Choosing a Bank

Finance, Home & Family
on April 1, 2012

There are many banks and only one you. That puts the odds in your favor when choosing a bank, especially if you consider these five factors.

Location. There's no sense choosing a bank that's ridiculously inconvenient to get to. Choose a bank that's in a convenient location — one that's on your way home from work, for example. Because local banks are more in touch with the needs of a community, banking with an institution with ties to the local community may also be helpful. Choosing a community bank, according to, could make a difference on things like mortgages, service and accountability.

ATM fees. Using out-of-network ATMs can add up. Most national banks have an extensive network of ATMs. Most local banks are part of a pretty extensive network as well, and, in some cases, will reimburse ATM fees up to a certain amount. Before choosing a bank, investigate ATM fees.

Other fees. There are more fees than ATM fees. These can include maintenance fees if your account is below a certain amount, wire transfer fees and bounced check fees. Investigate what fees a bank charges before opening an account.

Service. Most banks offer online banking. You may want to check out the ease of using a particular bank's online service before signing up. For others, personal service is more important. Feel free to visit a bank and talk to the manager or customer service representative. You could also call the bank's help desk and see just how fast it responds to your needs.

The future. When considering a bank, consider your future and the bank's future. The financial collapse of 2008 led to the failure of many banks. Although most banks are federally insured for up to $250,000, it still makes sense to bank with an institution with a solid financial standing. Your future needs are also an important consideration. Think of any specialized services you may need in the future and factor that into your decision.