Choosing Your First Bank
Choosing a bank can feel like a big commitment, and that’s because it is. Thankfully, once you choose your first bank you aren’t stuck with it for the rest of your life and can still switch if needed. That doesn’t mean you should take choosing your bank any less seriously. It can have a big effect on your life if you choose a bank that does not fit your needs.
The first thing you should think about when looking for a bank is the needs you have: do you need a place you can go to deposit checks regularly? Do you use ATMs frequently? Are you just looking for a place to save your money, or do you want to get a credit card too? Once you have assessed your specific needs you can begin looking at what banks fit your needs. If you need somewhere you can go to deposit checks regularly, finding a bank that has local branch access or well-supported online banking is essential. If you are just looking for a place to safely store your money, finding a bank with high interest saving rates is important. For those of us who are not entirely sure where we will be living soon, whether for school or for a job, deciding on a local bank can cause problems. While you can normally get higher rates on your accounts, if you move away, it can make your whole experience much more difficult if they do not have good online or mobile banking.
A great way to find out what banks fit your needs is by simply looking at their websites. Most banks will tell you what they offer and all of their branch locations. An important thing to look for when searching a bank's website is to see what fees they impose. Do they have extremely high overdraft fees? Do they carry ATM fees? Are there monthly maintenance fees on your account? All of these can make a big difference in how well your banking experience goes and it is important to check potential banks for all of them.
One of the most impactful aspects of banking is online banking. Having the ability to check your account balance quickly and easily, transfer money, or deposit a check from a remote location is extremely convenient. Instead of having to go into a bank and fill out a slip in order to deposit a check, being able to just take a couple of photos and have the money in your account almost instantly is great time-saving convenience. If you have both a checking and savings account, transferring money between the two can be a tedious process. With a bank that allows for easy and quick mobile banking, you can make sure you always have the correct amount in your accounts and avoid any overdraft fees.