Continuing with National Consumer Protection Week, let’s talk about banks. Recently, Wells Fargo has been in the news for creating fake bank accounts. When shopping for a bank you want the one you choose to be on the up and up. After all, your bank accounts are the primary ways to store your money, pay your bills and build savings. When you shop for a bank, consider the actual products and services, the location of branches, and online and mobile banking features.
When it comes to finding a safe place to put your money, there are many options. Savings accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposit (CD), and money market accounts are popular choices. Each has different rules and benefits that fit different needs. The bank or credit union must provide you with the account terms and conditions. When choosing the one that is right for you, consider the following.
Minimum deposit requirements. Do you have to keep a minimum dollar amount in your account to earn interest or avoid account maintenance fees?
Limits on withdrawals. Can you take money out whenever you want? Are there any penalties for doing so?
Interest. Can you earn interest on your accounts? How frequently is it paid (monthly, quarterly)? Check with banks or credit unions to see and compare their current published rates.
Online bill pay. Can you pay your bills directly from your bank or credit unions website?
Deposit insurance. Make sure the banks is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or that a credit union is insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
Mobile banking. Can you access your accounts and make deposits from your mobile phone or tablet? Does the bank charge fees for this access?
Convenience. Are there branches ar ATM’s close to where you work and live? Can you bank by phone or Internet?
Money transfer. Does the bank have a system that lets you transfer money to your accounts at other banks or to other people?
Considering a checking account or another type of account with check-writing privileges? Add these items to the list of things to think about.
- The number of checks. Is there a maximum number of checks you can write per month without incurring a charge?
- Check fees. Is there a monthly fee for the account or a charge for each check you write?
- Holds on checks. Is there a waiting period for checks to clear before you can withdraw the money from your account?
- Debit card fees. Are there fees for using your debit card?
- Account fees. Does the bank charge fees on your checking or savings account to cover things like maintenance, withdrawals, or minimum balance rules?
I know choosing a bank should not be that hard, but there are a lot of things to consider. It is your money and you want it to grow, not dwindle due to unforeseen fees.