Choosing a new bank is a serious commitment, and it’s not something you want to do frequently. This makes it especially important to find the bank that will offer you the most favorable terms. In looking at any bank’s terms, there are several things to consider before you can make an informed decision. This guide will help you examine the various features that may impact your decision.
Minimum Balance Requirements
Some banks require that you maintain a minimum balance in order to avoid monthly maintenance fees. These fees can get pretty hefty, rising as high as $15 a month, so you should try to avoid them. If you can’t maintain the minimum balance requirement, there are usually other ways to avoid the fee. For example, meeting a minimum in direct deposits is one way to avoid the fee at many banks.
Ask For the Fee Schedule
When it comes to fees, each bank is different. You should look for information about the fees each bank charges to determine how much it will cost you to do business with the bank you choose. Some banks will charge an insufficient funds fee on declined charges, while others will not charge this fee. The rates of the fees can vary as well. It’s common to charge $35 for an overdraft, but some banks may charge more or less. Be sure you understand the full range of fees the bank charges before opening your account.
Look at the ATM Network
On most bank websites, you can find a map that displays the locations of all of their branch offices and ATM machines. It can be helpful to look at this map ahead of time to determine the accessibility of in-network ATMs. Since withdrawing cash from an out-of-network ATM can cost you up to $2.50 for each occurrence, you will want to pick a bank that offers plenty of ATM locations in your area.
If you find that several banks meet your personal criteria for balance requirements, fees, and other concerns, you can make your final decision by looking at the other services they each offer. It may be beneficial to choose a bank that offers higher interest on savings accounts and other rewards. Any bank that can help your money work harder for you may be the best choice.