Choosing a Bank
Choosing the best bank for your needs is easy. First, you have to figure out exactly what you need from a bank. Once you know what to look for, you can quickly evaluate the competition and end up with the best bank account out there. This page offers a guide to choosing the right bank for your needs, and offers some ideas for starting your checklist.
The first question to ask yourself is what you want to do with your bank account. Do you want to put money in there periodically and watch it grow? Will you move money in and out quickly? You need to know what your banking behavior will be like in order to find the right bank.
Next, get an idea of how you prefer to do your banking. If your schedule doesn't work with most bank schedules, the best bank might just be the one that's open at convenient times. If you're a web-savvy customer, look for the banks that make it easy to do your dealings quickly and efficiently with the click of a mouse.
Free checking accounts get a lot of hype. They get people in the door. However, free may not always be the best thing for you. If you value certain services or conveniences, you may be willing to pay for them. Once you get a hold of fee schedules from competing banks, consider if it's really going to bother you to pay a few bucks each month for that "gotta have it" feature or service. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.
Finally, remember to ask other people for opinions. You can find bank reviews in our Bank Review pages. Ask your friends where they bank, and how happy they are. Finally, some of the blogs out there have extensive information on customer experiences in banks. When searching online, just remember that negative experiences will be more common than positive ones. People upset at the bank are motivated to spread the word - but happy customers often don't even realize that they're happy.
Once you know what you want, start shopping and comparing. You can use the list below to start a checklist. Most institutions will have everything you need on their Website. If not, call (or walk in) and ask - you'll get a preview of the customer service. Look for fee schedules, rate sheets, and hours of operation while you're hunting online.