Choosing A Bank

A guide choosing a bank. It offers definitions of key terms that commonly used in the banking industry.

Setting up a bank account is easy, but determining the right bank for you requires a little more effort.

Do you need to do all of your banking at one place? Are you being charged too much at the ATM? Do you need direct face-to-face contact or would you rather do all your banking on your home computer? Once you figure out what you really need, it's time to do some comparison shopping. Not all banks are created equal.

Hidden fees are becoming increasingly popular in the banking industry. If you're not careful, you might end up wasting significant amounts of money each year on things that can be easily avoided. One place that's full of hidden fees is the ATM. While it is an easy way of obtaining your money quickly and efficiently, ATMs are notorious for their service charges. You can end up being charged every time you use the ATM, if you're not careful. Some banks will charge extra fees if you do not meet certain requirements or do your banking with them. Banks can even charge you to check your balance at the ATM. It depends on the bank. You need to understand the terms of your bank and find the best plan for you.

Banks can also charge fees for certain transactions such as check writing and fund transfers. How can you avoid these extra fees? Evaluate how many checks you write and how many trips to the ATM you take in one month. This can not only save you extra money, but may also help you curb any unnecessary spend habits.

Internet banking or web banking has become an extremely popular way to do all your banking. You can check balances, transfer funds and pay bills, all from the comfort and convenience of your home or office computer. Internet banking may also have a price. Depending on the bank, you may have to pay a service charge for this service. It also may not be available at all banks.

Direct deposit is another great way to do your banking. It can also save you money. Some banks offer free or lower-cost checking with this service. It takes the hassle out of having to manually deposit your checks. Direct deposit allows you to access your money immediately, as soon as the bank receives your check. You need to find out from your employer if this option is available.

Banks understand the convenience of one- stop shopping. It can save a great deal of time to go to only one place and get everything done. Banks call this relationship banking. Customers can hold all of their bank accounts, as well as credit cards, mortgages, investments, with the same bank. Unfortunately, this convenience may have an added price tag. There can be a minimum balance and high APRs mixed into this new relationship.

Another option is a linked account. Some banks offer free services if you 'link" your checking account to your savings account. This can save you money every month.

Location, location, location"┬ŽIt's all about location, right? Not necessarily. Not all banks will charge the same price for the same service. So is it better to pay the higher fees for the bank around the corner? You may find this worth going the distance to find the best price.

Keep in mind that you have the right to be selective and you can leave your bank at anytime. If your bank goes through a merger and suddenly your statement reads the name of another bank, you can change banks. If you are unhappy with a bank's fees, you can change. You do not need a reason.

Think this is all confusing? Well, it doesn't have to be. You have to shop around and understand what is important to you. The most important thing to realize is that you are the consumer. You will always have the right to choose a bank. It should be an ongoing process that does not end until you are completely satisfied. It pays to do your homework.

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