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What Should I Consider When Picking a New Bank?

Ensuring that your finances are in good hands is a universal desire among those saving for the short- and long-term. Whether it is personal decisions on how to spend and save, investment choices that can produce radically different results, or who you let hold your money, it’s never a good idea to rush these choices.

One of the most important choices you’ll ever make regarding your finances is which bank to use for checking, savings, loans and investment opportunities. Many banks offer different services and different levels of quality, making your decision all the more meaningful.

Before picking a new bank with which to do business, read below about which factors you should consider in the selection process.

FDIC Insurance

While almost every bank offers protection of funds, it is imperative that you verify that the bank(s) of choice under consideration are FDIC-insured. This basically means that in the event of a loss, robbery or other instance of financial depletion, your checking and/or savings accounts will be insured and refunded. The FDIC insures every individual bank account up to $250,000. The best banks in America – along with even some of the smallest and least-known – tend to provide this coverage, but make sure that your bank of choice does, in fact, have this coverage.

Fees, Fees, Fees

How much do you think banking should cost you? If you were to ask 100 banks, you’d get radically different answers. Many people prefer to bank with credit unions due to their low or no-fee structures, but not all banks agree that fees should be low. There are many banks that nickel and dime their customers to death, charging them for ATM withdrawals, bounced checks, monthly maintenance fees and dozens of other potential charges.

Make sure that your chosen bank provides a competitive fee structure and doesn’t excessively charge you for the privilege of accessing your own money.

Online Banking

In this day and age, driving to the bank to figure out your balance, pay bills or handle other basic functions should be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, some banks have not embraced the times and still put plenty of burden on their clients. For consumers who want easy and instant access to their finances, online banking is a must-have feature. This will allow you to easily pay bills online, check your balance, and even deposit checks under select circumstances.

Customer Service

Even with online banking and minimal fees, you may need to interact with your bank from time to time. In these situations, how easy is it to reach a person and get a resolution on an issue? When considering a new bank, make sure that you do some research to determine the quality of each bank’s customer service. Some banks provide 24/7 online or phone-based support, while others require you to contact them during normal business hours. Ultimately, being able to speak with somebody at any time to resolve a matter is a very important factor when/if the service is actually needed.

Before you decide on any bank, ask yourself what qualities and amenities you value. From a pragmatic standpoint, variables such as customer service, fees, online banking,and insurance in the event of the worst, matter substantially. With this information and careful consideration on your own, you’ll be able to decide which specific bank is the best choice for your needs.

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