Best Bank For Personal Checking Account – Choosing a financial institution to keep your money is one of the most important financial decisions you can make. Different banks offer different levels of service, charge different fees and will pay you very different interest rates on your money.
Of course, this means that choosing the best bank for you is rarely a one-time process. The best bank for you may change throughout your life as your financial and investment goals change. For that reason, a good tip is to remember that there is no limit to the number of bank accounts you can keep, or how often you move from one bank to another.
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Diversifying your bank accounts – just like you do with your investments – can give you more bang for your buck. In this guide, we’ll look at three important factors when choosing a bank for a checking and savings account: the type of bank, the fees and charges they charge, and other features they offer.
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The first and foremost factor in choosing a bank is the type of institution that suits you best. There are at least three types of financial institutions that can properly be called banks, each of which presents unique advantages and disadvantages.
Traditional banks are what most people think of when they think of banks. These banks provide services to their customers mainly through a network of brick and mortar offices and provide ATMs to their customers and those of other banks. Many have started offering online banking services to pay bills and make deposits.
Although these banks have been around the longest, today there are fewer reasons to choose a traditional bank than its online competitors or credit unions. As we will see, both institutions offer lower rates than traditional banks.
That said, you can choose to do your banking in person. If you have questions or problems, you can go to your branch to talk to someone about this matter. This may make a traditional bank the right choice for you. But it’s still important to explore the other options available to you.
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If you choose a traditional or online bank, be sure to choose a bank that is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which covers $250,000 per deposit, per group.
Internet banking was rare 20 years ago, but its popularity has increased over time, making it a direct competitor to traditional banks today. Because online banks have few or no branches, their overhead costs are much lower than traditional banks, and that means their fees are often much lower.
However, many people find the customer service offered by online banks to be disappointing. The industry recognizes this. The best online banks now offer a wide variety of customer support options, but you still won’t be able to walk into a branch and talk to a bank employee in person.
In recent years, the dividing line between online banking and traditional banking has become increasingly blurred, as the digital services and tools offered by online banking have advanced. This means that it can enjoy the benefits of traditional branches while accessing digital banking services.
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Credit unions are often overlooked as alternatives to traditional and online banking, but they have advantages that can make them a good choice.
First, credit unions are nonprofit corporations. This means that they are their members, so profits are returned to their members through low fees and high interest rates on deposit accounts. On the other hand, traditional public banks must meet revenue targets and be visible to shareholders.
Second, many credit unions maintain genuine relationships with their communities. If you are looking for a bank that gives something back to your community, a credit union may be a natural choice for you.
However, credit unions can have strict rules for members to access services, and not all of them offer features like online banking. This can make it a less than ideal choice for a checking account that you need to access and work with regularly.
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If you choose to bank through a credit union, make sure it is insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Like the FDIC, it insures up to $250,000 for each depositor each year.
The next thing to consider when choosing where to bank is the institution’s fees and the interest rate it offers. Most people will have two main accounts: a checking account and a savings account. The features you need for each type of account will be different, and it often makes sense to have these accounts at different institutions.
Most banks will charge a monthly fee to maintain a checking account, but these fees can vary widely. And banks can waive it or lower it if you meet certain criteria, such as meeting and maintaining minimum balance requirements or setting up a direct deposit for your earnings.
To keep these fees to a minimum, it is important to understand what the bank will charge you when you use a checking account. Ask about standard rates, which may include:
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Fees are the biggest differentiator between checking accounts. All other things being equal, you should choose the checking account with the lowest fees.
For your savings account, look at the different types of features. You don’t need to find a savings account as often as you’re checking, so you don’t need a banking device or online service. And as long as you don’t make frequent withdrawals, most savings accounts don’t charge high fees.
Instead, the main way these deposit accounts differ is the interest rates they pay. This can vary greatly, and the best rates are usually offered by credit unions or online banks. Shop around to get the best bang for your buck.
The two factors we’ve looked at so far—the type of institution you choose and the amount you’ll be charged in fees or lost interest—are the basics of choosing a bank. However, many banks will offer different services, discounts or other features that may be important to you.
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Because everyone’s needs are different, take some time to think about how you’re using your current account and where you’re losing money in fees or time. Then find a more suitable bank. Important information may include:
This last point is related to the other one – in the end, the bank you choose should be one you trust. Many people still make their banking decisions based on the company their parents banked with, or simply because they trust the name and reputation of a large national bank. There’s nothing wrong with that – peace of mind is the most important service a bank provides and should be part of your decision-making process.
The best way to choose a bank can be easily summarized. A good bank is:
So make a list, rank some options based on these criteria, and see which bank or credit union comes out on top. Remember – you can always change your mind later or open a second account if your first choice ends up not working out for you.
How To Choose A Bank
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Written by Matthew Goldberg Written by Matthew GoldbergArrow Right Consumer banking report Matthew Goldberg is a consumer banking report at. Matthew has been in financial services for over ten years, in banking and insurance. Connect with Matthew Goldberg on Twitter Twitter Connect with Matthew Goldberg on LinkedIn Linkedin Connect with Matthew Goldberg by Email Matthew Goldberg
Edited by Nell McPherson Edited by Nell McPhersonArrow Senior Banking Editor Nell McPherson is the banking editor at , where she leads a team of reporters dedicated to helping readers make the best decisions about their savings and reviews. accounts, CDs and money market accounts. Connect with Nell McPherson on LinkedIn Linkedin Nell McPherson
Reviewed by Kenneth Chavis IV Reviewed by Kenneth Chavis IVArrow Senior Wealth Manager, LourdMurray Kenneth Chavis IV is a senior wealth manager who provides comprehensive financial planning, investment management and tax planning services to business owners. , equally compensated executives, engineers, medical doctors and investors . About our review board Kenneth Chavis IV
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