We all need a bank, but finding the right banks can be difficult. If you search for “banks near me” you will likely find a lot of choices for banking. Thankfully, and ultimately, the United States banking system is one of the best in the world. In December of 2016 the banking system of America had nearly $17 trillion in assets, more diversity of institutions and the highest concentration in the world of private credit. Also, the FDIC insures many of the banks in the United States, so that when any bank fails the individuals who bank there are not in danger of losing everything.
While it’s easy to find “banks near me” no matter where in America you live, and while the banking system is robust and generally very safe, there are some things to consider when choosing a bank. Read on for some helpful tips to help you narrow down the results of your “banks near me” search.
- Consider the reputation of any bank you’re interested in. If you go with a large and widely-known national bank, you should be fine. These banks also tend to have robust and user-friendly mobile banking apps. They also make it easy to open a checking account or apply for a credit card with them. However, they may also be less personal in their service and have higher fees. Their national and even international footprints also sometimes come with some accusations of fraud and big fines. Local “banks near me” in your search are more likely to avoid those issues, however, you want to check carefully that they are FDIC insured and that their local reputation is strong.
- Consider whether you want a physical presence to go into. Some banks are entirely online, while others have brick-and-mortar locations where you can speak with a real human being. Decide which is important to you. Both will likely offer online bill pay, mobile check depositing, and banking apps. But all online banks tend to have lower fees and higher interest because they don’t have overhead to pay. However, if you really need to speak to someone face-to-face, you will have a hard time doing that without plenty of physical locations where you can pop in.
- Make sure you consider and understand all the fees that any bank charges. Every bank is different. Some will charge a fee only if you overdraw an account and for using ATM locations outside their system. Others will charge you for everything they possibly can. If you have several accounts and they all have fees, or if you have to pay fees because for one day of that month your account balance dropped below a certain amount, you can find the money adding up quickly. Simply because a bank has fees doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an account there. Just make sure you know what the fees are going in and keep track of any changes in fees that may come up while you bank there.
Choosing a bank doesn’t need to be difficult, but it is important to do your homework and make sure a bank is offering just what you need. Think carefully about what types of accounts you need, what you need or want in a bank, and about the reputation of any institution you’re thinking about getting an account with. Then you can apply for a new bank account with confidence.