10 Tips for Finding a Bank With More Bang for Your Buck

Woman at ATM machine
REDPIXEL.PL / Shutterstock.com

How do you feel about your bank? Sure, it’s great if the bank never screws up your deposits, or has a website that is always available. But if you pay high fees or get lousy customer service, it might be time to shop for a better bank.

You can find the bank of your dreams simply by stopping by the Money Talks News Solutions Center. There, you can shop for the best bank for your needs.

But, before doing that, look over the following 10 tips for finding a better bank for your buck.

1. Compare interest rates

isak55 / Shutterstock.com
isak55 / Shutterstock.com

If you’ve got money sitting in a savings account, CD or money market account, you’d be remiss not to shop for the best interest rate.

For years, interest on deposits was so low it was hardly worth asking the annual percentage yield. Now, though, you can find APYs of as much as 2 percent.

As we mentioned before, you can compare interest rates on CDs and checking and savings accounts in the Money Talks News Solutions Center.

2. Make sure an institution is insured

Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com
Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com

Before switching to a new credit union or bank, confirm that it is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

This independent federal government agency insures that if a member banking institution fails, each depositor gets money back. The amount you can insure is $250,000 per bank.

Use the FDIC’s “BankFind” tool to check whether institutions you are considering are FDIC members.

3. Consider an online bank

Chinnapong / Shutterstock.com
Chinnapong / Shutterstock.com

There’s a lot to like about banks that do business solely online. They don’t need to maintain a network of brick-and-mortar branches, so their expenses are lower, which can mean they pay higher interest rates and charge lower fees.

Here’s a possible concern, however: Online banks generally don’t have their own ATMs. They rely on agreements with banking networks. So, find out an online bank’s ATM policies and costs before switching banks. Better yet, find an internet bank that waives — or reimburses you for — any ATM fees you might incur.

4. Explore credit unions

banking
LifetimeStock / Shutterstock.com

Credit unions may offer the personal service you crave with the lower fees and higher interest rates you need. Also, they have a reputation for focusing on fair lending and investing in communities.

Just don’t assume you’re getting a good deal without comparing accounts you qualify for at a variety of institutions. For more pointers, check out “How to Pick the Best Credit Union for You.”

5. Check into community banks

financial institution
dennizn / Shutterstock.com

Community banks are generally owned and operated locally, not owned by mega-bank holding companies. Many community banks pride themselves on keeping fees low and on making loans within the local community — but not all of them do, so check.

Use the Independent Community Bankers of America’s “Community Bank Locator” tool to find community banks near you.

6. Weigh convenience

Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com

If you value face-to-face contact with a banker, you’ll want to find a credit union or bank with many convenient branches near where you live and work.

Start your research by noticing which banks you see in the neighborhoods you frequent. Go to the website of each bank you’re considering and find its branches nearest you. Pay attention to hours and ATM locations.

7. Research ATM networks and costs

nrqemi / Shutterstock.com
nrqemi / Shutterstock.com

ATMs are a big part of the banking experience for many consumers. You’ll probably want your new bank or credit union to have a lot of ATMs that cost you nothing to use and are in safe, convenient locations.

Visit each institution’s website to find its list or map of in-network ATMs. Visit the locations you’ll use most to be sure you’ll feel comfortable there.

Also, learn about the ATM fees, both for in-network and out-of-network ATMs. Read the fine print on the bank’s site, brochure or contract. You don’t want expensive fees to hit you after you choose a new bank.

8. Decide if free online bill payment matters

LittlePigPower / Shutterstock.com
LittlePigPower / Shutterstock.com

If you love the convenience of paying bills online, make sure the bank you are considering offers an online bill paying service. Check to see if the bank imposes a fee for using the service.

9. Learn about the mobile app

David M G / Shutterstock.com
David M G / Shutterstock.com

The ability to check your balances and make deposits from your smartphone makes mobile banking one of life’s real conveniences. Great mobile apps are expensive features for banks to develop, which means that the biggest banks have some of the best mobile apps.

10. Ask your friends

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Some bank features are harder to research. So, ask your friends what they most enjoy — or dislike — about the banking institutions they currently use.

Ready to find a new bank? First, check out 5 Simple Steps to Painlessly Switch Banks.”

What’s your experience changing banks? Share with us comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases

The best price for many of these items is “free.”

The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers
The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers

Boomers have a lot of worries as they age, but two stand out.

16 Products You Absolutely Do Not Need
16 Products You Absolutely Do Not Need

There are plenty of great ways to spend your money, but you can safely leave these products on the store shelf.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep
Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep

A study finds 96% of retirees make this mistake when claiming Social Security benefits.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’
5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.