Choosing a Bank

Since there are so many places to bank, how do you decide which one to use?

Should it be a traditional bank, an online bank, or a credit union? Should you choose a large national or regional bank with lots of branches or a small local bank?

You can compare your choices by looking at three things:

  • Cost. All banks charge fees for various services, though those charges can vary from bank to bank.
  • Convenience. Some banks are close to where you live, work, or go to school and have lots of ATMs you can use without a fee. Others have extensive electronic networks that make paying bills or getting paid easier and faster. Many accept and make ACH transfers so money can be moved electronically and almost instantly between financial institutions at little or no cost.
  • Products and Services. All banks offer basic banking services, but some banks offer a larger variety of accounts and other financial services to meet customer needs. Some offer special accounts for students that cost less or pay more interest.

The bank you choose should be the one that offers all the products and services you need at the lowest cost and the greatest convenience. Sometimes you have to decide which of the three is most important.
If you can find a credit card or a loan with a lower interest rate at a different bank than the one where your checking and savings accounts are, apply for it and use it. You don't owe your bank loyalty.