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How do I Choose the Best Personal Bank Account?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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The best personal bank account is a bank account that fits well with one's banking habits, financial needs, and the kind of balance that is maintained on a regular basis. Choosing a bank account that is not right a right fit may result in service fees on a regular basis or in difficulty accessing funds as needed. The first thing to consider is the type of balance that will be kept in the account on a regular basis. A number of banks have rules about minimum balances that must be maintained in order to avoid charges. Do not settle on a personal bank account until finding one with a minimum balance that can be confidently met.

It is also important bank with a company that has a convenient branch. Having to drive an extra five miles or walk 20 minutes to the nearest bank can be a hassle at best and can lead to difficulty in taking care of important banking matters at worst. It is a good idea to choose a bank that has a branch near one's home, place of business, on on the route in between. This will make banking much more convenient.

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Some people prefer to bank with online banks. These banks can be accessed at any time of the day and from most parts of the world. Also, a personal bank account with an online bank is likely to have fewer fees and fewer service charges. This is because online banks have a much lower overhead and, therefore, fewer charges to pass on to their customers.

It is also common for a personal bank account with an online bank to get better interest rates. This is for the same reason that there are fewer and less expensive charges with a personal bank account held with an online bank as compared to a personal bank account held with a traditional bank. Just as fewer overhead charges are passed on to customers, better profits can be extended. Many people do not feel comfortable, however, maintaining a personal bank account with a company that does not have a local office where they can go and speak with someone in person.

This brings up an important point. It is important to be comfortable with one's personal bank account services. In addition to managing money, it is also important to have faith and feel secure in the company holding one's money.

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jmc88
Post 3

@stl156 - I opened an online account two years ago, and I couldn't be more satisfied. Like you, I originally joined because I was looking for a place with low minimums and high interest. I ended up settling with ING. I have only called them one or two times, but every time I spoke directly to a person without much of a wait. I think a lot of their satisfaction relies on making the experience as direct as possible.

Since you mentioned a loan, I can tell you that they offer that service, as well. I applied for the loan, and after I was accepted, a representative showed up at my house and had me sign the paperwork. After that, the money was mine.

Obviously, everyone's situation is different, so check out all of your options first. You can apply for a bank account online at the bank's website if you choose to go the online route.

stl156
Post 2

@jcraig - I have recently been looking to open a new bank account at a place where I can find decent loan rates. After reading your suggestion, I will have to look at some of the smaller local options.

The article mentioned online banks. I was curious if anyone here had experience with an online bank. What types of charges are assessed, and are you happy with the service? How hard is it to get hold of a representative if you have a question? I would also be interested in knowing how the interest rates compare with brick and mortar banks.

jcraig
Post 1

I live in a small town and do my banking with a well-established bank that has been around in my community for over 100 years. Many people may write off these smaller independent banks due to their size, but my experience has shown that they can have several benefits when compared to their larger counterparts.

I have opened quite a few accounts during my time with the bank, such as checking, debit, savings, and credit card accounts. I have always had free bank accounts, and have never been charged for having any of the services. I do not have minimum required balances on any of the accounts, either. I've also found that mortgage and other loan rates from my

bank are on par with any chain bank.

Obviously, my bank does not have ATMs across the US, but since I rarely withdraw money, I don't see this as a problem. For anyone looking to open a new account, I would definitely explore the options that are locally available.

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