Three Key Things to Consider When Selecting a Bank

I was struggling with a topic for this week’s blog and then it hit me like a bolt of lightning. A friend had asked, what’s the best online bank? For me, that’s a loaded question. Like when you are at a wine tasting and someone comes to the pouring table and asks, which one is the best? or, which one do you like? My personal choice is irrelevant. The bank I use or the type of wine I like is not important if it doesn’t work for you personally.


It turns out, banking is a little like wine and the answer to all of these questions is the same – it depends. It depends on the level of service you are looking for, what type of service you need and whether your bank needs to be a local brick-and-mortar institution or if you can utilize the services of an online bank.

Your primary focus in picking a bank is security of funds. Whether you go online, or brick-and-mortar, be absolutely sure to select a bank that is FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured or has NCUA (National Credit Union Association) for credit unions. Fair disclosure, I happen to be a huge fan of my online bank and my local credit union. I use them for different services.


Next, consider level of service. Do you need to see a teller in person on a regular basis? Are you always in need of counter services? If so, an online bank is likely not going to meet your needs. Check out the local credit unions and local banks available to you. Visit the lobby, talk to customer service and just get a feel for how the staff reacts to you seeking information about opening an account. Conversely, if you are only looking for a free account to make an occasional mobile deposit with your Smartphone, an online bank may be perfect. If selecting an online bank, make sure your funds (and transactions) are secure. The key point is to match your service needs with the institution that offers the best overall solutions for you.

Fees! I have to mention fees. Whatever you decide, make sure you pay attention to and understand all of the service fees that are tied to your account. Focus on whether the account is truly free, or only free if a certain number of transactions per month are performed or a minimum balance is maintained.  Look for other fees such as ATM fees. Make sure you are not paying more than absolutely necessary. For example, you wouldn’t want to open a deluxe, top-tier service account with high monthly fees if all you are looking for is basic savings account.

When it comes to selecting a bank, focus on security of funds, services, and fees to narrow your choice. And when it comes to wine, pick the one you like!  

As an independent Certified Financial Planner™, I can help you narrow your choices and find a bank that fits. Contact me and let’s get started! #talktometuesday #Hireaplanner #income #cash #CFPPro #bank #online #creditunion