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Monday, March 1, 2010

4 Tips For Choosing Your Bank


Whether you have recently relocated and need to find a new bank, or you're not completely satisfied with your current banking institution, it may be time to consider your options. New services have made managing your money easier and more convenient. In this article, we'll provide 4 tips for choosing a new bank that will meet your needs.

#1 - Shop For Convenience
Our lives are busier than ever and time is limited. If you handle of a lot of your banking inside a physical branch, choose a banking institution with branches close to where you live. Before opening an account, visit the branch and observe the number of tellers and how quickly the foot traffic moves. On the other hand, if you rarely visit a branch, make sure you can access your money through a wide network of ATMs.
#2 - Review The Effective Yield
The interest rates offered on savings and checking accounts are not always clear. For example, a savings account may offer a 5% annual interest rate with daily compounding. Because of the compounding effect, the effective yield of that savings account is actually 5.13%. In order to objectively compare interest rates between various banking products, you first need to consider the compounding frequency. That determines the effective yield.
#3 - Compare Related Services
Banks have steadily expanded their menu of services in order to better meet the growing needs of their customers. Identify which services offer the most value for your circumstances. That might include a large network of ATMs, brokerage services, wire transfers, or direct deposit. You'll likely find that your bank can provide far more value than mere CDs, savings accounts, and car loans.
#4 - Online Access
A few years ago, online access was mostly the domain of the nation's largest banking institutions. Today, most regional and community banks allow their customers to log into their accounts from home. A lot of customers who enjoy online access to their accounts find that they rarely visit a branch.

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Selecting a bank that meets your needs involves more than looking for a free checking account. You should shop for an entire package of valuable features. For example, a small monthly fee on your checking account may be insignificant if your banking institution also provides online access and other convenient services. Or, they might offer a free safety deposit box, higher effective yield on savings accounts, and direct deposit for your paychecks. For the majority of people, convenience, service, and flexible features are the most important consideration.


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