What Makes For The Best Checking Account, From A Consumers Point Of View?

What makes for the best checking account, from a consumers point of view? Our personal banking expert explains how to find the best checking account for your needs. When looking for the best possible checking...

When looking for the best possible checking account to fit your needs, there are many things you will need to consider. Not only do you want low fees and a good interest rate (if applicable) for your account, you also want to take a good look at the overall services your bank provides.

What specifically should you look for in a bank?

"Check out their customer service. What are their hours and where are their ATMs located? Have you been introduced to the manager?" says Steven Twirago, personal banker with Chase Bank.

You may find that your choice of bank may be even more important than you choice of account features. Great customer service and convenient hours just might give you more piece of mind than anything else. Any good bank will want to do everything they can to help their customers have a positive banking experience.

"At Chase, I go into other areas to help the customer experience a 'one stop shop' satisfying experience. That can range from working with them on getting the best rates on first and second mortgages, assisting them for retirement, special needs for business owners and 0% credit cards with rewards," says Twirago. " This will help the customer get the best relationship-based accounts, thus helping them to save money and assist them in as many areas as possible."

Get a feel for the staff and management at the bank. When you open an account the manager of the bank should welcome you. The staff should treat you in a friendly manner even if you are registering a complaint about your account.

Twirago says, "It's important to know the branch manager as part of the experience. Sometimes that is more important than the features of a checking account. It's all about establishing a relationship with the client."

Look for the best account to suit your needs. Remember that free checking is not always free so read the fine print and ask a lot of questions. Different features mean different things to each person. One feature that may work well for one person may not be the best option for someone else.

Ask about the best possible interest rate for your account and ask about fees pertaining to ATM use, debit card use, online banking and insufficient funds fees.

You should know how often you will receive a bank statement and what kind of information it will provide to you. Ask how often the online banking system is updated and what information and services it affords you. Also ask your banker how often you will be notified of policy changes, fee changes and how often your interest rate will be adjusted to better fit your needs.

Find out about your banks ATM availability. You save money when you use your own banks ATM system. If your bank is a large chain you will find their ATMs in other cities, which will help you save money on fees while you are traveling.

"If you use an ATM other than your bank, you get charged by your bank and the other bank," explains Twirago. He goes on to add, "However, Chase offers Premier Checking that would allow a customer to not get charged by Chase if they used a non-Chase ATM."

Many banks today are staying open more and more hours. Some even have branches in grocery stores or shopping centers that are open on the weekends for your convenience. Inquire about hours of operation and the location of branch offices.

A great bank will make you feel like a valued customer and do anything they can to make your financial dealings pleasant. This, along with the account features that best fit your needs, will add up to the perfect account for you.

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