We all need to use a bank – or you could put your money in a shoebox under the bed, but that is not going to give you interest or insurance against it going missing. In reality, we will all change our banks a number of times in our life as we chase a better deal, have a bad experience or are looking for products & services that suit our needs.
So, how should you choose a bank? Well, it’s fairly simple, you need to pick the one that suits your needs the best. Here are six key questions you need to ask yourself before going through the steps of changing.
1. Do you like to bank in-person?
Like many things, the reduction of the ‘face to face’ contact you can get in banks is being reduced thanks to online banking. If you a person that doesn’t really need ‘face-to-face’, is happy enough speaking to someone on the phone or banking online, then maybe look at an online bank. These could save you time and fees, as their costs are reduced by not having branches. However, if you want the branch to be able to walk in to, look at one that is located near you, provide services suitable to your income and financial growth prospects and go from there.
2. How innovative is the bank?
Some banks are far more advanced to others. Some listen better to customer needs and provide outstanding features, while the others simply don’t. Often the bigger banks are like the Titanic, slow to move when big issues are coming. So, ensure you find the bank that has the innovation and applications that suit your specific need – such as online, smartphone apps or share trading integrations.
3. What are the fees?
Fees. Ah, those wonderful things. The difference over 10, 20 even 50 years in even the smallest 1 or .5% in fees could literally cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. You need to read the disclosure statements and review what fees are applicable to you. ATM fees, international fees whatever may suit your specific situation, you need to find the best solution for you. It is always best to use an online comparison tool such as https://www.findabetterbank.com to compare what they all can offer you.
4. Is the bank convenient?
As the population changes, people need different things. Your mother may still want a branch and to withdraw cash, but you may not need much cash – as you use your card – and need online banking facilities. Ensure the bank is convenient for your specific needs, not theirs.
5. What products are offered?
You need to look for the future, not just now. So if you may one day want a home loan & you run your own business, ensure that the bank you are going with offers ‘Small Business People’ easy access to home loans, redraw facilities and maybe line of credit, to ensure that you don’t just pick the bank with the best-looking logo or sponsor your football team, but the one that offers the best products for your specific needs.
6. Does the bank have a good reputation in the community?
The banking industry is notorious for being ‘the big end of town’ ripping off the little guy and taking us for a ride all the way to, well, the bank. So do your research on your bank. Does it give back to your community? Does it provide ethical codes of conduct for its staff and what do other people in your social circles say about them? This could mean the difference between the bank doing the right or wrong thing by your moral standards, which in itself could be a reason to change banks.