5 Things to Remember When Looking for a New Bank Account
It has become much easier to open a new bank account or switch to a different provider. The good news is that there is plenty of choice out there if you want to get a better deal. Some banks now offer a cash incentive if you either open an account or switch from your current bank.
Before you decide to switch, though, there are a few things that you need to consider.
1. Pick the Right Account Type
There are different account types to choose from. If you simply want a place to put your wages, give you a small overdraft and deal with direct debits, a current account is generally all you need. There are now what are called packaged accounts available which come with added benefits but which you must pay a monthly subscription fee for. There are other accounts geared towards students and ones that are fee free or ideal for those on low incomes who need to budget or want to manage their money more effectively. It pays to research all the different types of account available and find one that suits your needs and current requirements.
2. Don’t Forget to Compare Rates
Banks will have different charges for services such as overdrafts. There are also penalties if you do something like bounce a check or don’t have enough money for a direct debit. All banks should display these rates on their site, so you can see what you are likely to be charged.
If you are likely to go overdrawn each month then look for a bank that has low interest rates/charges in this area. If you are more likely to stay in the black, there are banks that pay interest if you maintain a certain balance which can put extra money in your pocket.
3. Do You Need a Local Branch?
Some people like to be able to walk into their local branch and see someone in person. Others are happy to deal on the phone or even online nowadays. If you live in a large town or city, the chances are you’ll be able to find a branch nearby if you need it.
If you are in a small village, out of the way, you may have your choice limited if you want the personal touch. Banking online is generally a lot more secure nowadays and allows you to keep up to date with your account at the touch of a button.
4. How is their Customer Service?
One of the big bug bears for many people is customer service, whatever the industry. This is particularly important with services like banking. It’s worth checking online for complaints about a bank you are thinking of choosing. If you start seeing complaints about poor customer service, then you may want to consider alternatives.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around
Older people especially tend to lend banks a kudos that they often don’t deserve. Younger people are more likely to shop around and get the deal they want. This is a service like anything else and you want to get the best value for your time and money. Certainly, don’t be afraid to try out different banks – make out a list of what you are looking for and then rate each bank per your requirements.
There is plenty of choice out there compared to a few decades ago and opening a new bank account is easy. If you are swapping from one company to another, they will normally sort out important things like transferring over direct debits so that you don’t miss a payment and making sure your old account is closed properly.
As with most services nowadays, it pays to shop around once in while and switch if you want a better deal.