will work for you and what won’t.

Size and Prevalence

Size and prevalence speaks to your travel needs and whether you’ll need access to your money either across the country or internationally. If you’re someone who doesn’t travel often, the prevalence of your branch may not matter. On the other hand, if you’re constantly traveling, you’ll likely want to choose one that has many locations across the states and overseas.

Fees

Banks vary greatly in their fee policies. While some advertise free checking accounts with no monthly fees, others will squeeze small fees out of you any chance they get. By doing thorough research on policies and schedules you can avoid fees that can add up to a considerable sum. Also inquire about savings account policies if you’re planning on opening one.

Legitimacy

Choosing any of the larger branches is generally a safe bet when it comes to choosing between banks. However, if you’re interested in a small company, make sure you check their legitimacy. Use the “bank find” tool on the FDIC’s website to locate the one you’re considering, and make sure they’re a member of the FDIC. If you’re still unsure of a bank’s legitimacy, it’s highly recommended you do more research before singing up for anything or giving any information.

Convenience

Does this branch have a lot of locations in your area? Or will you have to drive twenty minutes out of your way just to deposit a check or visit an ATM? Choosing a branch that’s prevalent in your city or town will make a world of difference in time and gas money, which is why convenience is so important. Do yourself a favor and pick a company that will make your life easier, not more complicated.

Gut Feeling

Which branch seems the friendliest or has the best customer service? Remember that you’ll be with this company for the foreseeable future and you’ll want to make a decision you’re comfortable with. If a branch in question is the most convenient and relatively fee-free, but you doubt the legitimacy, go with your gut feeling. Switching banks can be a pain, so think carefully before making a final decision.

Since the company you choose will be handling your personal finances, it’s best not to rush into a decision. Consider compiling a list of pros and cons for each branch and compare them side-by-side. Decide what’s most important to you in your banking and make an informed decision off those criteria.