Banks have come under scrutiny since they played a large part in the financial crisis by over leveraging investments and losing a lot of money. A bailout was enacted to try to get some banks back on their feet, which rightfully angered the general public.
The truth is most people need banks. If you don’t want to use a bank or a credit union your options for saving and storing money are limited. My fiancée and I wanted to combine our finances last year and had to decide on a bank. Here were a few criteria we looked for.
Do they have a physical presence everywhere?
This was an important factor in our decision because of our traveling lifestyle. My future wife is planning on traveling with me during the baseball season next year. For this reason, we needed a bank that was available in a number of places throughout the country. Without quick access to our bank, we would have a tough time handling our finances. This is why we picked a major bank that is located in a number of places near locations where we may end up.
If you live in one place year-round, credit unions and local banks become options. Many of them offer personalized features that bigger banks cannot match as well.
Account Options and Fees
This includes credit accounts, checking accounts and savings accounts. We picked a bank that fit our needs in all of these categories, while charging the least. Our checking and savings accounts are free and our rewards credit card carries a small fee, which can be offset using earned points. This setup allows us to build credit. It also lets us store and spend our money freely and confidently.
Money market accounts aren’t making much in the current economy, but they are also something to consider. Different credit cards accumulate points for different things. Some are better for flights, while others are better for cash back. This is something to keep in mind. What are the most important account options to you?
The online services offered from our bank are something that appealed to me, as there are a number of interactive features that allow tracking of spending. They also have a convenient online bill pay system for recurring payments. We use this to pay off our credit card at the same time each month, allowing us to accumulate credit and not have to worry about missing a payment.
What’s Best for You?
The bank or credit union you use is important. Finding something that fits the needs of you and your family can make a big difference on your finances. Some are interested in investment options through their bank, while others are attracted to a high quality environment at the physical locations. All of these factors play a part in choosing a bank. What features do you look for in a bank?
What bank or credit union do you use? Why did you choose it?