Find The Best Bank For You

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Is your bank the best (and most affordable) choice for you? With more and more banks changing their policies and charging fees for things that used to be free, it’s up to you to find the financial institution that best fits your needs.

First, figure out what kind of banker you are. Do you like to do your banking online and skip the lines at the teller, or are you a more traditional type that prefers the face-to-face experience? To bank online, make sure you chose a bank with an online banking interface that appeals to you and allows you to do what you need. Some smaller mom & pop-style community banks may not have the online banking bells and whistles you want, so your best bet may be a larger regional or national bank. However, if it’s personal customer service you want, smaller local banks and credit unions may be a better choice.  Just make sure you’re not being charged for this privilege. Some banks now charge a fee for face-to-face transactions, but waive the fee if you use the Internet or an ATM instead. Check the fine print or ask a teller or account manager to clarify the details so you know before you’re hit with any charges.

Avoid fees. Unless you’re lucky enough to be able to keep a large amount of money in your account at all times, you may be subject to monthly fees on your accounts. But there are ways to get around it. Many banks will waive minimum monthly balance fees if you have your paychecks sent to them via direct deposit. But watch out for new fees that are becoming more prevalent: Debit card usage fees. Many banks are now charging customers a fee to use their debit cards. Ask your bank if they charge for this service. If they do, ask if there are ways to avoid the fee, such as switching to a different type of account.

Do online research. There are some good online resources that can help you find the best banking fit for you.

About The Author

George Morris

In his 40-plus-year newspaper career, George Morris has written about just about everything -- Super Bowls, evangelists, World War II veterans and ordinary people with extraordinary tales. His work has received multiple honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press and the Louisiana Press Association. He avoids debt when he can and pays it off quickly when he can't, and he's only too happy to suggest how you might do the same.