Finance

Nov 6 2019

Compare the Best Banks, Customer Reviews, Rates, Fees, best online bank interest rates.

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Best Consumer Banks

Best online bank interest rates

Core banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, make up the central hub of personal finance, but most banks also provide a comprehensive array of additional services. By meeting the financial needs of their customers, banks create lasting relationships with them that can offer cost savings and added convenience. However, the relationship with a bank can be difficult to end once it’s formed, so it’s important to choose carefully. The key is to figure out what you need and work on finding the perfect fit for you. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you look for a bank.

Traditional Branch-Based vs. Exclusively Online Banks

First determine whether you would prefer using a traditional bank or an online bank. Large traditional banks are likely to have hundreds or even thousands of branches located around the world, which is beneficial for frequent travelers. Branch-based banks also offer a higher level of personal customer service that is attractive to many consumers. You may enjoy having the ability to walk into a branch and meet with a representative in person when you have a problem or need to carry out a transaction. Most branch banks offer online services in addition to those offered by physical branches, although those offered by smaller banks may be less advanced or comprehensive than their larger or online counterparts. If you decide to choose an exclusively-online bank, your accounts will only be available online or over the phone. This may be discomforting to some consumers, but there are various benefits to choosing online banking. Since online banks do not have to deal with maintaining numerous physical branches, they are able to pass the savings on to you in the form of higher interest rates and lower account fees. Most online banks are also open 24/7, providing you with real-time access to your accounts from anywhere at any time. Bear in mind that online banks are completely dependent on technology, so if your computer or Internet connection goes down, you will not have access to your accounts until the technical problems are fixed. Also, if you’re thinking about an online bank, ensure that it allows you to pay for daily expenses with a debit card and that it provides access to ATMs in your area.

How to Choose the Right Bank for You

Once you have narrowed your options to either traditional banks or online banks, consider the following criteria:

  • Fees: Bank fees often depend on your banking habits and behavior, so be aware of these habits while comparing banks. For instance, you will need to be aware of fees related to minimum balances, overdraft fees, fees for balance transfers, and charges for using other banks’ ATMs. Remember, banks like to collect fees from their customers, so be sure to read the fine print.

  • Accounts Available: It is critical to see if the bank offers the types of accounts you need. The two most common accounts offered are checking and savings. A checking account is where you keep most of your funds. Checking accounts typically provide you with a debit card, the ability to write checks, automatic deposit, and the option to transfer funds to other accounts within the bank and to an external bank. Online automatic bill payment plans may also be available, especially with the larger banks and online banks. A savings account is where you store your emergency funds. Since the money in a savings account is intended to stay put, you don’t need to worry as much about accessibility issues. In fact, most savings accounts limit the number of withdrawals you can make each month. These accounts typically offer a higher interest rate than standard checking accounts. For convenience and potential savings, you may want to consider using the same bank for multiple accounts.

  • Interest Rates: An additional element to consider is the amount of interest you can earn. Ideally, you are looking to generate high-interest income through saving accounts and certificates of deposit; however, you may have to give up other benefits to find a bank with good interest rates. For example, a bank may have the best customer service in the area, but if the interest rates are really low, then you may want to pass to find a better deal. Similarly, you might consider putting up with additional restrictions if it means you can earn a maximum level of interest on your deposits. That said, make sure that you won’t incur extra fees by tolerating restrictions. Depending on your account balance, fees can quickly negate the amount of interest you’re likely to earn.

  • Services: It is best to choose a bank that is readily accessible, whether it is on the phone or in person. If you choose a traditional bank, check the hours of operation, branch and ATM locations, and types of support available. If you are banking with an online bank or one that you cannot easily access, then the customer service options available to you will be crucial. In addition to evaluating the quality of customer service, it is important to know if a bank offers the services you need. If you’re tech-savvy, you may want to choose the bank with the best electronic banking services. These services let you check your account balances online, arrange transfers, view checks you have written, automatically pay bills, and more. Some banks will also give you the option of having electronic bank statements, where you receive a monthly email with a link to your statement. Other services may include direct deposit, cashier’s checks, and wire transfers.

  • Written by CREDIT


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