With so many people using prepaid cars these days, it’s easy to forget that there’s a better solution for managing money. Banking might be the old-fashioned way, but sometimes old-fashioned is time tested and just plain easier. If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for in a good banking account, here are a few things to keep in mind before signing on with a bank.
Consider Credit Unions
Credit unions function just like a bank, but the benefits of banking at a credit union exceed those of a traditional bank. A commercial entity like a bank is there to turn a profit, and when greed gets in the way customers might suffer. Credit unions are not-for-profit institutions that hire financial experts to maintain the money and accounts of a bank. Because of this, a credit union often has better rates and perks. They also tend to be more involved in the local community; the members of a Chula Vista credit union are local to the area and the staff caters to that local community. Credit unions also don’t answer to out-of-town investors and special interests, enabling them to offer great rates compared to commercial banks. That’s one of the biggest reasons to opt for a credit union over a commercial bank.
Check the Fees
Many banks have hefty fees for overdrawing an account or even for having an account. Most experts agree that choosing a bank with a smaller fee set is going to be better than a bank that charges a large amount just to maintain the account. For example, some checking accounts might cost $100 a year while others may be completely free. Make sure your potential bank is going to charge you something you’re comfortable with just for opening your account.
Check Overdraft Policies
Overdrafts can be hefty at certain banks, but many of them offer overdraft protection that can keep your account from becoming a mess. Every bank will have a different fee for overdrafting your account, so make sure that they’re something you’re comfortable with and shop around.
Many people today prefer banking online, even if they use a traditional brick and mortar bank. Not every bank on earth has a phone app or online site (although most do these days). If you want to be able to bank on your smartphone, then it’s wise to make sure that your potential bank has a phone app and website you can use to do real banking business.
With so much online banking going on these days, it’s easy to forget that sometimes you need to be able to walk into a bank and discuss something with a financial expert. That’s where you run into a problem if you choose a major bank with the nearest branch located thousands of miles away. Before signing up for an account, make sure that you’re going to be able to do banking at the actual physical branch of the bank, not just over the phone. Discussing things like loans and loan rates is a lot easier if you’re face to face with the person who will make the decision, and you can’t do that if there’s no physical branch within 100 miles of you.
As plastic becomes the rule and not the exception, and more people switch to digital banking, there is a host of changing rules that the older generation has to learn, as well as a host of basic rules that the younger generation didn’t learn quite in the same way. Knowing how much the fees are, whether there’s physical access to the bank’s personnel, and those all-important overdraft policies will keep you in the loop and able to get the most out of your bank account.