Power. We all have it, especially when we realize our role as consumers. There’s just no point in milling around thinking you don’t have options just because we’re in a bad economy. You do have options. Don’t ever forget that. So if there’s one decision that you’ll need to make that can change the flow of your finances, it’s got to be the bank that you use.
Now, the last thing that we want to do is make you think that you can’t choose the type of bank that you work with, because that’s usually a recipe for disaster. A lot of people assume that you can just bank anywhere without problem, but is that really the case? Not really. The thing is that every bank has a slightly different fee schedule, which means that your money is directly affected. In theory, you want to go with the bank that has the lowest fees, but that’s not always the right choice either. They could be making up those fees in other ways that aren’t good. Or they might even be unavailable when you really need them.
Indeed, you will want to make sure that you think about the type of banking lifestyle you have. In other words, what are the things that you expect out of your own bank? Are they going to take care of you? Are they going to rapidly take care of an issue that you have without giving you the 3rd degree about it? What are their fraud prevention measures? It’s easy to just assume that a bank will handle all of these issues, but you might be surprised.
Of course, you might also assume that there’s no way that the average person would know the answers to all of these questions. Yet with the rise of the Internet and all of the knowledge to be found online, you can get up to speed quickly. That means that if you really want to know what’s going on, you’re going to have to do the research. Don’t wait for other people to tell you about a bank — go online and see if anyone’s talked about their experiences. If you see more good than bad, then you obviously know that you’re in the right direction.
On the other hand, if you’re running into a lot of bad reviews then that also tells you a lot of what’s going on as well. You don’t want to find yourself at a bank that’s going to raise your fees at the drop of a hat, or make you feel like you’re not a valued customer. Customer service is absolutely critical at a bank, and you’re going to need to really make sure that you get that part settled before you do anything else.
Naturally, instead of just focusing on one bank or another, you’re going to need to make sure that you are actually thinking about multiple banks. The last thing that we ever want to do when it comes to our financial life is think that only one solution is going to fit. When it comes to the world of banking, there are always multiple options. You shouldn‘t settle for the first bank that makes you a supposedly irresistible offer. You should make sure to actually hold out for the bank that treats you like a valued customer, that has affordable rates and the services that you need most. Look for courtesy services like faxing, copying, and even printing things in some cases. If you really need a safety deposit box, you want to look into not only the price but also the policies. If someone needed to drill into the box to get to your will, could they do that with the paper legal paperwork? These are all concerns that you should have about any bank that you want to “settle down” with.
We might be a little overly cautious in this guide, but the reality is that you only have the rights you fight for. You only have the services that matter to you if you reach out to have them. Since you’re the one making the financial commitment, it’s up to you to select a bank that has a service you’re going to use regularly. It’s up to you to really take your time — this is just one of those decisions where you really don’t want to jump to conclusions. Look through all of your options. Stuck? Ask questions. Nobody is going to look after your money except for you.
With the market continuing to be unstable and banks tightening up on everything from fees to when you can even pull your money out, it’s time to make sure that you’re not just putting all of your chips on one bank. That would be a real disaster indeed.