Choosing a bank

Explore your options

Like everything else you shop for, you want to get the best deal you can when choosing a bank.

Overview

In making your decision on where to bank, you'll want to consider several factors:

  • Convenience: If you are using a brick and mortar bank, is there a local branch or one of the bank's ATMs near your home or office? Is the branch open on the weekends? What are their hours of service? Is there a drive-through lane or a 24-hour ATM? If you are using a virtual bank, is there a network of ATMs you can use without charge or for which you get a rebate? Is it easy to move money back and forth between the online account and a local bank?
  • Products and services: Does the bank offer the full range of products and services you need? Is the bank's service department customer friendly and knowledgeable?
  • Cost: What fees does the bank charge for its products and services and how do those costs compare to what other banks charge?

You should be able to find information about what products and services a bank offers and what fees it charges its customers by visiting a branch office or the bank's website. The more questions you ask, the better prepared you will be to make an informed decision.


Is your money safe?

Banks aren't just a convenient way to manage money. They offer financial security for you and your money. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) guarantees deposits for up to $250,000 for each depositor in several different categories of accounts, such as individual, joint, and certain retirement accounts. This insurance means the money you deposit in bank accounts is safe even if the bank goes out of business, is damaged or destroyed in a disaster, or is the victim of robbery or theft.

Tip

Be sure to ask about all the types of checking and savings accounts a bank offers. Most banks offer at least one very economical account that may provide all the services you need for very little cost. Young people, seniors and other groups may be eligible for reduced rates or other benefits.