Personal Finance
November 1, 2018

Could It Be Time To Switch Banks? What To Look For

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

With so many banking choices these days, it doesn’t make sense to stay with the same bank you’ve used for years if you aren’t that happy with the institution. If you are happy, great—but if you’re starting to think it may be time to switch banks, then consider these common reasons for switching, as well as what to look for in a new bank.

Too many fees can be one of the major motivators for someone to want to switch banks. Larger banks seem to be adding a lot of additional fees to various items, such as check cashing, maintenance fees on accounts, online banking fees, and more. Local and smaller banks tend to have fewer fees as an appeal to attract more customers.

Maybe you chose a particular bank because it was close to where you work, or because it offered certain incentives that were attractive at the time. If your banking needs have changed, it would be wise to research other banks to see if they can provide services that are more relevant to your needs today.

In today’s advanced technological environment, there is no reason a bank cannot offer a multitude of online banking functions. If your bank currently isn’t equipped to handle or offer online and mobile banking functions to your satisfaction, consider switching. Check on their online savings account rates, too — some banks offer surprisingly little interest on your money, while others offer very competitive returns.

Many banks today offer alerts and information to make you aware of key transactions and account activity so that you can stay well informed. If you’d like more up-to-date and readily available information regarding your accounts, see what your bank currently offers. If it isn’t satisfactory, you may want to switch banks. While you’re researching their alerts, check in on your credit report. Credit monitoring services such as Lifelock, IdentityForce and Identity Guard help keep tabs on your credit report for you, so you aren’t surprised by fraud later.

Good customer service can often make a huge difference in any service-based industry. If you aren’t getting good customer service at the counter or on the customer service phone line, then maybe you’ll want to seek a bank that provides a better relationship.

When seeking a new bank, check to see if it is in good standing with the FDIC. Visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp website and see if the bank is still covered under FDIC insurance. This is the insurance that covers your deposits and accounts—if the bank isn’t maintaining its insurance, you’ll definitely want to avoid that one.

Other things you’ll want to research include ATM locations, banking hours, interest rates, deposit policies, and payment processing options. You can also read reviews about customer service to get a better feel for how the bank treats its customers, enabling you to make an informed decision. And while you’re deciding the best place to keep your money, consider opening a brokerage account as well, if you’re ready to invest online.

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