Selecting the Right Bank
1. Is there a required minimum account balance?
You may be charged a monthly fee if you don't keep a minimum or average balance in your account.
2. Are there branches located nearby?
Some people prefer to do all their banking online, but if you would like to have the option of being able to go to the bank, find out if there are branches near you.
3. Does the bank charge a fee for wire transfers?
Some banks use a system called the Automatic Clearing House (or ACH for short). An ACH enables you to transfer money between your account and someone else's account at another bank. Most banks don’t charge for receiving money, but some charge for sending money.
4. Is there a fee for using ATMs?
Some banks will charge you a fee for using ATMs operated by other banks or third parties. The larger the bank's ATM network the easier it will be to get cash when you need it.
5. Is there a fee for online bill pay?
There are quite a few banks who provide online banking free of charge, but there are a few that charge either a monthly fee or a fee for each transaction. Make sure you know the policies and requirements!
6. What’s your liability in case of fraudulent account use?
Banks aren’t federally mandated to offer $0 liability in case of fraudulent money transfers from the account. However, there are some banks out there that do!
7. How soon are deposit funds available?
Federal regulations require the bank to make the first $200 available the next banking day, but it's up to the bank how soon the rest the funds are accessible.
8. What does the bank charge for checks?
Usually, banks provide the first box of checks for free, but after that you may need to pay for them. Some provide checks for the life of the account-check with your bank about their policy on this!
9. What’s the policy for overdrafts, and does the bank offer overdraft protection?
Know the fees for overdrafts! Some banks won't charge you a fee if you bring your balance back up within a certain number of days. This would be a good question to ask your bank to explain further. Make sure to set up alerts!
10. Does the bank offer a mobile app?
Some banks offer mobile apps which can make your banking transactions easy and convenient.
If they do offer an app, be sure to check out the reviews to see what other people are saying about it.