Banks Are More Than Just A Place To Park Your Money

If you've been to a shopping mall lately, you've probably discovered two different banks within a few feet of each other. Go inside the food store in that shopping plaza and you'll see yet another one, just waiting to offer their services to you. Now drive down the road a few blocks and you'll probably see yet another bank on the corner. With all the banks to choose from these days, it can be too much. How do you know who is reputable and what will serve your purposes?

It's actually very simple. Make a list of what you want from a bank and choose only two or three of the ones you've heard good things about. Banks are often places that your friends and families will have strong opinions about- so listen to them. If they rave about one and rant about another, you will know where to stay away from. Make sure to take their advice with a grain of salt though, so you don't sign up right away. First, you need to find out all that they offer so you can make an informed decision.

Enrolling with a bank may not seem like a big decision, but it is. Think about it, changing banks is not something people want to do often. And it's not something that is particularly easy or fun to do. You'll want to start with a good bank and stay with them for many years - if not for the rest of your life. You'll probably be using a debit card, credit card, loan and various other services with your bank, so choose wisely.

Inquire from the banks you're choosing between if they offer free checking, what their policy on over-drafting is, how they handle lost/stolen cards, what happens if you have unauthorized charges appear and so on. Talk to them about saving/checking accounts and the fees they charge. Get lots of information to take home with you so you can read it throroghly.

Many will have pamphlets to give you, so take all the ones that interest you. You will also want to find out how many locations they have and where all their ATM's are. Convenience is key with banks since you won't want to have to drive all over town to withdraw cash or deposit checks. If you're considering a start-up bank that doesn't have too many locations yet- make sure you won't be traveling around much just because you won't have access to a bank.

The best thing you can do when choosing between banks is to get all the information you possibly can and then decide which one to go with. This way you'll get the best deals and you'll know what to expect and not expect from your banking institution.

The author has been in the banking industry for 30 years. Her purpose is to help people to manage their money with ease and peace of mind.

Carol Sue Blanchard is passionate about banks and is the webmaster of FEN Banks

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