Way to Save #67: Shop Your Banks

As banks consolidate, competition is decreasing and fees are increasing. Think about the services you need first, then call around and see who can deliver them for the least money. Do you do a lot of ATM transactions? Then you need a bank with lots of branches and ATM machines to avoid paying “foreign” ATM fees. Do you travel a lot? Then you want a bank with branches in the states you often visit. Do you need online banking? Find a bank that doesn’t charge for this convenience. Do you write just a few checks a month? Find a bank with a stripped-down inexpensive checking account. You get the picture. Think about what you need before you go shopping, and be sure you understand all the fees before you sign up. In general, you’re going to get better deals from smaller local banks rather than the biggies.

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